Adrenal Fatigue and Breast Cancer

In Alternative Cancer Therapies, Alternatives Cancer Treatment, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cell Phones, EMF's, Tamoxifen on June 7, 2017 at 9:52 am

The adrenal glands are widely known for the production of the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. But what many people do not realize is that the adrenals also produce cancer-protective progesterone.

Unfortunately, when the body is under stress, progesterone production is reduced as the body orders cortisol in order to reduce that stress. This (and other related consequences) puts a person at significantly higher risk of breast cancer as well as the progression of the dis-ease.

Fight or Flight

When your body is under stress, the adrenal glands release the hormones adrenalin and cortisol. These hormones provide the “fight or flight” response that protects you when you are in danger.  While this could be helpful if you are being chased by a ferocious animal, in this modern world that doesn’t happen often.  However, we do face many modern-day stressors, often 24/7.  Over time, being in the fight or flight mode from morning until night can wreak havoc on your health.  While that boost of cortisol might save you from a tiger, the constant flow of cortisol day in and day out will wear out your adrenal glands.

Adrenals and Hormones

Hormonal imbalances associated with progesterone deficiency are directly tied into the health of the adrenal glands. The more stress in your life, the more you tax your adrenals.

When your body is under stress and orders more cortisol, the body uses its resources (pregnenolone and progesterone) to make cortisol instead of progesterone.  And actually, the adrenal glands literally steal progesterone to make cortisol, which leads to lower levels of progesterone. This then leads to estrogen dominance, which increases our risk for breast cancer.  This is especially a problem for most-menopausal women, whose hormone production relies on the adrenals instead of the ovaries.

Most significantly, it is shown that high amounts of estrogen (especially chemical estrogens) can increase one’s risk of breast cancer.  However, while estrogen has been associated with breast (and endometrial) cancer, progesterone has strong cancer-preventive effects.

However, the body’s way of counterbalancing estrogen is progesterone. When this balancing mechanism is dysfunctional due to a lack of progesterone, a myriad of health-related problems can arise, including breast cancer.

You may have read that progesterone also fuels breast cancer, and you would be correct in believing that. However, this only applies to synthetic progestins, not your own progesterone (and for most this includes protective bioidentical progesterone). To learn more, please read my article The Truth About Progesterone and Breast Cancer.

Notably, progesterone is not only protective of the breast, uterus, and ovaries, but it has a calming effect (reduces stress) and contributes to the formation of new bone tissue.

To learn more about estrogen and progesterone and their role in breast cancer, please request my Estrogen and Detoxification Handouts.

How to Tell If You Have Adrenal Fatigue

If you have been under constant stress for a prolonged period of time, you may be at the point where adrenals are fatigued and your hormones are significantly out of balance.

Adrenal Fatigue is simply your body’s way of preventing you from expending energy it does not have.  It is your body alerting you to slow down and give it the nurturing support it needs.

Adrenal fatigue symptoms are the body’s cry for you to take corrective action at the root level. Not recognizing these symptoms can have grave consequences, including breast cancer and the progression of the dis-ease.

Are YOU Suffering from Adrenal Exhaustion?

Answer yes or no to the following…the more ‘yes’ answers you have, the more exhausted your adrenals (there are other symptoms as well, but these are some of the most common ones):

  • Do you suffer from morning fatigue or low energy?
  • Do you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep?
  • Do you crave salty, fatty, or sweet foods?
  • Do you have blood sugars issues (hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia)?
  • Do you have an afternoon slump between the hours of 2 and 5pm?
  • Do you often have muscle aches or pains for no apparent reason?
  • Do you have an increased sense of irritability?
  • Have you noticed an increase in belly fat and an inability to get rid of it?
  • Do you have a decreased sex drive?
  • Do you have low blood pressure?
  • Do you have low body temperature or feel cold all of the time?
  • Do you have an increase in mood swings and or depression? Lack of enthusiasm?
  • Do you experience dizziness when getting up quickly from a lying or sitting position?
  • Do you suffer from increased allergies even if you have never had allergies before? Do you have food allergies?
  • Do you have increased PMS or menopausal symptoms?
  • Do you use a cell phone or computer in the evening?

 EMFs and Adrenal Fatigue

Cell phone EMFs stimulate the body’s stress system, decreasing your ability to wind down and fall asleep.  Then once you finally do fall asleep, the EMFs interfere with the deep sleep your body needs to recover and repair. This is especially a problem if you sleep with your phone nearby and you don’t resist the urge to check messages when you wake up during the night.  Plus, poor sleep causes the adrenals to pump more cortisol…which keeps you awake longer and causes you to wake up after you fall asleep…one big vicious cycle.

This also applies to the use of computers in the evening, or gasp, during the night—you know the type, they wake up and feel the need to go online before going back to sleep—don’t let that be you.

What You Can Do NOW

First off, it is important to consume a clean diet loaded with organic fruits and vegetables.  Drink and cook with pure water. Avoid processed foods, conventional meats and dairy products as well as fake foods, such as soy cheeses and ‘meat substitutes’.  Despite what the vegan cookbooks would lead you to believe, these ‘foods’ are highly processed dangerous foods. if you choose to eat vegan, use nuts, seeds, beans, and other whole foods as your protein source. And don’t forget that skipping meals or eating junk food can throw your blood sugar off.

Relax the mind. Engage in moderate but not intense or excessive exercise as that taxes the adrenals and the immune system.


  • stabilize blood sugar
  • heal your gut and optimize liver function
  • get more reset and quality sleep
  • keep a gratitude journal
  • engage in moderate exercise and mild strength training
  • realization, meditation and relax the mind
  • consume a healthy diet with supplement support
  • change your perception-we experience more stress when we allow thoughts to create negative feelings


  • rigid thinking; unresolved emotions
  • sleep deprivation
  • energy draining activities; toxic relationships
  • excessive exercise
  • nutrient deficiencies, including protein and healthy fats
  • sugar, alcohol, and caffeine
  • infections, parasites, Candida, heavy metals
  • multitasking, over-working
  • intolerant, inflammatory, addictive foods (gluten, soy, dairy, corn, trans fats, GMOs

However, even the cleanest, most amazing diet and lifestyle can use some help.  The following are some supplemental boosts for adrenal health.

  • Aswaganda—an adaptogen (this means that it reacts to your body’s stress signals and exerts a normalizing effect) that helps normalize your body’s reaction to stress and anxiety. It also helps alleviate brain frog and memory problems associated with chronic stress. Excitingly, it also helps repair damaged brain cells and synapses, which means the repaired cells will then be able to receive messages better, so the body runs more smoothly. Aswaganda also supports the liver, immune system, and adrenals, regulates blood sugar, and lowers cortisol and CRP (C-Reactive Protein)
  • B6—also known as pantothenic acid, helps provide the extra energy your adrenal glands need to respond to stress, and helps repair previous damage to these glands
  • Magnolia extract– mostly known for its anti-stress and cortisol-balancing effects. Contains honkiol, a compound from magnolia bark with multiple anti-cancer functions, including tumor cell death. Magnolia Extract
  • Cordyceps—an adaptogen that fights fatigue and boosts energy. When you are under stress, it helps balance the levels of cortisol so you can cope more easily
  • Rhodiola— balances the body’s stress-response system. Rhodiola is not advised for those with Bipolar or mania.
  • Siberian ginseng—an adaptogen that helps balance stress hormones and rejuvenates adrenal function. Helps decrease anxiety, improve sleep, and reduce irritability
  • Licorice root — helps regulate cortisol, which is needed for the stress-response. Cortisol is not all bad. In fact, the same cortisol your adrenals produce when you are under stress is also responsible for regulating your immune system. When your adrenals are fatigued and don’t produce enough cortisol, you can end up with an enhanced response we know as the allergic response.  That’s right, stressed adrenals can result in more allergy issues. Licorice root also helps prevent the liver from breaking down cortisol so it can be used more efficiently.
  • Schisandra — aids in enhancing mental performance, handling stress better, and generally being more resistant to stress; helps to decrease fatigue. (Do not take with Tamoxifen)
  • Passion Flower — useful as a soothing sleep-aid and in supporting relaxation in times of stress.

Our Hard-Working Adrenals

As you can see from the chart below, the adrenals not only produce our reproductive hormones– estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone– but also the anti-aging hormone DHEA. When your body is under stress and needs more cortisol, the body has to direct more of its resources (pregnenolone and progesterone) to make that cortisol, leaving less to fill these other needs. (The adrenals also produce aldosterone which regulates blood pressure, sodium, and potassium.)


Importantly, the adrenals need cholesterol to make these hormones. So, please do not be so quick to reduce ‘high’ cholesterol levels, but do work towards reducing stress so your body can keep these hormones in balance.

The constant production of cortisol and adrenaline at the expense of other important hormones keeps us in that catabolic state which affects our overall health. Under chronic stress we age faster and our bodies wear down and deteriorate faster.  When we manage our stress, and aren’t over-producing cortisol and adrenaline, we allow our body to make DHEA, testosterone and the other growth hormones that keep us healthy and allow the body to repair and rebuild.

To order my handouts on Colon or Prostate Cancer or on Multiple Myeloma, please follow the instructions on my Contact Page.


~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor and holistic cancer strategist who helps people make better, healthier, non-toxic choices. She emphasizes the critical nature of addressing the root cause of cancer and not just its presenting symptoms (such as the tumor). Elyn specializes in understanding the role of estrogen in breast cancer and debunks the myths associated. She is a Contributing Editor for The Truth About Cancer and was creator and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. Elyn is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn was the Executive Director of the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Contact Elyn via her website, www.elynjacobs.com. Elyn offers consults via Skype, phone or in person.

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  1. Hi! Elyn,

    I keep all your posting that relate to my situation and the adrenal glands related to low progesterone. I didn’t know that ” Adrenal Glands are widely known for stress hormones, cortisol and adrenalin.” I have only 5% progesterone and 100% estrogen and none of the doctors explained what these numbers really meant. It now makes more sense to me in all my fight or flight situations why adrenalin plays such a strong role.

    In my initial cancer diagnosis and all the mixed messages of information I was getting, I asked for a second opinion and I asked for all of my medical records to take home and researched every word that I did not understand. “Pleamorphic” was my first word in my research because it was mentioned often in my records.

    Doctors make it sound like you have no time to do any of this and you need to have surgery right away and chemo and radiation to follow with no time to register what is really going on because you just trust your doctors won’t lead you astray, after all they became doctors to cure us right?

    Even Doctors can be ignorant to their own situation and plug away at life without consequences or temp ping back to truly understand what is right and best for each individual.

    I could go on. Just wanted to say thanks and that you have been very helpful and of course I found you online because of all my own search. Your emails have been very encouraging, respectful and truthful to the real world of fighting cancer and life.


  2. Agreed Deb, and very rarely do oncs even test hormone levels before recommending/pushing tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors…crazy, and wrong as well.
    All the best, Elyn

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