Proponents suggest exhaustion of adrenal glands leads to reduced cortisol production and symptoms like fatigue
Adrenal fatigue or hypoadrenia are terms used in alternative medicine to describe the unscientific belief that the adrenal glands are exhausted and unable to produce adequate quantities of hormones, primarily the glucocorticoid cortisol, due to chronic stress or infections. Adrenal fatigue should not be confused with recognized forms of adrenal dysfunction such as adrenal insufficiency or Addison's disease.
The term "adrenal fatigue", which was coined in 1998 by James Wilson, a chiropractor, may be applied to a collection of mostly nonspecific symptoms. There is no scientific evidence supporting the concept of adrenal fatigue and it is not recognized as a diagnosis by the medical community. A systematic review found no substantiative evidence for the term adrenal fatigue, confirming the general consensus among endocrinological societies that it is a myth.
Blood or salivary testing is sometimes offered but there is no evidence that adrenal fatigue exists or can be tested. The concept of adrenal fatigue has given rise to an industry of dietary supplements marketed to treat this condition. These supplements are largely unregulated in the U.S., are ineffective, and in some cases may be dangerous.