Scott: You have a book titled "Adrenal Fatigue" and it's a term that we hear an awful lot. Can you explain exactly what's going on when we have that?
Dr. James Wilson: I'm glad you hear that. I coined that term myself. In 1998 I gave this phenomena the name Adrenal Fatigue and it was in lieu of the 50 cent words that were appearing in the literature for the past nearly a hundred years. And what is happening that, is exactly like I was describing before, that when the adrenal glands cannot keep up with the pace of the stress that particular individual is under, them they start experiencing some of these signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
One of the first things we find is that the reason people feel good and ready to go in the morning is because this adrenal gland picks up the level of cortisol and another hormone called aldosterone and it helps stimulate blood sugar so that when you get up and feel wide eyed and bushy tailed it's because the adrenals are making you able to do that. So one of the first things we notice when people get weak in their adrenal glands is that they don't feel very good when they get up in the morning. Eight, nine hours of sleep, they still feel kind of tired. And it may take them till noon to wake up.
Now, a lot of people medicate themselves with coffee or caffeinated beverages, Red Bull, you know, other things like that, and sometimes they need multiples in order to get going and then they'll often need to restimulate themselves during the day. But this is an artificial stimulant and their pushing their adrenals; they're making them do more than what they have to do. And so there's always a back end to a front end and so the adrenals a little bit more tired the next morning. And if they push themselves too hard, and I've had several case histories like this, it can lead to some sort of collapse. It doesn't always. And people who have low adrenal function don't necessarily have to go down into the lowest. They can simply stay at a semi-functioning state. But we'll notice that not only do they feel tired in the morning and they'll need coffee and cola beverages to get going and keep going during the day, but there's a strange and a very interesting fatigue pattern that goes with it.
And I don't know if any other fatigue pattern like this. And I say that because 85 percent of people go to doctors and they complain of fatigue as one of their major symptoms or signs and at the same time this particular fatigue pattern I've never seen in any other thing except the adrenal glands. Tired in the morning, oftentimes have a mid-morning low, any feeling better after their noon meal, having a mid afternoon low, 2:00 to 4:00 , 3:00 to 5:00, as little as 15 minutes of just not feeling like they want to do anything, to having to lay down and be prone for 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Then almost like a magic clock has turned or a button has been pushed, they feel better after 6:00. And they'll better until about 9:00 or 9:30.
But a lot of these are type A people. And they're not going to go to bed at 9:30. So they keep pushing. And if they hit about 11:00 suddenly there's a new second wind that comes and all of a sudden this book needs to be read, and this kitchen needs to be cleaned, project needs to be done. And they'll keep going, they'll feel really good during this time and then they'll go at about 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning, they'll decide to go to sleep because they get tired. and then they'll notice that if they can sleep in the next day, sleep in, say they normally get up at 7:00, if they sleep in until 9:00 the next morning, about two hours beyond when they usually get up, they'll feel much more refreshed than if they had to get up at the usual time.
And this is the typical adrenal fatigue pattern. You don't find that with the thyroid fatigue, with intestinal fatigue, or liver fatigue, with the other kinds of fatigue, I've never seen it with any other kind of fatigue, just with adrenal fatigue, that unique energy pattern. And you can measure this usually on the cortisol levels.