Have you had your vitamin d levels (25-hydroxy) levels checked? Having low immunity (getting sick every 3-4 weeks) was one of my major symptoms when my levels were 12 ng/ml. Optimal levels are 70-99ng/ml.
Fatigue is another symptom.
In the early stages of adrenal fatigue, the adrenals produce excess cortisol and insomnia is a major symptom because of this.
Janie Bowthorp has a page on self discovery steps to help you figure out if you have adrenal fatigue.
DISCOVERY STEP ONE: Here are exploratory questions, and if you answer yes to any of these, you may have struggling adrenal function (the STTM book has more questions in Chapter 5):
1) Do you have a hard time falling asleep at night?
2) Do you wake up frequently during the night?
3) Do you have a hard time waking up in the morning early, or feeling refreshed?
4) Do bright lights bother you more than they should?
5) Do you startle easily due to noise?
6) When standing from sitting or from lying down, do you feel lightheaded or dizzy?
7) Do you take things too seriously, and are easily defensive?
8 ) Do you feel you don’t cope well with certain people or events in your life?
DISCOVERY STEP TWO: The following are self-tests to try if you suspect your adrenals are struggling:
Take and compare two blood pressure readings—one while lying down and one while standing. Rest for five minutes in recumbent position (lying down) before taking the reading. Stand up and immediately take the blood pressure again. If the blood pressure is lower after standing, suspect reduced adrenal gland function, and more specifically, an aldosterone issue–another adrenal hormone. The degree to which the blood pressure drops while standing is often proportionate to the degree of hypoadrenalism. (Normal adrenal function will elevate your BP on the standing reading in order to push blood to the brain.) It can be wise to do this test both in the morning and in the evening, since you can appear normal one time, and not another.
This is called the Pupil test and primarily tests your levels of aldosterone, another adrenal hormone. You need to be in a darkened room with a mirror. From the side (not the front), shine a bright light like a flashlight or penlight towards your pupils and hold it for about a minute. Carefully observe the pupil. With healthy adrenals (and specifically, healthy levels of aldosterone), your pupils will constrict, and will stay small the entire time you shine the light from the side. In adrenal fatigue, the pupil will get small, but within 30 seconds, it will soon enlarge again or obviously flutter in it’s attempt to stay constricted. Why does this occur? Because adrenal insufficiency can also result in low aldosterone, which causes a lack of proper amounts of sodium and an abundance of potassium. This imbalance causes the sphincter muscles of your eye to be weak and to dilate in response to light. Click here to see a video of fluctuating pupils, and thanks to Lydia for providing this.
Let someone shine a bright light your way. Even the above pupil test could have revealed this. Do you find yourself very sensitive and uncomfortable with the bright light? That could be a sign of adrenal fatigue. And this can also be true if you have searing headaches along with the sensitivity.
You can determine your thyroid and adrenal status by following Dr. Rind with a temperature graph. You simply take your temp 3 times a day, starting three hours after you wake up, and every three hours after that, to equal three temps. (If you have eaten or exercised right before it’s time to take your temp, wait 20 more minutes.) Then average them for that day. Do this for AT LEAST 5 days. If your averaged temp is fluctuating from day to day more than .2 to .3 (says Rind in a telephone conversation with me), you need adrenal support. Your daily averagte temps should lean towards the .2. Summary: If your temps are fluctuating but overall low, you need more adrenal support and thyroid. If your temps are fluctuating but averaging 98.6, you just need adrenal support. If it is steady but low, you need more thyroid and adrenals are likely fine. (We note that mercury thermometers are the most accurate.)
For those already on cortisol, the above temperature test (comparing at LEAST 5 days of averages) is ideal to know if you are on enough. In other words, if each averaged temp is more than .2-.3 from each other (and several are .3 apart), you are not on enough cortisol, patients have learned.
***Women: if you are still menstruating, it’s best to do your Daily Average Temps started at the end of you period i.e. away from your mid-cycle or ovulation.
DISCOVERY STEP THREE: EVEN MORE CONCLUSIVE, and the test which patients agree is critical if any of the above are suspicious: a 24 hour adrenal saliva test. Why is the saliva test so important? Because the symptoms of high cortisol can be exactly the same as low cortisol, and you need to know when you have either in order to treat adrenals correctly, say many patients.
Doctors tend to recommend a one-time blood test, or an ACTH Stimulation test, or a 24 hour urine test, but patients have found none to be adequate or complete measures to discern sluggish adrenals. The ACTH Stim will tell you how much stimulation your adrenals are getting, but not how much cortisol they are producing. Granted, the ACTH can be valuable if there is suspicion of a pituitary dysfunction. But we have noted that most patients with adrenal fatigue have healthy ACTH stimulation. A blood test will only discern cortisol at one time of the day, failing to tell you what goes on at other times. A urine test simply gives you an average of a 24 hour period, and that masks being high one time, and low another, which are important clues to sluggish adrenals. (More detail on this in STTM book)
Instead, we have relied on the 24-hour adrenal saliva test, which tests your cortisol levels at four key times in a 24 hour day and allows you to view your daily cyclic adrenal function. These results have also helped patients know how to treat their adrenals. To see exactly what condition your adrenals are in, you’ll need to be off all adrenal support of any kind for two weeks (glandulars, cortex), as well as herbs or supplements like Ashwagandha or Rhodiola, Licorice Root, Ginseng, Astragalus, Schizandra, PS (phosphatidylserine), Holy Basil, Eleutherol…and even zinc and Melatonin.