Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

If you feel tired without reason thoughout the day and keep turning to stimulants like coffee or colas to help you keep going then something is defintately wrong. If you are also irritable and easy worn out by exercise this may indicate adrenal exhaustion. This is an increasingly common condition- some estimates suggest that the majority of Americans are suffers- where stress prompts the adrenal cortex to pump out hormones that maintain a person in a constant state of readiness to face the worst eventualities and exhausts that person in the process.

For our forebears. the fight or flight hormones produced by the adrenal glands were a life saver in times of crisis. On a hunting trip or during times of war these hormones fired up a person to act quickly giving them a surge of energy that allowed them to either run or fight. For most of the time, our forebears led quiet lives and these stressful episodes were a rarity and a world away from agricultural lives lived without either a clock or a mobile phone.

Nowadays, we are on a constant treadmill of expectations from everyone around us. We live mainly in crowded cities where interactions can often be fraught. We drive on highways that never seem to be empty. We are always preparing for something that must be done the next day or in the next hour.

When sressed our bodies are flooded with the hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine These hormones redirect blood supply to the muscles to prepare for action. Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal cortex which returns the body to normal after a stress episode. If stress is continuous the adrenal cortex can simply burn out and there is nothing to switch off the stress response. This is known as adrenal fatigue,

Not only is the person suffering from adrenal fatique exhausted, their long term health is also at risk, since epinephrine and norepinephrine have serious, negative effects on the body. These include triggering higher blood pressure and increasing risks of heart disease, ulcers etc. Added to these problems is a greater likelihood of insomnia with a further slippage into the cycle of irritability and more stress as relationships and work suffer.

The Five best Supplements to Treat and Cure Adrenal Fatigue

This condition has been recognized and treated for a very long time, although in former times it was much rarer. Recent studies have brought together the most effective cures from around the world.

Regulating the release of cortisol is one of the most effective ways of returning adrenal function to normal and the studies suggest that this is how the traditional cures work.

licorice glycyrrhiza glabra

Liquorice Plant

Liquorice Extract (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

The active ingredients in liquorice extract are known to mimic some of the effects of cortisol and have been shown to help in diseases such as asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome and many allergies. More recently, it has been used to help people suffering from adrenal fatigue.

It should be used in moderation for a short period only (six to eight weeks) to help reset the normal rhythms of cortisol production in the body. Use after breakfast and lunch for the best effects.


Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid naturally present in cell membranes and brain tissue. An Italian study showed that a daily dose of 800 of mg phosphatidylserine reduced the production of hormones induced by stress.

In another controlled trial, 300 mg per day reduced depression, improved memory and increased the sense of well-being of older women.


These were identified In 1968 by Israel I. Brekhman , PhD, and I. V. Dardymov who gave the following defintion-

  • An adaptogen is nontoxic.
  • An adaptogen produces a non-specific physical response— but still results in an increase in the body's power of resistance to sources of stress including physical, chemical, or biological agents.
  • An adaptogen acts to normalize the bodies reactions to stress.

tribulus terrestrisTribulus terrestris

Adaptogens of Benefit in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

Some substances have been shown to effect the receptors in the hypothalamus whch are closely involved in the production of cortisol. They are called adaptogens because they adapt the hormonal stress responses to more normal levels

.Siberian Gingseng

Siberian Ginseng

The most effective sources of adaptogens are Siberian Gingseng, Schisandra
(an herb widely used in ancient and modern China), Tribulus terrestris and Ashwagandha (an Indian herb).

Ashwaganda is an especially useful herb for anyone who also suffers from arthritis (often associated with adrenal fatigue). The active ingredients have been shown to return cortisol production to normal or near normal in many patients as well as providing relief from joint inflammation and pain.

All of the supplements mentioned on this page are available in health stores and online.

Their use should be combined with a healthy diet and approbriate exercise for the greatest benefit.