Tackling Adrenal Fatigue for Weight Loss

Individuals gain weight for a variety of reasons. There's usually not one glaring culprit for weight gain, but instead, a variety of factors that contribute to the problem. From your diet and exercise routine (or lack thereof) to your genetics and external factors like stress, there are a myriad of reasons why you might be putting on the pounds. In recent years, many doctors and scientists have been focusing on adrenal fatigue as a possible contributing factor towards weight gain. Adrenal fatigue is a process during which the body releases cortisol, a hormone that helps regulate sugars and fats, and some studies have shown that adrenal fatigue and cortisol play a role in a vicious cycle of weight gain.

It would be nice if you could simply snap your fingers to make weight loss easy. Unfortunately, that's not the case. There's no magic solution that makes losing weight easy. Safe and healthy weight loss requires time, effort, and dedication, but it's our goal to work with you every step of the way to achieve positive results. One of the approaches we often recommend, based on the needs and lifestyle of the particular patient, is to focus on adrenal fatigue. By combating adrenal fatigue, many of our patients have reported positive results on their medical weight loss journey.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

If you're feeling tired, sluggish, and run-down and aren't quite sure why, it could be adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is often brought on by stress, and it occurs when your body's adrenal glands aren't functioning at a normal level. The adrenal glands are supposed to release hormones like epinephrine, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and cortisone, all things that help the body function in a healthy manner, but when things like stress or illness overstimulate the adrenal glands, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus, they become worn out and weakened. Hormones are no longer released at the proper levels, and the body feels the consequences in a big way. You might feel exhausted, both mentally and physically, after the most simple of tasks. Even a great night sleep might not help you feel energized if you're suffering from adrenal fatigue.

How is Adrenal Fatigue Diagnosed?

In addition to looking at the big picture by assessing your overall symptoms and gaining insight into your routines and lifestyle, we will typically run a cortisol test to measure the amount of cortisol in your body. A normal cortisol level is often high in the morning, but then gradually declines throughout the day. If your cortisol levels don't taper off during the day, or if they spike at night instead of in the morning, it could be a sign of adrenal fatigue.

How Does Adrenal Fatigue Impact Your Weight?

When cortisol levels are off as a result of adrenal fatigue, it not only saps your body of energy, but it also plays a role in your weight. A study published in 2016 in the medical research journal "Obesity" found that high levels of cortisol brought on by stress were correlated with waist size.

"We found levels of cortisol in the hair to be positively and significantly correlated to larger waist circumference and higher body mass index or BMI," study author Sarah Jackson told CNN.

In addition to hormone levels playing a role in overeating and weight gain, many patients with adrenal fatigue feel too tired and worn out to exercise. It creates a vicious cycle where losing weight is extremely difficult due to the imbalances the body is experiencing.

How Can You Fix Adrenal Fatigue?

Once adrenal fatigue has been diagnosed, we'll work with you to help your body recover. Lifestyle changes with the aim of reducing stress often help, because stress is a major factor in adrenal fatigue. You will also likely need a proper influx of vitamins and minerals.  Dr. Cho and our team at Wellness at Century City might recommend certain supplements, including magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-5, B-6, and B-12. In addition, probiotics often help battle adrenal fatigue because they aid in digestion and the proper absorption of nutrients into the body. With your cortisol levels back in check, it should be easier to shed the pounds you've been hoping to lose. You'll also feel more energetic than you have been while dealing with adrenal fatigue.


Losing weight is hard enough as it is, but if your body is working against you due to adrenal fatigue and the subsequent changes to your hormone levels that adrenal fatigue causes , it's even harder. If you're feeling unusually exhausted and you're gaining weight or struggling to lose it, you might be suffering from adrenal fatigue. It might sound overwhelming, but we can help. Simply contact us and schedule an appointment. Dr. Cho will work with you to  diagnose a potential adrenal fatigue issue and take steps to remedy the problem. Even if it turns out you don't have adrenal fatigue, we will still strive to find a solution and help you with your weight loss goals.

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