Clymer Healing Center has specialized in treating Adrenal Fatigue since 1969. We’ve helped over 12,000 patients regain their energy and vitality. Most adrenal patients have immune weakness and its resultant allergies.
By way of more than 300,000 patient interactions, we at Clymer have learned a great deal about our patients with Adrenal Fatigue. I’ve had over 15 years of hands-on patient experience, helping thousands to return to a symptom-free, active, and fulfilling life.
There is an inextricable connection between immune weakness and Adrenal Fatigue. Quite often, well-meaning doctors treat the symptom of allergies without addressing the underlying cause. They prescribe OTC and prescription medications without assessing the underlying adrenal dysfunction.
#1 I know what you’re going through.
I have endured my own personal battle with Adrenal Fatigue.
Like all of my patients, I suffered from many symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue, both in college and before. I was exhausted in the early evening. I had digestive issues and insomnia. On top of it all, my immune system was shot.
l never dreamed about being a doctor when l was a fun-loving kid bouncing off the walls in Oakhurst, New Jersey. I’d actually begun to study for a degree in economics and finance after high school until my body and life progressively began to unravel and fall apart.
Worse, there seemed to be nothing I could do to stop it, because no one wearing a white coat and stethoscope had any clue what was wrong. It threw me on a quest for answers that led me almost 3,000 miles from home, to the hallowed halls of Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington State, and to a seat in their world-famous research library, a wall-to-wall “treasure chest” of all-natural medical breakthroughs.
There, in between my daily classes, and after years of dead-ends, let downs, and frustration, I finally stumbled upon the book Chronic Fatigue Unmasked 2000. Its author, the man to whom I now owe my life, Dr. Gerald Poesnecker, became my mentor. Prior to his tragic death, he would personally train me in the unique, successful approach he’d taken to treat thousands of patients seeking release from harsh, unrelenting, and all too often paralyzing fatigue and all its symptoms.
The information you are about to read on this page exists in testament to this little-known giant of natural medicine and healing, Dr. Gerald Poesnecker, the pioneer in the field of the study, assessment, and treatment of Adrenal Fatigue. His mentorship was the commencement of my 15-year career. After his passing, I refined and built upon Dr. Poesnecker’ s proven methods.
I have an intensely personal interest in the study of fatigue. In the video below, I share my own emotional journey with Adrenal Dysfunction.
#2 Immune Weakness and Allergies
Think about your family and your friends. Do any of them suffer from allergies? This is a ridiculous question, right? Of course, you’re bound to know someone who does. You may have allergies yourself, and if not, you certainly know someone who does.
Allergies affect up to 30-40% of our population, both in children and adults. The prevalence of allergies is so high that it’s often referred to as an epidemic. If anything, the numbers are underrepresented.
Most people think it’s just sniffles, watery eyes, maybe a little wheeze or itch here and there. Or maybe you’re more unlucky: You react to a few foods with some temporary digestive discomfort, like gas and bloating, heartburn, or the occasional bout of loose stools.
Often, allergies are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other conditions associated with allergies, some of which you may not be aware.
We should also include all the people out there with heartburn and reflux, which make the numbers go up. And the many thousands of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Eczema and Autoimmune disease are also on the list. Why include these people? Because all of these conditions have an allergic component to them, but they don’t show themselves as a typical allergic reaction.
Some people have allergies so severe that they can’t go outside during ragweed season. Some people who have developed sensitivities to more than the simple dust, grasses and pollens, are also sensitive to toxins, chemicals, gas fumes, etc. The number of people diagnosed with allergies and sensitivities is skyrocketing.
What is this allergy epidemic all about?
The reality is that allergies are the result of our immune system overreacting to innocuous substances that we inhale or eat. This is a tremendous problem since our immune system should also be controlling inflammation, helping our wounds heal, monitoring for cancerous cells, and protecting us from actual pathogens in the environment that could do us harm. And if our immune system is out chasing pollen or gluten, then it’s unable to focus on its true purpose.
What is causing all of this immune system distraction and imbalance? What is telling and allowing the immune system to “look this way” and not the other way? Think of a friend behind you and tapping your shoulder, trying to trick you into looking the in the wrong direction. It’s a distraction, and it pulls you away from whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing.
#3 Sound familiar?
I see patients with complaints of chronic, environmental allergies and hayfever on a daily basis. I also see eczema, asthma, and irritable bowel issues with the same frequency. I have numerous patients whose bowel problems are so unpredictable that they’ve been unable to leave the house for months on end for fear they won’t make it to the bathroom when the urge strikes.
I have had children covered from head to toe in chronic hives and eczema that steroids couldn’t touch; some have itchy rashes so bad they’ve scratched themselves bloody.
Many of my patients suffer from some form of allergies for many years, if not decades. Before seeing me, they have no idea what the underlying problem or that one exists. They visit their GP or their allergist, both of whom will focus on the symptom with no interest in getting to the “why.”
Have you heard any of the following? Believe me, you’re far from alone.
“Why do none of my conventional doctors make this connection?”
“My doctor told me it’s genetic.”
“My doctor told me that I’d have asthma forever.”
“My doctor told me maybe my son would grow out of his eczema.”
These are comments I hear on a daily basis in my practice treating Adrenal Fatigue. Any sound familiar?
Immune weakness is a hallmark of an overworked stress response and Adrenal Fatigue. It is rare for me to have a patient with Adrenal Fatigue who is free from allergies or sensitivities. The breakdown of the immune system due to Adrenal Dysfunction is commonplace. But it can be healed.
#4 Why allergies occur
An imbalanced immune system shows up as an allergy in some way and affects every aspect of our life. The annoying itchy, wheezy, teary, snotty symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg!
This imbalanced immune system contributes to inflammation in the body…everywhere. Chronic inflammation is connected to every major chronic disease known: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, autoimmune disease, etc. It also contributes to a variety of nuisance symptoms and conditions, such as headaches, brain fog, low energy, general aches and pains, anxiety, and palpitations.
This imbalanced immune system is a chronic “stress” on our system, which is then perpetually triggering our stress response unnecessarily. The stress response then affects the entire body; every cell and every tissue in the body becomes compromised with chronic stress.
There is also an “opportunity cost” to having allergies. If the immune system is busy protecting you from dust, dander, and dairy, then what is it not doing? That energy has to come from somewhere.
Allergies shift the immune cells away from protecting against germs and cancer and toward fighting the “potential” danger (i.e. dust, ragweed, eggs). For the immune system, this shift is a waste of time and resources. Of course, this makes us susceptible to chronic, recurrent infections.
Any immune dysfunction called “allergy” then affects every aspect of daily living and ultimately compromises every cell in the body. It causes a perpetual body-wide drain, which leaves less energy for life itself, let alone the ability to repair and heal, exercise or work efficiently, or have energy for our loved ones.
#5 What is normal immune function?
To understand the breadth of the imbalance that allergies represent, we have to appreciate what the immune system controls. Our immune system exists primarily to protect us from foreign invaders or pathogens. The immune system focuses mainly on orifices, where we expect the greatest potential exposure (i.e. mouth, nose, throat). Typically, germs enter our body and cause harm because of inhalation or consumption.
Our immune system samples the substances we breathe and eat to identify foreign invaders. During this sampling process, it deciphers friend from foe, harmless consumables from viral invaders; then, the immune system either initiates a full on attack on the invader or continues to investigate the next potentially harmful invader.
During this process, occasionally mistakes are made. The immune system can misidentify a food protein (like gluten) as a harmful, foreign invader. The immune system then attempts to generate an attack. If this regulatory part of the immune system sees a mistake, it simply eliminates it by squashing the message going out signaling a full on attack. This all goes on every minute of every day in fairly good measure. Until….
An immune-system shift occurs and causes an imbalance. The result of this shift is an increase in sampling and a decrease in the regulatory mechanism. This increase in sampling means more potential mistakes. The decrease in regulation means and increase the likelihood of those mistakes not being caught. This creates a superb environment for someone to develop hayfever allergies in his 30s when he never had allergies before. It allows another person to develop food sensitivities after the stress of her last pregnancy, when before she could eat whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted it.
Some people are even already born with this shift already in play partly from genetics and partly from the stress on their mother while she was pregnant with them.
The good news is that we have a large degree of control over these systems and imbalances. We can fix the checks and balances mechanism, quiet the sampling, and catch more mistakes. We can encourage more tolerance within the immune system.
This was the experience for Chris, one of my patients here at Clymer Healing Center…
#6 How the medical profession doesn’t help
Our medical profession is designed to deal with symptoms. Your doctor will likely diagnose you with allergies, since it’s a relatively easy diagnosis, and then offer you the newest antihistamine, decongestant, or steroid on the market to suppress your symptoms. These medications will work, but they are far from a viable, long-term solution.
Beyond the hundreds well-defined and well-accepted side effects from these drugs (OTC or prescription), the medications to treat allergies are merely dealing with a minuscule portion of the problem. I like to compare it to the “tip of the iceberg.” What would happen if we were to chip away at the symptoms by adding meds without treating the underlying cause?
More trouble floats to the surface, and it requires continued medication and continued treatment. Obviously, this does not fix the problem. You’ll feel better temporarily, but you will never be free of needing medication.
Our modern medical environment is not set up to deal with the underlying causes of illness. There is simply no time. When only allotted ten minutes with a primary care doctor, it’s unreasonable to expect practitioners to grasp the underlying situations and imbalances. A holistic approach cannot be designed in an appointment that lasts the time it takes to make a sandwich.
#7 The dangers of these “Band-Aid” solutions
The reality is that the majority of medications used for the treatment of allergies have not been studied for long-term use. For example, we now know that a simple steroid spray up the nose does have systemic effects in the body. In fact, I have had a few patients with adrenal dysfunction who have a history of chronic steroid nasal spray, which always triggers a further slide into more severe adrenal dysfunction.
Steroids are a mimic of the main adrenal hormone cortisol. It is well known that artificial steroids suppress the function of the adrenal gland and will slow and eventually stop its production of your body’s steroids. Your body’s steroids are not only life-saving but also life-giving. They are naturally-occurring steroids you cannot live without. And if they are partially suppressed? Then, you cannot expect to live well.
We now have research proving that steroids introduced to the lungs and nose do contribute to systemic steroid hormone (cortisol) levels, which then contribute to adrenal suppression. Adrenal suppression equals adrenal dysfunction.
Not only will these temporary quick-fix remedies deal with your problem only superficially, but they also can potentially make things worse.
#8 The Solution: Balancing the Adrenals
It may sound so far as if I’ve painted a bleak picture for allergy sufferers. But there is hope. It is possible to deal with the symptoms of allergy, fix your “allergic potential,” and be rid of allergies altogether. Yes, it’s possible to be rid of allergies completely. I have patients who suffered terribly and now no longer have allergies. With the right approach, allergic potential can be controlled and sometimes completely reversed.
The key is to fix the underlying cause.
Remember, it’s not your immune system’s fault. Your immune system is merely doing what it’s told, but it’s behaving badly because it’s being told to do so.
Stress comes from everywhere. Family, career, bills, trauma, psychological issues, and even being in traffic can trigger your stress response. When your body is stuck in continual stress-response mode from all these factors, your immune system is purposefully shifted in the direction of creating and perpetuating allergies. This is the crux of adrenal dysfunction: Chronic stress over time overworks and wires your adrenals so that they are always stuck in stress mode.
It is impossible to fix the allergies and the immune system without addressing the underlying adrenal dysfunction. With adrenal dysfunction comes suppressed rest-and-repair physiology, including your immune system. This is like putting the brake on these rest-and-repair system, which shifts the immune system into allergy production. Heal the adrenals, and you will release the brake.
#9 Four Pillars of Healing
There are four main pillars of treatment that are involved in successful treatment of Adrenal Fatigue: Lifestyle and Diet, Testing, Supplementation, and Support. Each of these pillars is essential for well being, and I have found that the most efficient way to heal is to focus on all of them. Pay attention to only one or two of these pillars and the outcome is poor.
Lifestyle modification addresses some of the things that we do in our daily life that act to perpetuate the stress response. Potential factors can be physical, mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, toxic, nutritional, prior trauma or abuse, relationships, personality traits, and social media.
Are you pushing yourself? Do you “fake it” through life pretending you can function like you used to?
Lifestyle changes include daily rituals and “to dos” that we all have (or think we have), such as sleep-hygiene, exercise (too much or too little), chores, and more. When I’m working with a patient, we’re “throwing it all on the table,” so to speak. Everything is up for negotiation. I look at every aspect of their lives.
Dietary modification is another crucial part of this first pillar. There are some specific guidelines for the way of eating that will heal Adrenal Fatigue. In the past, I have referred to this as my Anti-Stress Diet. It begins with controlling blood sugar first and foremost, but it doesn’t end there. You could be eating the an organic, whole food, grass-fed, non-GMO diet; but if your blood sugar isn’t balanced, you won’t make progress.
Diet seems to be the most daunting of the pillars to my patients. I always assure them: baby steps. This is not an overhaul. I don’t expect an overnight “cease and desist.” It is making incremental changes.
Nutritional supplementation is the next pillar. I use supplements differently than most practitioners. I am a minimalist when it comes to supplements. Typically, I am reducing the number of vitamins and supplements my patients consume. I help them target the underlying issues and imbalances, rather than giving one supplement for each symptom or system.
Targeted, purposeful, respectful supplementation is crucial to initiate the repair process, provide a substrate for healing, control hormones, support hormone production and balance, and heal the entirety of the body’s stress response system.
The next crucial pillar is testing. Without reliable, accurate, comprehensive testing, healing the adrenals is a hit or miss. Without specific guidance, we are merely guessing at treatment, which is inefficient and ineffective. We all have little time, energy, and money to spend on healing. If healing is a journey–and in the case of adrenal dysfunction, it is–it makes no sense to have chosen your destination with no roadmap whatsoever.
The “last-but-not-least” pillar is support. Support can come from varied sources, and I find that my patients who have the most support heal the most quickly. Believe it or not, support starts within the patient.
You have to be willing to stand up for yourself—support yourself—in ways that you might not have in the past. Sometimes, you need to put you first.
Support extends to your immediate family and friends, of course, although their ability to understand what you are going through is going to be limited. Adrenal dysfunction is a difficult condition to understand for most. Even the sufferer herself may have a hard time grasping it. Don’t feel bad; doctors don’t get it either, and they’re the ones with all the medical training
Friends and family, who have no experience with the symptoms, nor the medical training, sometimes have little chance of understanding this condition or how the patient feels. (Though that doesn’t let them off the hook for trying!)
All that said, the most important support for you comes from my staff and me.
We know your condition–most of us have suffered from it ourselves–and we take the time to know you in such a way that you can be guided back to health.
This support includes education about the condition (not the tedious, bookworm type, but so you’re able to manage going forward). You need to know what your symptoms mean; education includes guidance about what needs to be your focus, rather than what is just another red herring or distraction that won’t get you well in the long run. Education includes learning tips and techniques to be able to put theories into practice.
Support includes guidance from someone who has specific, deep medical knowledge and understanding of the condition. I have the clinical experience. I have helped thousands of patients just like you get their lives back. As I said above and throughout this site, I have had the same or a similar experience as you’re having right now.
#10 What is possible with the right help
When you get the care and guidance you need, you not only feel better in the short term with regards to your symptoms, but you can also get to heal the root cause.
Patients come to me with symptoms beyond allergies. They have systemic symptoms, such as fatigue, weight issues, brain fog, insomnia, blood sugar problems, blood pressure problems, even anxiety and depression, all of which link back to cortisol and adrenaline.
In addition to allergies and sensitivities (and in addition to the typical cortisol and adrenaline conditions mentioned above), patients also have secondary dysfunctions in the “rest and digest” organ systems that have been suppressed.
They have more immune problems: recurrent infections, frequent illness, chronic sinus infections, post nasal drip, etc. They have digestive symptoms, such as indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, irritable bowel, gas, bloating, loose stools, or constipation. Low libido, PMS, menstrual irregularities, or menopausal issues may occur. They have thyroid problems, difficulty losing weight, slow metabolism, fatigue, and hair loss.
Beyond helping your allergy symptoms, these symptoms too can be not only controlled but also healed through the proper treatment of your Adrenal Fatigue. Then, you are able to think more clearly, plan for an event without worrying if you’ll have the strength to attend, and you can wake up refreshed.
I remember one patient recently who was so allergic and so sensitive that she hadn’t left the house for five years! After working with me for two months, she was in tears. She told me that she went to the movies with her husband and had the energy (and the lack of allergic reaction) to stay for a second show.
Just because you’ve been dysfunctional for a long time, doesn’t mean you can’t get back on your feet. With the right assessment, guidance, and care, you can get your life back.
#11 The bottom line
In over a decade of seeing thousands of patients both in my office and via telephone or Skype, I have discovered that once someone has Adrenal Fatigue, the physiologic shift that occurs affects their immune system.
Many well-educated and well-intentioned doctors will focus on allergies as a “condition” without paying attention to their cause.
But it’s time get to the bottom of things, to tie it all together. It is a mistake for doctors, both conventional and alternative, to focus on only one part of this dysfunctional process.
The primary goal must always be to treat the underlying Adrenal Fatigue and chronic activation of the stress response. Failure to do so wastes your precious resources of time, money, and most important, energy.
Once the underlying Adrenal Fatigue is properly assessed and treated, it’s as if the all the other systems of the body can come to life again. And this is when allergies will dissipate.
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As I mentioned at the start of this article, I have an intensely personal interest in the study of fatigue. In the video below, I share my journey with Adrenal Dysfunction.