ask the doctor: adrenal fatigue & gut health

Did you miss last week’s question about natural remedies for coughs and colds?

Hi Corinne,

I have a couple questions, but they’re both about exhaustion.

1. How would you suggest someone overcome adrenal fatigue? I have been getting hives from sweating and showering (both heat induced I presume) and I have been told that I have adrenal fatigue which can come about from being chronically stressed.

2. I have been taking B12 shots for the past few months. They seem to be helping, but will I be taking them indefinitely? I am not a vegetarian… so, I’m wondering if my stomach acid is lower than it should be or???  If so, how do I increase stomach acidity while keeping the rest of me leaning towards the alkaline side?

Thanks so much,


Hi Chelsey,

Those are both great questions as well as very common conditions Naturopathic Doctors see people coming in with. To answer your questions:

1) Adrenal fatigue is a very common concern of people who are over doing it, burning the candle at both ends, or chronically stressed. The body’s adrenals are like its gas tank, so when they burn out  or become fatigued  you need to fill them up. This is accomplished by rejuvenating the body. Things like quality sleep, quality food, deep breathing, and gentle exercise such as yoga are rejuvenating for the adrenals. As well, the adrenals love a good quality multi B-vitamin supplement, which is very balancing and nourishing.

2) No, you will not need to take the B12 shots forever. You can get a simple blood test to let you know what your B12 stores are, and once they are above the reference range for the lab, you can begin to lower your dose. However, you are correct that it could be due to low stomach acid  there is a simple test your ND can do called a Gastro Test to test the pH of your stomach and determine its acidity. And lastly, speaking of acidity and alkalinity you 100% want your stomach to be acidic, the most acidic area of your body in fact. When you’re talking about staying alkaline, you’re speaking about the rest of your body – blood, saliva, urine, etc. However, the environment of your stomach does not affect the alkalinity of the rest of your body  a very common area of confusion!

It is interesting because your two questions combine to point to the potential answer of what is going on with you. Of course as usual I cannot diagnose you for certain without a physical exam and full Naturopathic intake. However, low stomach acid and hives may be, in fact, correlated. But it’s a bit round about:

When someone eats, a healthy digestive system digests the food into its simplest form of nutrients (easiest for your body to absorb) using its stomach acid. However, if your stomach acid is low  known as hypochlorhydria the larger food particles can become damaging to the lining of your stomach, causing the cells to pull apart ever so slightly. Sometimes they pull apart just enough to allow those large, undigested food particles out of the stomach and into the bloodstream, where the body flags it as an intruder, or non-self, and attempts to kill it. This creates a general state of chaos and inflammation in the body, and causes your immune system to become touchy and react to seemingly everything. The hives MAY be a result of one of your immune cells called mast cells the ones that hold histamine  degranulating from the heat, simply because the mast cell is jumpy and over-reactive which is a result of the food particles in the bloodstream which is a result of the low stomach acid in the gut! Amazing isn’t it?

Please note this is just a theory! I cannot know for sure if this is your specific concern. However, a visit to your family Naturopath can get to the bottom of your hives and your adrenal fatigue more accurately.

Thank you for your question, Chelsey, and good luck!

In health and happiness!

Dr. Corinne

Have a question for Dr. Corinne? Send her an email at and your question will be answered here. These suggestions are not intended to provide diagnosis or substitute a private consultation with your healthcare practitioner.

About Dr. Corinne, Health & Wellness Editor

Naturopathic Doctor, Corinne Brown BSc, ND, established her Naturopathic practice, Brownroots Wellness, in May of 2011. Her practice focuses on women’s health, weight loss, chronic stress and adrenal fatigue. Corinne also focuses her practice on pre-and-post natal health, fertility, and offers Naturopathic Perinatal Classes. She is very passionate about pregnancy and birth, and is also a trained Birth & Labor Doula. Dr. Corinne is the Natural Mommie Health & Wellness Editor who posts a Q&A series of natural health and wellness topics as well as healthy living tips for women, moms and moms to be.

One thought on “ask the doctor: adrenal fatigue & gut health

  1. We have been using functional medicine…I basically showed up at my doctor 3 weeks after having my third child exhausted with a overly agitated gut and almost dehydrated…they gave me a B-12 shot and it helped temporarily…my husband and I had blood, urine, and saliva panels run by a naturopath and my adrenal health sucks! From my understanding…blood sugar spikes and drops effect your adrenal function along with food allergies (I found out I am gluten intolerant) and a load of other things…the gluten intolerance was prohibiting my body from properly breaking down and absorbing food/nutrients and the blood sugar spikes also really prohibit you from maintaining a healthy gut…we have changed our diet (protein is vital when it comes to maintaining level blood sugar) and take a handful of pill version supplements and transdermal supplements…all by Apex Energetics…I have never felt better…My cycle is regular and I don’t have the energy dips I used to and my immune function is out of this world. We also get adjusted by an upper cervical chiropractor…I wish I could give everyone my health and the feeling I have everyday…its awesome!

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