"Last Saturday I had a fantastic day at the beach with 8 teenagers - I played cricket, volleyball etc, swam, arranged meals etc, and amazingly, I still felt great when I got home!! This would have been an impossible feat for many years, and now for me to finally feel like this with my girls is absolutely fantastic; these products are worth every cent!"

Phillipa Clapperton - Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

"The information in the Adrenal Fatigue book regarding the winding road to recovery was extremely accurate. I found that I would make forward progress, then hit a plateau or even have a setback, but would then move forward again. It’s been about 3 years now since I first got sick and I'm back to my energetic self again."


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Dr. James Wilson

Dr. James Wilson

James L. Wilson D.C., N.D., Ph.D. has helped thousands of people with Adrenal Fatigue regain their health and vitality during his 24 years of private practice.

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Eating For Fatigue Tips

We all know of the importance of nutrition and diet with maintaning our weight, as well as the link with a poor unhealthy diet and heart disease risk. But what do we really know or understand about the relationship between fatigue, tiredness and what we eat? I believe that for several reasons it is very important to eat a healthy and balanced diet when you suffer from adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia or thyroid problems.



Adrenal Fatigue and low blood sugar. One of the biggest points to bear in mind is that those with adrenal fatigue can be notoriously stubborn when it comes to eating on time. Eating at the right time is probably just as important as eating the right kind of food. This is because the fatigued person will have lower than average cortisol levels, and cortisol is one of the main hormones produced by your body to regulate blood sugar levels. Many of those with adrenal fatigue can be hard on themselves as far as taking a break during the day is concerned. They "just need to get this job done" and may not find enough time during the day to eat a wholesome breakfast or lunch. Many will quickly grab something fast to eat and pay the price later, I know, I used to be one of them. I used to have something "quick" for lunch, only to feel weak and end up with a headache late in the afternoon. If you have fatigue, it is not wise to eat fruit and yoghurt for breakfast. This lack of sufficient protein, essential fatty acids and too much sugar (fructose, sucrose, etc) in the fruit will only worsen the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

Sugar, salt and fat cravings. It is interesting how the take-away food industry has done so well with their high fat, sald and sugary foods. Fatigued people learn over time that foods and drinks like coffee, potato chips and take-out foods can help to drive them further when they are tired. As fatigued people stimulate their flagging adrenal glands with these divitalised foods over the years their bodies become only more deprived and deficient. So, the leson to learn here is to eat as little sugar as possible, be cautious with your carbohydrate intake (like breads, crackers, cookies, etc)  Several pieces of fruit daily is not a wise choice for the adrenally compromised patient, and you may well still hold the belief that the key to good health is lots of fruit.

Weight gain and cortisol levels. The cruel thing is that tired peole often eat more (of the wrong kinds of foods) to boost their flagging energy levels. This temporary excess cortisol level which is produced by eating more foods causes the person to develop fat around their middle, giving that "spare tire look". Unfortunately, this added weight adds to the fatigue and lethargy, allowing the vicious cycle to continue of low cortisol leading to fatigue and cravings, and then inappropriate snacking and high cortisol levels leading to overeating, obesity and eventually "insulin resistance" and what has become know the past few years as "Syndrome X". This condition is now affecting as many as one in four currently in America, and Australia now leads he way in childhood obesity with New Zealand not far behind. Syndrome X will often mean high blood pressure, blood sugar dysregulation, cholesterol problems, and a whole host of other issues. So many people try to lose weight, I just try to get people to have a sufficiently energised lifestyle. My belief is that if you can allow a fatigued person to reclaim their energy back, their desire to get up off the couch will vastly increase. Their self-esteem will come back with their renewed energy. And of course weight loss will occur as part of an energised lifestyle.

When should you eat? One of the biggest issues that adrenally fatigued patients face is not eating soon after they wake up. It is very important that if you are a fatigued person, that you eat before 10.00 am at the latest. You need to replenish your waning stores of blood sugar (glycogen). After all, breakfast is exactly that – you are "breaking a fast" which your body has experienced overnight as you slept (fast). Even a small, nutritious snack is better than nothing at all, or just a cup of coffee. Your cortisol levels are at thier highest level around 6.00am – 8.00am, and some folks may have very high cortisol levels which may make them feel like not eating. This will be particularly so if their liver is congested. Dr. Wilson mentions that it is actually common to find the combination of por adrenal function at the same time as a sluggish liver. You must have some nutritious food by 10.00am to keep your body from trying to play "catch-up" during the rest of the day.  Have an early lunch, particularly if you suffer bad with morning fatigue (feeling really tired after you wake in the morning).  Between about 11.00am – 11.30am is usually the best time for lunch. It also makes sense to have a snack around 2.00pm – 3.00pm to sustaing you dip in cortisol levels which typically occurs betwen 3.00 – 4.00pm. Your evening meal is best taken around 5.00pm – 6.00pm. Problems at night sleping? Then try a small protein snack before bedtime. This may well hold the key to successfully getting you through the night without panic attacks, sleep disturbances, anxiety reactions, or feeeling wrecked in the morning.

Fatigued people often have food allergies or hypersensitivities. Many people who suffer with fatigue have compromised immune systems, and are sensitive to chemicals and additives that are found in processed foods. Work with your doctor or naturopathic physician who should be able to help explain the most allergenic foods and how to adjust your diet. Be particularly careful of cow’s milk, ice cream, bananas, eggs, corn, oranges, sugar, and wheat and/or gluten.There are many foods which you may be potentially reacting to, be sure to work with your practitioner who should be able to assist. Dr. Wilson writes almost 20 pages on food allergies and sensitivities in his book, be sure to read a copy for more understanding.

Here are a few places you can start with your diet: (Dr. Wilson’s Adenal Fatigue book contains a 41 page chapter on foods)

1. Eliminate or limit your intake of refined sugars, (ie: biscuits, cakes, candy, Coke and fizzy drinks, cordials, drink sachets containing sugars, etc.), natural sugar from fruits are fine.
2. If you don’t eat vegetables, start eating one serving a day, if you already eat one serving a day, try to start eating two….(you see where I am going with this, right?). Not all vegetables are created equal, for instance; spinach, broccoli, green beans, are really good for you, but corn, potatoes, iceberg lettuce, just so …..but better than nothing.
3. Increase your “lean” protein intake, (ie: chicken, fish, pork, lean beef). Salmon once a week is a great idea, and you can now get it in frozen, single portioned packages. Also, try venison for a change.
4. Replace all (or most) soft drink (sodas) intake with water. There is nothing about soda, diet or regular, that is good for you. If you are drinking it for the caffeine, coffee is better for this purpose than "fizzy drinks".
5. Eliminate or cut back your use of processed foods, (ie: frozen dinners, anything with a "powder packet").
6. Increase your intake of fiber, oatmeal in the morning is good for this.
7. Don’t be afraid of a little more salt in your diet. People under stress, adrenally compromised people, often have the need for a lttle more sodium in their diets.
These are just a few ideas. Obviously there is much more to good nutrition, but we need to start somewhere! Don’t do it all at once, make small changes, and gradually work your way into eating a healthier diet. You will begin to see that you feel better when you eat healthier than you do when you are eating junk, this will then become your motivation to keep it up.
Eric Bakker ND

Denis Leitch said,

January 5, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

It is good to see someone write what I have found from experience.
Having long term Type 1 Diabetes as well helps force me to eat “better”.
But it is still hard to replace a quick savory scone from the cafe with my morning coffee. With a decent salad or cooked vegetables and the nesecary carbs & protein.
I work mainly afternoon shifts so rely on a cooked lunch, then a sandwich for dinner.

Eric Bakker ND said,

January 5, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

Hi Denis,
It is great that you have worked out basically what works and what does not work for you in your diet. Diabetes can be very successfully managed like most blood-sugar problems. I find it harder to manage a patient’s desires and cravings. Type 1 diabetics (IDDM) always feel better for smaller, more frequent protein rich meals and less (better still – NO) alcohol. Shiftworking with Type 1 diabetes can be a real challenge as you may interfere with your body’s natural cortisol cycles. You should be fine with the afternoon shift, but be sure to get ample sleep!

Eric Bakker ND

Jacqueline said,

February 3, 2009 @ 11:36 am

I am really glad someone else is taking on the issue of meal timing and AF. I have been trying to talk to my doctor about this, but I think she thinks I am crazy when I bring it up!

Eric Bakker ND said,

February 3, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

Hi Jacqueline,
Thanks for the positive feedback. Keep posted, there will be many more articles appearing, as well as recipes I have planned to upload to this website as well. I want this website to become one of the best around for stress, fatigue and what to do about it. It is all about education and empowerment of the people. Dr. Wilson is very passionate about improving people’s lives, that is why he spent so much time carefully developing his programme, and there are 41 pages devoted on the topic of diet and nutrition in his book on adrenal fatigue.

Jess said,

March 2, 2009 @ 7:00 am

I would like to know if a doctor can prescribe medicine to help get rid of adrenal fatigue or do you need to take the vitamins – Rhodiola rosea, liquorice and korean ginseng, as well as reducing stress? Is this the only way to treat it?

Eric Bakker ND said,

March 2, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

Hi Jess,

Your doctor can prescribe Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Program supplements to greatly assist with your fatigue. You doctor may not understand this concept, as he or she is unlikely to have studied it at medical school, but your naturopathic doctor will certainly know about it. I’d recommend you contact Dr. Wilson’s office on this link http://www.adrenalfatigue.org and ask for a referral to a doctor who knows this program, there are plenty in the USA.

Kindest Regards,

Eric Bakker ND

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