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AUDIO: Dr. Theodore Friedman - Demystifying Adrenal Fatigue And Adrenal Hormone Roles

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Dr. Friedman, I am doing great, but I hear there are a lot of people who have adrenal fatigue issues that might not be doing so good. So give me an overview. What is adrenal fatigue?

Dr. Theodore Friedman:
Okay, so first this is a very controversial topic, and I think this topic has sort of polarized mainstream endocrinologists, of which I’m certainly mainly in that camp, and the more alternative providers, of which I am open to and I try to work with, but I think in this area, we don’t have enough evidence supporting their claims.

So, let me try to talk about how the adrenal hormones, what they are, what they do, and in what condition they may be low in, and then I’ll try to tie into this idea about adrenal fatigue. So there is clearly a disease, adrenal insufficiency, which is often called Addison’s disease.

Addison’s disease is when the adrenals are attacked by antibodies, and former President John F. Kennedy had Addison’s disease, and he was known as being sort of handsome and bronze. That’s because when your adrenals don’t work, your pituitary makes extra hormone, – the hormone called POMC which increases your skin pigmentation. President Kennedy was eventually placed on cortisol, and he did quite well and led our country to several years of glory as a president.

However, the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency is one that has to be made very clearly and precisely. Let me explain that. So the adrenals make two hormones that are crucial to the health; one is cortisol, and cortisol is a life-threatening hormone. If you have zero cortisol you could potentially die. Cortisol regulates your glucose; that’s what’s called a glucocorticoid. It also is involved in the “flight or fright” response, so, when ancient man was chased by a sabertooth tiger and had to run away, his ACTH made by the pituitary and then his cortisol made by the adrenal glands goes up. So it reacts to stress; it goes up in response to stress.

And Dr. Friedman…

Dr. Theodore Friedman:
It also goes up in the different times of the day; it’s higher in the morning.


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