The Adrenal Glands and Fighting Adrenal Burn Out

Written By Renee Haxby

Last summer, I participated in a very educational and enlightening health and wellness summit promoted by Marc David, founder of The Institute for the Psychology of Eating. As an affiliate of IPE, I was allowed access to a week long program featuring some of the nation’s foremost wellness professionals. It was during this summit that I first learned about the dangers of “adrenal burn-out” from Dr. Sarah Gottfried, MD.


The adrenals are two walnut-sized round glands that reside on your lower back-side, just on top of your kidneys. The adrenals are essential for life because they are responsible for secreting more than fifty hormones necessary for physical well-being. The adrenals produce adrenaline, or “epinephrine”, noradrenaline, or “norepinephrine, cortisol and cortisone. Aldosterone, estrogens, testosterone, progesterone, pregnenelone, and DHEA are also produced by the adrenals. The adrenal glands prepare the body for stress by activating the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which are attributed to the fight or flight response.

The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system and are activated by the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system in our bodies.

-Glucocorticoids convert food into energy,

-Mineralocorticoids regulate sodium levels and blood pressure, and

-Adrenaline converts glycogen to glucose.

Dr. Sarah Gottfried explained that women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms need to get their hormones balanced, while also attending to their adrenals because it is hard to balance your hormones when your adrenals are exhausted. The two work together.

It’s possible that 80% of people experiencing unnatural fatigue and irritability not cured by sleep may be experiencing some level of adrenal fatigue instead. The fight or flight response can create stress upon the adrenals. Our ancestors were served well by this reaction to stress, but modern humans have few life-threatening experiences where the fight or flight response comes into play. Therefore, this primitive hormonal condition can create chronic health problems when left unmanaged.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue and exhaustion are; fatigue, intolerance to cold, poor circulation, hypoglycemia, low blood pressure, depression, joint pain, constipation, bone loss and muscle weaknesses, need for excessive sleep, and cravings for sugary, salty foods.

Unfortunately, doctors do not test for adrenal fatigue when determining minor psychological conditions and therapies. Doctors are more inclined to prescribe drugs to treat patients, when some cases of anxiety, bi-polar disorder, depression, and anger can be attributed to “adrenal burn out.”

Some causes of adrenal fatigue and exhaustion are; chronic stress due to work, relationships, and toxic environmental exposures. Nutritional deficiencies, toxic chemicals, chronic infections, over-use of stimulants, such as, caffeine and other drugs, are other possibilities to consider.

If you’re curious whether you may be suffering from adrenal burn out, there are some simple tests you can try on yourself at home. These tests will give you some idea as to how well your adrenals are functioning. Take a pointed object and scratch across your arm. How long did it take for the color to return? If the color returned immediately, chances are you have nothing to worry about. If the color returned very slowly, you may want to have your adrenals checked by a doctor. Ask your doctor to complete a simple “Ragland Test or ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormones) tests. Accurate cortisol level tests can be performed using samples from unwashed hair, saliva, blood, and hormones.

If you suffer from “adrenal burn-out”, plenty of sleep, taking a vacation, or exercising more will not cure you.

Adrenal burn out can be cured by changing your lifestyle. This means, you must learn to manage your stress in healthier ways. My suggestion is that you find a coach who will teach you to balance your nutrition, understands healthy detoxification, and will guide you in meditation and/or yoga. Learning to let go of negativity will also bring relief to your adrenals. From a positive perspective, “adrenal burn out” can be a blessing in disguise! If your adrenals are exhausted, it’s a wake-up call that you need to make some serious changes in your life. Seek to balance, slow down, and re-prioritize.

Dr. Mark Hyman says “adrenal burn out” is a good indication that you need to push the pause button. Chronic stress beats up your adrenal glands. Stop pushing yourself. Introduce rhythm into your life to reset your balance. Dr. Hyman also recommends introducing Siberian Ginseng and Rhodiola as supplements to your diet which stimulate healthy adrenal function. He recommends exercising gently. Take a walk, not a run.

Like I said.

If you have any other questions, please feel to contact me at

By Renee Haxby

I have always been athletic and competitive. In the 1970’s I was one of the first internationally recognized female bodybuilders. Over the years, my face and physique have been featured on magazine covers, numerous popular editorials and several television commercials. I have worked in the health club industry in both Seattle and Los Angeles, and also as a personal trainer for successful Seattle clients.

Education: BA in Social Sciences and a Formal Minor in Business Administration from Washington State University. I have certifications in food psychology, wellness, and life strategies from The Spencer Institute, NESTA, and the International Sports Science Association.

I own and operate PRO.Fit by Renee Haxby in the Pacific Northwest area.

My business motto is “Because I’ve Gone Through it, I’ll Help You Get Through it!”

Image Courtesy: Essential Organized

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Disclaimer: The techniques, strategies, and suggestions expressed here are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author, Drew Canole, and the associated are not rendering medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury.

It is imperative that before beginning any nutrition or exercise program you receive full medical clearance from a licensed physician.

Drew Canole and claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented here.

It is imperative that before beginning any nutrition or exercise program you receive full medical clearance from a licensed physician.

Drew Canole and claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented here.

Drew Canole

Ceo at
Drew Canole is a rockstar in the world of fitness, nutrition and mindset, with a huge heart for others and doing his part to transform the world, one person at a time.

As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.


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