Numerous Symptoms Caused By Adrenal Gland Dysfunction

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Adrenal-GlandsStress due to prolonged problems and life challenges can wreak havoc on your well-being.   The most common “outside” challenges which people face are the threat of losing a job, financial issues, personality conflicts, relationship problems and death or illness of a loved one.  The common stressors we inflict upon ourselves are skipping meals, yo-yo dieting, drinking too much coffee and/or energy drinks, eating too many carbs, not sleeping at least 7 hours per night, over-exercising, and not resolving emotional issues from the past or present.

Stress affects both the mind and body (for article on how to calm the mind read – You Have The Power To Keep You Inner Peace).  Physically the glands most affected by stress are the adrenal glands.   The adrenal glands are two small glands, one on top of each kidney.  Each has an outer part called the cortex and the inner portion which is the medulla.  The cortex secretes three different classes of hormones: mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, and androgenic hormones.  The medulla secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine (commonly known as adrenaline).

ESSENTIAL HORMONES WHICH THE ADRENALS SECRETE

The most important  mineralocorticoid hormone is aldosterone.  It’s main function is to keep both sodium and potassium in check.  This in turn keeps blood pressure in check and fluid (water) in balance (so as not to retain water; edema, which increases blood pressure).  The kidneys need to have sodium and potassium at proper levels so they can also function properly and keep all fluids and waste acids in check.  Too much aldosterone hormone or too little aldosterone affects our organs, especially the heart, blood pressure, muscles (feel weak) and joints (painful and achy).

The more well known glucocorticoid produced by the cortex is cortisol (hydrocortisone) or “the stress hormone”.  Normally, it’s present in the body at higher levels in the morning, and at its lowest at night, which allows the body to “come down” and “unwind” so that we can get to sleep.  Although stress isn’t the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, it is termed “the stress hormone” because it’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress (when the hormone epinephrine is secreted; a.k.a. adrenaline), and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body.

While cortisol is an important and a helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body return to a neutral mode after a stressful event.  Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that the body doesn’t always have a chance to return to normal, resulting in a state of chronic stress.  Which can lead to build up of body fat around the mid-section, muscle wasting, inflammation, blood sugar imbalances and depress your immune system which leads to more bouts of colds, flu and respiratory issues.

The adrenaline hormone, epinephrine, secreted by the adrenal’s medulla, historically came into play when our life was threatened.  The threat would cause a rush of this hormone to enter our blood stream so that we could muster as much ability to “win” a fight or successfully run away.  Epinephrine  increases heart rate, blood sugar, and it increases an individual’s metabolic rate in order to produce the most amount of energy for the individual to utilize.  If the brain is under constant stress, more adrenaline is secreted in order to satisfy the body’s needs. This is where the problem begins.

Living in a constant state of energy is not a healthy lifestyle because the brain is already over stimulated (sub-consciously as well).   An exhausted brain will not be much help when you are trying to perform trivial every day tasks much less important or complicated tasks.

HORMONES GONE WILD!

When the adrenal glands begin to act “dysfunctional” due to prolonged stress, they first go into a hyper (overactive, stressed) state.  As they are pushed further and not given the opportunity to recover they go into an “extreme” stressed/overactive state and eventually reach the hypo (under active, exhausted) mode.   At every stage of “dysfunction” certain symptoms begin to develop because the hormones secreted by the adrenal glands are not at their proper levels (too much or too little).  The following charts list many of the symptoms which arise due to adrenal dysfunction.

- Overactive – Hyper Adrenals (can lead to Cushing’s Disease)
  • Sugar cravings
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fatigue
  • Acid reflux
  • High blood sugar
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Foggy thinking
  • Irritability, snap
  • Gain belly fat
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Less restful sleep
  • Painful PMS
  • Onset of hayfever
  • Slight asthma
  • Lower back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Water retention
  • Constant illness
- Underactive – Hypo Adrenals (can lead to Addison’s Disease)
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Salt cravings
  • Low blood pressure
  • Excessive urination
  • Tendency to hives
  • Depression
  • Arthritic type pain
  • Increased perspiration
  • Exhaustion
  • Chronic asthma
  • Nervous disorders
  • Poor circulation
  • Colon disorders
  • Low blood sugar
  • Mental confusion
HOW TO REVERSE THE SYMPTOMS

The adrenal glands in most cases can be brought back to normal function with appropriate herbs and vitamins.  When the glands are hyper they need substances which will calm down the hyperactivity.  Such herbs and vitamins tend to be passion flower, hops, chamomile, fennel seeds and vitamin C (in ascorbate form).   The vitamins and minerals which need to be replaced because of the hyperactivity are the B-complex vitamins (especially pantothenic acid, B-5), potassium and magnesium.

With a hypo condition the glands are in need of nourishment and support.  Herbs which nourish are astragalus, licorice root (avoid if have hypertension) and Korean ginseng.

The herbal formula I use with great success for a hyper condition is Stress-J. It provides an excellent mix of calming herbs.   The herbal supplement I recommend highly for a hypo condition is Nervous Fatigue TCM Concentrated Formula an excellent Chinese formula.   It takes about 3 months for a hyper condition to resolve itself while a hypo condition may take 4 months to fully resolve.

If you are not quite sure which formula would be best, first try taking passion flower to discover if the glands are overactive (3 caps at dinner). If in 4-6 days your symptoms do not worsen then you probably will do well with the Stress-J formula. However, if you feel worse, then the Nervous Fatigue TCM may be the appropriate formula.

With overactive adrenal glands I suggest a regimen of Stress-J (2 lunch, 3 dinner) with first bottle and there after dropping by 1 capsule on the subsequent bottle and for the 3rd and 4th bottle I recommend taking 3 capsules with dinner.  In addition taking 1 Pantothenic Acid (B5) in the morning (Nature’s Sunshine carries) until all gone and increasing potassium in the form of coconut water and/or carrot juice or emergen-c packets (2-3 per day) would support you in feeling much better sooner.

With underactive adrenals I suggest taking 1 to 2 (1 with a meal) of the Nervous Fatigue TCM formula (they have non-concentrated version but need to take 8-9 per day) with dinner. In addition taking 1 licorice root with breakfast, lunch and dinner would support the nourishing of the adrenal glands (do not take licorice root if you have high blood pressure).

** If you would like to order some of the Nature’s Sunshine products (NSP) like Stress-J or Nervous Fatigue Concentrated Formula, call them at 1-800-453-1422 and you can use my account number #576437. You will purchase product at my price. You can only call in the order. Online ordering is for members only. Tell them you want a drop ship order. For more information about NSP go to my Health Analysis page from the Services tab and read the last section.

Take note that the Stress-J is 100 capsules so taking 5 per day will only last 20 days.  Consider ordering at least 2 or 3.

For a more comprehensive health analysis in which I will use your body’s wisdom to customize a nutritional program you need, consider a private consultation.  Click on the Contact tab above.

15 Responses to “Numerous Symptoms Caused By Adrenal Gland Dysfunction”


  1. 1 Leslie

    I don’t know if I’m suffering from it or not. Three months ago I started having panic attacks and that’s what the doctor told me. I have figured out that I’m getting adrenaline all of a sudden for no reason. This also happens when I’m sleeping. I get really nervous, kind of jittery during the day and when I eat I just get sick to my stomach. I also have a low thyroid but I’m currently not on any medication until 2 weeks from now. It has been almost 2 months since I’ve been off of it but I started all of this mess while on it and my levels were fine. For 3 weeks I was doing good with no sudden adrenaline until my husband ended up getting sick. Now I’m sick all the time and nervous. I’m not sleeping hardly at night and my heart will just race for no reason. I’m so miserable.

  2. 2 Lu Martinez

    Dear Leslie, I feel for your suffering. I do believe you are suffering from overactive adrenal glands, very low pantothenic acid (B5) and deficient potassium.

    I suggest ordering the Stress-J herb formula I recommend (from Nature’s Sunshine – ordered out of Utah – See information at http://www.bodyandsoulreconnection.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Stress-J.pdf ). This will calm the adrenal glands. Or look for an herbal product that has at least the passion flower, chamomile and hops. Take 6 capsules per day (3 morning, 3 evening) for 1 month then drop to 4 capsules per day for another 2 months. Sleep will improve, anxiety will subside and concentration will increase.

    Take pantothenic acid to relieve stomach discomfort (500 mg per day for 2 weeks then drop to 250 mg for 1 month). Your food is not breaking down properly due to this need. All citrus will also be very difficult to process.

    Low potassium also causes great fatigue, heart palpitations, leg muscle weakness, water retention and an inability to digest all dairy and corn based products. If you have some joint pain that comes and goes low potassium is the root cause because the kidneys need potassium to excrete many of the acids our body produces. Therefore, the acids are not being eliminated properly and it causes some joint pain. Ingest 1,200 mg of potassium per day for 1 week then drop to 1000 mg per day for another 2 weeks. You can do this through diet like bananas ( approx. 200 mg per), carrot juice ( approx. 420 mg per 8 oz), LOW sodium tomato juice (450 mg per 8 oz), coconut water (450 mg per 8 oz). Or there are also potassium tablets. Nature Sunshine has a product called Potassium combination.

    Regarding your thyroid. I am sensing you need an amino acid call L-tyrosine. 1000 mg per day initially and then drop to 500 mg after 1 month.

    Anyhow, if you rather place an order through Nature’s Sunshine you can use my account number 576437-6 to place a drop-ship order. Their order line is 1-800-453-1422 (Mon-Sat). All products except the amino acid L-tyrosine can be ordered through them. Their prices are comparable to good quality supplements.

    By the way corn, dairy and citrus products will be easily broken down once you have elevated the appropriate nutrients. Takes about 6-8 weeks.

    Any questions contact me. I hope you find this helpful. If you start this regimen you should begin to feel some relief in 15 to 20 days. You may need all or part of this regimen for about 3 months.

  3. 3 Bonnie Hain

    4 years ago i was diagnosed with an adrenal problem i have had several blood test taken since and since there is no change i have not been back for the last year
    my question is would hair loss and my nail use to grow long and very hard but have stopped are these any symptoms related to the adrenal gland?
    thank you for your input

  4. 4 Lu Martinez

    Hi Bonnie, sorry to hear about the length of time you have suffered with adrenal issues. It is quite possible that your adrenals are now in the “underactive” mode. In other words they are passed the stress mode and into exhausted mode. Did you connect more to the list with the underactive adrenal symptoms?

    Regarding hair loss and your nails, read the article on low progesterone and see if it resonates with you. You may need to elevate your progesterone levels. Dysfunctional adrenals can affect progesterone levels.

    Try the supplements suggested or something very similar to them. You should see the beginnings of improvement in 4-6 weeks. The underactive adrenals can shift to health in time with diligent intake of the correct supplements; around 4-6 months. Two to three menstrual cycles of applying progesterone cream should stop excessive hair loss. However, the cream should be used for at least 6-8 months.

    I hope you find this helpful. If you believe a consultation will help you with other health concerns, please contact me.

  5. 5 Rosie Miranda

    Hi I suspect I am Hpothyroid because of cold hands and feet, I also warm up when Itake supplements for hypo.I have had a history of severe pms and heavy bleeding, so I used progesterone cream and it gave me more energy but the bleeding got much much worse and my hair started falling out.Now I am 51, periods come and go, I am on a mood stabilizer, Im ok but I am trying to keep my supplements in balance. I was thinking of adding sibering ginseng to support my adrenals along with my thyroid supplement that also has a glandular to go with it. Is that too much? I was able to control my bleeding by bringing my estrogen levels down with a natural supplement that had broccoli and other things but I heard that broccoli blocks thyroid function unless it was cooked.Since I have a very strong history of breast cancer in which everybody died and even though I dont bleed heavily anymore I am concerned about the bad estrogen in my body and I wont to eliminate it without creating other hormonal imbalances. I cant use progesterone, or the broccoli supplement, would supporting adrenals or using adaptogens give my body some stability and keep everything steady while I take some fiber to decrease my estrogen levels and since I am in menopause should I be doing that in the first place?Thanks for your help

  6. 6 Lu Martinez

    Hi Rosie, sorry to know about your health imbalances. If you tend to have insomnia then possibly you are suffering from underactive (hypo) adrenals. If it’s more restless sleep but you do sleep then it is overactive adrenals. Either way the adrenal glands affect so much of the balance of your hormones, sleep, mood, temperature as well, perspiration, menstrual cycle…etc.

    If you are positive you suffer from under-active thyroid as well then you have a double whammy with both of these glands not doing their job properly. I suspect other nutrients may also be off. I highly suggest you have a complete health analysis because you want to be 100% sure how to help your body recover it’s balance and prevent further imbalances and symptoms in the future. Let me know if I can be of help, or seek out another alternative health provider that you feel confident in helping you.

  7. 7 Molly Orourke

    Hello. I have been treated for hypothyroidism for 10+ years, with Naturethroid (like Armour). Then every 6 months, I was retested with the TSH, T3 and T4 tests and they would go up or down and I would be advised periodically to adjust my tablet up or down a little. No problem. Then, about 7 months ago, my nutritional chiropractor decided to order a Full thyroid profile. (He had also been working with me the past 2 years to heal what he diagnosed as adrenal fatigue or exhaustion).He did not like the results of the thyroid tests, put me on still more supplements and repeated the tests in January 2011. Then he advised me to go to an Integrative Medicine internist, who ran a bunch of expensive tests, as well as a repeat of the full thyroid panel in March 2011. Based on that, she put me on a compound thyroid formula. Since time proved to me that she was possibly a scammer and certainly out of her realm of knowledge to treat me, I consulted with my MD internist of 25 years, He looked at mt thyroid panel tests and my previous, (from 2 years ago) ASI adrenal stress index saliva reports and female hormone panel (estrogen, DHEA, etc – I am postmenopausal)reports that my chiropractor had ordered, again from 2 years ago, and decided on the spot that I have pituitary dysfunction and need, besides thyroid medication, cortisol . He wants me to see an endocrinologist now, have a full battery of tests and take that little magic physiological dose of cortisol daily for the rest of my life- simple, he explained. Well, I am no dummy. I am an RN, well-versed in alternative medicine and want nothing to do with an adrenal hormone to take the rest of my life- something he assures me has no side-effects. I have successfully resisted HRT all my life, and agreed to thyroid meds years ago, only because it was a natural dessicated form. Unfortunately, my chiropractor did try to fix my adrenals with 2 years of giving me just about every supplement that you would know about to assist the healing, but nothing changed. Maybe he just wasn’t hitting on the right formulas. Also, I was experiencing a great deal of personal stress in my life. Nonetheless, hearing my internist tell me this week that I need to see an endocrinologist and get placed on some Western medicine steroid, call it what it is, has 100% increased my stress levels. Can you advise any help for me? Do you know of any good open-minded, compassionate doctors in the Atlanta area?
    Signed, desperate in Atlanta. Thank you!

  8. 8 Lu Martinez

    I’m sorry to hear about your bouts of thyroid and other potential imbalances in your other glands. I truly advise you to see a very reputable Naturopathic Doctor if you can’t find an MD which you feel comfortable with. I wish you the very best.

  9. 9 Golly

    Hello.my name is golly.i have had anxiety, and adtenal gland dysfunction since I was a kid..no one knew it.everyone thought I was just a hyper kid.also have hasimotos thyroiditis.thyryroid removed 11 years ago.finally found someone to treat it.for now is stable.have hypoglycemia as well and sever adrenal gland ossues.go to bed to wired, I could run a marathon.also believe that I have joint issues with my knees,weak muscles, that I try strengthen, and urinate a lot at niye, plus am in menopause.yikes!am working with a accupuncturist with herbs, and nothing seems to help for long.like your formula of stressJ, just not sure if I can take it.can you offer some relief?thanx

  10. 10 Lu Martinez

    Hi Golly, sorry to know how much time you have been plagued with this.

    If you are experiencing a lot of nervous energy at night where you feel you can go for hours then I suspect your adrenals could be in “hypo” mode. Basically exhausted and underactive. The correct formula would be the Nervous Fatigue formula. If you are in California you would need to order the concentrated formula because the non-concentrated formula is not allowed in California due to the ephedra it contains. Of the concentrated formula you would take 1 at lunch and one at dinner. There should be an effect starting about 7-10 days once you start the formula.

    However, feel free to contact me to make sure this will be appropriate for you. I have used this formula for years with clients when it is an underactive mode. Call me at 408-732-3288 or contact me if we need to Skype if you are out of the country.

    Many blessings to you.

  11. 11 Rose

    Hello, I have had insomnia for several years and it has gotten worse. I can’t get to sleep and i can’t stay asleep. Also, when i take herbs and/or vitamins my insomnia gets much worse. I am also very sensitive to mold spores, I have severe osteoporosis, which i hear can be symptoms of adrenal exhaustion. I also have chronic fatigue and arthritic type pain. I think i have hypoadrenals, and I was wondering if you think i have that? My adrenals (I don’t know what else it could be) get stimulated with almost everything that is healthy it seems, like green drinks, protein drinks, and even things that are supposed to help me sleep end up making my insomnia much worse. I also have severe constipation which I an unable to take things for due to my sensitivies. I can seem to tolerate melatonin so sleep, but most of the time it doesn’t work. things are so bad i am disabled and can’t work. I try to keep my diet very very healthy. Do you have any idea what i should take or do that would help? I try to stay calm and unstressed but it is difficult since I am financially struggling so much. Can you give me any advice? Thank you so much.

  12. 12 Lu Martinez

    Dear Rose, since you mention that you are struggling financially you may find it difficult to have a private consultation with me. Please call me at 408-732-3288 so that I can confirm if the Nervous Fatigue formula that I suggest in the article is correct for you. I believe it may be. Therefore, you can then use your funds to purchase this. If for any reason the Nature Sunshine product makes you feel worse you can return it for a refund (empty bottles and unused portions) Obviously, a very comprehensive health analysis would be the best to determine all areas that your body may need support but just treating the adrenals properly will bring a dramatic shift in your health. Later you may be able to work on the rest.

    By the way, have you been taking any type of stomach acid blocker? I have an article on my blog which speaks in more detail about the long term dangerous of acid blockers and how they affect the absorption of major minerals in our body.

    Blessings to you.

  13. 13 Justin B

    I have been suffering severe panic and anxiety attacks that lead to me thinking I am losing control of my body. I have tried everything anti depressants and anti anxiety meds and nothing has worked. I recently have tried st johns wort, tyrosine, tryptophan an many others. I used to drink 3 energy drinks a day and sometimes more and I read that this might deplete the adrenal glands. I have been dealing with this anxiety for awhile now and I am beginning to think it is my adrenal glands.

    Some of the symptoms I have now are
    - irritability
    - panic attacks
    - anxiety
    - depression
    - fatigue
    - insomnia

  14. 14 Lu Martinez

    Dear Justin, without doing an official health analysis (can be done over phone utilizing your body’s wisdom via electro-magnetic fields you carry), I can only suggest that you either order the formula that I highly recommend, Stress-J, for adrenal glands that are in a pattern of “fight/flight” from the company Nature’s Sunshine (see info. below), or you try Passion Flower (4 in the evening for 10 days and then 3 in the evening for 2 months)and get at a good health food store.

    I’ve attached information on the Stress-J formula. You can order utilizing my account number 576437 and receive my discounted pricing (not retail price). Just tell them you want a drop ship order off this account. If you go this route, order at least 2 bottles (100 capsules) otherwise you will be out in 20-25 days.

    You will take 5 capsules per day of the first bottle of Stress-J (2 at lunch and 3 at dinner). With the second bottle you will take 1 at lunch and 3 at dinner. Then one last bottle 2 at dinner until all gone. So possibly consider getting all three bottles.

    FYI, Nature’s Sunshine(NSP) is a 40 year old company. Contact NSP at 1-800-453-1422 (Mon-Sat). Also, if you notice that the formula does not help you at allin the first 15 days, you can return used jar and other full jars for a full refund (minus shipping), just call them first.

    Contact me for a consult if some of your symptoms do improve but other things persist, because you may need other nutritional support.

    Wishing you well.

  15. 15 Anna

    Hello would u please help me out my simptoms are I shake(my muscles spasms slightly sometime a bit worse) wen under stress, I can’t sleep well and used to have real bad insomnia, i feel on edge all the time and I get out bersts of extreme energy . Dose it sound like I have to much adrenalin it sure feels like I’m on a constant adrelnalin rush ? Much appreciated :)

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