142: Is Adrenal Fatigue Real or Just Bad Science? With Ari Whitten

Is Adrenal Fatigue Real or Just Bad Science? With Ari Whitten

Do you turn to coffee every morning? Or feel like you just don’t have enough energy most days? If so, this episode with Ari Whitten is for you! You’ll also want to hear his controversial take on adrenal fatigue.

Ari Whitten and the Energy Blueprint

Ari Whitten is a best-selling author and the creator of the Energy Blueprint system. He is an energy and fatigue specialist who focuses on taking an evidence-based approach to energy enhancement. For the last three years, he’s worked with the world’s top fatigue researchers to develop the most comprehensive program in the world on the science of overcoming fatigue and increasing energy — The Energy Blueprint.

Now, he’s helped thousands of people reclaim their energy, beat fatigue, and increase mental clarity. He also takes an alternative approach to the idea of adrenal fatigue. Here’s what I mean…

The common idea of adrenal fatigue goes like this: Our adrenal glands create stress hormones to respond to stress. Normally this system works just fine, but if the stress becomes chronic, the adrenal glands get tired and “fatigued” so they can’t produce enough cortisol to keep up with the demands.

Ari’s well-researched approach looks at a different cause and a different approach than most sources and with spectacular results. He also challenges the free radical theory of aging and the adrenal/cortisol theory of fatigue.

In This Episode, You’ll Learn

  • Why Ari doesn’t believe in “adrenal fatigue” and what he thinks actually causes those symptoms
  • His comprehensive analysis of the science related to adrenal fatigue
  • How to actually support the adrenals so they function optimally
  • The real issue behind chronic fatigue and why cortisol and adrenals are not the main issue
  • A new way to think about stress and why just removing stress isn’t enough
  • The reason antioxidants may not be all they are cracked up to be
  • When antioxidants can actually be more harmful than helpful
  • The two phases of being healthy and how to use them both to your advantage
  • Specific advice for women when it comes to fasting, lifting heavy weights and supporting the adrenals
  • What Ari’s research shows about carbs and how many we need
  • How hot and cold exposure are beneficial
  • The way red light improves fatigue
  • Hormesis: how low levels of stress (like exercise and fasting) can be good for you

Resources We Mention

For More on This Topic, See:

A Big Thank You to Today’s Podcast Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by Vivos. This is something we recently invested in for our entire family and we are absolutely loving it and here is why. So, data shows that the nutrition we receive in utero determines our palate development and a narrow mouth, jaw, and airway increase the chances of needing braces, of getting sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and much more. Vivos created a non-invasive, non-surgical, easy way of widening the maxilla, the jaw, and the airway. For our kids, this means that they get to avoid the braces that my husband and I both had. For my husband, this means his sleep apnea has disappeared and he stopped snoring, which is a bonus for me! I’ll be writing more about this soon but you can check them out in the meantime at wellnessmama.com/go/vivos.

This episode is also sponsored by Four Sigmatic. You’ve heard me talk about Four Sigmatic before because I love their coffees, teas, and hot chocolates. They’re delicious combinations of coffee, cocoa, and adaptogen herbs, now with the benefits of Chaga, Cordyceps, and Lion’s Mane for an extra brain boost and clean energy. My longtime favorite is their instant coffee but lately I’ve also really been enjoying their caffeine-free blends. Try out all of these delicious drinks at foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama and make sure to use the code WELLNESS MAMA to get 15% off of your order.

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Reader Interactions

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Reader Comments

  1. Amazing! This is so eye-opening for someone who has struggled with chronic fatigue and gone down the rabbit hole of adrenal fatigue treatment up and down for years. I’ve heard rumblings about adrenal fatigue being a misnomer and about mitochondria, but didn’t really get it. This is super helpful in breaking it down so i can understand… I still have a lot of processing to do with this info, but thanks so much for this Ari and Katie!

    • Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it, Hannah!

  2. The book links do not appear to be correct? (One links to a book by a different author…) Would you please update?

  3. Do you have transcripts for your podcasts? I need written content. Do you have materials for people with hearing problems somewhere? Thank you!!

    • Yes, every podcast episode has a full transcript! If you look at the top of the post, underneath the title, you’ll see a button that reads “View Transcript” – I hope this helps!

      • Wow, I didn’t know that either! A lot of times I can’t bear to listen or watch a video, but I do want to read. Didn’t know you had transcripts!

  4. I really think any discussion of narrowed palates and underdeveloped jaws needs to include tongue tie. A tight frenulum will cause all of those– and addressing the tie likely will need to be a part of getting any jaw structure changes to “stick.”

      • Thanks for replying! That’s great to see you’re aware of the issue! I am hopeful that between orthotropics, awareness of the need to have adequate Vit D & A, knowledge of the importance of minerals, with ties treated at birth, AND more moms breastfeeding, we can start to make a dent in the crazy orthodontics we have in our country these days.

  5. Hello, I found this article to be very interesting and will hopefully help people who have concerns with adrenal fatigue. I think in addition to the information provided when discussing this topic it is important to make note that there is a very real condition called adrenal insufficiency (either Primary Adrenal Insufficiency/Addison’s Disease or Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency) that is life threatening and related to the inability of the body to produce cortisol and that there are very specific tests to diagnose this. Thank you.

    • Yes, absolutely true, Lu.

      But this is a rare condition and is not one of the most common causes of chronic fatigue, nor is it found in anything more than a very small minority of people with chronic fatigue.

      But it certainly does exist. It’s also quite easy to diagnose via cortisol tests. The symptoms are also somewhat different than typical symptoms of chronic fatigue. I talk about these differences in my article here: https://www.theenergyblueprint.com/is-adrenal-fatigue-real/

      Thanks for your comment!

      • Very interesting conversation, thanks a lot!
        What confused me a little is that at the end of the podcast you (Ari) explained that it’s not really helpful to supplement with Antioxidants (A,C,E) bc they indirectly weaken the mitochondria, whereas in the middle of the podcast you promote Astaxanthin as a protector of mitochondria.
        How does this make sense? I use Astaxanthin regularly and am curious to hear your answer.
        Thanks! Susanne

  6. I have created many efiles and want to put this into my efile for Adrenal Fatigue but I dont see an email option as the other categories today offer. I only see Facebook, twitter, etc.

    I dont download because I simply am not tech savy. When there is an email option button, I can do that easily. Can this be emailed to me?

    • Hi Lisa, you can always view the transcript, copy and paste it into a document to save in your files 🙂

  7. I enjoyed the detail and description in this talk…I will admit I did not have time to listen to the whole talk so maybe you addressed this. Ari, you spoke of cortisol levels, which I have been tested for and the results came back as very low. I have been diagnosed with Adrenal insufficiency or fatigue…, due to not only low levels of cortisol, but also low DHEA and other hormones. Do you consider levels of other hormones in your research?
    Thank you

  8. Interesting article, do you have a peer reviewed reference discussing the changes in mitochondrial function- energising by to dormant please?

  9. Your section on free radicals is very interesting to me. When free radicals are high in a normal way would that produce a high oxidative stress test (the urine test that reacts in the presence of malondialdehyde)? Myself, husband & small child have all tested high for months now despite regimens of high dose antioxidants. We have no symptoms & are otherwise healthy.

  10. Thank you! I can’t wait to read the transcript!

  11. What an AMAZING episode! This makes so much sense! I would love a Part II 🙂 I’m interested in how HPA axis dysregulation ties in. Also, if exercise is so good for me, why do I feel so bad afterward? For example, yesterday I went for a 3-mile walk and today I’m extremely exhausted. Is it because I need to address and fix everything else before hormesis can play a helpful role?

    Thanks for the great work you both do!

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