Adrenal fatigue can leave you feeling exhausted, sick, and depressed. It’s no wonder people suffering from decreased adrenal function find themselves looking for answers – fast – on how to address the condition and get themselves feeling back to normal.

With millions of people worldwide feeling the effects of adrenal fatigue, dozens of fixes and cures have popped up.

There are the standard solutions that have to deal with changing your lifestyle, from removing yourself from the stressful situations that commonly lead to adrenal fatigue, like an unhealthy work environment or a bad relationship, to learning how to manage your stress more appropriately with meditation and exercise. Dietary changes can also help a lot. People have seen great results in removing sugars, caffeine, and processed foods from their diets.

However, one of the most popular methods people use to address their adrenal fatigue is to begin taking adrenal support supplements. These supplements contain potent ingredients designed to help you boost your adrenal glands, improve your immune system, and manage your stress levels (usually through cortisol management) throughout the day.

These support supplements can be a godsend for many people suffering from adrenal fatigue, but that does not mean they come without their own side effects.

Below are the most common side effects people get when taking adrenal support supplements – and what you can do to avoid them.

Sleep Disturbances


Many adrenal supplements include rhodiola rosea, licorice root, and adrenal extracts. These ingredients promote adrenal function. Obviously this can help with adrenal fatigue, but a sudden increase in adrenal function can also lead to insomnia. That’s because an increase in adrenal function has a stimulatory effect on your nervous system, which makes it harder to relax and sleep.

The best way to manage this?
Adjust your dosages, if you can, and practice sleep techniques to make it easier for you to get some shut eye.

Some great tricks to getting to sleep earlier include…

  • Practiced breathing, like the 4-7-8 technique
  • Cool your room down
  • Remove ALL electronics from your bedroom
  • Sleep with a pillow between your legs (if you’re a side-sleeper)
  • Sleep with a pillow underneath the small of your back (if you’re a back-sleeper)
  • Use acupressure points shown to help you sleep

Mineral and Hormonal Changes

Licorice root can have another potential side effect: it can lower potassium levels. When your potassium is lower, you’re more prone to muscle spasms, which can do a lot to keep you up at night, too (besides being generally annoying). On top of that, licorice root alters estrogen levels as well, which can get in the way of your body’s ability to absorb it.

The best way to manage this?
Eat foods high in potassium! Some great potassium rich foods are bananas, mushrooms, avocados (which is a great food for adrenal fatigue!), fish, yogurt, squash, potatoes, beans, and dark, leafy greens.

Gastrointestinal Upset

Stomach Pain

We’re going to look at licorice root again. This ingredient can also cause nausea and vomiting, especially if taken on an empty stomach. Another common ingredient, adrenal extracts, can cause this as well. Adrenal extracts are typically taken from bovine adrenal glands, meaning you’re consuming dried adrenal gland tissues. These are extremely potent, but they can cause stomach and intestinal irritation.

The best way to manage this?
Try to take all adrenal supports with food. Or, alternatively, find an adrenal support supplement without licorice root extract or adrenal extract.

Prescription Interference

I already mentioned that licorice root can interfere with your estrogen absorption, which means it can interfere with your hormonal birth control pills. On top of that, licorice root can also prevent the liver from breaking down and excreting medications, which causes an increase in the side effects you get from your prescriptions, and it can make them more toxic.

The best way to manage this?
Talk to your doctor about your medications and make sure licorice root does not interfere with them. Additionally, you can get a supplement that doesn’t include licorice root.


Your adrenal glands produce a lot of hormones, including dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which in turn produces both estrogen and testosterone. Many adrenal supplements include DHEA because it is thought to support adrenal gland function. A side effect of taking between 50 and 200 mg of DHEA a day can be masculinization. Basically, in high doses, DHEA promotes the production of testosterone. Some women may grow facial hair, sweat more often, and even have a larger incidence of acne.

The best way to manage this?
My recommendation is to avoid DHEA in your adrenal supplements entirely. Getting your adrenals back into working shape through other means will help your body produce the proper amount of DHEA to begin with, so you don’t need to introduce more into your system.

Mood Swings

Emotionally Unstable Woman

It doesn’t matter what supplement you’re taking or what ingredients are inside of it. All supplements can affect the levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in your system, and if the levels of these hormones increased, it can affect your mood. Common mood effects people see are increased irritability, anxiety, and restlessness. This is even more common in patients with bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder are almost always recommended to avoid adrenal support supplements due to the supplement’s potential to interfere with important mood-related hormones, and the fact that they can alter the effects of bipolar medications.

The best way to manage this?
You can manage your mood by taking other precautions against these side effects, like eating well, exercising, and practicing stress management techniques.

Some supplements produce fewer side effects.

You may have noticed a trend in the side effects above: most of them were caused by the same set of ingredients. Licorice root and adrenal extracts are common ingredients in the majority of adrenal support supplements, and these two ingredients lead to the majority of side effects seen while taking adrenal supports.

By finding a support supplement that does not include these two ingredients, you can avoid a lot of the annoying side effects right from the beginning.

FlexNatruals adrenal support supplement is one of the beat adrenal supports that does not include either licorice root extract or adrenal extract. Instead, FlexNaturals uses another potent combination of ingredients that are shown to have fewer side effects:

  • Vitamin C (Absorbic Acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCI)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
  • Pantothentic Acid (Calcium-D-Pantothenate)
  • Magnesium (Magnesium Oxide)
  • L-Tyrosine
  • Holy Basil Leaf Powder
  • Eleuthero Root Extract
  • Rhodiola Root Extract
  • Ashwagandha Root Powder
  • Choline (Choline Bitartrate)
  • Ginger Root Extract

You can find FlexNaturals on Amazon.

In my opinion? The support is worth the risk.

Adrenal fatigue can lead to some pretty serious problems, from anxiety to depression, weight gain to disease. While some of the side effects may be uncomfortable at the beginning, they are not typically dangerous, and most people adjust to the supplements in a few weeks and find ways to manage the side effects that do not interfere with their lives.

On the other hand, dealing with adrenal fatigue can rob you of your ability to truly enjoy your life. What have you got to lose?

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