Adrenal Fatigue Scam or How to Cure Stress
Psoriasis going hand in hand with adrenal fatigue is a well known fact. A lot of people with psoriasis consider stress the single biggest contributing factor to their psoriasis.
Can psoriasis and adrenal fatigue be cured?
Yes stress can be cured. The common underlying problem with the whole stress problem, anti-stress supplements and avoiding stressful situations in not understood at all. The solution lies in resolving the underlying cause what is bad perception of stress by our bodies – physiologically. It is not only about our psychological mindset, it is about the biochemistry that runs deep in our cells that make us stressed out by any minor stressful situation.
I am always trying to differentiate between “stressful situations” which you can avoid and the “perception of stress” when you are unfortunately encountered with some “stressful situation”.
That “perception of stress” is very dysregulated in condition which is misleadingly called “adrenal fatigue” – what actually means that adrenals are not able to quickly and in the right way respond to the environmental changes – “stressful situations”. It is the same as when you are tired you are angry over anything what results in the “stress (as physiologically detrimental and immunosuppressive state of the matter)” for your body. So we should make the differences between the “stressful situations” and the body abilities to “perceive the stress the right way” and eventually the “stress” as the result for our physical body (cells).
HPA axis controls it all
Most of us who consider ourselves stressed are not just stressed but also in vicious circle of chronic HPA axis dysregulation due to deficiencies, infections and mostly our diet and bad digestion. Bad digestion and high polysaccharide diet is what causes the fungal overgrowth what leads to blood sugar swings and eventually may end up as HPA axis dysfunction or “adrenal fatigue” what is really bad term in my opinion.
I mean if your HPA axis (cooperation of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenals) does not work properly then even the minor stressful situation or situation when you need to decide about something will make you really stressed out, even makes you sweating, your hart racing and you will be shaking. It is not because that situation is so bad – it is because your body is not capable to decide what is so bad and what is not.
It is the same as if you are in rush and suddenly it is difficult to do things that you can do without any problem usually. It is because of all those stress related hormones in your blood that can make you easily fight or run but not to concentrate on more complicated things that need more brain capacity and thinking.
However many people likely most of them say that their psoriasis developed in stressful period of their lives or shortly after. This is also another clue that would suggest psoriasis as immune deficiency rather than overreactive immune system. Stress is extremely immunosuppressive not the opposite. And I think that suppressed immune system is just like bad as hyperactive/overreactive immune system.
Although we have to differ between the overreactive immune system and too strong immune system. Having the overreactive immune system does not always mean strong immune system – like in case of allergies. But the truth is that if you have a lot of inflammatory cytokines in your body – you may experience less seasonal infectious illnesses.
Stress hormones in psoriatics vs healthy people
There is one interesting study from Iran where researchers studied the significance of stress related hormones in people with psoriasis. The study “THE SIGNIFICANCE OF STRESS HORMONES IN PSORIASIS”  concluded this (excerpt from the abstract):
“…Whilst the pathogenesis of psoriasis is not known, psychological stress has been
implicated as a potential trigger in the onset and exacerbation of the condition.
As activation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA)
is critical to a successful stress response, we investigated this in patients with psoriasis. This study was
performed on 55 patients (40 females and 15 males) visited our clinic for treatment of psoriasis in
pharmacology department. We measured the rate of activation of HPA by hormonal changes. These
patients displayed higher fasting blood sugar (FBS), epinephrine (Ep), adrenocorticotropin hormone
(ACTH), aldosterone, prolactin, growth hormone and estradiol hormones value but diminished cortisol
and corticotropin releasing factor (CRF). These results show that HPA and psychoneuroendocrine
hormones have a significant role in psoriasis.”
As the authors write – ACTH hormone is the best marker for endocrine stress. It reaches the maximum level in the first hour of stress so it is better indicator than the cortisol which is at its highest levels during the second hour of stress period.
However we can go even deeper into this stress problem and ask what causes the ACTH levels to rise? The answer is CRF (corticotrophin releasing factor) also called CRH (corticotrophin releasing hormone) which one effect is stimulation of the ACTH release.
Specifically in psoriasis the study proved that our adrenal glands do not respond properly to ACTH signals from pituitary gland.
That is the possible cause why pituitary gland produces much more ACTH to stimulate the adrenal glands (to produce cortisol) in psoriatics than in healthy person. Hypothalamus produce less CRF in people with psoriasis than in healthy persons probably due to the fact that pituitary gland responds well and produce even more ACTH than in healthy person.
The problem lies downstream where despite high levels of ACTH in the blood adrenal glands don’t respond properly by corticosteroids production – cortisol.
Now most people would probably say “let’s supply the cortisol orally as a drug”. I would say that it is just a masking of symptom that will eventually bring another problems.
Just think about it: adrenal glands do not response to ACTH signals = low cortisol production, so we will take the cortisol as drug.
The problem is not LOW CORTISOL in the body. The problem is that adrenal glands do not listen to ACTH signals from pituitary gland.
That problem won’t be solved by taking cortisol in a pill. ACTH stimulates more than just cortisol production so taking the cortisol as a drug will “perfectly” mask on part of the problem but do nothing for cure.
Yes some people clear up their psoriasis or some other “autoimmune” disease by taking the cortisol but if it would really work for everybody or most of the people long-term we wouldn’t face these debilitating diseases that affect millions of people today.
So why adrenal glands won’t listen to ACTH signals? Maybe because the receptors are blocked by some toxin, maybe because bacterial or fungal toxins block the various enzymes in the cells, maybe because the cells are deficient in some nutrient that is needed to “understand” the ACTH signals, maybe because of cells are dysregulated by some other biochemical pathway (hormonal imbalances), etc…
Adrenal fatigue is actually adrenal dysregulation
Adrenal fatigue is usually nothing else than dysregulation and not actual fatigue. Labeling the health problem is always bad – both in allopathic and naturopathic medicine. Now there are millions of people all over the worlds who think that their adrenal glands are really fatigued.
If there is no physical damage to the adrenal cells (adrenal cortex or adrenal medulla cells) then functioning adrenal glands are just a matter of days or weeks at most.
Our organs can not be fatigued – then we would be dead in just a few days or minutes – in case of fatigued brain or heart.
When we are tired we go to sleep and after a few hours we wake up refreshed and the same is with our organs. They are or at least should be refreshed – that is the whole purpose of sleep – to regenerate the body, organs and tissues. So there is not such a thing as adrenal fatigue – there is only adrenal dysregulation.
And it can be caused and is caused mostly by toxicity from SIBO, dental infections, parasites and fungus as well as deficiency of vitamins and minerals (B-complex, magnesium, zinc).
Toxins from bacteria or fungus can block critical enzymes in the body which affect the corticosteroids production (cortisol, aldosterone) or block the receptors on the cells of adrenal glands what can lead to adrenal dysregulation – not fatigue.
Also those toxins hugely affect the blood sugar levels and effectiveness of insulin what leads to very underrated, overlooked and very common condition called hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar affects everything – hunger, mood, energy levels, metabolism…
Actually blood sugar swings can be the cause why you wake up in the night with heart palpitation. Racing heart is often caused by your adrenals when they kick in to produce cortisol in order to get your blood glucose levels up – to keep you alive. Something similar is when you are going to sleep and after a while you feel not tired and can not fall asleep – “tired but wired”. In this case it is very probable that your adrenals suddenly released the adrenaline and cortisol also to raise your blood sugar level.
If the cortisol makes the body break down too much sugar then your pancreas starts to produce insulin to store that free sugar (gets the blood sugar down). That makes all body systems not regulated and it seems like it is vicious loop when one organ is trying to fix the problem caused by some other.
So your adrenal glands may not be really physically damaged (damaged cells) – they are usually just able to work since they produce cortisol. But they are dysregulated and therefore all those animal adrenal tissue extracts with animal corticosteroids in them that are commonly taken by many people may not be the best option for you.
A lot of adrenaline in the blood during longer periods of time makes one develop some anxiety disorder from permanent “fear state of the body and mind”.
Too much cortisol in the blood is responsible for breakdown of the tissues (muscles, joints,…) and lack of effectiveness of the repairing mechanisms due to inhibition of inflammation what is the critical part of repairing processes.
Posttraumatic stress disorder connection
There are many people who can say when their “adrenal fatigue” symptoms started – usually those with Posttraumatic stress disorder also called Posttraumatic stress syndrome. Yes, PTSD is also just a form of “adrenal fatigue” or adrenal dysregulation with very similar symptoms and HPA axis problems.
The onset of PTSD is usually after some experiencing some traumatic event.
And if it is possible that the adrenal glands may get to become fatigued from one event – some major physical or psychical stress – then you have to admit that adrenal fatigue is actually dysregulation.
Adrenal glands can not get really fatigued and be like that for years just from one short major stress – but surely they can get seriously dysregulated as part of the HPA axis. And since they are the master control glands of Fight-or-Flight response you can get into big trouble when they are not able to bring the body back to its natural homeostasis after the stress situation is away.
If the adrenal glands hold you permanently in Fight-or-Flight state instead of the Rest-Digest-Repair you perceive any minor stressful situation or even common daily situations as very stressful what makes the adrenal glands working even harder and more towards the Fight-or-Flight response.
Then you are in vicious circle when your immune system, digestion, repairing mechanisms, etc.. go downwards what eventually leads to many diseases – one of them is psoriasis.
But the adrenal glands are still not fatigued – they are dysregulated. And subsequently the whole body and organs get dysregulated therefore you develop – heartburn, low bile acids, muscle spasms, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, weight gain or weigh loss, CFS, OCD, anxiety, depression, blood sugar swings and diabetes, insomnia, low energy levels, fatigue, ….
In those developed chronic degenerative diseases pathogens may play and usually play a role but the underlying problem is very often dysregulated adrenal glands. So the point is to heal the adrenal glands not to suppress or try to cure separately the diseases that developed afterwards.
Repairing the dysregulated HPA axis and adrenals
The first thing is to supply the deficiencies – B-complex vitamins are commonly used for stress since they play a huge role in adrenal glands.
Then we have to address the dental infections what is critical for healthy body. You will get nowhere with your health when there is rotting tooth in your mouth. Those bacterial toxins are so powerful that it is actually impossible to be healthy with those toxins circulating in your blood – it is just a matter of time when the toxins become the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
Taking care of SIBO is also the top priority but it should be done after you resolved the deficiencies like B-complex and dental infections. In order to resolve the SIBO you have to have working stomach (proper acid production), pancreas has to produce enough of enzymes and commonly missed fact in most articles on the internet is that the final saccharide digestion is dependent on small intestine villi enzymes. Villi are producing the enzymes that break down the disaccharides to monosaccharides that can be absorbed into the blood as fuel for the cells. And as we know leaky gut and small intestine damage is almost 100% in people not just with some chronic disease but in everybody who eats the modern standard diets – processed foods with high starch content and food additives.
The fruit contains the monosaccharides and that is why they are welcomed to be the staple of your diet especially when your energy needs are higher due to physical work or sport workouts.
You really have to eat enough of calories not like many of those raw foodists who look healthy excluding one substantial fact – they are skinny. And it does not look healthy at all and there are no tribal people or those who eat their native diets nowhere in the world that are so skinny. Many raw foodists should eat more and mostly saccharides from fruit.
The great supplements for adrenal glands and dysregulated HPA axis are: B-complex, vitamin C, vitamin D3, vitamin K complex and herbs like Neem leaf and oregano oil to fight off fungus, SIBO and clear the lymphatic system. Detoxification of the body and cleaning the lymphatic system is very important mostly if the problem were present for a long time like years.
Specifically for adrenal glands there are adaptogen herbs like Liquorice (glycyrrhizin), Eleuthero, Rhodiola, Astragalus, Schizandra and Ashwagandha.
Diet is better to be monosaccharide based due to bacteria and fungus that wait in your intestines to feed on undigested starches and disaccharides.
You can check also the videos of doctor Robert Morse, ND – https://www.youtube.com/user/robertmorsend – whose main healing idea lies in eating raw fruits mostly due to its high energy content in form of simple sugars and cleaning the lymphatic system. Simple sugars are easily absorbed into the bloodstream so they do not need any enzymatic breakdown in order to be properly absorbed. Starches and polysaccharides need the enzymes which weakened body does not produce in needed amounts to break down the chemical bonds in order to absorb the simple sugars.
1.) F. Z. Zangeneh and A. Fazeli. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF STRESS HORMONES IN PSORIASIS. Acta Medica Iranica 2008; 46(6): 485-488.