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Have you gained weight as a result of adrenal fatigue (low cortisol levels)? How did you lose it, or manage it?

By March 3, 2009 - 8:03pm
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My Dr. tells me that until I heal my adrenals, my metabolism isn't functioning. I have gained a lot of weight (15-20 lbs), mostly around the middle. I used to run marathons and am fairly active, but am told that I should not do anything aerobic right now. How can I shed this unwanted weight?

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EmpowHER Guest

I am curious to know what anyone thinks about situation. I can relate to a few things on here. I am 26 years old and have been suffering from extreme fatigue for a couple of years now. I go to a Chiropractor and he has had me do a saliva test which showed that my cortisol is extremely low. I have also done blood testing which showed that my thyroid is fine, but that my testosterone levels are on the higher side of normal and my estrogen is a lot higher than my progesterone. I have weight around my mid section, which doesn't seem to correlate with low cortisol. My Chiropractor has me taking a B complex, adrenal herb supplement and array of other vitamins. We are at a loss in what to do. If anyone knows what might be going on please assist. Thanks

January 27, 2015 - 5:38pm
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

One possible cause for chronic fatigue is iron deficiency anemia, which is a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues.

Anonymous, schedule an appointment with a internist, who can order blood tests to check your hemoglobin and hematocrit.

Another possible cause is vitamin D deficiency. Some research links a deficiency of vitamin D to chronic fatigue syndrome.

Causes include having a milk allergy, following a strict vegetarian meal plan, and having darker skin (the pigment melanin reduces the skin's ability to make vitamin D from sunlight). For some people, their digestive tract cannot absorb vitamin D well. For others, the kidneys have trouble converting the nutrient to its active form. And being overweight makes vitamin D less available for use in the body.

Again a blood test can be ordered to check your vitamin D level.

Collecting a salivary sample for cortisol measurement is a convenient way to determine whether the normal rhythm of cortisol production is altered. If one or more of these tests confirms that there is abnormal cortisol production, then additional testing and radiologic imaging may be ordered.

I am very concerned that your chiropractor made a diagnosis and prescribed treatment based solely on the saliva test.

Your cortisol levels should be checked with a blood test.

Causes of low cortisol levels include problems that affect the adrenal glands directly. These include Addison's disease and a tuberculosis infection of the adrenal glands. Problems with the pituitary glands can affect the adrenal glands and cause low cortisol levels.

Anonymous, I really don't think a chiropractor is the right health care professional to treat this symptom.


February 2, 2016 - 10:04am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi betsy can u give me d details for this woman who helped u in your thyroid and adrenals??? I m freaking out with weight

July 31, 2014 - 9:21am
EmpowHER Guest

I am 37 and was diagnosed with hormonal imbalance and adrenal fatigue. I lost my dad to mesothelioma the day my daughter was 3 months old, Thanksgiving 2007. For nearly 6 years, I developed chronic stress, inability to cope, and a whirlwind of medications that didn't help. 3 years ago slowly stopped meds with dr. help. 3 months ago, Cindy Smith at Reeves-Sain wellness in Murfreesboro, TN, diagnosed my problem via saliva testing. As it turns out, all of my hormones were significantly low....like a 65 year female going through menopause. I wasn't shocked. I began progesterone, DHEA, and adrenal supplements (Dr. James Wilson's regimen). After 3 days, of tx, my mom passed unexpectedly (11/5). So, here goes the roller coaster again. I will have to say that my supplements must be working at least a little b/c I still get up, get going, and put on make-up (haha). I am just wondering if I am the only one out there my age that is experiencing this. --37 in Bell Buckle, TN

January 15, 2014 - 8:00am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Your story sounds similar to mine. I know it's been a year and a half since you posted, but I'm wondering how you are doing? I too take DR.Wilsons and my DHEA and progesterone were in the toilet when I was diagnosed (finally) with adrenal fatigue. Not sure if you would see a notification of my response but would love to compare notes on the recovery journey. I'm only 7mths in to even knowing that Adrenal Fatigue is a thing... :(

July 28, 2016 - 9:57am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I have had the same type of issues u ladies have mentioned. I come from a very large family in last several years we have lost 90% of our family. I had a hysterectomy young then suffered loss of mother dad had died years before I was 32 when I had hysterectomy. After years of no hormones at all my ovary somehow grew back produced some hormones but would have cysts to form and burst. At that same time I had a bad accident which required 8 surgeries to correct including most to my eye socket which was crushed. I got through all that and started hormonal implants in Nashville worked great for a while but levels would drop fast and I started having chronic kidney stones. The last two years I was somehow overdosed with hormonal implants twice which was horrible until the pellets worked their way out of my system so I was scared to go back. Now after 5 months with no hormones I had no energy found a holistic doc who sent me to a place in ky for bioidentical hormones a cream and many other vitamins. They said I had low cortisol and adrenal issues I'm on new refining starting today. I have 7 herniated discs which I get epidural or injection therapy every three months for could those have caused the problems at all they use steroids?

February 4, 2017 - 2:23pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am 39 and I suffer the same thing, my journey has just began. I had a kidney stone removed in 2007. From then on I have been gaining weight like wildfire.. I couldn't get any doctor to listen to me, well until 2013 when I had a heart attack. But yet I was to young, nothing is wrong. Went to my gyno and told him. I cried and told that I have no desire to live anymore. I was 120 lbs up from my normal weight. My skin had gone bad, I was breaking out like I was 15 again. And my whole body hurt so bad all the time. I had no energy to even get out of bed. My gyno did some blood work and found several things WAY out of whack. And it has been a relief to me,he so many ways I've finally got someone to listen. Someone is on my side. Hopefully they can get me worked out I prya to the good Lord above. Annoyed in Florence Alabama

February 2, 2016 - 8:01am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

No. You not the only one. After taking care of my mom for several years I found her in our home. She passed April 1,2008
I tried to deal with it without any help. A year later I ended up with a severe case of pneumonia that stayed for three months. I gained several hundred pounds and have been told by 5 Dr that it was because of what I was eating. They could not understand that I was starving myself. I just found out that my thyroid level is on the border and my cortisol level is 0.5 when it is supposed to be 6-20.

October 14, 2014 - 10:42pm

HI there I have just joined up and think this is a very useful site so here goes I have been feeling ill for years now and the doc keeps saying its stress and arthritis i go to docs so often they all know my name how sad is that ha. Well now I have to go back tomorrow as my morning cortisol are high at last something shows up I am sure they think I am a hypo as a kid I was on massive doses of steroids for my asthma till I was 17 i asked the doc could that be part of the problem this doc then did this test.

October 9, 2011 - 1:49am
EmpowHER Guest

I would highly recommend reading up on the Maffetone Method by Dr. Phil Maffetone. In his book he talks about the physiological effects of both aerobic and anaerobic excercise. As an (ex)Ironman triathlete, I realize, after reading his books, how much damage I have done to my body by poor training methods. All of my intense training has caused burnout - adrenal fatigue. Training at anaerobic levels too often led me to be a carbohydrate burning machine - according to Maffetone, I did not allow my body to use fat for energy during workouts, I depended on cokes and gels. Therefore, my sugar cravings became insatiable. After a torn achilles and surgery, my weight sky-rocketed and so did my cravings.

Today I work on only my aerobic "engine" so that I don't cause undue adrenal stress. Training purely aerobically causes several physiological adaptations that anaerobic exercise cannot, appropriate fat-burning being one of them. Another benefit of pure aerobic training is fortifying of the tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and development of the necessary blood vessels to nourish those tissues during exercise. Jumping into anaerobic exercise without the proper development of the aerobic system can also cause injuries because the body has not had time to adapt. There is so much more in Maffetone's books...

There is a time and place for anaerobic exercise, but I won't be doing it any time soon. Hope this helps!

March 16, 2009 - 12:17pm
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