how to reverse adrenal fatigue

10 steps to reverse adrenal fatigue

Exactly 80 years ago, the budding Hungarian medical graduate Dr Hans Selye was credited for bringing the word “stress” into our vocabulary. His defining discovery was that any form of toxic insult on the body, be it foreign chemicals, physical trauma or emotional upset, produced very similar and reproducible effects that he termed the “General Adaptation Syndrome” (GAS). The three common findings that this syndrome produced were enlarged adrenal glands, dampened immune system function and stomach ulcers.

So what then is “adrenal fatigue”? Dr James Wilson coined this term to describe his patients who had observable signs of chronic stress. The term was also used to differentiate it from Addison’s disease, which is when the complete depletion of stress hormones requires lifelong hormone replacement.

When it comes to treatment, the question to ask is this: does taking “adrenal support” supplements really fix the problem? In my mind, it is akin to topping up a leaking fuel tank in your car with more petrol! Doesn’t it make sense to identify where the leak is coming from?

This blog will discuss the three different types of adrenal fatigue sufferers, and the 10 steps to follow to help you uncover the underlying causes.

The three types of adrenal fatigue sufferers

  1. Wired and tired. You have high levels of cortisol levels throughout the day.
  2. The mixed pattern. You begin with low levels of morning cortisol which peak in the middle of the day. If this is you then you are in trouble and need help.
  3. The flatliner. There is virtually no cortisol released throughout the entire day .. This is the final consequence of adrenal fatigue and is characterised by pain, extreme tiredness and acute sensitivity to stress. You are the hardest person to treat.

The three factors that cause adrenal fatigue

adrenal fatigue causes

There are only three key factors that lead to adrenal fatigue. Identifying these factors and addressing the underlying cause will give you the best opportunity to reclaim your health and vitality.

The three factors are your lifestyle choices, environmental challenges and your own “host response” to the stressful events.

With that in mind, here are 10 steps to help reverse adrenal fatigue (starting with the most actionable):

Lifestyle factors

Step #1

: Correct dietary factors and your leaky gut.

Step #2:

Sort out your interpersonal relationships:
Relationships can get messy and take a toll on your stress hormones.

Step #3:

Check and improve your sleep quality
Poor sleeping habits and lifestyle choices burn out your stress hormones. Read this earlier blog to help you sleep like a baby.

Step #4:

Treat and manage chronic pain appropriately.

Environmental challenges

Environmental factors take more time to assess but are equally important as they are persistent insults that attack your body.

Step #5:

Eliminate mould and air-quality problems

Step #6:

Clear out your chemical overload

By chemical overload we are referring to both the millions of chemicals we manufacture on our planet that intentionally or accidentally end up inside our bodies. It’s often the exposures that we don’t know that are making us sick.

Your host response

It is akin to topping up a leaking fuel tank in your car with more petrol! Doesn’t it make sense to identify where the leak is coming from?

Uncovering the third-level factors affecting your adrenal glands will almost certainly require the help of a knowledgeable health professional. Are they necessary? If the previous six steps have done little to improve your wellbeing and energy levels, then read on!

Step #7:

Treat chronic infections

I did not mention this step earlier in the blog for a specific reason: Unless your lifestyle and environmental factors have been sorted, trying to “cure” a chronic infection through antibiotics, antivirals or other means will prove futile.

Your chronic infections are here to stay unless such factors as your leaky gut caused by allergies and malnutrition, unhealthy sleep habits and chemical burdens on your body are taken care of first.

Here it’s worth asking yourself: What health issues have I been dealing with that have led me to “hold onto” chronic infections?

Step #8:

Get your airway assessed

It should come as no surprise that, as a dentist, breathing and airway would be featured in this blog. Healthy brains need just three things to function well: adequate oxygen intake, glucose and mental stimulation.

Step #9:

Correct imbalances in your thyroid and pancreas.

Credit for this step goes to Dr Andrew Heyman, who I recently heard speak in Sydney about how our bodies function in “triads”. The most important being the interplay of the thyroid, pancreas and adrenal glands.

Your adrenals may just be compensating for a malfunctioning thyroid or poor blood-sugar control by pumping out more stress hormones.

Step #10:

Specific genetic testing

By testing for specific genetic mutations you can uncover how well your body is able to make energy and also extract active nutrients from the food we eat.


Are you feeling stuck and suspect that adrenal fatigue is affecting you? If so, then NOW is the time to seek assistance from your health professional and start living! Sadly, too many of us have stopped listening to our inner voice and wisdom of our bodies. In short:

“We find it easier to revert to our child-like state by relying on people, popular media and trendy “biohacks” to kick start our health.”

Regain your courage to get your health on track and consider the words of the creative genius Theodore Geisel (aka Dr Seuss):

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Dr Nader Malik

Dr Nader Malik

Dr Nader Malik is a cosmetic and integrative dentist whose core treatment philosophy is to make a visible difference to the lives of his patients so that they can be inspired to laugh, smile and share the same experience with others! As a whole-body dentist, he focuses on understanding and treating the strong links between the teeth and the rest of the body. He also enjoys working with medical doctors and allied health professionals to ensure the best outcomes for his patients. Dr Malik practises at Our Medical Dental in Penrith, NSW Australia.

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