Adrenal Exhaustion: The New Epidemic


Most women I meet these days are adrenally exhausted, I was one of them. Adrenal exhaustion will cause your body intense hormonal havoc and prevent you from living a life of vibrancy and energy! 

What are the adrenals?

Oh they are so so important- and most of us don’t actually know what they are.

The adrenals are involved in manufacturing numerous hormones; blood sugar regulation; the regulation of the body’s minerals; producing and maintaining the body’s energy levels in conjunction with the thyroid; and producing stress-monitoring hormones.

The adrenals, the body’s shock absorbers, are the core of the endocrine stress response system. Two of their most important hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, are responsible for the fight-or-flight response. Adrenaline deals primarily with short-term stress while cortisol is produced as a result of both acute and long-term stress.
Prolonged stress, whether as a result of emotional, environmental or physical causes, is disastrous for the adrenals. Initially, it results in chronically elevated cortisol levels, resulting in weight gain (especially around the midsection), blood sugar imbalances, thinning skin, muscle wasting, memory loss, high blood pressure, dizziness, hot flashes, night sweats, excessive facial hair, and other masculizing tendencies.

Overworked adrenals eventually crash, leading to adrenal exhaustion, where the body is unable to maintain adequate adrenal hormone production.
And then you can say hello to extreme fatigue (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), irritability, inability to concentrate, frustration, insomnia, addictions to either sweet or salty foods, allergies, nervousness, depression, anxiety, PMS, sensitivity to cold, diabetes and headaches.

You can fix this…

Guest post by Emilie Tonkin, Nutritional cleanse coach.

She is so intelligent! She has an abundance of valuable knowledge for you all..

Adrenal fatigue has become an epidemic in our society… Everyone is suffering, and once upon a time, I was too!!
Earlier in the year I experienced a complete ADRENAL BURNOUT! It accompanied my glorious corporate career burnout & dear Nelly, it wasn’t pretty!!
I had precariously been nursing my poor adrenal glands for 2-3 years, holding on for dear life, yet couldn’t quite make the changes I needed to until I it rock bottom! Sound familiar?? Not addressing the problem until it’s too late!!! Well, that used to be me, as I would push my body to absolute extremes to satisfy deadlines & irrational demands…
I was working 70-90 hour weeks in an incredibly toxic environment, and having functioned on adrenalin & producing high levels of cortisol for such a long time, this had a severe & domino-like impact on my hormones; my period stopped for over 6 months; I developed insulin resistance; I had awful acne, weight gain, constant colds, a sluggish metabolism; I couldn’t remember things; but worst of all I was absolutely drop dead exhausted and COULD NOT sleep!! I was suffering severe insomnia & hence my anxiety only became worst. It’s an absurd paradox when you are shattered, yet wired… A classic symptom of adrenal exhaustion!
Striking any chords? Even an undertone of fatigue, lethargy, or that lacklustre feeling when you wake up (or try to wake up!!) can indicate adrenal fatigue… Are you relying on coffee to boost your energy, yet crash swiftly leaving you to seek out some sugar for yet another fix?
Now, what are adrenal glands you may ask??
The adrenal glands are endocrine glands that sit at the top of your kidneys… They are responsible for releasing hormones in response to stress and help regulate stress, whether physical, emotional or psychological.
When one is under stress, and let’s face it we all experience it at times; our adrenals go into overdrive, putting out excessive cortisol to deal with the impact… At the same time, stress triggers an excessive production of adrenalin, which manifests as the ‘fight or flight response’… Anxiety & a panicky feeling is very symptomatic of adrenal fatigue…
Adrenals release hormones that regulate energy production and storage, immune function and inflammatory response, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with stress. They are amazing!!!
When your adrenals burn out, you’re more susceptible to headaches, overall weakness, colds, allergies, and respiratory infections, weight gain, lower sex drive, reduced concentration, and difficulties in relationships at work or at home. Adrenal fatigue has also been linked to autoimmune disorders, diabetes, post traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism and drug abuse.
The best thing you can do is acknowledge your adrenal fatigue & then get onto healing the issue… That’s where I specialise, having been there & done that!!
It’s crucial at this point to slow down… Do not push your body at all as even going for a walk can push your adrenal glands too far when they are in this fragile state… Be gentle on yourself and rest… Check out Jessica’s amazing post on “Rest: The Importance of slowing down…” for tips!
When I was experiencing this relentless fatigue, I had tried every Chinese & Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb, adrenal complexes, naturopathic tonics, minimal detoxes, juice fasts, different therapies AND I’d even spent 8 weeks in India doing Panchakarma to try and process my stress; but it wasn’t until earlier this year when I made the discovery of a lifetime – nutritional cleansing!!!
For me, the concept was genius; yet so simple that it would slip into my daily routine! I was bedridden at this point as my poor ‘ol adrenals were burnt… I was insanely frustrated not being able to exercise or even function very well, and I had sticky kg’s that I just wanted to shift!! However as I commenced, albeit sceptically, I felt something magical happen instantly… The stunning organic trace minerals, & exquisite nutrients & botanicals started healing me internally… I was replenishing my body whilst very gently cleansing on a cellular level… The most stunning pillar for me in this system was of course the adaptogenic tonic, which I discovered is the most potent elixir on the planet!!
NOTHING had touched the sides beforeIonix® Supreme!!! Created by a Master Formulator, this nutrient-rich tonic contains plant-based adaptogens like schizandra, rhodiola, rhodendron, ashwagandha, macaroot and wolfberry, which help support your body’s resistance to the negative effects of stress. Ionix® Supreme provides antioxidants, which help to protect cells from free radicals and ionic trace minerals to support the body’s vital functions… They literally become spark plugs in your body, and you can feel them hit your cells!!
It is out of this world, and not only supported my adrenal glands to heal and for me to cope with stress on a daily basis, but it enabled me to regain deep, restorative sleep for the first time in years… I am now coaching scores’s of people who have suffered similar adversities and who are all experiencing stunning & profound results, just like me! Feeling so blessed right now!!!
It’s so fundamental to cleanse your body on a cellular level as our bodies simply can’t cope with the heavy metals, toxins, impurities & STRESS, which is the most toxic element of all!! Combined with clean & alkalising nutrition, yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, having FUN & water water water, you can heal your adrenal fatigue & bounce back like you’ve never felt before!! Feel your energy levels soar!!
Who would’ve thought that when I embarked on healing my adrenal exhaustion, that it would in fact lead to a complete career transformation and that I would be now practicing full time in nutritional cleansing & adrenal exhaustion!!
2012 is all about transformations!! Be open minded & be true to yourself xx

Thanks for having me Jess… You are an inspiration!

Emilie Tonkin
Nutritional cleanse coach
AKA adrenal burnout survivor 😉




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Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.


Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!


Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!


I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.