Are You Experiencing Adrenal Fatigue?

Dr. James L. Wilson coined the term “ADRENAL FATIGUE” in 1998 to identify a group of signs and symptoms that people experience as a result of suboptimal adrenal function.  This lack of optimal adrenal performance is often associated with the affects of stress on the human body.

Are You Experiencing Adrenal Fatigue?*

  • Tired for no reason?
  • Having trouble getting up in the morning?
  • Need coffee, colas, salty or sweet snacks to keep going?
  • Feeling run down and stressed?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue.*

Adrenal fatigue can affect anyone who experiences frequent, persistent or severe mental, emotional or physical stress.* It can also be an important contributing factor in health conditions ranging from allergies to obesity.*

Despite its prevalence in our modern world, adrenal fatigue has generally been
ignored and misunderstood by the medical community.* In order to help the many individuals experiencing this problem, Dr. Wilson wrote the book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. (Review what readers have to say about the book)

This website is intended to supplement the book’s comprehensive coverage of
adrenal fatigue with new and updated information as it becomes available. Here you will have access to:

Unique Products Dr. Wilson has formulated specially to support your adrenal
glands and your health during adrenal fatigue and related health concerns

Why Dr. Wilson Created

Updated information about:

Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Function

Related Health Conditions

Dr. Wilson’s Programs for Adrenal Fatigue & Stress

Health Tips for minimizing the negative effects of stress

Lists of foods containing Common Allergens

Questionnaires such as Burnout and Food & Environmental Intolerances that will help you uncover factors contributing to your stress load

Why I Created

At one time or another, adrenal fatigue affects an estimated 80% of people living in industrialized countries, yet it has been largely ignored by the medical community. In order to reach and help the many individuals who experience adrenal fatigue, I wrote the book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.

While writing, I realized that if my book reached the number of people needing
it most, there would be an ongoing need for additional resources. Therefore I
decided to develop to provide new and updated information
about adrenal fatigue and the effects of stress as it becomes available.

This website is not intended to replace the book, since the book contains a
much more in-depth and comprehensive explanation of adrenal fatigue, its
development and management than any website could possibly cover. However this website will change and expand as needed. We welcome your comments.

To your health,

Dr. James



About Adrenal Fatigue

Take the Adrenal Fatigue Quiz

Adrenal Function

FAQ About Adrenal Fatigue

Cortisol and Adrenal Function

Saliva Testing for Adrenal Hormones

About Dr. James L. Wilson

Dr. Wilson’s Programs for Adrenal Fatigue and Stress

Related Health Conditions

Sources of Common Allergens


Health Tips

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a “syndrome”, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress, it can also arise during or after acute or chronic infections, especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia. As the name suggests, its paramount symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep but it is not a readily identifiable entity like measles or a growth on the end of your finger. You may look and act relatively normal with adrenal fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet you live with a general sense of unwellness, tiredness or “gray” feelings. People suffering from adrenal fatigue often have to use coffee, colas and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.

This syndrome has been known by many other names throughout the past century, such as non-Addison’s hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia, adrenal apathy and adrenal fatigue. Although it affects millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome.

Adrenal fatigue can wreak havoc with your life. In the more serious cases, the
activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that you may have difficulty
getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day. With each increment of
reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body is more
profoundly affected. Changes occur in your carbohydrate, protein and fat
metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and
even sex drive. Many other alterations take place at the biochemical and
cellular levels in response to and to compensate for the decrease in adrenal
hormones that occurs with adrenal fatigue. Your body does its best to make up
for under-functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.

The following are the most commonly asked questions about adrenal fatigue. Just click on the question in blue for an answer. There is also additional
information throughout the website about many aspects of adrenal fatigue. For a
comprehensive explanation of how stress and adrenal fatigue affect your health
and what you can do to recover and protect yourself see Dr.
James Wilson’s
book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.

What causes adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is produced when your adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress.* The adrenal glands mobilize your body’s responses to every kind of stress (whether it’s physical, emotional, or psychological) through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress. Whether you have an emotional crisis such as the death of a loved one, a physical crisis such as major surgery, or any type of severe repeated or constant stress in your life, your adrenals have to respond to the stress and maintain homeostasis. If their response is inadequate, you are likely to experience some degree of adrenal fatigue.*

During adrenal fatigue your adrenal glands function, but not well enough to maintain optimal homeostasis because their output of regulatory hormones has been diminished – usually by over-stimulation.* Over-stimulation of your adrenals can be caused either by a very intense single stress, or by chronic or repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect.*

Who is susceptible to adrenal fatigue?

Anyone can experience adrenal fatigue at some time in his or her life.* An illness, a life crisis, or a continuing difficult situation can drain the adrenal resources of even the healthiest person.* However, there are factors that can make you more susceptible to adrenal fatigue.* These include certain lifestyles (poor diet, substance abuse, too little sleep and rest, or
too many pressures), a chronic illness or repeated infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia, or maternal adrenal fatigue during gestation.*

How common is adrenal fatigue?

Although there are no recent statistics available, Dr. John Tinterra, a medical doctor who specialized in low adrenal function, said in 1969 that he estimated that approximately 16% of the public could be classified as severe, but that if all indications of low cortisol were included, the percentage would be more like 66%. This was before the extreme stress of 21st century living, 9/11, and the severe economic recession we are experiencing.

How can you tell if your adrenals are fatigued?

You may be experiencing adrenal fatigue if you regularly notice one or more of the following:*

You feel tired for no reason.

You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.

You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.

You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.

You crave salty and sweet snacks.

You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.

For more information, consult the book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr. James L.Wilson. It contains a comprehensive questionnaire and a series of tests
you can take to help determine if you are experiencing adrenal fatigue.* A saliva test
for adrenal hormones
may also be a helpful indicator.*

Are there health conditions related to adrenal fatigue?

The processes that take place in any chronic disease, from arthritis to cancer, place demands on your adrenal glands. Therefore, it is likely that if you are suffering from a chronic disease and morning fatigue is one of your symptoms, your adrenals may be fatigued to some degree.*

Also, any time a medical treatment includes the use of corticosteroids, diminished adrenal function is probably present.* All corticosteroids are designed to imitate the actions of the adrenal hormone, cortisol, and so the need for them arises primarily when the adrenals are not providing the required amounts of cortisol.*

Find more information about the relationship between several specific health conditions and adrenal fatigue in Related Health Conditions.*

Can people experiencing adrenal fatigue feel their best

Yes, with proper care most people experiencing adrenal fatigue can expect to feel good again.* For detailed information about how you can help support your adrenal glands, promote healthy adrenal function and maintain your health during stressful times, see Dr. James Wilson’s book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome and check out Dr.
Wilson’s Programs for Adrenal Fatigue and Stress
on this website.*

Take the Adrenal Fatigue Quiz

Tired for no reason?

Having trouble getting up in the morning?

Need coffee, colas, salty or sweet snacks to keep going?

Feeling run down and stressed?

Crave salty or sweet snacks?

Struggling to keep up with life’s daily demands?

Can’t bounce back from stress or illness?

Not having fun anymore?

Decreased sex drive?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be experiencing
adrenal fatigue.*

“One person may withstand a stress quite easily and be ready for more, but another person, or that same person at another time, may find the same stress overwhelming and impossible to bear. It is important to understand the onset and continuation of adrenal fatigue has great individual variation.”* Dr. James L. Wilson

Examples of lifestyle factors that may contribute to adrenal fatigue:* (Most of these are within your control.)*

Lack of sleep

Poor food choices (white flour, low fiber, sugar, few vegetables or fruit, lack of raw food, etc.)

Using sweet or salty food and sweetened or caffeinated drinks as stimulants when tired

Staying up late even though tired

Feeling/acting powerless

Constantly driving yourself

Trying to be perfect

Staying in double binds (no win situations)

Too few of enjoyable and rejuvenating activities


Examples of people with lifestyles that may make them more vulnerable to adrenal fatigue:*

Full time university student

Student supporting self with job

Mother with two or more children and little support from family or friends

Single parent

Unhappily married person

Employee in extremely unhappy and stressful work conditions

Self-employed person with a new or struggling business

Drug or alcohol abuser

Shift worker on alternating schedule that requires sleep pattern to be frequently adjusted

Person who is all work, little play


Examples of life events that may help precipitate adrenal fatigue:*

Unrelieved pressure or frequent crises at work and/or home

Severe emotional trauma (death of someone close, divorce,

Major surgery with slow recovery

Prolonged or repeated respiratory infections

Serious burns – including severe sunburns

Head trauma

Loss of stable job

Sudden change in financial status

Relocation without support of friends or family

Repeated or overwhelming chemical exposure (including drug and alcohol abuse).

In short, adrenal fatigue occurs when the amount of stress or combined stresses over-extend the capacity of the body (mediated by the adrenals) to compensate for and recover from that stress.* Once this capacity to cope and recover is exceeded, some form of adrenal fatigue is likely to occur.*


Adrenal Function

No bigger than a walnut and weighing less than a grape, each of your two adrenal glands sits like a tiny pyramid on top of a kidney (“ad” “renal” means “over” the “kidneys”). But don’t let their size fool you; these powerful little endocrine glands manufacture and secrete steroid hormones such as cortisol, estrogen and testosterone that are essential for life, health and vitality. They modulate the functioning of every tissue, organ and gland in your body to maintain homeostasis during stress and keep you alive. They also have important effects on the way you think and feel.

The main purpose of your adrenals is to enable your body to deal with stress from every possible source, ranging from injury and disease to work and relationship problems. They largely determine the energy of your body’s responses to every change in your internal and external environment. Whether they signal attack, retreat or surrender, every cell responds accordingly, and you feel the results. It is through the actions of the adrenal hormones that your body is able to mobilize its resources to escape or fight off danger (stress) and survive. In a more primitive society that would mean being able to run away quickly, fight or pursue an enemy or game, endure long periods of physical challenge and deprivation, and store up physical reserves when they are available. In modern society, these same responses are triggered by such circumstances as a difficult boss, air pollution, family quarrels, financial
problems, too little sleep (see Related Health Conditions – Sleep Disruptions)*, illness (see Related Health Conditions – Chronic Infections)* and overindulgence in or sensitivities to food (see Related Health Conditions – Allergies)* or drugs (see Related Health Conditions – Alcoholism and Addictions).* If your adrenal function is low, as it is in adrenal fatigue, your body has difficulty responding and adapting properly to these stresses.* This can lead to a variety of physical and psychological health problems that are themselves a further source of

It is also your adrenal glands’ job to keep your body’s reactions to stress in balance so that they are appropriate and not harmful. For example, the protective activity of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant adrenal hormones like cortisol helps to minimize negative and allergic reactions (such as swelling and inflammation) to alcohol, drugs, foods, environmental allergens, cancer, infection, and autoimmune disorders. These hormones closely modulate the utilization of carbohydrates and fats, the conversion of fats and proteins into energy, the distribution of stored fat (especially around your waist and at the sides of your face), normal blood sugar regulation, and proper cardiovascular and gastrointestinal function. After mid-life (menopause in women), the adrenal glands gradually become the major source of the sex hormones circulating throughout the body in both men and women. These hormones themselves have a whole host of physical, emotional and psychological effects, from the level of your sex drive to the tendency to gain weight. Every athlete knows that steroids (adrenal hormones) affect muscular strength and stamina.

Even your propensity to develop certain kinds of diseases and your ability to respond to chronic illness is influenced significantly by the adrenal glands.* The more chronic the illness, the more critical the adrenal response becomes. You cannot live without your adrenal hormones and, as you can see from this brief overview, how well you live depends a great deal on how well your adrenal glands function.


Dr. James Wilson’s Programs for Adrenal Fatigue & Stress*

To provide you with optimal support for healthy adrenal function, Dr. Wilson continues to research and develop new products, and improve the effectiveness of his existing dietary supplement formulas. Based on his experience with thousands of people going through stressful times and adrenal fatigue, he designed the following programs using his unique formulas. Dr. Wilson’s purpose in offering these programs is to help you find a successful, healthy path out of adrenal fatigue to greater vitality and stress hardiness. These programs are intended to be used in conjunction with the dietary and lifestyle recommendations Dr. Wilson makes in chapter 12 and 13 of his book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.

We suggest that you start by taking the adrenal fatigue questionnaire on page 61 in Dr. Wilson’s book to help determine if you may be experiencing mild, moderate or severe adrenal fatigue.* Then click on the corresponding link below for Dr. Wilson’s recommended supplement support program.

Severe Adrenal Fatigue Dietary Supplement Program*

Moderate Adrenal Fatigue Dietary Supplement Program*

Mild Adrenal Fatigue Dietary Supplement Program*


If you are experiencing stress and/or adrenal fatigue and have any of the following concerns, click on the corresponding link for Dr. Wilson’s supplement support recommendations.

Avoiding Let-Down After a Stressful Event

Protecting Your Health During Stressful Times

Mild Constipation & Intestinal Upsets Related to Adrenal Fatigue

Recurrent Illnesses and Adrenal Fatigue

How Long Should I Take Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Products?

If you are experiencing any of the following, you may find it helpful to try Dr. Wilson’s Severe
Adrenal Fatigue Dietary Supplement Program
for additional support. You may also find helpful information in the appropriate sections of Related Health Conditions.


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

Asthenia – lack of, or loss of strength, generalized weakness


Autoimmune problems

Bronchitis – recurrent, chronic or slow recovery from


Chemical Sensitivity

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

Chronic infections,

Chronically run down – with early morning fatigue and low blood pressure

Chronic mental and/or physical exhaustion



Fatigue – severe, disabling early morning fatigue


Nervous breakdown (nervous exhaustion)



Prevent or lessen the letdown after a stressful event

Respiratory infections – recurrent, chronic or slow recovery from

Rheumatoid arthritis

Weakness or lack of stamina

Slow recovery following acute infectious diseases, especially influenza, pneumonia, or other respiratory infections

· Severe Adrenal Fatigue Dietary Supplement Program
· Moderate Adrenal Fatigue Dietary Supplement Program
· Mild Adrenal Fatigue Dietary Supplement Program
· Avoiding Letdown After a Stressful Event
· Protecting Your Health During Stressful Times
· Mild Constipation & Intestinal Upsets Related to Adrenal Fatigue
· Recurrent Illnesses and Adrenal Fatigue
· How Long Should I Take Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Products?

What is Saliva Testing?

The Cortisol/DHEAS Saliva Test measures the levels of the stress hormones DHEAS and cortisol and provides an evaluation of how cortisol levels differ throughout the day.


Health conditions this test is used to assess

Most saliva hormone tests can uncover biochemical imbalances that can be underlying causes of such conditions as chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, chronic fatigue, obesity, diabetes, depression, insomnia, and many other chronic conditions.


What does this test involve?

The test involves simply spitting into a test tube. Cortisol is measured four times – in the morning (8 AM), noon, evening (4 PM) and night (best between 11 PM and midnight). Other steroid hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, DHEAS and testosterone can be measured along with cortisol in the 8 AM saliva sample, if desired. You carry the test tubes with you during the day (they easily fit into a pocket or purse) so they are handy when it’s time to give a saliva sample. Immediate refrigeration is not necessary. Once the sample set is complete, you mail the tubes back to the lab for analysis in the mailing envelop that is included with the test kit. Both you and your doctor will receive copies of the results, usually within 2 weeks.


Is saliva testing for hormones reliable?

Yes, saliva tests are reliable indicators for all steroid hormones (cortisol and all sex steroids). However just as with blood tests, some labs are more reliable than others – especially for sex steroids, like estrogens. In fact, saliva cortisol testing is covered by Plan B medicare. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO), recognize saliva cortisol testing as being very accurate. Some insurance plans also cover saliva cortisol testing.


How can I get this test done?

Talk to your health care professional about your symptoms and ask if this test would be useful for you. Unfortunately many physicians are still unaware of the validity, reliability and value of saliva hormone tests. Some labs, such as ZRT ( and Genova ( ), allow patients to order tests directly. Several other labs also do saliva testing. Search online using “saliva test” as your search word.

For more detailed information on saliva testing:

Article on salivary cortisol testing

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