The Ultimate Guide to Healing Adrenal Glands Naturally to Prevent Burnout Symptoms

Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys, being only about the size of two Brazil nuts and weighing less than two grapes, these glands may seem small and useless.

However that’s far from the truth, because your adrenal glands actually control the secretion of cortisol and adrenaline. Your adrenal glands are also able to produce small amounts of androgens, such as testosterone and DHEA.

The main reason why you should make sure that your adrenals function properly, is the fact that the glands keep up the natural circadian rhythm of certain hormones.

The circadian rhythm is mainly controlled by the stress hormone cortisol. And if your adrenal glands function properly you’ll wake up with elevated cortisol which gives you a jolt of energy first thing in the morning. Then when you hit the sack in the evening, your adrenal glands make sure that your cortisol levels are low so that you can drift into sleep instantly.

So basically your adrenal glands are your inner clock of hormones. Waking you up in the morning and getting you into the bed on time when its close to the night.

But what if your adrenal glands are burned out and won’t function properly?

Adrenal gland problems are estimated to affect up to 80% of adults in the world at some point of their life, and when the glands won’t function properly, then your inner clock of hormones is wrecked.

Basically everything will start working kind of backwards…

…You’ll wake up with low cortisol, having zero energy and no motivation to do anything. Then as the day processes your adrenals will increase their cortisol secretion which drops your testosterone levels and makes you feel pretty sick, slow, and stressed out.

When it’s time to hit the bed, your adrenals make sure that your cortisol levels are sky high, meaning that you can’t sleep properly.

That’s a recipe for disaster, because if your cortisol is high when you’re trying to sleep, then your endocrine system can’t produce adequate amounts of testosterone when you’re sleeping (or trying to).

Basically adrenal gland health is very closely tied into testosterone production. If your adrenal health is bad, then your endocrine health and testosterone production will also suffer, which is pretty obvious as cortisol is the main enemy of testosterone, and wrecked adrenal glands will make your cortisol secretion go crazy in the absolute worst times possible.

The classic symptoms of adrenal fatigue, include: lethargy, no motivation, sleep problems, thyroid problems, and a list of hormone disturbances (low T and HGH along with elevated E).

Not to mention the fact that when the whacked up adrenals keep your cortisol levels elevated for long periods of time, then you expose yourself to pretty much all the medical conditions known to a man, inculding: cancer, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and pretty much everything you can think of.

So yes, it’s damn important to make sure that your adrenal glands function properly.


How to Know if You’re Having Adrenal Fatigue

how to know if I have adrenal fatigueThis would be an obvious question to ask at this point.

How can one actually know if their adrenals are out of whack?

There’s few answers and logical solutions to the question…

…And here’s a list starting from the best ways to find out if you’re having the adrenal system problems:

a) The Kalish method, which was invented by the world famous adrenal gland guru Dr. Kalish, is a simple method where they test your cortisol levels 4 times in a day for several days to see if your inner clock of hormones functions properly (your cortisol should spike in the morning and then drop gradually towards the evening if everything functions properly). They’ll also test various other hormones too such as testosterone and estrogen to make sure that the problem is in fact in the adrenals and not somewhere else.

b) Monitor the health of your thyroid, as the functions of your thyroid gland will rapidly slow down if your cortisol is elevated for an abnormally long period of time. This in the long run causes hypothyroidism and low testosterone. So if your thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) are on the low side, one obvious thing is to check if its caused by adrenal fatigue.

c) If you sleep a solid 8 hours and still wake up lethargic, then there’s probably something screwed up in your innate circadian rhythm of cortisol secretion, which screams adrenal fatigue.

d) If you have been under a lot of emotional or physical stress and then suddenly start having all these medical problems and extreme lethargy, then it’s most likely that your adrenal glands have burnt out due to the fact that stress takes its toll on the glands.

e) If you have low testosterone levels and can’t seem to find a way to get them up no matter what you do, then it would make sense to check if your innate hormonal clock (the adrenal glands) function properly.


What Causes Adrenal Fatigue

what causes adrenal fatigueBefore we start evaluating the ways to heal your adrenal glands naturally, we first have to know what causes the problems in the first place.

Yet again there’s probably hundreds of different reasons on this modern day world that can cause those problems in your innate adrenal system…

Here’s the most obvious ones:

1) Long term emotional or physical stress. Stress truly takes its toll on the glands. This is the reason why there’s so many stress related diseases:

You’re stressed for a long period of time -> Your adrenal glands will burn out -> Your cortisol levels go out of whack -> Your whole body gets out of control and is vulnerable to multiple diseases.

2) Dietary factors. The modern day diet is what it is… Filled with processed and refined foods, pesticides, toxins, and foods that lack nutritional value. Omitting yourself from any food group, carbs in particular, can trigger issues in thyroid and adrenal production.

3) Long term use of stimulants. Stimulants such as coffee or epidheprene used for prolonged periods of time at very high dosages can eventually burn out the adrenal system, and this includes the glands of which we’re speaking about.

4) Overtraining. Excessive exercise, especially that long duration cardio or endurance training really takes its toll on the adrenal glands. So remember to rest, and unless you’re a marathon runner, stop those long-ass cardio sessions.

Now that we understand a bit about what are the adrenal glands, why their health matters, the symptoms, and the causes, I guess we can finally take a look at the natural solutions:


Optimize your DHEA Levels

optimize DHEA levels for adrenal healthDHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is one of the male sex hormones – androgens – that your gonads, adrenal glands, and the brain produce.

It acts as the mother (or should we say father) of hormones in the body, and one of its main functions is to counter effect those overblown cortisol levels.

When your adrenal glands are out of whack, then your DHEA production will suffer greatly, and your stress hormone cortisol can roam freely inside of your body, destroying stuff.

If your adrenal glands function properly, then the glands naturally produce DHEA to counteract all that cortisol. However if you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, then your glands can’t really produce adequate amounts of DHEA on their own.

That’s why one of the main solutions for treating adrenal fatigue, is bio-identical DHEA. It’s available as an over the counter supplement, but I do not recommend straight DHEA to anyone.

Mainly because it’s an androgen and it’s basically almost the same as using synthetic hormone replacement. There really isn’t scientific evidence on the fact that bio-identical DHEA would harm your innate natural system, but if synthetic testosterone replacement means that your balls stop producing their own juices, then it’s pretty obvious that synthetic DHEA would have similar properties in the adrenal glands…

That’s why I recommend a more natural, yet as effective solution:

Magnesium oil. It’s applied transmedally to the skin from where it absorbs and metabolizes naturally into DHEA.

So if you’re thinking about synthetic DHEA, forget it. Get some magnesium oil and have someone to rub it into your back, right to where your kidneys and adrenal glands are located. Then just wait and let the natural DHEA work its magic in the glands.


Use Adaptogens

get yourself some adaptogens for adrenal gland optimizationAdaptogens are a class of herbs that have stress relieving properties.

All the adaptogenic herbs that I’m aware of, have the ability to balance overblown hormones.

In the case of adrenal fatigue, you’re most likely suffering from overblown cortisol levels, along with very low testosterone and DHEA.

Adaptogens will help to balance those levels back to normal (helps your body to achieve the state of homeostasis).

Some of the most researched and scientifically proven adaptogens include:

  • Ashwagandha (used in Eastern medicine for the past 2,500 years. Known for it’s immuno-modulating effects which balance cortisol levels).
  • Rhodiola Rosea (used by cosmonauts and the elite athletes of now fallen Soviet Union. Research has shown that this herb has very strong anti-stress and cortisol lowering effects).
  • Panax Ginseng (The most respected and studied herbs in Chinese medicine. Has very strong healing effects in the body, including anti-stress properties).



Vitamin C and Antioxidants

buffered vitamin c heals adrenal glands and improves the absorption of msm and zeoliteThe tissue surrounding your adrenal glands is mostly made from vitamin C. Being deficient in the vitamin, especially during stress, can wreck havoc in the adrenals.

Antioxidant rich foods would also be pretty important, as high cortisol tends to induce oxidative stress and do damage all over the body, and antioxidants can stop and even reverse the oxidization process.

Some good vitamin C and antioxidant rich foods can be found in this article.

And more details about the importance of vitamin C here.


Get Rid of The Stress

get rid of stress to improve adrenal gland system healthEasier said than done huh?

Although it’s kind of a dumb move to just tell someone that he needs to stress less (when really, they probably would if they could), it’s just what you need to do if you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue.

After all, one of the leading causes for adrenal problems is prolonged emotional or physical stress.

So if you’re constantly stressed out, you’re only fueling the fire.

On a serious note, if you’re seriosuly in the verge of ultimate stress. Then you have to do everything you can to take that stuff under your control.

Get therapy, listen to relaxation tapes, walk in the fresh air, talk with someone, meditate, lift heavy weights, even do yoga or some shit if it helps! Just try your best to get the situation under control.

Lose Weight

get your cortisol on control with losing weightObesity is the principal reason why people end up sick in the modern society.

No matter how healthy you try to eat, and no matter how much supplements, herbs, and other stuff you’re trying to do, you’re always going to fall short healthwise if you’re fat.

There’s just not a way to go around it.

This is one of the multiple problems with being obese:

Being fat induces aromataze -> aromatase lowers testosterone and increases estrogen -> your thyroid gets out of whack -> leptin and insulin resistance take place -> your cortisol skyrockets -> adrenal fatigue steps in -> You’re one sick fella -> Your doctor will put you on various drugs -> you’re still fat and the drugs likely won’t fix the problem.

How to stop and eventually reverse this?

Answer: Start from losing that fat mass. It’s that simple, after that you can introduce the supplements, herbs, and other bodyhacks to make stuff more interesting and quicker.


Reduce the usage of Stimulants

adrenal health stimulant useStimulants are compounds that basically give you a short burst of energy, such as coffee or epidheprene.

Stimulants can even be healthy in some manner, for example right before a sports event or a fight (if you’re a boxer etc)…

…But if you use them daily at high dosages (like most people do with coffee), you’ll run into problems.

One of those problems is the fact that your adrenal glands will get exhausted. After all that’s what stimulants do. They stimulate the adrenal system to produce cortisol and adrenaline.

Stimulate the system daily and it will soon burn out.


The whole adrenal system and those small glands that control your cortisol secretion is just one widely overlooked issue.

It’s a hugely important system in the body, one that most people have out of whack, and they just don’t even know it. They’ll think that the lethargy and stress is just “normal”.

If you ever experience adrenal fatigue (like 80% of the population do), remember this article, and fix the issue before it escalates.

The Ultimate Guide to Healing Adrenal Glands Naturally to Prevent Burnout Symptoms was last modified: March 27th, 2017 by Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men, and an Independent Researcher that has been credited with organizing the findings that have helped thousands of men reach hormonal balance.
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  1. Sanctuary on 11/06/2014 at 22:01

    Hey man, good post, incidentally, I had my cortisol levels recently checked and it seems I’m on the flip-side of ‘adrenal fatigue’, would you by any chance have any food/supplement recommendations which would contrarily promote cortisol production? Or do the ones you listed balance the issue from both ends?


    • alexmyers83 on 12/06/2014 at 18:34

      The ashwaghanda mentioned will definately help rebalance, I personally love the stuff! It’s super cheap if you dose via root powder, too…

      • Ali Kuoppala on 15/06/2014 at 14:25

        Hey nice site Alex!

        • alexmyers83 on 15/06/2014 at 14:50

          Thanks! Little hobby of mine…feel free to ask questions anytime! I’ve been analysing the data on these two for some time, great compounds

          • James on 27/04/2015 at 19:44

            Found your article very interesting, I got diagnosed with Adrenal fatigue phase 3 about a year ago, my adrenals are so burnt out they practically produce 0 cortisol(I think its a total 3mcg a day, where “normal” is around 20-30). The doctor put me on daily hydrocortisol to compensate until my adrenals can produce their own, and some herbal vitamins. I’ll try out the ashwaghanda, I hope to get them functioning healthily soon, as they’ve caused a myriad of symptoms for years, once of which is my body being in a constant catabolic state, so progress in the gym has been difficult.

            Won’t lie, for a long time I relied on caffeine just to function, I still drink a cup in the morning at work, but I’ll try cutting it out completely besides when I work out.

            I would love to hear if you have any specific advice

    • Ali Kuoppala on 15/06/2014 at 14:24

      Ashwagandha and Rhodiola would be my best bets for balancing cortisol on both ends.

      • James on 27/04/2015 at 21:46

        Found your article very interesting, I got diagnosed with Adrenal fatigue phase 3 about a year ago, my adrenals are so burnt out they practically produce 0 cortisol(I think its a total 3mcg a day, where “normal” is around 20-30). The doctor put me on daily hydrocortisol to compensate until my adrenals can produce their own, and some herbal vitamins. I’ll try out the ashwaghanda, I hope to get them functioning healthily soon, as they’ve caused a myriad of symptoms for years, once of which is my body being in a constant catabolic state, so progress in the gym has been difficult.

        Won’t lie, for a long time I relied on caffeine just to function, I still drink a cup in the morning at work, but I’ll try cutting it out completely besides when I work out.

        I just started lifting weights again after taking a year off, and since it was shown that my T was low at my last hormonal check up, I recently(last two weeks) decided to try out a natural T booster that includes several of the herbs you’ve discussed in your T boosting herb article. IF these actually help increase my T naturally, would that help my adrenals recover as well?

        I would love to hear if you have any specific advice

  2. Ron on 11/06/2014 at 23:27

    Great Post! Keep bringing the knowledge. Even if that means being the lone voice in the wilderness! Stay strong.

  3. Dave on 13/06/2014 at 20:48

    Excellent post this site just keeps getting better

  4. Texas Pete on 08/08/2015 at 01:19

    I have low cortisol in the morn, high noon and afternoon, norm in evening. Doctor put me on low dose hydrocortisone. Is that correct?

  5. Sportster Joe on 13/10/2015 at 14:44

    Intermittent fasting amplifies adrenal fatigue issues, not mitigates them. The first thing people tell you when your having adrenal fatigue is not to skip breakfast. I had symptoms of adrenal fatigue and was fasting for over a year. I cut out the fasting and ate breakfast, adrenal fatigue issues started disappearing.

    • Josh Finlay on 20/11/2015 at 11:04

      Exactly, how can anyone, let alone a health blogger, recommend intermittent fasting to help adrenal issues!

      • David Stephan on 22/01/2016 at 21:44

        True, if you do not eat, your adrenal glands have to produce adrenaline, which in turn stresses them more, not less.

    • Stephen Smith on 08/02/2016 at 17:19

      Breakfast helped me also.

  6. Erik Pålshammar on 02/11/2015 at 11:50

    Ali, I think your quote on Dr. Khalis ended prematurely: “There are three major benefits to this”:. Could you please add the three benefits?
    Best regards Erik.

  7. Josh Finlay on 20/11/2015 at 11:03

    intermittent fasting is probably the worst thing you can do for your adrenals…

  8. Shaf on 21/11/2015 at 01:22

    Just a quick note regarding the article Ali. Adrenal gland issues wont reduce thyroid production directly.if someone checks there TSH and free t3 and free t4, everything will look normal. It’s only when you check reverse t3 (rt3) that you will find a problem. Rt3 competes for the same receptor sites as t3 so the thyroid is down regulated by the over production of the non active form of thyroid which competes for the same receptor sites. I was way out of range for rt3, everything else thyroid related looked normal. The issue is that most doctors don’t check this so you need to approach them with this knowledge

    • Laura Dowdey Unger on 26/01/2016 at 16:42

      Exactly! It took me years to get a doctor to agree to check this level, as most seem to think it not necessary. I am now on T3 only medication.

      • FindingAtlantis on 24/02/2016 at 04:31

        Hi I also have stage 3 adrenal fatigue (low cortisol all day long), while also having normal thyroid readings, except my RT3 is through the roof. I’m not sure what to make of your comment. Are you suggesting that taking t3 medication would benefit me? Please clarify.

    • FindingAtlantis on 24/02/2016 at 04:29

      Same here. I have been diagnosed with stage 3 adrenal fatigue (low cortisol all day long), and I have normal thyroid readings, except my RT3 is through the roof. I am facing symptoms like severe anxiety, always feeling cold, poor memory/concentration, LOTS of hair shedding, trouble sleeping, oily scalp/face, etc. Which of these symptoms are you facing? I’m just curious because I don’t normally meet others who also have this same issue. Write back, thanks.

      • Shaf on 24/02/2016 at 05:30

        Main issue I had was insomnia, poor concentration and memory may be due to insomnia (because I don’t have those issues now that I sorted sleep). I’ve fixed my sleep using growth hormone if you want to explore new territories. I don’t feel 100% right even while using GH but it’s close enough to get on with my life and stop suffering.

        If you have low cortisol you may also want to look into taking cortisol in the mornings and at lunch time. Try 10mg on wake and 5mg at lunch.

        The body naturally produces about 40mg a day so if your low it’s not going to cause side effects from excess cortisol.

  9. Laura Dowdey Unger on 26/01/2016 at 16:41

    This is literally the only article I have read in the past 2 years that recommended intermittent fasting for adrenal fatigue. Not a good idea according to the adrenal specialists whose books I have read either. Even my personal doctor said he would normally recommend intermittent fasting for weight loss, but since I have adrenal issues he told me to be sure I eat within an hour of waking.

  10. Silver Silver on 04/05/2016 at 14:34

    All very good tips!! .. I would like to add what helped me recover my adrenals from 2 years of slump was stop eating sugar, gluten and nuts. Skip on fruits with high fructose levels as well , e.g. bananas, pineapple .. anything thats sweet is bad. Take 2 or 3 multivitamins a day ; add super B complex. As the article says don’t eat anything with preservatives, chemicals.

  11. […] cortisol is much more common than people think, and it’s often caused by adrenal fatigue, chronic stress, and poor diet ( eating foods that cause inflammation and oxidative […]

  12. Bruce Hillestad on 23/08/2017 at 18:32

    Excellent article Dude! I’ve had a low Adrenal and Thyroid condition since about 2001. I worked in a Hi Tech / Hi Stress Product Support function in the medical instrument industry out in San Jose CA. 12 hours days were routine and 14-16 hours days not uncommon. After enough years of that it took it’s toll big time. An excellent and extremely low cost supplement I found (for only around $5 per month -basically the cost of 1-2 energy drinks) is the “Solaray Adrenal Caps”. It has some freeze dried Desiccated Bovine Adrenal organ and 4 Adaptogen herbs (Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) (root), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) (root), Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) (aerial), Clove (Syzgium aromaticum) (flower)). Google those Herbal ingredients one at a time with the word Adrenal and each of them is supportive. Pretty simple formula yet amazingly effective. I’ve recommended these to all kinds of folks (including middle aged 2 weight lifters) and everyone has loved it (including my 92 year old Mom). And it has 0 side effects. The first time I tried it back in 2003 I was pretty amazed as it is so deceptively smooth (no jitteriness AT All). It took 3 days initially and on that 3rd day I realized wow this stuff is absolutely amazing as it was 9:00pm at night and I was still working and I wasn’t tired “AT ALL”. 0 fatigue, yet there was absolutely no feeling of jitteriness like you get from energy drinks or caffeine. Incredible. If you read the reviews online on Amazon and other the loads of other Supplement companies the VAST majority of those reviewers who’ve tried it also had a good or same experience. I usually take 2 before 10am. That’s it. With food or without doesn’t matter for me. For me it eliminates drag entirely. It also provides a much improved mental clarity, and mood. I went from lethargy and depression to plenty of energy, much clearer mental acuity, and no depression. For the mental benefit component it’s not easy to explain or describe but it’s kind of like you have an increased sort of sharpness or a sort of brightness in your mind. Sleep better too. Pretty awesome when you think about the benefits for $5-$6 per month. I know without any doubt this will help anyone out there who went thru what I did. Bless you guys.

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