3 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue–What Stage are You in?

In this video, and blog post below, I cover the 3 different stages of adrenal fatigue so you can start identifying what stage you’re in.

What Stage of Adrenal Fatigue Are You In?

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What is Adrenal Fatigue?

The first thing we must understand is that the adrenal glands are responsible for about 50 different functions in the human body.  8 extremely important adrenal functions are:

8 Key Adrenal Functions:

  • Stress response and management
  • Reducing and regulating inflammation in the body
  • Reducing pain in the body
  • Regulation of metabolic rate including fat burning and fat storing
  • Regulating and normalizing blood sugar levels
  • Energy production
  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Immune system optimization

When these glands are over worked, like anything in the body or in nature, they begin to fatigue.  Adrenal fatigue simply means the adrenals are overworking and will eventually not be able to produce optimum hormone levels to help a person feel great.  This means those 8 functions above will be compromised in some way.

The 3 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue?

Stage 1

Remember, the adrenal glands are the anti-inflammatory and anti-stress glands of the body.  In Stage 1 there is often something that is is causing an acute stress to the adrenal glands.  This acute stress is causing the adrenal glands to overproduce cortisol.

The adrenal glands will raise cortisol due to an emotional stress, however,  I have found that 70% to 80% of the time, the adrenal glands are raising cortisol to reduce inflammation. There are 10 key adrenal stressors, listed below, that will drive up cortisol faster than our government will drive up our taxes.

10 Key Adrenal Stressors:

  • Parasites
  • Yeast
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Mold
  • Environmental toxins
  • Heavy metals
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Food sensitivities
  • Tick born illnesses

The above are examples of something that if not immediately dealt with can produce chronic inflammation in the body and significantly stress the adrenal glands.  Again when the adrenals respond to inflammation they raise their most powerful ant-inflammatory hormone, cortisol.

In Stage 1 Adrenal Fatigue we then see elevated cortisol but normal progesterone, estrogen, DHEA, pregnenolone and testosterone. As a result of the inflammation induced hormonal changes, a person can present with certain symptoms.

Stage 1 Symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Heartburn
  • Belly fat
  • Thyroid problems
  • Shakiness
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Blood sugar elevation
  • Internal or inward trembling

Stage 2:

In Stage 2 Adrenal Fatigue the adrenals are now starting to get pretty tired but they must keep the cortisol levels up so they can cope with the inflammation and keep the body safe.  However, the glands are tired so they must borrow from other hormones.

Meaning, instead of the adrenals making certain hormones like DHEA that helps us burn fat, have energy and a positive mood they have to steal from these pathways to make cortisol.

As a results, in Stage 2 Adrenal Fatigue we usually see normal cortisol and borderline low DHEA, estrogen and testosterone, although variations can occur person to person.

Stage 2 Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Worsening of Depression
  • Worsening insomnia
  • Worsening anxiety
  • Worsening of belly fat
  • Hot flashes, night sweats (woman)
  • Decreased sex drive (both men and women)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nighttime eating
  • Weakening immune system

What Stage of Adrenal Fatigue Are You In?

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Stage 3:

In Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue the glands are now exhausted.  They have tried to produce as much cortisol as possible but can’t do it any longer.  They are fully fatigued and all hormones, or most adrenal hormones are low.

I’ll sum up the symptoms here by saying the person is completely exhausted.  They have difficulty getting out of bed.  It’s very hard for them to work.  They can’t tolerate stress and the littlest thing can send them over the edge.  It’s bad.

They are overweight, can have crying spells, are anxious, fearful, can develop phobias, have aches and pains, have heavy feelings in their legs and body, hot flashes, no desire for sex, become introverted and often say, “I’m no longer the person I used to be.”

I can go on and on, regardless, it’s bad.  The key is to do something about it.  In truth, something can always be done about adrenal fatigue you just have to identify the root cause and then know what to do.  That’s exactly where we come in.


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