Adrenal Burout


Thousands of people suffer from constant fatigue that is not relieved by rest and sleep. This is the main symptom of adrenal weakness or adrenal burnout syndrome. This article examines this extremely common syndrome – its causes, symptoms and the process of recovery of vibrant health with a nutritional balancing program.


We hear from many people who are still suffering from adrenal exhaustion, adrenal fatigue or adrenal burnout after 3, 5 or even 10 years. This is not necessary! Nor is it helpful or necessary to take hormones, obtain a lot of tests, or do chelation therapy at all.



The adrenal glands are rounded, disc-shaped glands about 3-4 inches across. One sits atop each kidney, located on either side of your lower back, just above where the ribs end. You may at times feel a sensation of pressure in this area when under stress.

The adrenal glands are essential for life.They secrete a number of hormones that prepare our bodies to respond to stress. These include adrenalin, also called epinephrine, noradrenalin, also called norepinephrine, cortisol and cortisone.The adrenal glands also produce aldosterone, estrogens, testosterone, progesterone, pregnenelone and DHEA.


These hormones regulate many body activities. Of greatest importance for this article is that the adrenal hormones, particularly adrenalin and cortisol, activate the body’s fight-or-flight response. This consists of increasing the amount of glucose or sugar in the blood, raising blood pressure, and promoting increased energy production. There are many other effects of the adrenal hormones, but we will focus on these effects for now.


Of great importance to our discussion is that the adrenal glands are innervated and stimulated by activity of the sympathetic branch of the autonomic or automatic nervous system of the body. This is the part of our nervous system that activates when we must respond to threats to our life.



Common symptoms include fatigue and often depression, muscle weakness, nausea, dizziness. Others may be a craving for sweets and salty foods, low blood pressure and low blood sugar. Low energy impairs every system of the body. Thus, secondary symptoms can range from impaired digestion, aches and pains to chronic or recurring infections.


Low cortisol symptoms. Low blood sugar, low blood pressure, low temperature, joint pain and allergies may result from low levels of cortisol. Multiple chemical sensitivity is an extreme allergic condition associated with adrenal burnout. Later, blood pressure may rise as toxic substances build up in the arteries and kidneys. Also, cortisol provides a natural ‘high’. Thus, low cortisol can contribute to feelings of depression and even despair. Unsure if there is energy to get through the day, anxiety may occur. Irritability is common as one is less able to handle even minor stress.


Thyroid imbalances and burnout. Often secondary to adrenal exhaustion are other glandular imbalances such as hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland and the adrenals have a very close relationship and stress on one always affects the other.

Much less common is the development of a secondary hyperthyroidism, or overactivity of the thyroid. This may be a compensation for low adrenals, as the condition will disappear as the adrenals are allowed to rest and rebuild.

The adrenal glands produce estrogen and progesterone. They are the main source of these hormones after menopause. Premenstrual syndrome and hot flashes often have to do with weakened adrenal glands.


Emotional and mental symptoms. Often, emotional and psychological symptoms are present or even predominant.  Depression is very common. Apathy, despair and even suicidal tendencies are also quite common. Emotional instability, mood swings, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and irritability are also common symptoms associated with adrenal burnout syndrome. The world can look evil, one loses faith in people, and a hopeless attitude is not uncommon.

Compulsiveness and obsessive-compulsive tendencies may be associated with adrenal burnout. One may become addicted or very attracted to excessive exercise, sex, loud music or other forms of excitement. The unconscious goal is always the same, to stimulate the adrenals into activity.


Many areas of life affected. Adrenal burnout affects every area of life. One may lose interest in friends, family and work. Relationships often suffer when one person in the relationship goes into adrenal exhaustion. Unfortunately, many with adrenal burnout function on anger and resentment. These act as adrenal stimulants, providing a negative energy with which to function.  Most of the world, in fact, functions on the negative energy of anger.


Copper toxicity and burnout. Elevated copper and low zinc related to adrenal burnout impair the immune system. Chronic infections may develop. The stage is also set for the development of degenerative conditions. Cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases may be end-stage results of toxic accumulation and energy depletion. to read more about copper toxicity syndrome, click here!



Excessive stress, an important cause of burnout, can be from many sources. Chemical toxicity and nutritional depletion are among the physical causes. Mental, emotional or spiritual stress may be a major factor. Financial, family or other stress may also contribute to burnout.

Any excessive stress can deplete the adrenals, especially when weakened by poor nutrition. Working too much or emotional stress are two common causes.  Excessive stimulation, especially for children, is another cause. Fast-paced, high-stress, fear-based lifestyles are a sure prescription for adrenal burnout.

Other stressors in cities are noise and electromagnetic pollution. Cell phones, microwave towers and appliances like televisions, microwave ovens and computers give off strong electrical fields.


Nutritional Deficiencies are a common cause. When under stress, the need for nutrients is much greater. Carbohydrates, when excessive in the diet, stress the adrenals. Diets low in protein may also create deficiencies. Inadequate or poor quality water affects oxygenation of the tissues.

Most diets are low in nutrients required by the adrenals. These include B-complex vitamins, vitamins A, C and E, manganese, zinc, chromium, selenium and other trace elements. The reasons for this begin with how food is grown. Most food is grown on depleted soils. Processing and refining further deplete nutrients.

Habits such as eating in the car or while on the run further diminish the value derived from food. Also, allergic reactions to foods such as wheat and dairy products can damage the intestines and reduce the absorption of nutrients.


Toxic metals and chemicals often play a large role in adrenal burnout.  Everyone is exposed to thousands of chemicals in the air, the water and the food. Other sources are dental materials and skin contact with chemicals. Over-the-counter and prescribed medications add to the body’s toxic load. Most people do not realize that antibiotics and many other drugs accumulate to some extent in the liver and other organs.

Toxins may also be generated within the body due to impaired digestion. When food is not properly digested, it either ferments or rots in the intestines, producing many harmful substances that are absorbed into the body.

A healthy body has the ability to eliminate many toxins on a daily basis. However, as adrenal weakness develops, the body’s ability to eliminate all toxins decreases. This produces a vicious cycle in which weaker adrenals impairs the elimination of all poisons, which then further weakens the adrenals.


Chronic infections play a critical role in some cases of adrenal exhaustion. Chronic infections may originate in infected teeth or gums, though they can be located anywhere in the body.  They contribute greatly to the toxic load of the body. Infections also cause inflammation and stress that must be countered using the adrenal hormones such as cortisol and cortisone.


Stimulants damage the adrenal glands.  They whip the adrenals. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol are among the most common stimulants. Other activities that may act as stimulants and must not be overlooked include vigorous exercise, sexual preoccupations, recreational drug use or other thrills. These often provide a temporary “high”, which is caused in part by the secretion of high amounts of adrenal hormones.  However, over time, this weakens the adrenals and can eventually lead to adrenal depletion and insufficiency.

Stimulant use, however, can also be a result of adrenal burnout. While stimulants can cause or contribute to adrenal weakness, some who use stimulants do so because they are in adrenal burnout already. Stimulants are attractive to one in burnout to provide temporary energy. This is an important appeal of the drug culture, both legal and recreational.  It is also the appeal of loud music, sexual addiction, and even anger.

These activities or attitudes can provide enough adrenal stimulation to allow a person to feel better temporarily. This is an important reason why giving up one’s addictions can be difficult.  When one gives them up, one must face the fact that one is exhausted, depressed and often just feels awful due to adrenal burnout. It is safe to say that most people addicted to stimulants or other drugs including cigarettes, cocaine, marijuana, and others has some degree of adrenal insufficiency.


Unhealthy responses to stress are another cause of adrenal burnout. These include habits of worrying, or becoming angry or afraid.  Don’t worry, be happy is a great prescription for adrenal burnout. This applies particularly to high strung, nervous individuals and those with very active minds, as they are especially prone to adrenal burnout.


Congenital Weak adrenals problem. Instead, it is due to the nutritional  imb. Many children today are born with weak adrenals due to their parents’ nutritional deficiencies. This is not a genetic alances of the mother, in particular.  These are passed through the placenta to the unborn child. For example, if the mother is zinc-deficient, as most are, the baby is born low in zinc and often high in copper, cadmium or other minerals that substitute for zinc to a degree.  Fortunately, this means the problem can be corrected, though it is better to prevent it, of course.  By age three or four, these children are in burnout.  They are often sick, depressed and have difficulty in school.  Some of these children react to the situation by becoming hyperactive,  compulsive, obsessive or by developing various other behavior problems.

On their hair mineral analyses, these children are often in a state of burnout at this early age, a relatively new phenomenon, in our experience. By gently rebuilding their body chemistry, however, their behavioral and other disorders generally vanish in a few months to a few years.



Unfortunately, when a patient complains of fatigue, depression or other symptoms that are often related to the adrenal glands, most of the time the doctor does not ask the right questions and does not run tests of the adrenal glands. Instead, patients are told to take a vacation, or given an anti-depressant, or told it is “in their head”. The right questions, however, would often be enough to assess the condition fairly accurately. These would include “How many hours of sleep are you getting?” , “Do you use caffeine or other stimulants”  and “What other symptoms are you having?”.  Let us examine how this can often identify adrenal burnout, even without other testing.

Signs and symptoms. A simple and quite reliable way to assess adrenal burnout in a general sense is with signs and symptoms. A common sign, for example, is a low blood pressure in the absence of other obvious causes. Usually, the person will also often feel fatigued, even though one sleeps well. If one is not sleeping, the problem may simply be a sleep deficit. One may not feel tired, however, if you drink coffee, other caffeinated beverages or use other stimulants.

Another common symptom is depression. Others include joint pain, pain in the low back area and perhaps excessive thirst or craving for sweet and salty foods. Together these symptoms can help one decide if one needs further testing.


Doctors ignore a simple adrenal test they could do in their offices called the Ragland Test or Ragland Sign. This is a very simple test in which the doctor takes your blood pressure while you are lying down and relaxed.  Then the patient suddenly stands up and the doctor or assistant takes your blood pressure again. The pressure should go up. In those with weak adrenals, it often goes down and the patient feels weak, shaky and/or a little dizzy. It is a crude test, but it would be better than doing nothing , and putting people on more drugs that do not address adrenal insufficiency at all.


We find that a properly performed and properly interpreted hair mineral analysis is just as good, and usually far better than any hormone tests. The hormone tests are not sensitive enough, and do not give the same information as a correctly interpreted hair mineral analysis. The mineral analysis not only tells a great deal about the status of the adrenal glands with mathematical precision, but it often tells us why the adrenals are not functioning properly. The test also tells a lot about the sympathetic nervous system, which is intimately connected to the adrenal glands and their functioning.




Hair mineral analysis is a very exciting, cost-effective and non-invasive test. we have used hair tissue mineral analysis to help assess the condition of the adrenal glands for almost 10 years with more than 95,000 clients. we are very satisfied with the results using hair analysis for adrenal assessment and to guide the correction of all types of adrenal imbalances. Hair analysis indicators for adrenal insufficiency or burnout on a hair mineral test. To be accurate, the hair sample must not be washed at the laboratory.


The patterns are:


A slow oxidation rate. The slower the oxidation rate, the more likely one is in adrenal burnout or exhaustion.


A sodium/potassium ratio less than about 2.5:1. The lower the ratio, the worse the adrenal condition, in general.


A double low ratio pattern. This consists of a sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.5 plus a calcium/magnesium ratio less than about 4.


Three low macromineral pattern.  This occurs when three of the four macrominerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium) are lower than their ideal values of 40 mg%, 6 mg%, 25 mg% and 10 mg% respectively).


Four lows pattern. This occurs when all four of the macrominerals above are below their ideal levels.


Perhaps other imbalances, such as a copper level of 10 mg% (100 parts per million) or more, a phosphorus level of less than 12 mg%, and perhaps others. These are less reliable.




To start a healing program with us please contact us.

We find that a properly performed and properly interpreted hair mineral analysis is just as good, and usually far better than any hormone tests.  The hormone tests are not sensitive enough, and do not give the same information as a correctly interpreted hair mineral analysis.  The mineral analysis not only tells a great deal about the status of the adrenal glands with mathematical precision, but it often tells us why the adrenals are not functioning properly.  The test also tells a lot about the sympathetic nervous system, which is intimately connected to the adrenal glands and their functioning. 


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