Every Wondered What Causes Adrenal Exhaustion

Victoria O

If you are Tired, Overwhelmed, Moody, A Little Cranky And Are Craving Sugary, Starchy Or Salty Foods and are always needing that next cup of coffee then you may be dealing with Adrenal Dysregulation.

Your adrenals are thumb-sized glands that sit on top of your kidneys and are part of your overall hormonal system.

They produce more than 50 hormones that are responsible for your body to continue to tick along nicely, many of which are important for life.

They work together with your hypothalamus, pituitary gland and together are coined the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Aka the HPA axis.

Your adrenals play an enormous part in your stress response. Your brain perceives a threat that is Mental, Physical Or Emotional and your adrenals release adrenaline to help you respond to the threat.

This is known as the fight or flight response.

Your blood rushes to your brain and your heart and muscles So That You Can Run For Your Life.

Your adrenal cortex then releases corticosteroids to dial down your digestion and immune response.

If you think about it the Last Thing You Need In Order To Survive Is Your Digestion Or Your Reproductive System so your clever body and brain move the blood away from these organs into your circulation so that you can run for your life.

Pretty smart really.

Your adrenals also balance other hormones:

Glucocorticoids – hormones like cortisol help you respond to stress, regulate your blood sugar, maintain immunity and inflammation in the body.

Mineralocorticoids – hormones like aldosterone which help regulate blood pressure and maintain electrolyte balance (sodium and potassium) in your body.

Adrenaline – this increases your heart rate and controls blood flow to your brain and muscles. It also helps with converting glycogen to glucose in your liver.

What Causes Adrenal Dysregulation?

In a nutshell, your adrenals have had enough.


They have had enough of:

  • Stressful events like chronic illness.
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Unrelenting work pressures.
  • Moving house or country (on top of an already busy schedule).
  • Exposure to environmental pollutants and toxins.
  • Ongoing emotional and mental stress due to toxic relationships, relationships at work, financial hardship and anything else that creates feelings of hopelessness.
  • Negative thinking and emotional trauma. Remember that the stress response is triggered by real or perceived threat. This means your internal dialogue and how your external environment and world occurs to you can deplete your adrenal reserves equally as much as a real life stressor.
  • Not enough sleep.
  • Not enough nutrients to fuel and nourish your body.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Chronic caloric restriction. Always dieting and undereating is a form of stress on the body that can in turn tax your adrenal glands.

What Are The Symptoms Of Adrenal Dysregulation?

  • Fatigue especially upon waking in the morning.Confused
  • Low mood.
  • Muscle fatigue and weakness.
  • Poor concentration and lack of focus.
  • Sugar, salt or starch cravings.
  • Increased allergies and intolerances.
  • Weight gain.
  • Bone loss.
  • Hair loss.
  • Low libido.
  • Dizziness or feeling faint.
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Low blood pressure.

How Can You Turn Adrenal Dysregulation Around?

The solution to adrenal dysregualtion is to minimise stress in your life and on your body.

This can be way easier said than done.

Stress is inevitable and in many cases can be a positive force in your life.

For example it can make you perform better and with more clarity under acute stressful events like preforming at work in a meeting, doing a presentation, or a sporting event like doing a triathlon or running a marathon.

But it’s how you chose to respond to your environment including your relationships with others that will really impact your adrenals.

Often we can be Our Own Worst Critic and our internal dialogue can be telling us how we need To Be More, Do More And Other Versions Of Not Being Good Enough.

Self care and self-love is what is needed here.

Being kind to self and Celebrating What Is Working Really Well for you and what you are doing really well and shining the torch on your strengths is vital to turn the dial down on the internal critic.

To paraphrase Anthony Robbins who articulates it so elegantly…

“Most people overestimate what they can do in 12months and underestimate what they can achieve in a couple of decades.”

Sometimes pushing through and accelerating is not what is needed in order to create success.

Rather, a pit stop, A Reflection On Where You Have Come So Far.

A celebration.

Pushing And Pushing when what is needed is breathing and reflection will ultimately Drain Your Adrenals Over The Long Run.

Rest When You Need to as much as you can.


Get a minimum of 8 hours sleep.

Lights Out By 10pm. This is important for your sleep wake cycle.

Inject Your System With Fun.

Often when we get fatigued it can feel like we have lost our sense of enthusiasm and joy for life.

 Let Go Of The Terminal Seriousness and laugh.

One of the best things we can do is to not take ourselves so seriously and Learn To Back Ourselves.

Knowing that most of the things that we conjure up in our brain that may happen in the future don’t actually take place and that if in the unlikely event it does take place.

Know That You Can Handle It.

You Have The Resources Within You to be able to handle whatever comes your way.

Eat At Regular Intervals throughout the day so your blood sugar is managed. When your sugar levels crash that in itself can trigger you into your stress response.

Exercise (without pushing) listen to your body it is always talking to you Sometimes A Walk Or Gentle Yoga Class Is All That Is Needed.

Take time for yourself.

Many are introverted in nature meaning that they top up their energy on their own.

When You Don’t Have This Time To Yourself You Can Very Easily Go Into Overwhelm, and also get a little cranky and irritable and resentful of those that you love.

Write A Gratitude List – write out what you love about your life write now. Think about the Things In The Past That You Once Dreamt Of That You Wanted For Yourself And You Are Now Actually Living Those Dreams Right Now.

Be grateful for the love in your life and you will get loads more of it.

Breathe. Breathe in for 4 seconds and breath out for 6 seconds. Extending the exhalation will automatically make you feel calm, centred and give you a sense of everything is going to be ok.

What Should You Eat To Heal Your Adrenals?

The top 6 foods for your adrenals are:

Turkey and chicken – These are high in protein and amino acids like tryptophan and tyrosine which are good for giving you feelings of drive and they also help to lift your mood.

Oily Fish -like wild caught salmon which is also a good protein but also packed with omega 3 essential fatty acids and so has a powerful anti inflammatory effect.

Avocado – high in minerals and essential fatty acids.

Cruciferous vegetables  – broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage etc. these are high in minerals and nutrients but also high in fibre which will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels giving you sustained consistent energy.

Himalayan salt – rich in minerals and contains all of the 84 elements found in your body.

Seaweed and Dulse flakes – These are packed full of nutrients, and minerals for your body to heal in particular iodine which more than 90% of Australians are deficient in.

All of these foods are rich in minerals and nutrients and are good sources of protein or fibre.

What Supplements Are Good To Help Support Your Adrenals?

B Vitamins – Your stress response will burn through b vitamins in order to help manufacture cortisol. This will leave you feeling depleted and tired.

Magnesium and minerals – The same goes for these minerals. You will actually excrete magnesium when you are stressed. This in turn will cause muscle fatigue, cramping, and twitching and also crash your energy.

Withania and Rhodiola– These herbs are magic. They will have a restorative effect on your adrenals as they are good for regulating cortisol. They are classed as mental and physical stamina tonics so can help with energy, alertness, mood, and memory.

Where To From Here?

Restoring your energy, mood and adrenals when you are tired to begin with can seem overwhelming.

Especially with so much information out there on what to do and take.

But what is the right plan for you?

High Cortisol Levels Can Present Like Low Cortisol levels and so what you need to know is what your unique situation is.

If your cortisol levels are disrupted then other hormones like thyroid and reproductive hormones are also probably being affected.

And if this is happening then other systems like your digestive system and its ability to absorb and eliminate is also being effected.

Chances are you are also low in certain nutrients that are also taxing your energy levels.

The Best Thing To Do Is To Get Tested.

This can be the difference between a Speedy Recovery And A Lengthy Drawn Out Process that doesn’t seem to quite sort out the underlying problem for you.

There are many functional pathology tests available to use as a screen for your own unique situation.

But before you launch into testing it is Best To Hand Over Your Health To A Skilled Practitioner that can help you to navigate the best course of action for you to take so that you can start to feel better.

If you know that now is your time to take care of yourself and restore your energy, mood, and vitality then Take My Team Up On Their Free Initial Consultation so that together you can sit down and design the right plan for you so that you can take back control of your well being

With love,


Victoria O’Sullivan

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