First of all, what are the adrenal glands? The adrenal glands sit atop both kidneys and produce many hormones.


Adrenal exhaustion has been dubbed the 21st Century epidemic. Few can dispute that we are living at a pace that is much different from our parents secondary to technology, the changing role of our workforce, and our expectation of consumerism beyond that which our parents ever imagined existed. The information age, which helps me immensely, is at times overstimulating and confusing to most.


The adrenal glands produce epinephrine, norepinephrine, DHEA, Pregnenolone, Progesterone, Estrogens, Testosterones, Androstenedione, Cortisol, and Aldosterone. When we are under continuous stress, our levels of Cortisol and DHEA are eventually depleted.


Most think of Cortisol as a “fat builder” because television and magazines portray it as such. There is a multi-billion industry courting you to buy stuff that will make you thin, only one of which is Cortislim. Cortisol is portrayed as a demon which makes you fat. Being chubby is not that simplistic.


The European endocrinologists explain that in our fast paced world our adrenal glands produce too much Cortisol, then our bodies adapt to the continuous stress, then we run out of Cortisol. Now here is where this Cortisol situation gets very interesting. If your adrenals are pooped out, YOU WILL OVEREAT TO PRODUCE CORTISOL. You will especially crave sugar and carbohydrates.


DHEA is another major hormone produced by our adrenal glands. DHEA (Dehydroepiandosterone) is in every single cell of our body. When we are twenty, we have the most DHEA we will ever have. When we are forty, we have one half that amount, and when we are eighty we are running on fumes.  However, replacing DHEA requires working with a physician who understands that DHEA can convert to Androstenedione or Testosterone or Estradiol. As a result, I advise taking 7 Keto DHEA and routinely measure blood levels. DHEA is presently available without a prescription.


There are many ways to replenish our adrenal glands. Firstly, we need to be conscious of the stressors in our life and learn to curtail them. Secondly, good nutrition helps. Somehow, what to eat, and whether or not to take supplements, has become enormously confusing. Thirdly, the Myer’s intravenous “cocktails” help immensely since they contain ten grams of Vitamin C and Pantothenic Acid, both of which are vitally important to replenish our adrenals.


The European endocrinologists take Cortisol when they travel, when they teach physicians fifteen hours a day, and when they feel a cold or influenza brewing. They taught us that when someone has a cold that means their adrenals are exhausted. So I listened and did one of my famous experiments years ago.


I had a rare case of a nasty virus with a raging fever. Antibiotics do nothing for a virus as my patients know. I had to practice for an upcoming ballroom dancing competition. It was 6 pm. So I took a lot of Cortisol. In less than one hour I felt great and no longer had a fever. There was just one little problem because I took too much Cortisol. At midnight, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floors. Our bodies produce about 20 mgs. of Cortisol a day, and taking more was another lesson.


Cortisol is a very weak version of Prednisone, and requires a prescription. My long term patients have it at home in the event they need it. On rare occasions they require an antibiotic which I prescribe.


Updated by Roberta Foss-Morgan, D.O. — March 5, 2008