Welcome to today’s post, the first in a two-part update meant to expose the most widely discussed myths and misconceptions concerning adrenal fatigue syndrome. The more research I do on the subject, the more I find it amazing how many people know so very little about the condition. Lack of knowledge can lead to poor decision making, and poor decision making can have a detrimental effect on your body’s ability to appropriately recover from adrenal fatigue. Unfortunately, many of the myths we’ll expose are leveraged by the “pill pushing” crowd to get you to buy more ineffective and overrated supplements. As they say, “don’t believe the hype.” Arm yourself with knowledge and know the difference between adrenal fatigue fact and fiction.

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Myth 1: Adrenal fatigue is psychological in nature.

This is a common misconception promoted by mainstream Western medicine. Proponents of this theory suggest that one can think him or herself in or out of having a fatigue problem. The fact, supported by numerous medical studies, is that adrenal fatigue is biochemical in nature. Meaning, the fatigue or burnout of the adrenal glands and stress placed on the overall endocrine system compromise the body’s ability to fully digest and process vital nutrients, thereby exacerbating the adrenal fatigue condition. All good adrenal fatigue recovery programs begin with foundational nutritional and digestive analysis.  

Myth 2: Adrenal fatigue and burnout occur mostly in men.

The evidence suggests that while adrenal fatigue can occur in both males and females women, in general, experience fatigue at a higher level than women. While many theories have made the rounds related to why more women than men experience fatigue symptoms, the reality is that we may never know why with 100% certainty. The key element for women is to recognize the propensity for adrenal fatigue is higher and take appropriate steps to proactively address the condition.

Myth 3: Adrenal fatigue and burnout only occur in adults.

Again, the evidence suggests that children are increasingly experiencing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. More and more natural practitioners are seeing and treating kids for nutritional deficiencies, behavioral problems, and chronic illnesses. Take steps to proactively address your child’s environment as it relates to minimizing stress and starting him or her on the path to sound nutritional and lifestyle practices.

Myth 4: The most effective way to treat adrenal fatigue syndrome is via supplementation.

This myth is a touchy subject, but an important one for our consideration. I recently completed a search engine analysis of the words adrenal fatigue syndrome. The purpose of the analysis was to identify what words people are using when searching for information about adrenal fatigue on the internet. Guess what? The second most common search related to adrenal fatigue is the exact phrase “adrenal fatigue supplements.” We’ve discussed this a bit in the past, but it bears repeating here. Supplements should at best be only a portion of your adrenal fatigue recovery process. Many people prefer the idea of a quick fix. Unfortunately, many supplement companies capitalize on the quick fix mentality and market “pill-popping” aggressively. For the vast majority of people suffering from adrenal fatigue, the recovery process will not be a quick fix. An optimal recovery program, preferably under the supervision of a qualified natural practitioner or progressive M.D., should include dietary changes, physical activity changes, appropriate supplementation and stress reduction exercises.

Myth 5: Individuals recovering from adrenal fatigue should exercise regularly and aggressively.

This myth is a dangerous one. The premise is that exercise reduces stress and as such, exercise is a positive in the recovery process. Making matters more complex is that exercise will indeed provide a short-term mood boost and a short-term increase in energy. The issue is that the energy produced in the exercise process is unsustainable in the individual recovering from adrenal fatigue. Exercise should be an element in the recovery process but should be done in a controlled manner.

Myth 6: A detoxification program should always be the first part of the adrenal fatigue recovery process.

The concept of body detoxification has gained more popularity in recent years. Many subscribe to the theory that toxins in the body inhibit the recovery from adrenal fatigue. While an overload of toxins will cause problems in the recovery process, many individuals upon diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, lack sufficient energy to execute an effective detox program. This may not make a detoxification program a good idea.