Book Review: Adrenal Fatigue - The 21st Century Stress Syndrome

Adrenal Fatigue The 21st Century Stress Syndrome - James L. Wilson

The book explains a collection of impacts that occur when the adrenal glands become fatigued. The adrenal glands normally function by releasing hormones that help our bodies respond to stress. A combination of our stressful lifestyles and the poor diet has caused the adrenal glands of many people to be worn out. When this occurs, people’s bodies are no longer able to deal with stress.

I didn’t realize how often the stress response is triggered in modern people, including myself, or the number of things that trigger the activity of the adrenal glands. It’s not just stressors like getting chased by a tiger - a stress response is triggered by things as diverse as a conflict with a coworker to an infected wisdom tooth to exposure to a toxin. It’s no wonder our adrenal glands can get tired!

Cortisol is one of the hormones released by the adrenal glands, and the main one discussed in this book with regards to adrenal fatigue. Cortisol has many important uses in the body. But one I found especially interesting is the role of cortisol in sleeping patterns and circadian rhythms. Cortisol controls the release of energy while we sleep.

I also learned about a link between adrenal fatigue and abuse of drugs and alcohol. It’s a vicious cycle - drugs and alcohol place huge stress on the body as poisons. This stress contributes to adrenal fatigue. A person with adrenal fatigue is unable to respond to stress so she may turn to drugs to alleviate suffering.

The book has a powerful section about how to take charge of your own recovery from adrenal fatigue. The first step the author recommends is to change your lifestyle, in particular your response to stress. The book also places a lot of importance on nutrition, but it starts with lifestyle changes. It’s challenging but exciting to think about approaching very poor health by changing your approach to stress first.

This book really got me thinking about the modern western lifestyle and diet. The situation we find ourselves in combines an extremely high level of stress with a very poor diet with exposure to toxins. What is surprising is the amazing resilience of our bodies and spirits.

I was inspired by the parts about changing lifestyle and our response to stress. People’s ability to reframe and change their emotional response to stress is heroic. As a nutritional therapist, my goal would be to help people heal and energize their own bodies with food so that they have the strength to grow and expand spiritually.