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Food Allergies, Sensitivities and Adrenal Fatigue


November 11, 2009 | Published by

It is hard to say which is more important when you have adrenal fatigue – what to eat or what not to eat! Eating the wrong foods or combination of foods can throw you off for hours and even days, so do not event try to sneak something by; it is just not worth the price you have to pay. Make regaining your health a major priority and do not sacrifice it for the cheap gratification of a favorite, but unhealthy, food or drink. Pick the foods that are recommended for adrenal fatigue and stick with them. The further you deviate from them, the more problems you are likely to have and the more difficult it will be to balance your body chemistry. In order to heal and maintain your health, you need to stack as many things in your favor as possible.

Eliminate All Foods to Which You Are Allergic, Sensitive or Addicted

If you think that a particular food substance interferes in any way with achieving your optimum health, eliminate it immediately. If you suspect, but do not know which foods or beverages you are allergic, sensitive or addicted to, then it is important to find out. The adrenals are extremely important in all allergies, including food allergies and sensitivities. As your adrenal function improves, you will be less prone to allergies and will be able to eat more things. However, for the first three months, do not push the envelope. Completely eliminate all the foods you are sensitive to or suspect you are sensitive or allergic to. The idea is not to see how far you can test the limits; the idea is to get yourself well.

Role of Allergies in Adrenal Function

glass of milkMost allergies involve the release of histamine and other pro-inflammatory substances (substances that produce inflammation). The adrenal hormone, cortisol, is a strong anti-inflammatory (a substance that reduces inflammation). Your circulating level of cortisol is the key factor in controlling the level of inflammatory reactions in your body. For this reason, your adrenal glands play an important role in mediating the histamine release and inflammatory reactions that produce the symptoms experienced with allergies. It is therefore not surprising that people with food and environmental allergies commonly have weak adrenal function.

  • The more histamine that is released, the more cortisol it takes to control the inflammatory response and the harder the adrenals have to work to produce more cortisol.

  • The harder the adrenals have to work, the more fatigued they become and the less cortisol they produce, allowing histamine to inflame the tissues more.

  • This vicious circle can lead to progressively deeper adrenal fatigue as well as to larger allergic reactions.

  • Anything you can do to break this cycle will help your adrenal glands and reduce the effects of allergies.

  • Eliminating foods that you are allergic or sensitive to from your diet is one of the best and easiest ways to decrease the demands on your struggling adrenals.

Most symptoms of allergies or food sensitivities are first felt between thirty minutes and three hours after the meal, but some may be delayed as long as two to three days.

Because of the abundance of histamine receptors in your brain, an allergen will often cause a greater reaction in your nervous system than it does anywhere else. Ranging from subtle to profound, these cerebral allergy reactions can include such symptoms as a cloudy head, confusion, sudden awkwardness, loss of consciousness, coma and occasionally death.

Responses to particular foods and drinks vary from person to person but there are some food substances that tend to produce allergies more frequently. The most common food allergens are the proteins in cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts. Sugar is not a common allergen, but it can greatly increase an allergic reaction. If you find yourself feeling odd or experiencing more of the signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue after eating, think of allergies or food sensitivities.

Allergic reactions also vary in magnitude, even within the same individual. At one a time an allergen may produce only a small response, and at other times be incapacitating. It is important to track down and eliminate these food sensitivities and allergies in order to help you adrenal glands recover.

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  • Sara says:

    this explains my child to a T, especially the neurological component which most of our doctors have discounted. However, that is the biggest reaction I’ve seen when feeding wheat and cow’s milk to my allergic child. No hives, no rashes but severe neurological effects to the point of slurred speech, pain sensation dulled, and cognitive interaction halted. Thank for for this post and I hope many can learn from it.

    • anne says:

      Your child is like most Americans–allergic to A1 casein. Try European products: butter, cheese, etc or goat milk in U.S. They all are A2 casein- like human milk–causing no reaction in most

  • Judy Ollman says:

    I have chronic Lyme Disease which has caused me to have severe food allergies. My doctor is recommending that I take pregnenolone to help support my adrenals, which are exhausted.
    Would you agree with this recommendation?
    Thanks for your help.

    • adrenalfatigue says:

      Hi Judy,

      Depending on severity and length of onset, some people need some sort of hormonal treatment in addition to dietary and supplement support to help deal with adrenal fatigue. Hope this helps!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Bella says:

    I’ve had several anaphylactic reactions and am in the process of establishing exactly what is causing the allergic reaction. In the meantime, I have been going through ups and downs with my body including fatigue after each reaction. Is there any way after a bad reaction I can increase my energy levels more quickly please as it normally takes me a month to go back to normal?
    Very interesting info btw, as it explains why I was getting tired and run down evens before the anaphylactic reactions
    Looking forward to your response

    • adrenalfatigue says:

      Hi Bella,

      Overall, addressing the cause of the reaction will be the best help. As far as support goes, taking high quality vitamin C can help with allergy relief. Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal C is a time release formula that is gentle on the stomach. There are also natural energy boosters available, such as Dr. Wilson’s Super Adrenal Stress Formula and Adrenal Power Powder. Hope this helps – best of luck in wellness!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Barb says:

    I have just finished Dr Wilson’s book. I have a question about allergy shots. I went to an allergist about a year ago. I took the traditional skin allergy tests and have been taking a weekly shot of allergy
    shots (which is actually injecting me with what I am allergic to). About 2 months after I started the shots, I started feeling really horrible. I am very close to menopause, and I was assuming this was the cause. I am taking bio identical hormone therapy, and have been taking Dr wilson’s supplements for about a month. I am now thinking that I am not going to feel any better as long as I keep taking the allergy shots. My doctor does not believe in adrenal fatigue, so I cannot ask him. Can you shed any light on this??

    • adrenalfatigue says:

      Hi Barb,

      It’s difficult to say if the allergy shots are for sure causing the adverse feelings. We can’t provide advice on the allergy shots or advise for or against what your doctor is providing. Needless to say: if you’re dealing with adrenal fatigue and your current doctor does not believe in it, it may be difficult to get proper treatment. As the post says, the adrenal glands can play a big part in allergens/allergic reactions, which can be exacerbated by adrenal fatigue. If you’re looking for a healthcare practitioner who takes adrenal fatigue seriously, our practitioner database might be able to help you out. Thanks for your questions, and best of luck!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Jason says:

    Can addison’s disease or another addrenal malfunction result in allergic reaction to almost all foods?

  • Krystina says:

    Thank you for the information! I have had severe eye allergies for over a month now. They are constantly swollen, red, and tight feeling. The steriod eye drops I was prescribed do nothing. Should I stop them? The other day I was playing with our dogs in the yard and an hour or so later I had extreme itching and my eyes almost swelled shut. Now I have sores from where the itchy bumps were over my eyelids. I just want to go back to normal activities, I am a very outdoorsy person and I can’t help but wake up depressed every day, even though I know this taxes my adrenals more. And I know that other people have it worse, and I do feel for them and hope they get better. I have been trying to eat lots of vegetables and fruit and eliminate coffee, I have eliminated grains and all eye makeup. Should I exercise? I am afraid that it will put more strain on my adrenals. I am not overweight. I had this exact same thing back in March, but it only lasted 3 weeks and went away completely.

    • Hi Krystina,

      We can’t say to stop taking the steroid eye drops, but you may want to reassess them with whoever prescribed them to you. Exercise can be beneficial for adrenal fatigue, as long as you don’t over do it. Light cardio, walking, breathing exercise, and yoga are some good exercise activities. Hope this helps – thanks for your questions!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Lee says:

    The Doctors say that I have secondary hypertension, and sinus tachycardia, but this only happens when I eat or take meds by mouth. I’ve also noticed it with vitamins, minerals and herbs. Could this be adrenals or low thyroid? Also, had a few tests and cortisol was high, also had aldosterone low on one test. It varies. Just started 6 months ago with a burning of all my nerve endings which results in itching when doing physical activity, or sun exposure. Is this hormones also, or is my nervous system malfunctioning?

  • Julia says:


    I had panic attacks, but one year ago I got eczema, and it disappeared. Until the skin problem wa still on, I did not care about panic attacks. But after I eliminated eczema, it came back. I took food allergy test, and I am allergic to a lot, really a lot of the foods. Just for example: carrot, tomato, parsley, melone, peach, banana, potato. And also a little flour, so I try to avoid breads and every sweets made from white flour.
    I am doing a research on what could cause my panic attacks. They mostly come at the 2nd part of the day, usually at 16-22h. I think adrenal fatigue could be my problem. I am over-stressed, to be more precise, I do not have big tests in my life, but I cannot cope with the small ones, even a speach in fron of 2 people can cause me as big anxiety as I would be running for my life.
    I also have a stomach pain, under my left rib.

    What do you think of my case? Do you think adrenal fatigue could be the root of my problems? (Food allergy, over-sensitive neuro, and panic attacks)
    Thanks for your help!!

    • Hi Julia,

      We can’t say whether or not adrenal fatigue is the cause of your symptoms, though anxiety is a common symptom of adrenal fatigue. If you aren’t already, we suggest connecting with a healthcare practitioner who deals with adrenal fatigue and related conditions. If you’re looking for a practitioner, you can search our database here (just enter the state and click search):

      Hope this helps – thanks for your question!
      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

      • Julia says:

        Thank you for the quick reply!
        Unfortunately I am living in Europe, Hungary, and I cannot travel to the US 🙁
        But I hope I will find a practicioner, who could help me. I’ve just did my cortisol saliva test, and hope to get the results soon.
        Its strange, but I would be happy to hear that I suffer from adrenal fatigue. I do not want to cover my problems with antidepressant pills, as I feel strong enough to do the research and find the root of my problem.

  • At age 21, there may finally be answers for my daughter. She diagnosed with learning disabilities in grade 2, developed many anxieties, eczema, stomach upset, stomach pain, and by middle school, extreme tiredness. She had many doctor visits and the doctor was well aware of her symptoms but dismissed them. She went away to college and within 2 days had a severe allergic reaction, causing her hands to form bubble blisters and she was put on prednisone. She had environmental allergy testing and only at my request, they did food allergy testing. The test showed a wheat allergy. I am wondering if you think she should also have delayed food allergy test. I think that her quality of life will greatly improve with the correct test results. I have been reading that even learning disabilities may improve with proper allergy management. What do you think?

  • Teri says:

    I am currently seeing a homeopathic dr for my adrenal fatigue and low thyroid issues. I also had the Alcat food allergy test and found that I have leaky gut syndrome. I realize these are all hand in hand. I am on thyro cnv, as well as other supplements that are also mentioned in your book.
    My question is; we are addressing the thyroid and the leaky gut with the thyro cnv, clear vite sf and DSF herbal. Are you familiar with these and do I need something else to help me with adrenals? I sometimes feel like when I’m having a bad day I need something more to help me relax and rest. My blood work showed that I am not having sugar problems but I tend to feel jittery and heart races. My ears tend to get stuffy and hum, I’m assuming from the leaky gut food allergy issues and possibly yeast in my system affecting my ears?
    I know this is a lot to answer!
    Thank you for any input!

    • Hi Terilynne,

      We are not familiar with those supplements and can’t make any recommendations regarding them either way. What we know, and can answer questions on, are Doctor Wilson’s Original Formulations for adrenal support. As for the ear issue: it would really depend on the source of the problem. Adrenal fatigue can make it easier for infections and inflammation to stick around, so that is a possibility. You may benefit from seeing an ENT specialist. I hope this helps somewhat; we are unable to offer medical advice or consultations, but if you’re looking for someone you can check our practitioner database here:

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Olivia says:

    This explains a lot of weird rashes I had as a kid. All the doctors I saw said, “oh it’s just a kid thing, she’ll grow out of it.” I’m in my mid-twenties and definitely haven’t grown out of it! My two questions are this:

    Are allergy tests a good idea to get at the beginning of the adrenal fatigue process? I got diagnosed about 6 weeks ago. I cut out gluten, dairy, alcohol, and caffeine, from the research I’ve seen online. I’m not sure what else I should cut out and my body is definitely not stable enough to do an elimination diet at the moment, which is why I’m wondering about the allergy test! If I do get an allergy test, what should I ask the allergist to focus on?

    Second question: I’ve had to take a small amount of Benadryl for many years to sleep. I also have taken a daily allergy medication to reduce my symptoms from my environmental allergies (hay fever.) Should I try to wean off of it? Sleep is the one thing that’s made me feel better in this process so it makes me nervous but I haven’t found any resources that tell me one way or the other.

    Thank you!


    • Adrenal Fatigue Team says:

      Hi Olivia,

      Those are great questions. Getting tested now would be up to you. There are benefits either way. If you’re looking to identify foods to eliminate to reduce allergic reactions, it might be best to a test now. Adrenal fatigue can exacerbate allergies and sensitivities, so that is something to keep in mind. Your practitioner will likely ask what your top trigger foods are, which will likely be the focus of the test. Otherwise, testing usually focuses on the top common allergens. That said, allergy tests do vary, and it may be up to the discretion of your practitioner. There are benefits to both IgE and IgA tests for allergies.
      We would not recommend weaning off any type of medication without the advice or guidance of your practitioner. Obviously sleep is very important and you want your sleep to be as good as possible, but there’s no clear cut answer there without referring with your practitioner first. Let us know if you have any further questions, and thank you for writing!

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