By Alfred J. Plechner, D.V.M.

Adrenal Fatigue or Adrenal Exhaustion is a term that is used by the health care professionals for people and for animals suffering from a myriad of different subtle debilitating diseases.

In general it is believed that the adrenal glands are exhausted and lose their ability to produce their vital regulatory hormones.

The main adrenal hormone that seems to be involved is thought to be a deficiency in glucocorticoid production.

Wikipedia reports that the Adrenal Fatigue "may be applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms however there is no scientific evidence, supporting the concept of Adrenal Fatigue and it is not recognized as an actual diagnosis by the medical community (1).

This is distinct from the recognized form of adrenal dysfunction such as adrenal insufficiency or Addison's Disease (2)".

"Blood and salivary testing is sometimes offered by an alternative medical practitioner to diagnose Adrenal Fatigue but these tests lack a scientific basis (1).

The concept of Adrenal Fatigue has given rise to an industry of dietary supplements marketed for this condition.

These substances are largely unregulated in the United States, are ineffective, and some cases may be dangerous (1)".

The reality of Adrenal Fatigue does come from exhausting the middle layer adrenal cortex and its production of natural regulatory cortisol.

Usually the 1st and 3rd layers of the adrenal cortex function normally as does the adrenal medulla where adrenaline is produced.

The normal daily production of cortisol in humans and animals is thought to be approximately 30 to 35 units daily to meet its regulatory functions.

When the amount of cortisol is decreased, bound or defective a state of Adrenal Fatigue may occur and cause many unhealthy medical effects which are referred to as clinical symptoms in humans and clinical signs in animals.

There are many different ways that the cortisol production can be decreased, bound or be defective and lead to Adrenal Fatigue.

In humans the most common cause of chronically deceased cortisol production can be due to stress with the excess production of norepinephrine from the adrenal medulla and the release of elevated amounts of cortisol from the middle layer adrenal cortex.

Clinical reports (3) and (4) relate to these cycles and even a hypothesis that suggests that the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine from the adrenal medulla may use cortisol as an actual catalyst.

In any event it appears like the adrenal medulla has the cellular integrity to continue the production of dopamine even when long term stress continues, however the middle layer adrenal cortex appears not have that ability and soon its production of cortisol decreases and Adrenal Fatigue may soon begin.

The many different medical effects that may occur from this imbalance can often be explained by realizing that the endocrine system regulates the immune system.

So what really happens when there is a decrease in the production of cortisol?

NOTE: The middle layer production of cortisol is vital for regulation of other hormones including the regulation of the immune system.

Besides stress, chemotherapy, radiation, drugs, alcohol, toxins, heavy metals, anesthesia, medications, supplements, vaccines, genetics etc. may also reduce the ability of the middle layer adrenal cortex to reduce its production of cortisol and therefore not be able to provide its vital functions.

To read more about what occurs when there is a cortisol imbalance, please read various articles on this website.

The various articles will help explain the medical problems that may be caused by what is referred to as Adrenal Fatigue in humans and animals.

This condition in humans can often be corrected by removing all those various environmental inputs and allowing the body to return to normal however with certain humans and animals this may not be the case.

Often the condition of Adrenal Fatigue in animals is due to genetics and not totally caused by environmental input or the environmental input has caused permanent damage.

This may be the reason why many alternative medical professionals believe that Adrenal Fatigue can be corrected by enhancing the integrity of the middle layer adrenal cortex with herbs, supplements, homeopathic treatments etc, but in all reality they may not be able to enhance the adrenal tissue that is not present due to a genetic defect or due to be permanent environmental damage.

NOTE: The genetic defects in animals have been developed through structure breeding as opposed to function breeding.

What also is not realized is that this cortisol imbalance causes the B lymphocyte to reduce its production of all antibodies including the mucous membrane antibody in the gut referred to as IGA.

Now, with this imbalanced antibody production, when the production of IGA is below a certain level, traversing the gut will not happen and malabsorption may occur.

A prime example of this can occur with either you or your animal while being hospitalized for a health problem and while being given intravenous or intramuscular injections of a specific antibiotic definitely get better.

However, when you or your animal is sent home on the same antibiotics, the original health problem may reoccur.

Often at this point of treatment, a new antibiotic may be suggested, but if the IGA is still low, what is the point? (5).

Concerning the possible identification of a hormone antibody imbalance in humans, for your own interest and observations, the next time you are out in public or just at a party please look at the faces of the people that are present.

Those that have a total estrogen thyroid imbalance will be missing the lateral third of their eyebrows and those that have adrenal exhaustion will have dark circles under their eyes or possibly both.

These are just some of my thoughts.


1) "Myth vs. Fact about Adrenal Fatigue",The Hormone Foundation, August 2010.

2) "Adrenal Fatigue. What causes it?" Mayo Clinic. com. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Archives-August 2008.

3) Endocrine-Immune Surveillance; Plechner, Shannon, Epstein, Goldstein and Howard. PULSE. June-July 1978

4) Theory of Endocrine Immune Surveillance; Plechner, California Veterinarian, January 1979

5) The Importance of IGA; Dr. Alfred J. Plechner DVM, Townsend Letter, 2004.

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