14 Warning Signs Your Adrenals are Burnt Out and What You Need to Fix Them

According to James Wilson in his book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome,

“The adrenals are known as ‘the glands of stress. It is their job to enable your body to deal with stress from every possible source, ranging from injury and disease to work and relationship problems. Your resiliency, energy, endurance and your very life all depend on their proper functioning.”

When the adrenal glands are overworked, they lead to hormonal imbalances and reduce cortisol levels.

It is actually a dysfunction between the brain and adrenal glands, that are located atop the kidneys and produce cortisol and sex hormones. In a state of a healthy balance, a person sleeps well, has a stable energy during the entire day, has a good sex drive, a normal body weight, and fast metabolism.

Yet, in the case of stress, the normal response of the body is as follows: it produces hormones to fight it, and the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone, that triggers the production of the adrenocorticotropic hormone, that in turn stimulates the release of cortisol raises the levels of blood pressure and sugar.

However, in the case of chronic stress, the levels of cortisol remain elevated, and lead to depression, anxiety, and adrenal burnout, since serotonin is depleted, and one develops a neuroendocrine dysfunction.

Adrenal fatigue disrupts normal life, and it is a set of different symptoms, like fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, and more.

Here are the most common symptoms of this condition:


Weight gain

Brain fog


Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea

Sugar and/or salt cravings


The “3 pm crash”

increased susceptibility to illness

Low sex drive

Decreased ability to handle stress, feeling frazzled

Insomnia or waking around 4 am, unable to get to sleep

PMS/hot flashes associated with menopause

Inability to focus

According to Wellness Mama, the symptoms of his condition can be divided into several stages, as follows:

-“Stage 1- Wired and Tired: Cortisol levels should be naturally elevated in the morning. The first stage of adrenal fatigue is often characterized by elevated cortisol at night (when it should be low), leading to a “wired” feeling at night and difficulty sleeping. People in this stage may also regularly feel “on edge”.

-Stage 2- Stressed and Tired: The second stage shows more severe cortisol disruption. People in this stage may have higher cortisol in the morning but it tends to fall quickly after lunch, leading to afternoon fog and tiredness. They may get a second wind at night, but most often wake in the middle of the night and are unable to fall back asleep.

-Stage 3- Full Burnout: This stage resembles how a person feels in early pregnancy or with a new baby at home- exhausted all the time no matter how much he/she has slept and completely burned out. Cortisol patterns in stage 3 are completely disrupted or even completely flat and this is especially risky because this stage is associated with a higher risk of thyroid disease and autoimmune disease, as well as gut problems.”

Adrenal fatigue is most often a result of emotional stress, like after an injury, divorce, break- up, a death of a close person, job loss, etc, or even positive stress, like getting married or a pregnancy. Moreover, it can be caused by a diet rich in processed foods and low in nutrients, chronic inflammation in the body, sleep deficiency, autoimmune conditions, pain or microbiome imbalance, and digestive infections.

When constantly under stress, the brain warns that the adrenals should produce more cortisol, but they cannot manage it, so one starts to crash. The cortisol levels are low, women might have irregular periods or painful PMS symptoms, thinning hair and constipation, weight gain, and slow metabolism.

In this case, many people eat less to prevent gaining extra weight, or sleep less to finish all the work, skip meals and rely on caffeine, and these habits can lead to an even more serious burnout.

Here is how to reverse adrenal burnout:

    The first thing you should do is to do a saliva testing in order to check the cortisol levels. They should be the highest in the morning, to wake you up, and lowest at night, for you to be able to fall asleep

    Follow a strict schedule every day, wake up and go to bed at the same time, eat every 4 hours

    You should incorporate vegetables in every daily meal, combined with high quality, organic and fatty acid-rich protein, and increase the intake of sea salt, olive and coconut oil,  bone broth, organ meats, and raw kraut/probiotic foods. Avoid coffee, gluten, sodas, white sugar, and nightly wine

    Support digestion with probiotic foods

    Lower stress by using the beneficial properties of  adaptogenic herbs like maca, Rhodiola, schizandra, ashwagandha, licorice root, and holy basil

    Sleep well every night to calm the body and mind, avoid stress, and try some relaxing activities like yoga and meditation

    Take supplements like minerals, C, B vitamins, adaptogenic herbs, blood sugar support, and Tulsi and nettles tea

You can successfully prevent serious health issues and illnesses if you manage to reverse adrenal fatigue, and you will sleep better, look better, and be much healthier.

Source: https://www.healthyfoodhouse.com

16 thoughts on “14 Warning Signs Your Adrenals are Burnt Out and What You Need to Fix Them

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    1. Hi Kim. It’s not problem form me to send you more about this disease, but I think It’s better to consult with your doctor if all of these symptoms you are experiencing it and the treatment in this post doesn’t helped you. Thank you.

    1. The saliva test for cortisol is performed at home between 11 p.m. and midnight, the time of day when levels tend to be lowest. You put a swab in your mouth and keep it there for a few minutes until it becomes saturated. I understand that insurance companies typically cover the cost of saliva testing for cortisol.

  1. For those of us with burnt out adrenals and sleep challenges it’s SO frustrating to read the ‘sleep well everynight’ advice – as if we had a choice ! So for those of you who CAN get enough sleep if you choose – choose it!!
    – Choose it or it loose it ! Cos losing it is horrible.


  3. Please see your Doctor if you suspect Addison’s. They are not always receptive to this advice. Be persistent. Test’s to confirm are esaily diagnosed. One doctor who was being honest & told me he only studies it
    In med school & had never seen anyone with the disease.

  4. Agreed!! I keep hearing that recommendation to get more sleep so many times. I’d love to! My body has other ideas, though because my adrenals are already messed up, even with low stress in my life and eating well.

  5. How can I get more information about this? Will my Dr even think I am serious when I ask them about this? I have never heard of it.

    1. Well it’s not backed up from all scientist, if you asked your Dr it will probably say that isn’t real. So as I sad to Kim if it doesn’t helped you the article above just tell your Dr how you fell it should perform tests on you (hope it’s not something serious). But if you are more intrested in Adrenal Fatigue you can read th Book .

  6. It is important to know what stage of adrenal fatigue you are in and what your cortisol levels are by taking a 24hr cortisol saliva test before taking the recommended herbs. Holy Basil, for instance lowers cortisol levels. That is great if you’re at the early stages of adrenal fatigue and your cortisol levels are elevated. But it’s the last thing you want if your cortisol levels are tanking out. Licorice root helps the body hang onto cortisol so this would be inappropriate for elevated cortisol levels. Ashwaganda is touted as an adaptogen herb and great for either high or low cortisol, but it is best to avoid if you have low cortisol. The same with schizandra, it lowers cortisol.

  7. I was diagnosed with Addison’s disease in 2008. I had gone through a painful divorce followed by breast cancer. I had to take steroid meds for 7 years. During these years I learned that I must reduce stress in my life….so I moved to the mountains where it was peaceful. After these 7 years my adrenal glands did heal. My advice to anyone is remove as much stress as you can from your life and take good care of Yourself. This world we all now live in is so very difficult. I am now 64 years old and take no meds. Wish I had known how to take better care for myself when I was young. Just wanted to pass this on.

  8. I’ve been on depression pills and sick all time stomach I really need help figure out what’s wrong with me I’ve gained a lot of weight

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