How Persons with Adrenal Fatigue and Medically Unexplained Symptoms can Benefit from HTMA

Posted by Eileen Durfee on 7th Dec 2017

Adrenal fatigue is more common than most mainstream medical physicians recognize. This is because traditional and frequently utilized medical testing methods are not sensitive enough to pick up subclinical dysfunction of the adrenal glands. Current adrenal testing and diagnostic parameters - still used most often by doctors today - only classify extreme hormonal imbalances as either Addison’s or Cushing’s disease. These standard adrenal hormone tests have yet to additionally address Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Consequently, an astounding number of people undergo adrenal hormone testing only to be told their adrenal glands are normal when they clearly are not. As a result, many affected continue to suffer from a broad range of Medically Unexplained Symptoms and remain completely unaware of the availability of an alternate testing and recovery solution known as Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, or HTMA.

Medically Unexplained Symptoms, Adrenal Fatigue, and HTMA

Medically Unexplained Symptoms are not uncommon. Anyone who has ever visited a physician and left their office without answers, a diagnosis or a course of treatment knows how frustrating the ambiguity can be. Fortunately, a significant portion of Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS) are now being recognized and properly diagnosed by a growing number of health practitioners as “Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome”. Patients with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome experience and display a large number of the most common MUS issues such as:

  • Waking up tired,
  • Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning,
  • Needing a coffee or other caffeine fix to start the day,
  • Becoming tired and suffering from energy loss between 3 and 5 pm,
  • Feeling tired between 9 and 10 pm, but don’t go to bed,
  • Feelings of depression,
  • Food cravings for salt, fat and or high protein foods,
  • Temporarily feel better after eating a meal,
  • Low blood sugar and hypoglycemia,
  • Multiple allergies, both inhalant (pollens from grasses, trees and weeds, mold spores, pet dander, and dust mites) and or food sensitivities,
  • Frequent respiratory diseases and infections,
  • Impaired immune response where infections last longer than usual,
  • Impaired or reduced sex drive,
  • Getting lightheaded when rising,
  • Forgetfulness,
  • An increase in PMS symptoms for women,
  • Neck and back pain without a clear cause,
  • Reduced stress improves energy and wellbeing,
  • Low body temperature,
  • Weight gain around the waist, and inability to lose it,
  • Hair loss,
  • Heart palpitations,
  • Anxiousness and nervousness, and
  • Switching between diarrhea and constipation,

More and more people are additionally experiencing a lack of energy and lethargy even after getting a full night’s sleep. Others have trouble sleeping and are tired all the time, and a growing number of people with normal sleep patterns suffer an energy crash in the afternoon. Some people sleep 6 hours a night and wake up refreshed, with too much energy, until later in the day when they have to force themselves to keep going or collapse in exhaustion. There are so many different combinations of signs and symptoms that point to reduced or imbalanced adrenal gland function that – even after diagnosis- many people are left confused about MUS and Adrenal Fatigue recovery solutions.

If a person has a number of Medically Unexplained or potential Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome symptoms, a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis will enable them to see the cellular effect of circulating hormones. Often, this simple hair biopsy test picks up more subtle fluctuations in electrolytes that correlate to adrenal gland function, as well as other endocrine glands, systems and homeostatic responses going on in the body. The metabolic trends identified with HTMA give insight into body energy production, and the severity of adrenal fatigue. Severity is measured as Adrenal Insufficiency, Adrenal Burnout, and quantified by many patterns; which are not considered total adrenal gland shutdown as seen in Addison’s disease.

Stress as a Factor in the Development of Adrenal Fatigue

Life Events that cause stress to the adrenal glands

Possible causes of Adrenal Fatigue include stressors that can occur to anyone, at any point in life. During these stressful times, the adrenal glands normally respond to the fight-or-flight stimuli, which gives the body the strength to run or to fight. The Adrenal Cortex excretes hormones that cause an increase in blood pressure, pulse rate and blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, the body shunts blood away from the digestive system towards the muscles and brain causing reflexes to increase and pupils to dilate. 

The old saying, that stress will kill you is actually very true. Too much stress can damage or wear out natural bodily response mechanisms. The adrenal glands function to mediate the body’s response to stress, and begin to fail when stress becomes excessive and chronic. Sadly, the 21st Century lifestyle is very stressful. 

The Social Readjustment Rating Scale 

The Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) was created by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe as a means to give a clearer perspective of the types of life events that cause people the most stress. The SRRS lists a variety of stressful life events, and assigns a numerical value to demonstrate the severity of each event's impact. 

Using the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, a person can quickly determine what impact life events are having on their own stress level by simply adding the scale's life event "unit values" together. If the total combined value is 150 or less units, then the chance of suffering from stress is about 30%, indicating a low susceptibility to a stress-related health breakdown. A combined unit value range between 150 and 299 indicates a 50% higher likelihood of suffering from a major health breakdown, while combined unit values of 300 or more increase the odds of developing a stress-related illness by a whopping 80%.

No.   Life Event   Unit Value
1.)Death of a spouse100
2.)Divorce  73
3.)Marital Separation from Mate  65
4.)Detention in Jail or other Institution  63
5.)Death of a Close Family Member63
6.)Major Personal Injury or Illness53
7.)Marriage50
8.)Being Fired at Work47
9.)Marital Reconciliation with Mate45
10.)Retirement from Work45
11.)Major Change in the Health and Behavior of a Family Member44
12.)Pregnancy40
13.)Sexual Difficulties39
14.)Gaining a new family member39
15.)Major Business readjustment39
16.)Major change in financial state38
17.)Death of a close friend37
18.)Changing to a different line of work36
19.)Major change in the number of arguments with spouse35
20.)Taking on a mortgage31
21.)Foreclosure on a mortgage or loan30
22.)Major change in responsibilities at work29
23.)Son or daughter leaving home29
24.)In-law troubles29
25.)Outstanding personal achievement28
26.)Spouse beginning or ceasing work outside home26
27.)Beginning or ceasing formal schooling26
28.)Major change in living condition25
29.)Revision of personal habits24
30.)Troubles with the boss23
31.)Major changes in working hours or conditions20
32.)Changes in residence20
33.)Changing to a new school20
34.)Major change in usual type and or amount of recreation19
35.)Major change in church activity19
36.)Major change in social activities18
37.)Taking on a loan17
38.)Major change in sleeping habits16
39.)Major change in number of family get-togethers15
40.)Major change in eating habits15
41.)Vacation13
42.)Major Holidays12
43.)Minor violations of the law11


Additional triggers that weaken the adrenal glands: Source: Adapted from Journal of Psychosomatic Research Volume II, 1967, Homes-Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale.

  • Triggers that Weaken the adrenal glandsAnger
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Chronic Illnesses
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Excessive sugar and carbohydrates
  • Excessive coffee, tea and other caffeine
  • Fasting and low blood sugar
  • Chronic root canal infections
  • Chronic pain
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Spinal Misalignment
  • Surgeries
  • Over exercising
  • Overworking or working 2nd and 3rd shift hours
  • Toxic exposure
  • Staying up late
  • Food supply mineral depletion
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Genetics and congenital weakness are becoming more and more apparent in children at birth. Mothers are conceiving babies with Adrenal Fatigue, Adrenal Insufficiency and Adrenal Burnout, which consequently passes along nutritional deficiencies and toxic metals to the children.

Part of the journey towards developing adrenal fatigue includes cell enzyme binding sites being bound with less favorable elements throughout the body. It can be compared to a new vehicle that has factory OEM parts versus an old jalopy vehicle that's held together with junk yard parts. The new car operates perfectly to design specifications, where the jalopy travels from point A to point B without cruise control, air conditioning, power door locks, and other luxury features. Every cell in the body is designed to be bound with a metallic mineral in order to function to design standards. Unfortunately, with every breath, bite of food, drink of water, and application of skin care product the body is being inundated with less than desirable elements. In addition to today's toxic world, food has become less nutrient dense and does not provide body's basic nutritional needs. When the body cannot get the preferred minerals and vitamins (factory OEM parts), it is forced to survive with less desirable elements and functions with multiple deficiencies (junk yard parts). Nutrient deficiencies in themselves put stress on the adrenal glands, however, life style stress factors increase the need for certain minerals and vitamins, and cause additional deficiencies; which all further stress the adrenal glands.

Energy, Adaptation, Homeostatic Balances and Adrenal Function

The body continually converts food to energy to support functions vital to life. Energy production depends primarily on consuming enough nutrients. Efficient digestion and absorption of food, transportation of the nutrients into the cells, and then the combustion of sugars, fats and proteins (to release energy within the body) are inclusive in the process. Energy production and utilization are critical to enable efficient use of mineral elements within the body. The human organism is adaptive to its environment and stressors, and will attempt to always use the most efficient elements to make up cells and keep the body healthy. This adaptation and homeostatic regulation - the adjusting of homeostatic balances critical to life - are ongoing processes that take place within the human body. 

Every adaptation that occurs within the body consumes vital energy and affects adrenal function. Adaptations occur in the body for a variety of reasons, which can include but are not limited to: 

  1. The preferred mineral or vitamin wasn’t present or in sufficient quantities, 
  2. The body wasn’t able to transport the preferred mineral or vitamin to where it was needed,
  3. Not enough oxygen was present, 
  4. Lack of cellular energy, 
  5. Impaired digestion, 
  6. Toxic metals deactivated pathways or functions, 
  7. Cells contain displaced elements, 
  8. Cells contain bio-unavailable elements, and 
  9. Ratios of minerals are out of whack.

The body will alter itself whenever possible to survive the best way it can given the set of circumstances. Adjustments also include temperature, oxidation rate, blood sugar levels, mineral retention, mineral compensation, mineral displacement, mineral excretion, mineral loss and toxic metal elimination.

How Adaptation, Compensation and Displacement Impact Adrenal Function

Every day the body is recycling cells and making new cells. So much so that after seven years not one cell in the body will remain. Whenever possible during this process, the body will adapt in ways that promote health and must use available nutrition to shift the body towards a more normal function. At times the body displaces minerals into wrong locations - where the minerals cannot be utilized - because it was unable to get them to the correct location. Unfortunately. that displacement creates two dysfunctional cells because the body will first attract and use a heavy metal as a substitute for the preferred mineral, and secondly displace the preferred mineral to another location.

For instance, 99% of the body’s calcium should be in the bones, teeth and nerve fibers. Yet every time muscles contract the nerve fibers release calcium, and for calcium to go back into the correct locations the sodium calcium exchanger (an antiporter membrane protein that removes calcium from cells) must be functional. The sodium calcium exchanger is very efficient, however, most of the time it isn’t functional. Often denoted Na+/Ca2+exchanger, it requires three (3) elements of sodium to one (1) element of calcium, to transport the calcium back into the bones, teeth and nerve fibers. 

How Persons with Adrenal Fatigue and Medically Unexplained Symptoms can Benefit from HTMA

However, in the cases of Adrenal Fatigue, Adrenal Insufficiency and Adrenal Burnout adrenal gland hormone secretion of aldosterone is decreased. Aldosterone controls sodium electrolytes, and 80% of HTMA Hair Mineral Analysis Tests show lower than ideal levels of sodium - making adrenal fatigue an apparent epidemic. 

When the body cannot get calcium into the bones, teeth and nerve fibers, it adapts by displacing calcium into the hair, joints, brain, kidneys, cardiovascular systems and other locations and utilizes lead in place of calcium. In this example two (2) cells become dysfunctional, where lead is substituted for calcium in the bones, teeth and nerve fibers, and the calcium becomes bio-unavailable and is retained in a non-utilizable form.

External, internal, emotional and toxic metal stresses cause the body to lose certain minerals and vitamins. This creates dangerous deficiencies that spawn further energy loss, ultimately reducing adrenal gland function. Basically, stress depletes vital nutrients faster than those nutrients can be replaced through normal dietary intake. At other times, the body will compensate by adjusting mineral levels in an effort to maintain critical levels and ratios.

Adrenal Insufficiency Indicators on Hair Analysis Tests

HTMA Hair Mineral Analysis Test is an excellent tool to quantify adrenal insufficiency. Dr. Paul Eck, conducted years of research and scientifically identified hair analysis indicators for adrenal insufficiency:

  • Sodium level less than 25 mg%
  • Potassium level less than 10 mg%
  • Sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.5:1
  • Sodium/magnesium ratio less than 4.17:1
  • Calcium/potassium ratio greater than 10:1

Dr. Paul Eck found that the greater number of indicators present, correlated to a more severe condition. Usually a person with adrenal insufficiency is symptom free until stress requires the adrenal glands to respond. Severely deranged levels and ratios indicate adrenal burnout, and recovery could take years on a mineral balancing program guided by hair analysis.

Hair Analysis is more sensitive than blood tests in detecting adrenal fatigue and provides further insights that aid and guide a recovery program. Based on mineral levels, ratios and toxic metals (all of which are shown on a hair analysis test results report) nutritional supplements are recommended that reduce stress and enhance adrenal gland activity. Specialized and individualized mineral antagonists and synergists are used to shift the major mineral ratios that will promote health. Natural wholesome foods are recommended that help balance the oxidation rate and enhance digestion. When adrenal and thyroid glands are slow, a high protein and low-fat diet, with lots of vegetables and low glycemic carbohydrates are recommended to speed up the body's oxidation rate and produce more energy. When the adrenal and thyroid glands are fast, a high fat low carbohydrate diet is recommended with lots of vegetables.

In additional to supporting restoration of adrenal gland function, HTMA Hair Mineral Analysis Test reports provide information on other useful ratios. The Calcium/Magnesium (Ca/Mg) ratio is referred to the blood-sugar ratio, and diet and supplementation can be adjusted to stabilize a consistent supply of energy; which reduces the impact of stress to the body. Adrenal insufficiency causes a loss of carbohydrate intolerance, and the recommended mineral balancing program supports restoration of normal blood sugar.

The Calcium/Potassium (Ca/K) ratio indicates the circulating effect of thyroid hormones, and reveals thyroid function. A HTMA Hair Mineral Analysis Ca/K normal ratio is 4:1, and does not always correlate with blood thyroid testing. The circulating effects of thyroid hormones are different than blood testing, because of cell permeability, and the rate of hormone combustion within the cells. When the Ca/K ratio is high or low, energy production efficiency in the body decreases and indirectly affects adrenal fatigue. With Hair Analysis Testing, a program can be designed to balance the energy production of both the adrenal and thyroid glands and bring a stabilizing effect. Balanced energy production is important because mixed oxidizers (one gland fast and the other slow), have both fast and slow oxidation symptoms, which can make a person feel like they are on an energy roller coaster.

In closing:

Adrenal fatigue, adrenal insufficiency and adrenal burnout are not psychological problems, even though mental and emotional symptoms may exist. Anyone who has undergone adrenal hormone tests and been told their results were "normal" should know that the problems you are experiencing are probably not “just in your head”. More and more people with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome symptoms or other Medically Unexplained Symptoms are benefiting from HTMA-guided Body Mineral Balancing programs and are now enjoying healthy, energetic lives.

Author's Note:

Vigorous exercise can be damaging to adrenal glands, and a HTMA Hair Analysis test should be used to guide a gentle exercise program. When regular hair analysis retests are performed, exercise intensity and frequency can be adjusted as recovery occurs. Initially breathing exercise and stretching are ideal, then walking, some forms of yoga, weights, and more vigorous exercise can be introduced as recovery progresses under the guidance of a trained practitioner. Although not mentioned in this article, a lack of oxygen also stresses the adrenal glands. The Breathe Safe Plasma Air Purifier is recommended for use during breathing exercises. The Breathe Safe increases oxygen levels 17% and can be pointed within 40 inches of the head to increase inhalation of oxygen which will reduce stress, promote health and speed adrenal fatigue recovery.

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