Functional Medicine Meridian ID Adrenal Fatigue

Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard of the term adrenal fatigue in Meridian ID, or maybe someone has told you about it previously, but what does it actually look like?


  • You wake up in the morning and need coffee to start your day, because without it you won’t have enough energy to even make breakfast for your kids.
  • You feel okay as the day starts, but then here comes that dreaded 1 pm to 3 pm hours where, without fail, your energy tanks and you start developing this head pressure that is, once again, going to turn into another annoying headache.
  • You try not to have a sweet tooth but it seems no matter what you try, you just can’t shake that craving for sweets and the need for extra salt on food. If any of these sound like you, there’s a chance you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue!

Today we are going to cover:

  1.  What exactly is adrenal fatigue?
  2.  What are some tips to improve it?
  3. How to take your health to the next level?


The adrenals are small little glands that are typically located behind the kidneys. They receive signals from the brain to produce the following:

  • Cortisol
  • Aldosterone
  • Epinephrine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Progesterone
  • Estrogen
  • DHEA
  • Testosterone


Let’s talk about an example of when the adrenals are functioning right. Whenever you start working out, you want your cortisol levels to go up. Because when this happens, your body’s going to break down stored forms of glucose, which will then be used for energy. This is an appropriate usage of cortisol. Let’s imagine that you’re sick and you’re fighting inflammation and an infection and your cortisol goes up because cortisol is an anti-inflammatory. This is, once again, an example of an appropriate use.

Along with cortisol production, you’ll typically get another compound produced called aldosterone. Aldosterone is responsible for helping with sodium-potassium balance. Typically, it’s going to help you keep more sodium than potassium. This is something we see with diabetics and individuals with hypertension; an imbalance within this system. There are even medications that are used to try to balance it out as a result.


Now, on the other end of the spectrum, let’s imagine that you deal with chronic infections where your body’s in a constant state of low-grade inflammation that has your cortisol up. This is not something we really want to see. It’s one thing to see cortisol go up transiently for short periods of time, but whenever it’s up chronically we get issues. Cortisol is a hormone that breaks down things so it not only breaks down stored forms of glucose to be used for energy, but it breaks down the tissues in your muscles, bones, and ultimately even your brain. We will get into more information about what cortisol does to your brain specifically a little later.

When females are going through menstrual cycles, progesterone is produced by the adrenals for the first part of their cycle, and in the second part it shifts to somewhere else. When a female goes through menopause or when they have a surgically induced menopause because of a hysterectomy. Now all of a sudden their ovaries aren’t producing the estrogen and the part called the corpus luteum isn’t producing progesterone either. This means the adrenals get called into action sooner than they should.

Normally the adrenals really shouldn’t be called upon for constant hormone production till you’re in your 50s. If this happens beforehand, this can create a stressor on the adrenals, which ultimately can stress the entire body.

So, that’s a brief primer of what the adrenals are and what they do.


Now that we’ve talked about exactly what the adrenals are and what they do, let’s talk a little bit more about what some symptoms are of the adrenals.

As we mentioned previously, there can be:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Salt cravings
  • Difficulties getting up in the morning and needing to be on caffeine, or else nothing’s going to get done.


I want to go a little bit further and talk about the breakdown of the brain as I’d mentioned earlier. Because our cortisol rhythm is ultimately determined by our brain, our brain signals down and says okay, let’s produce cortisol. When cortisol is chronically elevated, it actually causes a part of our brain known as the hippocampus to shrink.

The hippocampus is responsible for learning and memory, so when people are chronically stressed, they start saying:
Man, I just feel like my brain’s not connecting right. I’m having conversations with people and I feel dumb because I know what word I want to say but yet, whenever I’m ready to say it, it just tends to slip from my mind and I can’t find it.
I feel like my memory is going downhill. I’m walking into rooms and I don’t remember why I did.
I put my keys somewhere and honestly, it takes me 5 to 10 minutes to even find them.

This is because of the negative effects that too much cortisol has on your brain.


Outside of the brain, it does also impact weight and you can get a redistribution of weight specifically within your abdomen.


When we’re looking at evaluating the adrenals the best way to really evaluate is using a salivary cortisol test. This tells us what’s happening within the rhythm. It’s not always just you’ve got too much or you’ve got too little. It’s that you don’t have the right balance and rhythm for what you should have throughout the day. This is going to impact a lot of things and make you feel off. So you want to look for salivary cortisol testing.


Typically if you’re having a morning crash and you just can’t start the day or having an afternoon crash, exercising during that time, even for 10 minutes, is a really good idea. Odds are you’ve got a low cortisol curve at that point in time and exercise is one of the best ways to get it back up.

Take time for yourself to de-stress, let things calm down, and settle. You weren’t meant to be under constant pressure all the time. In the past it was, okay we need to kill an animal to eat. That takes a period of time, but outside of that, then you have a true down period of time. But in our current society because of technology, jobs, and so many other things that we try to do for our kids. With what we consider being excellent parents, we’re actually tearing down our bodies because we’re doing too much and there’s too much constant pressure. I can’t state that one enough, because this one makes or breaks people.

Make sure that you’re getting up in the morning, going out, and getting some sunlight to let your body know this is morning. Also, on the other end of the spectrum, go to bed at a good time. Turn off the electronics because the electronics and the blue lights are going to cause an increase in your cortisol which can impact your ability to sleep. This will cause your mind all of sudden to start racing even though you’re dead tired and ready to go to sleep


If as you’re reading this, you start saying to yourself, wow, this really sounds like me.

You think you definitely have these issues but you’re just not really sure where to go. Maybe youI’ve got an idea of what questions to ask but really need expert help. We are here to help you!

What we do is look at your body as a whole and we say what is going on. One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is they find someone who’s an expert in one area, but they can’t connect the dots with the body as a whole. So if your adrenals are off, but if you also have blood sugar, thyroid, or concussion issues this complicates it. Recovery is no longer just about the adrenals but tying all of these together.

If you’re ready to take your health to the next level, book your free health strategy session with one of my team members today!