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Adrenal Fatigue

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    Hey guys,
    I am a senior in college (21 years old, now 146 lbs, 5’7) and was diagnosed with stage 3 adrenal fatigue via a hair analysis in January. My symptoms include very low energy (especially during exercise), acne, constipation, cold hands and feet, facial burning and swelling upon eating foods (especially those high in fat or protein). I started Dr. Lam’s adrenal program in April and started to feel better, but it was really expensive and thought I was spinning my wheels after a few months. I started reading a lot of articles in this blog and was very interested in implementing some of the basics like increasing calories. I raised my calorie intake to around 3,000 to 3,500 calories (had been eating around 1500-2000 calories). Initially I became very warm and started to sweat a lot more during sleep (I never used to sweat even during exercise). I probably started at around 128 pounds and now I am up to 146 (I started increasing my calories in September so almost two months). I did gain some fat, especially on my abdominal area, which is very disappointing as I had been around 5% body fat. However, I did have more energy for a while. Now that I have been doing this for a while, I am starting to experience more cold hands and feet. Maybe its due to more colder temperatures since we are getting more into fall, but I am not sure. Also in the morning, I have a lot of swelling in my face (where I experience reactions to foods), but it dissipates as the morning goes on. Maybe its due to eating more food, but my reactions to foods have increased as far as facial swelling and burning. Has anyone else experienced this? I just kind of lost of what to do next because I absolutely fear the fact I am putting on fat. As far as exercise, I feel low energy most of the time, so walking for just an hour and a half tires me out. I really do not have the energy to do any weight lifting (which I really wish I could do), but I really would like to get rid of some of the fat I accumulated as it makes me feel uncomfortable. I know its probably a part of the healing process, but its frustrating. I just would appreciate if someone could point my in some kind of direction of where to go next. As of now, I have a hair analysis appointment with Dr. Garrett Smith in early November.

    Thanks in advance!


    Hi Isaac,

    I’m not familiar with Dr. Lam’s protocol, so not sure if this will overlap or contradict what you’ve been doing… but… here are some non-official recommendations for you from a fellow Eat4Heater –

    First thing I’d do is invest in a thermometer, and start tracking your temperature. (I like the ear kind, but you have to work with it to get a good consistent temperature reading.) Take your temperature:
    * First thing in the morning
    * Before meals / After meals
    * Before bed
    * Anytime your hands or feet feel cold

    You want to get to a point where your waking temperature is near 98.6F, and at or above that at other times during the day.

    Then before eating, ask yourself “what REALLY sounds good?” (fat, sugar, salt, carbs, protein – i.e. – buttered popcorn, cookies, pretzels, baked potato, big steak) and then feed yourself what sounds good (that’s a good indication that’s what you need). To reduce the risk of gaining weight, dish out a portion of the desired food, eat that, and wait 30 minutes before going back for seconds… assess your hunger on a scale of 0-10, and try to stay between 3 and 7 at all times.

    ALSO after eating, ask yourself “how do I feel?” – sluggish, energized, sleepy, happy, sad, etc.

    See if you can start figuring out what your body needs by the biofeedback signals you’re getting.

    How much water do you drink? Do you drink when you’re not thirsty?

    If you don’t have energy to workout… don’t. Go take a nap instead. Lack of sleep can cause a lot of problems (and being in college almost defines lack of sleep!).

    Good luck with classwork and everything else, too!


    Thanks for the response Tina! I just had one other question. Every time I eat a surplus of calories or any significant amount of fat or protein, my face swells to the shape and roundness of a cantaloupe. This is EXTREMELY frustrating, especially when I am in college. This is also accompanied by a burning/ tingling sensation that doesn’t go away for the rest of the day (only the swelling seems to dissipate a little). I have the most swelling in the morning and just look so puffy. This was happening even when I drank a lot of water (now I only drink when I am thirsty). Should I just avoid any significant amount of fat or is this just the healing process?

    Thanks again,


    I’m not familiar at all with the face swelling symptom. I don’t know what would cause that.
    Did your Doctor have any insights for that? Is it certain foods, like an allergy?

    Would you say you feel uncomfortable after eating fat, then? If that’s the case, I’d probably keep fat levels low – or switch up the type of fat… i.e. do you get the same reaction from eating avocados as from animal fat? Coconut oil would be another different oil to try, or olive oil. I’d stay away from soybean oil and corn oil if you can (highly processed, loaded with inflammatory omega 6’s).

    How much processed food are you eating? Could it be a reaction to some of the preservatives in packaged / pre-made foods? How much food are you able to fix at home where you can control the additives?

    You do need fat in your diet for hormone synthesis, so I wouldn’t advocate a no-fat diet… but maybe experiment a bit and see if you can narrow down the culprit causing the face swelling.

    That doesn’t sound like fun at all.


    I was not eating any processed food until I came acrossed Matt’s blog. Before that time, I was reacting to healthier fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and avocados. I thought “Well nothing else has worked so maybe I will try this.” Today I bought some sugary cereals and some bread just to see how my body reacts to it, since it doesn’t seem to accept the coconut oil and butter. I seen other research that has indicated that a low metabolism can cause reactions to foods that you were able to tolerate for the previous portion of your life. I recently did an allergy test and all of the foods I reacted to (except garlic) were not shown as allergies. I hoping that my upcoming appointment with Dr. Garrett Smith will help because I have been dealing with this for 3 years and it is EXTREMELY frustrating.


    I’m just finishing up a course to become a certified nutritionist.
    Would you like to be one of my guinea pigs and take a nutritional assessment? (part of my homework)

    It would be interesting to see if there are some other symptoms that don’t seem correlated, but that might point to some deficiency. A first guess might be potassium or zinc… but I’d want you to take a look at the list and see what else you might be experiencing and see if certain foods might help balance things out for you.

    I can send it to you via PDF. Drop me an email:
    and I can send it to you. No guarantee I can help, and this is just offered as one friend to another, nothing official.


    Hey Tina,
    I would definitely be interested in taking a nutritional assessment and I would do anything to solve my problems. Is your email instead of because my email would not let me send a message. My email is if you want to send the PDF. I am also an aspiring holistic nutritionist, but I am not sure which program to go into. I am just finishing my undergrad and am majoring in Public Health. I was wondering what program you are in (if you don’t mind me asking) and if you think you would recommend it to others like myself.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond back to my questions!



    Yes, that’s it. I was trying NOT to put my address in plain text, as surfing web-bots will pick it up and sell it. :\

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