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In the November Total Health Online I talked about how to beat sugar addiction. I summarized the four types of sugar addicts and discussed the importance of identifying which type you are before beginning a treatment program, so that the approach addresses the specific addiction type. (This is the subject of my new book, Beat Sugar Addiction Now.) I also covered the Type 1 addict, “Exhausted and hooked on Loan Shark energy drinks.” Today I’ll talk about Type 2.

The Type 2 Sugar Addict: Feed Me Now, or I’ll Kill You” When Your Adrenal Stress Handler Glands Get Exhausted.

The Type 2 sugar addict is constantly reacting to stressful stimuli in the environment, which activates the adrenal glands to produce the stress-handler hormones cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline). When your adrenals become overtaxed by the constant tension of modern life and don’t respond by giving you a kick of energy, you may reach for sugar to pump them up. But this effect is short-lived, followed by a drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. Starved of glucose (its food), your brain feels like its suffocating. You become anxious, jittery and light-headed. You need to eat now. You can’t wait. And if you don’t eat preferably something sweet the symptoms just get worse.

Your total score will tell you whether you fit the Type 2 profile.

  1. Are you very irritable when hungry? Do you get a feed me now or I’ll kill you feeling? (If you’re not sure if you get irritable when hungry, ask the people around you. I suspect many divorces and job problems could be avoided by simply treating adrenal exhaustion!) (35 points)
  2. Is life a crisis to you? (15 points)
  3. Do you enjoy the rush of energy you feel when you are in a crisis? (15 points)


0–15: You are probably a type below-key person with healthy adrenals.

16–29: You are developing early stages of adrenal fatigue.

30: This suggests moderate adrenal exhaustion, and your body is crying out for help.

Over 30: You are suffering from moderate to severe adrenal exhaustion.

If you score 16–29 on the quiz, simply making these changes will be enough to help you feel much better: Diet — Cut down on sugar. Increase protein, and eat frequent small meals during the day instead of three larger ones. Increase your water intake (and if you have low blood pressure, you may need more salt but get your doctor’s okay first). Mental Adjustment — Life is NOT a constant crisis, despite what the news would have you believe or the worries we sometimes imagine. When you are stressed, ask yourself the simple question, “Am I in imminent danger?” Almost always, the answer will be no, and you will feel a sense of relaxation come over you as your adrenal glands relax. Meanwhile, when watching the news or other shows, turn it OFF or change channels (the Comedy Channel is a good option) when it stops feeling good.

IF YOU SCORE 30 OR MORE: In addition to the above, natural therapies can be VERY helpful. Especially helpful are:

Adrenal Glandular — Supplies the raw materials that your adrenal glands need to heal. It is critical however you get them from reputable companies so the purity and potency is guaranteed and so you can be sure they come from cows that are not at risk of transmitting infections.

Vitamin C — Critical for adrenal function. Your body’s highest levels of vitamin C are found in the adrenal glands and brain tissues, and the urinary excretion of vitamin C is increased during stress. Optimizing vitamin C intake by taking 500–1,000 mg a day will also help immune function.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) — Supports adrenal function. And pantothenic acid deficiency causes shrinking of your adrenal glands. Optimal levels are approximately 100–150 mg daily, although some physicians use even higher levels for adrenal support.

Licorice — Slows the breakdown of adrenal hormones in your body, helping to maintain optimal levels. There is no licorice in licorice candies in the U.S. because of this. Another beneficial effect of the licorice is that it helps to treat indigestion, and is even as effective as the prescription heartburn medication Tagamet. Do not take licorice if you have high blood pressure, as too much licorice can cause excess adrenal function and worsen high blood pressure. You can safely take 200–400 mg a day of a licorice extract standardized to contain 5 percent glycyrrhizic acid.

Chromium — Helps decrease the symptoms of low blood sugar. Take 200 mcg a day.

If you’d rather not take these natural remedies separately, or if you want to simplify the supplementation, you can take Adrenal Stress End (from Enzymatic Therapy). Take one to two capsules in the morning. If symptoms recur in the afternoon, add another capsule at lunch. Adrenal Stress End, combined with a vitamin powder called Energy Revitalization System (also from Enzymatic Therapy), can supply everything noted above, as well as many other nutrients that will help support adrenal function.

Jacob E Teitelbaum, MD

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is a board certified internist and Medical Director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and Chronicity. He is author of the popular free iPhone application "Cures A-Z," and author of the best-selling books

Dr. Teitelbaum knows CFS/fibromyalgia as an insider — he contracted CFS when he was in medical school and had to drop out for a year to recover. In the ensuing 25 years, he has dedicated his career to finding effective treatments.