Is Adrenal Fatigue a Real Thing?

Endocrinology, Medicine

Is there an adrenal fatigue test? : No, adrenal fatigue is not a real diagnosis.


Adrenal fatigue is a word for symptoms that people under long-term stress might feel: sleep problems, cravings, tiredness and fatigue, digestive issues, and body or muscle aches. The idea that long-term emotional or physical stress overworks the adrenal gland, causing an adrenal gland burnout, has not been proven, though. The adrenal fatigue syndrome is not considered to be a real diagnosis and is based only on theory. But for someone suffering from adrenal fatigue symptoms, the feelings are real.

Adrenal fatigue symptoms include sleep problems, cravings, tiredness and fatigue, digestive issues, and body or muscle aches.

Adrenal fatigue treatment? What lifestyle or health factors can improve adrenal function?

Adrenal fatigue test?: sleeping problems may be causing your symptoms.

The sleep cycle is the major lifestyle factor that can affect the adrenal gland. Abnormal sleeping patterns can directly and negatively influence your pituitary hormone A.C.T.H., the hormone responsible for controlling the adrenal gland’s production of cortisol. There are also health factors that can affect our adrenal function. The most common cause of true adrenal dysfunction is medication. The use of steroids for inflammatory conditions or osteoarthritis can, over time, slow your body’s ability to make cortisol. Following closely with your healthcare provider can ensure your prescribed steroids are used sparingly and tapered appropriately. 

Tips for addressing symptoms of adrenal fatigue syndrome

  • Keeping normal sleeping hours is important to help prevent fatigue.  A regular sleeping pattern should help keep the circadian rhythm working normally.
  • Avoid supplements that are labeled as providing “adrenal support.” These over-the-counter supplements are not regulated by the F.D.A.(Food and Drug Administration.) If these medications were to contain cortisol-like hormones, they could actually suppress your body’s own cortisol if used for long periods of time.

For more information on adrenal fatigue.:
The Endocrine Society argues against adrenal fatigue as a real diagnosis as there has been no strong research.

Adrenal fatigue should not be confused with adrenal insufficiency, a rare medical condition which can be diagnosed in the lab. 

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue should not be confused with Adrenal Failure.
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Last Modified: Oct 14, 2017 @ 1:27 am
About the Author

Chris Palmeiro D.O. M.Sc.


Dr. Palmeiro is Chairman of Endocrinology at the HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, he also serves patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities at the Westchester Institute of Human Development in Valhalla, New York. He has a Masters of Science degree in clinical nutrition and is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. His interests within the realm of endocrinology include nutrition support, obesity counseling and the progressive management of diabetes.

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