Dr Oz: Adrenal Fatigue, Extreme Exhaustion & Secret Reason You’re Tired

By on September 15, 2010

Doctor Oz did a segment called “Extreme Exhaustion: The Secret Reason You’re So Tired” to cover the topic of Adrenal Fatigue – a controversial condition that many people and doctors say does not exist.  However, could Adrenal Fatigue be the secret reason that you are so tired?  All humans have a “fight or flight” hormone that happens when we feel we are in danger: your pain threshold increases, you are overly alert, your heart pumps faster, your eye pupils dilate, you sweat, you are hyper aware of what is going on outside of you.  This reaction can help you survive when in a dangerous situation, but it can be a big problem if your body gets “stuck” in this mode all of the time.  Has stress thrown our adrenal glands out of wack?  Perhaps the daily stress in our lives is just too much for us?  Dr Oz said that Dr James Wilson first named this condition Adrenal Fatigue in 1998 and Wilson believes a huge percentage of Americans suffer from this.  Doctor Oz Adrenal Fatigue

Dr Oz brought two guests on his show: Christiane Northrup and Robert Vigersky.  Northrup believes that Adrenal Fatigue does exist, while Vigersky from the Endocrine Society does not believe it exists.  Christiane Northrop said that Adrenal Fatigue is the cause of exhaustion by so many women.  Dr Oz asked her how she knows that Adrenal Fatigue is real?  She said that there is a whole continuum of symptoms before something actually shows up in a blood test, so there is no real test for it.  When you wake up first thing in the morning, you should feel really relaxed.

Robert Vigersky said that there is no scientific proof or any study that has been able to show that Adrenal Fatigue does exist.  He said he is not denying that people have fatigue or feel a certain way, but self diagnosis of a potentially non-existent disorder like Adrenal Fatigue can be very dangerous.  So do not diagnose yourself for something like this online, and even worse, do not start ordering “cures” for it online… this can be very dangerous.  You should see a doctor, because all of this symptoms could also be a sign of thyroid problems, sleep apnea, depression or many different things.

Dr Oz asked Christiane Northrup who should we suspect would have Adrenal Fatigue, and here are the symptoms she gave to look for:

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms:

- Can’t get to sleep at night

- Feel hungry very often

- Feel like you are dragging yourself around

- Need lots of coffee in the morning

- Can’t seem to lose weight

- Feel “hairy” all the time

Dr Oz did a quick demo to show us what the adrenal gland is – it is the “dunce cap” sitting on top of the kidney.  The adrenal gland controls critical steroids and stress hormones (the fight or flight hormones).  Over time, when you are on steroids like cortisol, you can gain weight that you cannot lose, you feel tired, your face gets puffy… and all of this happens if your body is naturally making too much cortisol as well.  In fact, depression is an independent risk factor for heart disease and osteoporosis.  Vigersky said that there are adrenal gland diseases such as an auto-immune condition or your pituitary gland could have a disease and therefore not be “driving” your adrenal gland correctly.  However, the cure is certainly not more cortisol… so do not be tricked into buying cortisol online!

Christiane Northrup gave the following list of the best ways to get better if you feel like you might have something like Adrenal Fatigue:

Natural Cures for Adrenal Fatigue:

- The best way to metabolize the stress hormone is through sleep

- Stop drinking coffee in the morning, even one cup of coffee in the morning can case sleep problems at night for some women

- Eat protein for breakfast, and generally avoid sugar and carbs

- Dr Oz mentioned that exercise during the day is also a great way to encourage good quality sleep at night

- 100 mg of Siberian Ginseng was shown on the bottom of the screen during this segment, although nobody really spoke about it.  Something for me to look into!

Dr Oz was non-committal as to whether he believes Adrenal Fatigue exists or not, but he said that either way, if you are tired and feel like you have a sleep problem, cut sugar out of your diet, get exercise, and try some of these natural way to improve sleep.

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Comments to Dr Oz: Adrenal Fatigue, Extreme Exhaustion & Secret Reason You’re Tired

  1. I missed the play of this show so I am very happy to see you’ve posted the information online
    I have been suffering from fatigue for years. (actually to be precise) prior to a diagnosis for Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. about a year after my chemo ended i collapsed and I was told it could be chronic fatigue syndrome.. To this day, although I do sleep.. (I do wake in the night for bathroom) I wake up feeling like I never had a wink of sleep. Its very frustrating.

  2. Shari, so sorry to hear that you are having so much difficulty getting good sleep. Hang in there and I hope things get better for you soon!

  3. Jennifer L Marley says:

    I am upset that I missed this segment. I will have to look into finding the episode so that I can learn more about adrenal fatigue. I sure do have most of the symptoms and am contemplating going to the doctor for an option on in. Thank you for the great article. You summed up the show great and actually made me aware that Dr. Oz did a show on it. I will go search for the segment right now. I also like the section on natural cures, I am not a fan of people who rely on meds to “cure” them. Thanks again.

  4. In my opinion, the ‘epidemic’ of thyroid issues is directly linked to chronic stress and adrenal function. Personally, I have experienced chronic stress for many years – felt ‘something’ odd happening in my body. All the named symptoms occurred. Then the diagnosis of ‘benign’ thyroid nodules. WHAT NOW??!!!
    I am seeking traditional medicine assurance and/or resolve however have also begun supplements known to provide relief of the nodules.
    Any comments will be so very appreciated. This is frightening although the diagnosis is ‘benign’. I desperately want these nodules to dissipate.

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