Adrenal fatigue or hypoadrenia is a pseudo-scientific term used by alternative medicine providers to suggest that the adrenal glands are exhausted and unable to produce adequate quantities of hormones, primarily cortisol, due to chronic stress or infections.[1] There is no scientific basis for the existence of adrenal fatigue, and the term should not be confused with a number of actual forms of adrenal dysfunction such as adrenal insufficiency or Addison's disease.[1][2]

The term "adrenal fatigue" was invented in 1998 by chiropractor James Wilson and applied to a collection of mostly non-specific symptoms.[1][3] There is no evidence supporting the concept of adrenal fatigue, and it is not a valid diagnosis recognized by the scientific or medical communities.[1][2] Neither the condition nor the symptoms have any stable or recognized definition.[3] A systematic review found no evidence for the condition, supporting the consensus among mainstream endocrinologists that it is a myth.[4]

Blood or salivary testing is sometimes offered, but there is no evidence that adrenal fatigue exists and it cannot be tested for.[1][3][5] The concept of adrenal fatigue has given rise to an industry of dietary supplements marketed to treat the supposed condition. These supplements are largely unregulated in the U.S., are ineffective, costly, and in some cases may be dangerous.[3][5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Shah, Rachna; Greenberger, Paul A. (2012-05-01). "Chapter 29: Unproved and controversial methods and theories in allergy‐immunology". Allergy and Asthma Proceedings. 33 (3): 100–102. doi:10.2500/aap.2012.33.3562. ISSN 1088-5412. PMID 22794702. There is no scientific basis for the existence of this disorder and no conclusive method for diagnosis
  2. ^ a b Whitbourne, Kathryn (February 7, 2021). "Adrenal Fatigue: Is It Real?". WebMD. Metcalf, Eric. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  3. ^ a b c d Gavura, Scott (October 28, 2010). "Fatigued by a Fake Disease". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  4. ^ Cadegiani, Flavio A.; Kater, Claudio E. (24 August 2016). "Adrenal fatigue does not exist: a systematic review". BMC Endocrine Disorders. 16 (1): 48. doi:10.1186/s12902-016-0128-4. ISSN 1472-6823. PMC 4997656. PMID 27557747.
  5. ^ a b Ross, Ian L.; Jones, Jay; Blockman, Marc (2018-08-28). "We are tired of 'adrenal fatigue'". South African Medical Journal. 108 (9): 724–725. doi:10.7196/SAMJ.2018.v108i9.13292. ISSN 2078-5135. PMID 30182895. S2CID 52155559.