Specialist expertise: Type 1 & 2 Diabetes, Thyroid Disorders, Adrenal Disorders, Endocrinology.
The adrenal glands are very small organs that sit on top of each kidney. These glands are essential as they produce hormones that your body requires to thrive. One of these hormones is cortisol, which is released in response to stress. Some integrative and naturopathic practitioners, who take a holistic but non-conventional medical approach, have suggested chronic or excessive stress may overwork the adrenal glands and affect their ability to function normally – this phenomenon is referred to by some as “adrenal fatigue”. To clarify, integrative practitioners often have no formal medical training and are typically not considered traditional doctors.
It is important to understand that disorders of the adrenal glands do exist, however, adrenal fatigue is not a diagnosis recognised by medical professionals. This is due to a lack of evidence-based research to support the existence of adrenal fatigue. The Endocrine Society, the largest endocrine organisation in the world, has stated that adrenal fatigue is not a legitimate diagnosis. Members of the organisation are becoming increasingly concerned that if a person is misdiagnosed with adrenal fatigue this may dissuade them from seeking further medical advice, delaying, or preventing an accurate diagnosis from being made. As a result, most endocrinologists and scientists that specialise in glandular and hormonal conditions strongly question the value of adrenal fatigue testing. Specialists have also expressed increasing concern regarding potential treatments for adrenal fatigue, for example, some patients may choose to take self-administered cortisol which can pose a significant health risk when done without professional supervision and guidance.