Celiac Disease and Your Adrenal Gland

Changing your diet is one of the hardest things many people have to face after getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease. For a lot of people it's the solution to all their problems and fixes almost everything! But for others, like me, it's only one piece to the puzzle of finally starting to get better. My Adrenal Disorder is probably the one thing I have expressed the least on my blog but is actually the hardest thing I deal with each day. Some of you may know what the Adrenal Gland does but a majority of you probably do not. If you're thinking none of this information will really apply to you because you don't have an Adrenal Disorder, you're wrong. If you ever get a reaction from accidentally consuming gluten, then this can all apply to you in something called, Adrenal Fatigue. Hopefully I can give you a better idea of Celiac Disease and your Adrenal Gland and possibly give you some tips that can greatly help you when you get a reaction in the future.

What the Adrenal Gland does:
The Adrenal Gland is a small gland located above the kidneys that plays one of the key roles in the endocrine system. It helps regulate almost every normal bodily function, digestion, muscle movement, eyesight, memory, anything you can think of is affected by this gland. It is the main part of what keeps everything working properly throughout your daily life. Everyday it produces many different hormones, one of them being cortisol (commonly known as adrenaline), which is highest in the morning to get you going, and lowest at night. The hormones produced from the Adrenal Gland tell your brain when your body is under stress and needs to be working harder at certain points in your life or day. If you undergo to much stress your body stops producing enough of these hormones causing it to not know how to function properly and it begins to start shutting down these functions. This usually results in Adrenal Fatigue which is something many with Celiac Disease can experience and is something I will get into later on.

Symptoms you may have while going through Adrenal Fatigue: 
  • Excessive fatigue and exhaustion
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty recovering from exercise
  • Feeling run down
  • Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope with stress
  • Craving salty and sweet foods
  • Feeling more energetic in the evening
  • Waking up tired, even after a long night sleep
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Being slow to recover from stress, injury, or illness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Being highly susceptible to colds, flus, or illness
  • Food or environmental allergies
  • Premenstrual syndrome or unusually problematic menopause
  • Consistent low blood pressure
  • Extreme sensitivity to cold

My type of Adrenal Disorder:
While Adrenal Fatigue is something anyone can experience throughout life, an Adrenal Disorder is different. And when it comes to me, mine is definitely most unique. For most people with an Adrenal disorder, they are around the ages of 30-50..I'm 15. The small amount of people that have this disorder actually still have their adrenal gland functioning, but not well enough to live life normally. With me, my Adrenal Gland does not function at all and it would be impossible for me to live without medicine. I do not get any of the hormones from my Adrenal Gland that tells each body function how to work properly. Also since I am still growing and am still so young, my body is always changing, inside and out. This makes it a lot more difficult for my body to know how much medicine it needs since it is different each day. For the last couple years doctors have still been unable to figure out what caused or why I have this disorder. Since mine is so unique they do not have a name for it either. Figuring out why this happened so abruptly is something that will take time and will hopefully help anyone else with what I am going through some time in the future.

How it affects me every day:
Throughout my daily life I am much more affected by my Adrenal Disorder than I am with Celiac Disease. This is the one thing I have been most reserved about and the one thing many don't really know about me. Here is a brief list of what it affects and what normal has become for me.
  • Medicine: At 3 specific times each day, I have to take many different types of medicine to replace what my Adrenal Gland should be producing. Even if I'm a little late to take it, it can throw off my cortisol levels and make me unable to function for the rest of the day. Physical and mental stress play a big role on how much medicine I have to take each day as well. I have to constantly be thinking about how I feel every hour of the day and think about how much medicine I should take next. This is something I'm getting used to but is obviously still hard to manage since the smallest thing can throw me off.
  • Food: While being on a gluten and dairy free diet, there are many other foods I have to watch out for that affect how I feel. Hypoglycemia, (low blood sugar), is another thing I deal with because of this disorder. So watching out for fruits and foods high in glycemic index is critical. That means no tropical fruits or candies. And when I can have food with any type of sugar, it has to be at the end of the day so it doesn't drop my blood sugar in the morning. Blood sugar plays a major role on how my adrenal gland works and is something I really have to watch. This is the hardest thing to control since each thing I eat needs a specific combination to make sure I am not put under any more stress.
  • Drinks: Caffeine, fruit juices, and alcohol is something I will never be able to drink. I don't really find it that big of a problem right now, but for the future...it might suck. Haha, but even the water I drink has to be monitored. The plastics my water comes in and the city pipes our water comes from is filled with chemicals that can damage my adrenal gland. That being said I am only able to drink filtered water and nothing else. I never really find this a big deal anyways!
  • Exercise: This is the one thing that is truly affected most. I love exercising and being able to work out, but am usually unable to because it is such a big stress on my body. If I overwork myself, pretty much any normal bodily function is majorly impacted and takes days to recover. Usually the next day I am completely fatigued, unable to communicate, process, or talk properly. This is by far the thing that bothers me the most since I love being so active. It will take time for me to understand how I can work out without having problems, but I'll figure it out eventually!
  • Socially: With Celiac Disease, we all deal with problems that affects our social life. Like most of you when I get sick and can't leave the house, it keeps me from being able to really interact with anyone. But when I do interact with people, I often have a much harder time doing so. If my adrenal levels are off, my brain can't process what someone said or process something for me to say back. Obviously it's going to make me look awkward at times because I'm unable to know what to say! A lot of the times this makes me unable to talk and carry even the simplest conversations. But on a good day I'm very talkative, love interacting with people, and can actually carry a conversation with out any problems. Because of all this, each person I first meet may have the wrong idea on who I really am. My closest friends I've been around for years really understand my situation and definitely understand me most.
  • Stomach: When I undergo any type of stress, my body usually shuts down the least important bodily function to focus on the rest. Well with most people the body looks at the stomach and digestive system as the least important. (Like I didn't have enough problems with my stomach already..lol) Obviously I already have a lot of GI problems from Celiac so this just adds on. I become unable to digest food properly causing constipation, inflammation, etc. I still can't figure out whether I am having GI problems due to something else I'm allergic to, or if it just has to do with my disorder. Either way I find this more annoying then stressful to be honest.

    How it's connected to Celiac Disease:
    Celiac Disease and Adrenal Disorders have been shown in studies to have a very close connection. If you have been on a gluten-free diet for a couple months and still feel very fatigued and have some of the symptoms that were listed above on a daily basis, getting your adrenal levels tested can be the solution to your problem like it was for me. Most of you will likely not have an Adrenal Disorder and will not have to worry about getting tested, but Adrenal Fatigue is something even the healthiest people in life experience. That being said, having Celiac Disease makes you much more likely to experience it more often than others. Like I said earlier, Adrenal Fatigue usually happens when your body undergoes mental or physical stress. Well with Celiac Disease, if you get a reaction to gluten you are putting your body under a major stress! Because of this your body works to focusing on the parts that need repaired and need the most help. Usually to help recover, the ability to break down foods and have your stomach work properly is reduced or shut down completely. After learning this it made total sense and was a real eye opener to me. A lot of this is probably making you wonder, "well, now that I know about it what can I do to fix it?" There are some natural things you can do and tips that I will list below.

    What you can do to help with Adrenal Fatigue:
    Whenever I want to recover from something, I want to do it as easily and as natural as possible. A lot of the things I have learned over the past year are all things you can do on your own. To make it easiest for you, I decided to put together a list of 3 natural and inexpensive things you should try if you feel like you are going through Adrenal Fatigue. Hope it helps!

        1.   Get these nutrients to help recover the quickest! (Listed below)
      • B vitamins- Beans, nuts, meats, fish, and peas are best natural source
      • Vitamin C- Berries, tomatoes, and dark leafy greens are best natural source
      • Magnesium- Dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and legumes are best natural source
      • Zinc- Meats, seafood, and poultry are best natural source
         2.  Try and get some sunlight!
      • Vitamin D has been shown to help boost energy levels and help with Adrenal Fatigue. You can eat foods high in Vitamin D but sunlight is actually shown to be more affective and I think much easier too. (I actually moved to Florida so I could get more sunlight and it's helped my energy a lot!)
         3.  Avoid high level stress situations..
      • Sometimes I think the most stressful things in life are the situations you can't control. That being said you should definitely try your best to avoid the stress you can control. That means taking it easy and not trying to overwork yourself both mentally and physically is extremely important. You should know yourself best and know your limits.

    Conclusion: Raising awareness for Adrenal Fatigue in Celiac's was by far the main goal of this post. But also giving you a look of what I go through and deal with every day with my Adrenal Disorder was something I wanted to include. If you do feel like you are going through Adrenal Fatigue from getting a bad reaction, just give the 3 things I suggested a try. The first tip is a natural thing you can do from just eating, and the last 2 are free! Honestly, what do you have do lose? I hope this helped give you a better idea of what my Adrenal Disorder is and I hope you try some of the tips I offered. It could really help you when you are going through a reaction and improve how you feel greatly. Thank you for reading and I hope this helps you in the future!

    If you have any questions for me about this topic, Contact Me Here! I have a lot more I could share to possibly help you if you think this is something you are dealing with.

    If you want to read about how I discovered my Adrenal Disorder and what led up to it, Click Here!

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    1. I have Celiac Disease and have had it for almost 12 years now. I really enjoyed this article and found it to be extremely informational and helpful! I have people commenting on how my pupils tend to be much larger than they should be a lot of the time so I started looking into it and researching it with linked articles to celiac disease. I ended up stumbling across this article and I'm glad that I did! I agree completely on what you listed about being social; I feel that way a lot of the time too. I have a hard time finding things to reply with to people and carry on conversations.

      1. This was good info. For most of my life I always that socially I was just akward. When growing up I was abused and also bullied so would lock myself in my bedroom . Fast-forward 25 years I am just now diagnosed with celiac and my adrenals are slow. Good to know that I'm not totally out there by myself:) Since being gluten free and on iron twice daily I can tell a huge difference but still watch the exercising. I went from jogging up to 6 miles a day to now I'm getting back to walking about 3 every 3 days. Only been gluten free 3 months:) thanks for this article:)

      2. I was diagnosed with Celiac 4 years ago and it really did change my life. The dietary adjustments alone seemed like a complete lifestyle change. Not so ironically, lol, but I did happen to figure out I also had Adrenal Fatigue about a year and a half ago. It truly is amazing how many different circuits are all connected in the body and how you really can maintain your health by choosing wise dietary selections and keeping your gut healthy (amazing article here about gut health!!: https://www.drlam.com/blog/healthy-human-microbiome-part-1/21862/) as well as being mindful of the every day to day life you are living.

    2. Thanks for commenting! I'm glad my article helped you and that you could relate to me a little bit on the social part. I know exactly how you feel because sometimes no matter how hard I try, talking to people is just a challenge for me. I just feel like I can't process anything to say or anything that they are saying. Idk if that explains it well or if you feel the same way, but it's nice to know I'm not crazy or the only one going through it. Haha, thanks again for commenting!

    3. I am wondering if I too, have adrenal fatigue. I have some of the symptoms. In college I once got tested for diabetes. I had high but not excessively high blood sugar from and eight hour lab test where I had to stay all day and drink a nasty sugar drink then they would draw blood. I was not considered a diabetic but was close.

      By the time I reached my forties after a lot of very stressful multiple events in my life, I started having fuzzy brain etc but didn't have any idea what was going on. Eventually through some blood work from my job as we were offered free tests, I found my blood sugar excessively LOW all the time. In the 50s! No one though connected it with adrenals. I just started eating more frequently.

      Eventually around the age of 53, I suddenly found I could no longer do my three miles a day run. I would collarless from exhaustion and have to sleep almost immediately. Waking up hours later exhausted still. I got my heart checked by a specialist thinking it was a heart problem. My test results back then showed my heart was functioning like a teenagers heart so it wasn't that. No one mentioned adrenal fatigue.

      After reading what you said, I plan to ask my Doctor this summer to get my adrenal system checked out if my insurance will support this. While I no longer have low blood pressure, (I have to take medication as it is now high) I still have the low blood sugar and I have not tried to run since age 53. It would be nice to have normal energy levels even at my age.

      Thank you for posting this. If they will let me get this test, I will keep you informed as to the results.

      I do hope they can find a working solution for you that will give you back the life you well deserve to live without this adrenal problem!

    4. Thanks for commenting and sorry I responded so late. I'm glad to hear that I could of possibly helped you out! Hopefully you can get tested for all you levels that are produced from you gland. Like I said in the post everyone goes through Adrenal Fatigue at some points in their life, having Celiac or not. It would be great if you could get your energy back by finding this our and I hope it's your solution. Keep me posted if you get tested because I'd like to hear if it helps! Thanks for commenting again!

    5. WOW. I have a problem with extreme fatigue and actually have every one of the symptoms you listed. Now, how do I get my doctor to take this seriously? Is there a test to show adrenal function?

    6. There are tests through blood work they can do to get the levels of your many different hormones that come from the adrenal gland. That should help determine what supplements you may need. I also would recommend seeing an endocrinologist too since they specialize in adrenal gland function. Hope that helps!

    7. This is Taylors mom. The tests that they ran to diagnose his adrenal deficency was a cortisol test. The adreanal gland produces three different hormone.

      1. Cortisol - which helps provide support to all the major organs
      2. Florinef - which helps regulate the salt in your body
      3. Growth Hormones

      The tests that the endocrinologists run for Taylor's adrenal deficiency are covered under our insurance and are typically considered standard lab tests. Your regular doctor should be able to run these for you and I would mention by name that you would like your Cortisol levels and adrenal function tested.

    8. Hi Taylor...I have adrenal fatigue and was told not to exercise.But I have to lose 60lbs...any suggestions? :(

    9. Usually even if you have fatigue you should be aloud to exercise in some way. It's honestly a very long process and took me 2-3 years to finally get to the point where I am now where I can do full 45 minute workouts. Starting out with very simple and light workouts is best. Even just walking for 10 minutes a day is good enough. Slowly start to add minutes and take days off. If you notice you are getting more fatigued then workout less or take more days off in between. If you notice it is helping then slowly add minutes on every week! You will eventually be able to work your way up to harder workouts but it takes weeks to months. That's my advice and I'll admit it's been hard. But even with my adrenal glands not working at all, I've been able to do it over time. Hope that helped!

    10. I would love to help you with this as I too deal with adrenal fatigue! Here are some of the products I use to deal with mine! http://www.everythingessential.me/HealthConcerns/AdrenalFatigue.html#page=page-2 And here is a link to my site. http://www.mydoterra.com/brendabenzien/ I would love to help you or anyone else interested. Email me at benziengirl@yahoo.com if you are interested in trying products and I will give you a special offer that will help you along your journey!

    11. I have most of them signs to I have had celica know for about 4 years and have been in the hospital 2 because of it. From eating stuff not sure about the food. I watch everything now very close but I am so tried all the time cannt go at all I am going to have my dr do this blood work on me I blood work for celica is at 48 in blood work.

    12. Have your doctors ever mentioned Addison's disease? It's an autoimmune disease where the adrenal glands can't produce enough hormones. I believe that President Kennedy had it.
      Take care and stay strong!

    13. I have celiac and addisons disease. have they checked you for addisons? that is adrenal insufficiency. just wondering. very challenging to deal with most of the time. it took docs about 30 years to realize what it was.

    14. I know you posted this quite awhile back but thank you so much! This is exactly what I have been looking for and struggling with for so long. You are so strong and I hope you are doing well!

    15. For those people who are celiac disease sufferer and maybe reading this, I find it hard that people are still ignorant when it comes to celiac disease.
      My journey and diagnosis with celiac disease began with headaches, I gained over 50 pounds after my diagnosis. my symptoms included stomach pain, constipation, and generally feeling uncomfortable, muscle pain, bouts of fatigue and depression, stomach aches, nausea, and frequent trips to the bathroom. I endured several misdiagnoses and treatment regimens, Migraines started at age seven, I can recall suffering as a child, I grew up thinking it was normal to have daily stomach pain, headaches, though stomach problems ran in my family, but no one felt as miserable as I did on a daily basis. I fell asleep in my clothes without eating dinner not knowing how my body would react, I had become afraid of food.
      I felt a moment of relief hoping that, I am free from this ailment, and I remind myself how lucky to come across Lance Justin's herbal medicine which is able to control my disease. I promised myself that I would stay strong and not sneak food that would cause me any harm again. The only thing I wanted was to feel better. I’m proud to say I am celiac disease free. You can also contact him through (ronniemd70@gmail.com).

    16. Hey Taylor Miller,
      I know I am commenting on this real late but I just happened to stumble upon your blog if there was a connection between Celiacs Disease & your adrenals.
      We met like several times at the Minneapolis Gluten free, allergy fest, you probably remember me. Well, just recently my brother got diagnosed with a disease called ADDISONS DISEASE. Your issue sounds very similar to his, have you checked to see if that is what you have?.

      Anyways, it got me thinking about my own cortisol levels. I am also experiencing the symptoms above. Thin skin on my legs, easy bruising, severe fatigue even though I get enough sleep, female issues, short term memory loss, the list continues. I have been gluten free due to Celiacs for 4 years now and I just thought it was due to that, but being I was extremely strict and my 2nd biopsy proved that my intestines have pretty much completely healed up, it caused me to wonder. I got my cortisol tested in May of this year and it was slightly elevated, then I had it tested again 1 month later and it was extremely elevated. So instead of it being low, I actually have it higher. :( I will soon be seeing an endoscrinologist for it, but it all makes sense now. I bet this is what is causing all these stupid symptoms. It still doesn't help that I am super concered about it. I definitely have a lot of anxiety (got worse after being diagnosed with cd) and I am sure that doesn't help. But, I am hopeful we will find a resolution and I will feel better soon!! :/ Thank you for sharing this wonderful post!

      1. Haha I meant, after googling the connection between celiac disease & your adrenals. Sorry, not sure what happened there.

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