Adrenal Glandular Side Effects

Updated March 23, 2017

There are many actions that people who have adrenal fatigue take in their efforts to heal. They pay attention to nutrition, stress levels and sleep, and many of them take adrenal glandulars. Although adrenal glandulars can be safe overall and provide many benefits when a person uses them correctly, they can involve some side effects.


People who take adrenal glandulars do so because they have adrenal fatigue, which involves the two adrenal glands that sit atop the kidneys and that are part of the endocrine system. Adrenal fatigue comes about as a result of many factors, with one of the biggest of these being prolonged or severe stress. Many believe that adrenal glandulars, which are dried extracts from adrenal glands (typically from bovine, or cow, sources), offer an effective short-term treatment for adrenal fatigue.

Side Effects

Side effects involving adrenal glandulars are much less common than those that patients experience when taking prescription synthetic adrenal medications. Any negative reactions might simply be results of taking too high a dosage of adrenal glandulars, in which case a person decreases dosage of adrenal glandulars or discontinues taking it. There are, however, some significant side effects that are possible with adrenal glandulars.

Stimulation Effect

When people have adrenal fatigue, one key symptom is unrelenting fatigue. A sign of recovery is increased energy, and adrenal glandulars can help to boost energy as the adrenals heal. However, adrenal glandulars can also create too much of a good thing in the form of a stimulatory effect in the person's body. It appears that the more severe the person's adrenal fatigue, the more risk there is for this side effect occurring.

Withdrawal and Tolerance

After people start taking adrenal glandulars and they experience more energy, they may be confused to find that the energy wanes and fatigue returns. This can take place because the body starts to require higher dosages of adrenal glandulars in order to produce the same effect---the body can build up a tolerance to the dosage. On a similar note, the body can become addicted to adrenal glandulars, leading a person to experience withdrawal effects and worsening adrenal fatigue symptoms when she stops taking adrenal glandulars.

Adrenal Symptoms

If the adrenal glands receive more therapy from adrenal glandulars than needed, various side effects can occur, including insomnia and irritability along with fatigue. If taking adrenal glandulars creates a serious enough imbalance, an actual adrenal crisis can occur. This is a life-threatening situation involving severe adrenal insufficiency and that therefore requires immediate medical attention. Other symptoms that can occur when taking adrenal glandulars include palpitations and anxiety.

Resolving Side Effects

It is best to proceed carefully when taking adrenal glandulars and to pay close attention to the body's reactions to these supplements. If a person does experience what seem to be side effects from taking adrenal glandulars, he should contact the health practitioner, who can give specific advice. It is also best to work closely with a health practitioner when taking adrenal glandulars and when working toward adrenal recovery.

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About the Author

Judy Wilson has writing and editing expertise in health, technology, pets, business and travel. She has contributed to, and numerous other publications. Wilson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she completed Mini Medical School.