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Are Body Burdens Keeping Your Patients from Feeling Their Best?

Posted Sep 10, 2019

A body burden is any problem that negatively affects the body and continues to drain overall health. Body burdens originate from many different internal or external sources, ranging from a chronic, untreated sub-acute infection to a poorly ventilated work place. These are problems that linger in your patients and prevent full recovery from adrenal fatigue and other conditions. Suffice to say, these body burdens will need to be diagnosed and addressed before full recovery can occur. Below are some examples of body burdens your patients could be experiencing.

Recurrent respiratory infections

Recurrent respiratory infections are one of the most significant body burdens hampering recovery. It is often necessary to treat the respiratory infection as well as support the adrenal glands. Once the adrenals are functioning optimally, immune resistance may be able to increase enough to decrease or eliminate the recurrent respiratory infections.

Dental problems

Another common source of body burdens is the mouth. This includes tooth abscesses, cracked or decayed teeth, root canals with sub-acute infections, periodontitis, gingivitis and other gum infections, improperly extracted teeth with smoldering infections, mercury fillings leaking into the body (mercury directly suppresses cortisol levels), dental materials that provoke sensitivities, and poor dental work that irritates the teeth, gums or inside of the cheek. Unresolved dental problems are common but often unrecognized sources of stress and adrenal fatigue.

Intestinal dysbiosis

Intestinal dysbiosis refers to an imbalance in the good and bad bacteria of the intestines. This balance can become disturbed and produce symptoms ranging from vague and mild intestinal upsets to debilitating fatigue and intolerance to food and/or environmental substances.

Friendly bacteria are necessary and responsible for breaking down bile from the gall bladder, metabolizing some food stuffs, and manufacturing certain vitamins like vitamin K and some of the B vitamins (especially vitamin B12). They also help keep the pH of the bowel at the right level for continued growth of friendly bacteria.

Lack of fresh, good quality food

The lack of good quality food in your diet is most definitely a major body burden. There is no vitamin pill that is an adequate substitute to provide all the building blocks from which cells are made. Food is the beginning and the sustaining element of recovery. Without proper nourishment and nutrition, recovery will be slower or incomplete, no matter what else your patients do.

Food allergies and sensitivities

Food allergies and sensitivities represent such a common, but unrecognized, body burden. People have lost jobs, destroyed relationships, and sunk into chronic poor health because of food sensitivities. Food allergies and sensitivities are relatively easy to treat, and their remedy can result in dramatic improvement in adrenal function.

Lack of sleep

Lack of sleep is a common sign of both low and high cortisol levels and can be a significant body burden. In fact, lack of sleep ranks with diet and regular exercise as an essential component of a healthy life. Chronic lack of sleep is now regarded as a health hazard and has been associated with several health conditions, including decreased immune function, impaired glucose tolerance, and decreased cognitive function. Lack of sleep can also increase circulating estrogen levels, upsetting the hormonal balance.

This is in addition to the decreased alertness and concentration that most people experience when missing an inordinate amount of sleep. Lack of sleep can slow healing and prolong the period of recovery.The bottom line is that it is necessary to sleep an average of 8 hours per day. Some of your patients may need even more in the beginning phases of recovery.

Living or working in toxic fumes

If your patients are living or working in an area where they are breathing toxic fumes, this can be more than an unpleasant inconvenience. Buildings with poorly ventilated gas furnaces or stoves, paint or chemical fumes, carbon monoxide from auto exhaust, industrial pollution, petroleum plants, or pesticide and herbicide sprays are examples of toxic environments.

Lack of fresh air

If your patients live or work in an environment that does not provide a continual source of fresh air, it can constantly pull their health down and keep them from full recovery. Stale air usually has decreased oxygen content. Reduced oxygen causes body processes to become less efficient. Many of the reactions in the biochemical cascade of adrenal hormone production require a rich source of oxygen.

Thyroid issues

It has been known for over half a century that about 80% of those suffering from adrenal fatigue also have a number of symptoms of low thyroid. If your patient’s adrenal fatigue has a thyroid component, it is usually necessary to strengthen both the adrenals and the thyroid simultaneously for full recovery to take place. The thyroid is another endocrine gland sensitive to the effects of stress.

Unlike the adrenals that have many functions, the thyroid has one major function: to control the rate at which energy is produced in the individual cells of the body. However, getting thyroid function tested has the same disadvantages as testing for adrenal function using blood tests; marginally low thyroid function does not show up on these standard tests.

There are some observations, though, that you can make yourself to determine if your patient’s thyroid function may be low. Although these are not precise or conclusive, they can be valuable clinical indicators that thyroid function may be lower than optimal. A list of these follows:

  1. Basal body temperature, taken before rising in the morning, is below 98.2°F (oral) or 97.2°F (underarm).
  2. Stamina or capacity does not improve with increased exercise. (Typically, as your patients exercise, their stamina and capacity increase with repeated exercise, even if they have adrenal fatigue).
  3. At 9:30 PM they hit a wall and are ready for bed but there is no 11:00 PM second wind (as is often seen in pure adrenal fatigue).
  4. Reaction time is slightly slower than it should be when they are driving a car, engaging in sports or operating equipment.
  5. They gain weight easily, especially around the hips and thighs, even when eating the right foods in normal portions.
  6. The outside of their eyebrows are much thinner than normal.
  7. They feel sluggish and not fully awake much of the day. (Those with pure adrenal fatigue usually feel awake by 10:00 AM, or if not by 10:00 AM after the noon meal.)
  8. Energy doe not noticeably improve after the evening meal or after 6:00 PM.

If approximately half of the above indicators are present, then there may be a low thyroid component in your patient’s adrenal fatigue.

Identifying Body Burdens

Finding body burdens requires you to become like a private detective looking for clues. Creating a “Health History Timeline” for your patient can be a useful way to track down potential leads. (Download Dr. Wilson’s Health History Timeline template). Have your patient fill out the form, then go through and number the events in chronological order (using 1 for the oldest).

After that, have the, go back and circle any events that stick out in your mind. These would be events after which they seemed to feel particularly tired or required an extended period of time to recuperate. The event(s) that produced the symptoms and signs most similar to those you are currently suffering from is the likeliest source of the body burden(s), especially if they did not fully recover from that event.


Wilson, J. (2001). Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. Petaluma, CA: Smart Publications.