Ever since completing my training with Dr Dan Kalish in 2011, I utilise his adrenal fatigue treatment method in my practice on a daily basis helping people of all ages from stressed teenagers to adults in their 60s and 70s to restore their energy levels and zest for life. In particular, many clients working in corporate environments who are under stress from working long hours, eating poorly and often skipping meals, lack of sleep and/ or rest, and not exercising enough, are at a high risk of developing adrenal exhaustion at some stage.
It’s estimated that up to 80% of adults experience adrenal fatigue (adrenal burnout or adrenal stress) during their lifetimes, yet it remains one of the most under-diagnosed illnesses in Australia and other developed countries. In fact, the most common cause of any fatigue is adrenal exhaustion. This means that because of some long-term period of stress, your cortisol levels became depleted (see information below).
Even if the stress was in the past you could still be suffering from depleted adrenals right now, having never fully recovered from the effects of that stress. Unfortunately, most conventionally trained doctors are not aware and/ or don’t recognise the adrenal fatigue syndrome and thus are not aware of existing methods restoring adrenal function. Subsequently, many people suffer unnecessary for years with no relief or solution in sight.
What are adrenals and cortisol?
Adrenals are small glands located above each kidney and they produce a number of vital hormones including cortisol, aldosterone, adrenaline, DHEA and sex hormones such as estrogens, progesterone and testosterone (sex hormones are produced in smaller amounts). Cortisol is produced by the adrenals in response to any stress in the body – physical or psychological/ emotional.
Cortisol also has many other essential functions such as stabilising blood sugar, neutralising inflammation and allergies, promoting fat burning, helping regulate emotions, and interacting with the ovarian hormones (estrogen and progesterone) and balancing them. Moreover, it helps to regulate blood pressure and cardiovascular function – most people with adrenal fatigue have a low blood pressure as this is one of the symptoms of having depleted adrenals.
Importantly, cortisol levels rise under stress but if stress continues without enough rest for recovery the adrenal glands become depleted and unable to produce enough. If elevated stress continues for months or years, adequate cortisol levels can no longer be maintained and start to plummet. This has a chain-reaction impact on other hormones, organs and body systems. In short, adrenal hormone production is an indicator of overall body function and an imbalance in this system is a sign of chronic illness. It is therefore vital to address and treat any adrenal dysfunction as a priority.
The Kalish Method overview
The Kalish Method, designed and taught by Dr Daniel Kalish based in the United States, integrates scientific testing with natural health solutions to heal your adrenals and restore their normal function. It’s a clinically validated method that’s been used for a long time, yet most practitioners, both naturopaths and conventional doctors, are still not aware of it.
This adrenal protocol is effective and capable of restoring health in most individuals in as little as six to 12 months. The treatment can be compared to recharging the body’s batteries (adrenals) and this process can last to up to two years in some people who are very depleted having suffered for many years or decades.
When applied in the USA, the Kalish Method adrenal protocol involves replacing the depleted adrenal hormones, including DHEA and the precursor to cortisol called pregnonelone, with bio identical equivalents. In Australia and other countries where DHEA and pregnonelone are not available to be prescribed by natural therapists (these are prescription only products), naturopaths use powerful adaptogenic and adrenal herbs getting consistent results.
Moreover, these herbs have additional beneficial and synergistic actions allowing to address other imbalances at the same time such as digestive issues, hormonal imbalances or impaired liver function, to name a few.
As stated above, the basis of adrenal fatigue/ burnout is prolonged stress and the three main sources of stress in adrenal fatigue are:
- Intense emotional stress – such as the death of someone close, accidents, work or financial stress. According to Dr Kalish, approximately 95% of his patients report having experienced major emotional stress around the time their health began to falter. For example having a second or third child is often a significant source of stress for women and can be a time when the adrenal glands burn out and fatigue starts.
- Poor diet – skipping meals, eating too many carbohydrates and sweets, overusing stimulants such as coffee and soft drinks, indulging in processed foods and generally overeating, will interfere with cortisol production.
- Pain and chronic inflammation – chronic pain substantially depletes cortisol. Muscle pain and fibromyalgia are particularly common in adrenal fatigue.
Unfortunately most of my adrenal fatigue clients have all three factors going on at the same time, making the treatment more complex and hence taking extra time to correct the imbalances.
An abnormal adrenal function also impacts:
- Sleep quality – leading to trouble falling and staying asleep. I have compiled a free guide to sleeping better for individuals with adrenal fatigue, please see the
- Sleep and adrenal fatigue section below for a link to download it.
- Depression, foggy mind and memory problems – up and down moods throughout the day as well as irritability often reflect unstable cortisol levels.
- Muscle and joint function – leading to achy arthritis-type joint pain and neck, shoulder, and lower back pain.
- Weight gain and inability to lose weight – when cortisol is out of balance the body will store fat rather than burn it for fuel.
- Hormonal imbalances – the more stress you are under the more female and male hormones imbalances will occur. Most signs of female hormone imbalances including PMS and menopausal hot flushes can be traced to the adrenal fatigue.
- Digestive problems – manifesting as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion or parasitic infections. One of the most important things that cortisol does is regulating secretory IgA (sIgA is part of the immune system and is often called ‘the first line of defence’) in the gut – see my post on sIgA here.
- Immune function – leading to frequent illness and low sIgA levels exposing the body to assaults from pathogens, viruses and bacteria.
- Skin regeneration – causing wrinkles and premature aging.
- Bone health – promoting osteopenia or bone loss.
- Thyroid function – especially underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). As the cortisol levels go up to cope with prolonged stress, one of the normal body mechanisms is to down regulate thyroid. So, almost everybody with high cortisol is going to have lower than ideal thyroid hormone levels. The good news is that, according to Dr Kalish, more than 90% of the time his adrenal program is enough to restore thyroid function without other medication.
Adrenal fatigue treatment overview and steps
The Kalish Method involves testing the adrenal function by taking four saliva samples over the course of a day. This maps out your circadian rhythm, showing how your cortisol levels rise and fall throughout the day and in the evening. Saliva is collected at approximately four-hour intervals: first thing in the morning upon waking, then at noon, late afternoon, and again at night before going to bed. Both cortisol and DHEA levels are being measured at the same time.
If it is determined that your cortisol levels are too low or too high, the practitioner then develops a personalised program of specific adaptogenic herbs, vitamins and minerals that will help your body to begin again producing cortisol and DHEA on its own. Other hormones, such as testosterone and pregnonelone levels may also be checked and addressed with supplements, if necessary.
Importantly, the test also reveals the level of stress that you’re under and how much you need to focus on the lifestyle changes – which are an integral part of the program. The more advanced the adrenal stress is, the more thorough and careful you have to be about nutrition, sleep, exercise and daily stress management. Stage 3 (the most advanced phase) clients are tired all the time, are unable to lose weight, are depressed, have low sex drive and a multitude of other health problems as stated above.
If you want to find out more about The Kalish Method, watch this video where the natural health physician and Mercola.com founder Dr. Joseph Mercola interviews Dr. Daniel Kalish about “The Kalish Method”.
May 2016 update
Dr. Kalish released a new study with Sue Cutshall and Larry Bergstrom currently practicing at the Mayo Clinic. This research study was conducted using The Kalish Method approach, utilising lab-based supplement programs as well as lifestyle and nutritional counselling. The study showed the positive correlation between a holistic, functional medicine approach to addressing fatigue, stress and digestive orders.
Read the full press release here.
Sleep and adrenal fatigue
Sleeping better is the key to adrenal fatigue recovery; however, it’s one of the most underrated as well as the easiest and most simple things you CAN do to improve your health and energy levels – starting today. There is no way to get around sleep in order to be and stay healthy, and there is no substitute for it.
Having seen many fantastic outcomes of just improving sleep in my clinic, I was compelled to write this short guide to give you the most important, simplest and common sense steps you can do right now to get sounder and more restful sleep tonight.
Free guide: Get a Good Night’s Sleep Tonight!
What you CAN do today to fall asleep easier, sleep longer and wake up rested and refreshed, a step-by-step guide
What will you gain from this guide?
If you’re currently suffering from insomnia and/ or sleep difficulties, especially if they are related to adrenal fatigue, this guide will provide you with what you need to do to sleep better.
In the past I also experienced significant sleep problems myself whilst suffering from severe adrenal fatigue. I spent time researching and applying various remedies and healing strategies to find the answers. Since then I’ve helped many of my clients to sleep well again, utilising the following three keys outlined in the guide:
- Key #1: Nutrition for better sleep
- Key #2: Sleep patterns reset
- Key #3: Daily sleep promoting activities
Your benefits of applying the 3 keys will include:
- Sounder and uninterrupted sleep and rest
- More energy and vitality, feeling refreshed and relaxed
- Clearer thinking, feeling calmer and less stressed
Download the Get a Good Night’s Sleep Tonight! Free Guide here and start sleeping better tonight!
Reversing adrenal burnout is possible and the adrenal fatigue treatment offered by The Kalish Method is very effective. However, it certainly requires individual’s commitment and determination to persevere for a period of time (approximately 6-18 months depending on the stage of adrenal stress).
In addition to a tailored supplementation and nutrition program combined with lifestyle modifications such as improved sleep habits, stress reduction and detoxification – a dose of self-realisation regarding the importance of our emotional and spiritual lives is required and indeed very beneficial. If left unchecked, fluctuations in cortisol have profound effects on your health and wellbeing leaving you with little or no energy to enjoy your life fully.
If you recognise and/ or experience any of the above symptoms and related conditions indicating possible adrenal burnout, please contact me to discuss your concerns and ways of taking the first step to recovery. Although I mostly treat patients who are based in Sydney, many of my clients live in other Australian cities or in the country and we communicate either via Skype or the telephone – find out more here.
At present I’m able to consult with Australia-based clients only; however, I’m currently developing a 3-month adrenal fatigue online program with the aim to share my knowledge and experience in this area with a global audience. Stay tuned!
Start improving your energy, moods and overall health today! I look forward to hearing from you and to helping you to feel healthier and happier soon!
Good health and blessings
Adrenal Fatigue and Digestive Health Expert
Naturopath || Herbalist || Nutritionist || Reiki Practitioner
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Check out other posts here:
- Holy basil: a key herb for stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue
- Magnesium for anxiety, stress, high blood pressure and muscle pain
- Sleep better – Nutrition for better sleep and insomnia
- Low blood pressure – how to raise it naturally
- Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) for healthy gut, digestion and immunity