The Truth About Adrenal Fatigue

The History of Adrenal Fatigue

During a recent doctor visit, I took a few moments to ask my doctor about the history of adrenal fatigue and particularly why many doctors refuse to recognise it as a legitimate condition.

This is what she told me, in a nutshell:

Adrenal fatigue was first identified in the 1800s and for most of the 19th and 20th centuries was treated with supplements.

It was often identified as hypoadrenia which means “low adrenal” much like hypothyroid means “low thyroid.”

As health insurance companies gained more and more power in the late 1900s, they began to take issue with the diagnosis. Why you ask. Because there was no medication to treat it and therefore no money to be made by the diagnosis.

By the 1980s the insurance companies had successfully influenced medicine to the point that hypoadrenia or adrenal fatigue was no longer recognized. What just a few decades earlier had been diagnosed and treated by medical doctors was now considered fake medicine simply because of the power of insurance companies.

Now, if you have Addison’s Disease (which means your adrenals have stopped working altogether) you can get a diagnosis and medication. But, in most adrenal fatigue patients, they don’t need the strong and potentially harmful medication that’s available for Addisons. They just need adrenal supplements. But doctors aren’t even allowed to diagnose it without being challenged by insurance companies.

Fast forward to the last few years. In the last few years adrenal fatigue has shown up in medical journals and is gaining acceptance again. Why? Because they’re new medications coming on to the market to treat it.

In other words, there’s money to be made from it, so now the insurance companies recognize (or are starting to recognizing)  it as a real diagnosis.

The truth is it has always been a real diagnosis but that insurance companies unfortunately do not always have the best interest of their clients in mind.

This was eye opening. Until my doctor explained it, I had no idea that all this had happened, but it explained the “It’s a fake illness” accusations I received.

Treatment of Adrenal Fatigue

Interestingly enough, you don’t need their medication. People have been successfully treating their adrenal fatigue over the counter for over a century with many supplements including animal adrenals.

You don’t have to do an adrenal test, but it might be helpful. You can get one through a naturopathic doctor (or maybe a very brave general practice doctor) or you can order your own online through webpages like Canary Labs.

I tried many many treatments types including supplements and medication. I’ll tell you what helped me the most.


Adaptogens are herbs that help your body process stress and help your adrenals to regulate (among other things).

I’ve used many different adaptogens. Rhodiola/Ginseng combo and Rhodiola/Schizandra combo have helped me the most. I also really liked Ashwagandha (before I reacted to it). Here’s a whole list of adaptogens.

Even blueberries are an adaptogen. They’re by far the tastiest adaptogen I’ve tried.


If you go into a health food store you’ll find tons of adrenal support and supplements. The problem is that not all of them are good for you. If the adrenal support formulated wrong, it can cause more harm than good.  It can cause your body to become dependent on the supplement instead of repairing the adrenal gland.

I recommend Standard Process brand Dessicated Adrenal. I’ve gotten flack for recommending this product before. The reason some people voice concern is because they don’t understand how the product is formulated. They think it’s one of the harmful formulas. It’s not. This is the product my doctor uses to treat adrenal fatigue, and she’s having great success with many patients.

When taking a supplement that comes from an animal’s adrenal, our bodies don’t need the whole  adrenal gland. We only need part of it.

Dessicated Adrenal is formulated as an extract that removed the parts that are harmful for us. Because it’s an extract, it’s more concentrated and works better.

Dessicated Adrenal is by far the most helpful adrenal supplement I’ve ever taken.


Now, I’m not a doctor or a medical professional. I can’t tell you what to do. All I can do is tell you what I did that helped me.  I am not responsible for what you choose to do with this information.

I took up to 12 Dessicated Adrenal pills per day, gradually lessening the number as I started to feel better per my doctor’s instructions.

Within a few weeks my sleep patterns were better. I could get up and walk around without feeling like someone had strapped a load of bricks to my back. I could plan something and follow through with it.

Before the Dessicated Adrenal, there’s no way I could have consistently written on this blog. This blog is brought to you by Standard Process Dessicate Adrenal.

Adrenal Cocktail

Another option which also helped me was the Adrenal cocktail.

Adrenal Cocktail:

1/4 cup Orange Juice (vitamin C helps adrenal function)

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (regulates blood pressure which is connected to adrenals)

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt (contains minerals your adrenals need to function.

Combine in a cup and drink 2 or 3 times a day.

Adrenals are no laughing matter. Low adrenals is a real, legitimate problem that many women –especially those who have young kids or who mental or physical health disorders– suffer from.

I took a poll of moms with ADHD. Of 20 moms polled, 18 of them said they have most or all of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. But most didn’t go to their doctors because they knew that their doctors would refuse to treat the actual health condition that was making them unable to function.

There you have it. The truth about adrenal fatigue. I’m not much into conspiracy theories, but I know my doctor is very knowledgeable about this topic, that my fatigue is finally gone after many years of suffering, and that I’m starting to feel like I have my life back again since I’ve been on her treatment plan.

Next time someone tells you that adrenal fatigue is fake, you can tell them the truth about adrenal fatigue.


Sarah Forbes

P.S. Again I feel the need to mention that I am not a doctor. If you need help treating your adrenals, I recommend that you find a naturopathic doctor or a doctor who practices nutritional response testing. This is just my experience and will likely not work for everyone. 


2 thoughts on “The Truth About Adrenal Fatigue”

  1. Thanks for sharing this! If we suspect mild adrenal fatigue I’m guessing that the adrenal cocktail might be a good start? Also, is coffee pretty much a no, no? I don’t want to give it up…. but I know I also need to protect my health.

    1. The adrenal cocktail is a great place to start.

      Not everyone needs to give up caffeine. Truth be told, the first few times we addressed my adrenals (I’m on the 3rd attempt to address them. I keep having setbacks like my car accident l ast year), I didn’t go off caffeine. Try going off it for a few days and then drink some. When I did that this last time, I had panic attacks. That was my clue that I couldn’t handle caffeine.

      However, they do use caffeine to treat minor adrenal problems, but green tea is best for that. If you need caffeine but want to work on your adrenals maybe try green tea instead.

      Keep your stress level down.

      Go to bed by 10pm. You adrenals repair between 10 and 12pm. I know this is very hard because adrenal problems also cause sleep problems.

      I hope that helps! ❤

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