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Adrenal Body Type: What It Is and How to Fix It

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

The adrenal body type is one of the most difficult body types to repair for one reason: stress is everywhere! This article will teach you how to lower your stress and fix your adrenal body.

Adrenal body type

The five body types

There are five primary body types—adrenal, ovary, thyroid, liver, and pancreas. Each is related to an imbalance of hormones. While you can have more than one body type, you are likely to experience stronger signs of one type. If you are interested to learn which body type you are take this free body type quiz. Now let’s take a quick look at the five body types.

1. The adrenal body type

The adrenal body type involves an imbalance of adrenal hormones. If you have this body type, you may have a sagging belly. This kind of belly fat comes from elevated cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. High cortisol is caused by chronic stress, which is why a healthy diet may not fully resolve the issues you experience with the adrenal body type. 

It’s important for those with this body type to actively manage their stress levels and get plenty of quality sleep and time to relax. We’ll talk more about what you can do for an adrenal body type later in this article.

2. The ovary body type

Those with the ovary body type typically hold weight in their hips and below the belly button giving them the ovary body shape. This is a result of estrogen dominance caused by overactive ovaries. People with this body type may benefit from supporting their estrogen balance. 

The ovary type is also highly sensitive to endocrine disruptors—including herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides—so it’s important to consume organic, non-GMO, and hormone-free foods. Cruciferous vegetables are essential for supporting balanced estrogen.

3. The thyroid body type

People with the thyroid body type typically hold fat throughout their bodies instead of in one location. Thyroid problems are often a result of a secondary problem—this can make addressing the root cause difficult. Stress, poor T4 to T3 conversion, a sluggish gallbladder, or adrenal fatigue can all contribute to the thyroid body type. 

Those with the thyroid body type often have a very slow metabolism and may find it difficult to digest a large amount of protein at once. Iodine and OMAD (one meal a day) are important if you have this body type.

4. The liver body type

Men are the most likely to have a liver body type. It often causes a protruding belly—also known as a potbelly or beer belly. People with the liver body type have a build-up of fat in their liver tissue and around other nearby organs.

It’s important that those with the liver body type don’t consume alcohol or excessive protein—instead, have plenty of salads and cruciferous vegetables. 

5. The pancreas body type

The pancreas body type is the most common body type today. Similar to the adrenal type, pancreas types often have a sagging belly. In fact, it can cause the same hormonal issues as the adrenal body type too. Insulin resistance—a result of chronically high insulin—is at the center of the pancreas body type. 

High-carb diets and frequent eating are the primary causes of insulin resistance—although stress and high cortisol can also be triggers. It’s important for pancreas body types to avoid sugar, refined carbs, vegetable oils, MSG, and snacks. 

Adrenal glands

What are the adrenal glands?

The adrenals are two glands that sit on top of your kidneys. They help your body adapt to stress by producing hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenal glands temporarily change the physiology of your body to handle and cope with stressful situations.

If a tiger were to chase you, your adrenals would pump stress hormones into your bloodstream to prepare your body for action—also known as the fight or flight response. In this state, your blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, and muscles adapt to give your body a boost of strength and energy, so you’re better prepared to run or stand your ground. 

Unfortunately, the adrenals can’t tell the difference between physical and mental stress—they treat both with the same stress hormones. Every type of stress influences these glands: injury, infection, divorce, financial stress, job-related stress, irritable people, drugs and medication, surgery, pain, illness, excessive cold or heat, giving birth, menstrual cycles, staring into computer monitors for hours at a time, eating junk food, and excessive exercise.

While your adrenals are adept at preparing your body for periodic high-stress situations, they aren’t equipped to handle chronic stress. Sustained environmental stress (especially mental stress) can overwhelm your adrenals and be devastating to your health. Chronic stress often results in adrenal fatigue or complete adrenal burnout. 

The adrenal glands have many other roles in the body. They help regulate your inflammation (to reduce pain and swelling), immune system, mineral levels, heart rate, and circadian rhythm. So if you have an adrenal issue, you can experience many secondary health problems.

Fight or flight

Adrenal fatigue and cortisol resistance explained

Stress triggers the production of cortisol, which is transported through your blood and received by cortisol receptors in your cells. Your cells can be overloaded with cortisol when you’re in a chronic state of stress, causing your cortisol receptors to downgrade or become resistant—essentially becoming numb to the effects of normal cortisol levels.

As your cell receptors develop a resistance to cortisol, your adrenal glands need to produce more of the hormone to produce the desired effect. This further overloads your receptors with cortisol, resulting in even more resistance. This negative feedback loop can continue until your overworked adrenal glands become fatigued and burnt out.

The only way to break this feedback loop is to keep your stress levels low. As your body comes out of a high-stress state, your cortisol production reduces. This allows your overloaded cortisol receptors to slowly restore their sensitivity to cortisol. Over time, your adrenal glands can return to producing normal levels of cortisol.

Stressed out

Adrenal body type symptoms

Here are the potential signs you have an adrenal body type. 

1. A busy mind - You’re constantly in your head, and your thoughts are all over the place.

2. Short attention span - You have a difficult time focusing, and your attention is easily disrupted. 

3. Sleeping in - It’s difficult for you to get up in the morning, and you often hit snooze.

4. Constant survival mode - Though there is no immediate life-threatening danger, your mind is stuck in a constant state of fight-or-flight.

5. Pessimism - Your adrenal hormones cause you to fixate on negatives and ignore positives.

6. Low stress tolerance - Your tolerance for stress is noticeably lower, and you find it difficult to adapt to stressful situations. 

7. Decreased libido - You find it difficult to “get in the mood,” and you’ve noticed a sharp drop in your sex drive. 

8. High blood pressure - You experience elevated blood pressure that’s difficult to normalize, especially after being in a stressful situation.

9. Allergies or asthma symptoms - You may have allergies or asthma symptoms that require steroid medications.

10. Acne - Elevated cortisol disrupts your hormone balance and causes hormonal acne.

11. Unbalanced blood sugar - You have blood sugar issues because stress triggers the release of stored glucose and converts your muscles into glucose. 

12. Poor sleep - You experience sleep apnea, snoring, or difficulty falling asleep—and you rely on coffee to keep you going, which just makes your cortisol levels worse.

13. Chronic brain fog - Your stressed mind is exhausted, making your brain feel like it’s in a constant foggy state.

14. Hair loss - Overloaded with stress hormones, your may experience thinning and brittle hair.

15. Cramps - Adrenal fatigue causes your body to lose potassium and calcium through your urine, often resulting in painful leg cramps. 

16. Autoimmunity - Unstable cortisol levels alter your white blood cells, which can contribute to autoimmune conditions.

17. Hot flashes - Your adrenal glands take over the roles of your ovaries after menopause, and adrenal burnout causes irregular hormone levels and hot flashes.

18. Fluid retention - You retain a lot of water around your midsection, ankles, or face.

19. Carbohydrate cravings - High cortisol converts your muscle tissue into glucose, which increases insulin and cravings for high-carb foods.

20. Memory loss - Chronic high cortisol decreases the oxygen in your brain and begins to damage your brain cells. 

21. Air hunger - Stairs and hills cause you to breathe heavily and run out of energy extremely quickly. 

22. Poor digestion - High cortisol causes your body to deprioritize digestion to save energy, which can cause digestive issues, including GERD, indigestion, heartburn, gas, and bloating.

23. Belly fat - You have a sagging belly and find it difficult to lose belly fat with diet and exercise. 

You may be an adrenal body type if you experience five or more of these symptoms.

Why cortisol makes you store fat

Despite having a healthy diet and exercise routine, those with the adrenal body type often struggle with being overweight or obese. Adrenal types have elevated cortisol, which slows down your metabolic body and converts muscle proteins into glucose and fat. If you find it difficult to lose weight as an adrenal type, the key is to focus on lowering your stress exposure and increasing your resistance to stress.

Adrenal body type diet

What foods are good for the adrenal body type?

A healthy diet is an important part of addressing adrenal fatigue symptoms and stress. An adrenal body type diet is very similar to my Healthy Keto and intermittent fasting plan—you can learn more about this plan here. The only difference is that you’ll add additional protein to each meal. Instead of 3 to 6 grams of protein at each meal, have 7 to 10 grams of protein. 

Here are the best foods to have on the adrenal body type diet:

  • Leafy green vegetables

  • Beef

  • Poultry

  • Fatty fish

  • Mushrooms

  • Bell peppers

  • Berries

  • Lemons

  • Sauerkraut

Want to learn more about the adrenal body type diet? Take my Adrenal Body Type Mini-Course here!

How to fix an adrenal body type and lose weight

Are you wondering how do you fix your adrenal body type? Here are ten ways you can start lowering your stress, healing your adrenal glands, and losing belly fat. 

1. Get quality sleep

Getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night is essential for reducing stress and adrenal fatigue. Sleep allows your body and mind to release built-up stress and tension. Try doing activities that help promote quality sleep, such as reading books or listening to soft music before going to bed. Avoid screens and blue light within an hour of bedtime, and replenish your B vitamins with nutritional yeast. Keep in mind that coffee is not a substitute for sleep—in fact, the stimulating effects of caffeine can further burn out your adrenal glands.

2. Go for long walks

Walking is the best form of low-intensity exercise—it’s excellent for relieving stress and wearing out your body so you're able to fall asleep faster. Low-intensity exercise also helps improve the flow of oxygen to your brain and muscles. All adrenal types should avoid high-intensity exercise. Instead, try taking a peaceful walk, doing yoga, or going for a light swim for one hour each day.

3. Avoid people who cause you stress

Difficult people can be a huge cause of stress and anxiety. If possible, ease out of these types of interactions and avoid putting yourself in extremely stressful situations—at least until your adrenal glands have recovered. It’s not possible to avoid all stressful people, and that’s okay. The goal is to reduce unnecessary and unwanted stressful relationships and surround yourself with people who don’t make you feel stressed out.

4. Get some space

Both physical and mental space is often very important for adrenal body types. Try getting space outside and experience a peaceful environment, like a park, beach, or walking trail. Avoid watching too much TV—especially the news.

5. Reduce carbohydrates

Carbs deplete nutrients that are essential for relaxation and quality sleep. Avoid hidden carbs like fruits, alcohol, sweetened yogurt, and grains, including oatmeal. A Healthy Keto diet is the best way to lower your carbohydrates and support healthy nutrient levels. 

6. Boost your potassium

Potassium acts as a natural physiological tranquilizer. Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough potassium each day. To reach 4,700 grams of potassium daily, you need seven to ten cups of vegetables. You can also take a high-quality electrolyte powder to get a quick boost of potassium.

7. Take apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar supports healthy stomach acidity. Stomach acid helps your digestive system break down and utilize vitamins and minerals that are essential for stress adaptation and reduction. As an added bonus, apple cider vinegar can help boost your metabolism and normalize your insulin. 

8. Use adaptogenic herbs

Adaptogens are plants that help your body and mind respond better to stressors. They help you feel calm and more prepared for stressful situations. Some of the best adaptogenic herbs include Siberian ginseng, Panax ginseng, Rhodiola, and ashwagandha. 

9. Try my Adrenal Body Type Package

A long, stress-free vacation isn’t always an option. However, getting the right nutrients can help reduce stress, increase your resistance to stressors, and get better sleep—which sure can feel like a vacation. This is why I developed the Adrenal Body Type Package. 

This kit includes four powerful supplements: Adrenal & Cortisol Support, Adrenal Stress Advanced Formula, Sleep Aid, and Gallbladder Formula Extra Strength. It was specially formulated for those with the adrenal body type, and the results speak for themselves.

Give it a try here: https://shop.drberg.com/adrenal-body-type-pack.

Reducing stress

Metabolic Body Types vs. Adrenal Body Types

Metabolic body types, also referred to as somatotypes, encompass the classification of individuals based on their unique metabolic characteristics and physical attributes.

The primary metabolic body types consist of ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs. Ectomorphs are characterized by a rapid metabolism and a slender body structure, making it arduous for them to gain muscle mass or body fat.

Mesomorphs, on the other hand, possess a naturally athletic build with a moderate metabolism, granting them a relatively easier ability to develop muscle and maintain a healthy weight.

Lastly, endomorphs have a slower metabolism and a propensity to store excess body fat, making it more challenging for them to attain and sustain a lean physique.

Distinct from metabolic body types, adrenal body types center on the impact of adrenal gland function and stress response on an individual's body composition.

These body types, such as the "adrenal type" and the "thyroid type," are determined by the influence of stress hormones, specifically cortisol, on weight distribution.

Adrenal body types primarily focus on the effects of stress and hormonal imbalances on weight gain, especially in the abdominal region.

Conversely, metabolic body types offer a more comprehensive perspective, encompassing a broader array of factors such as genetic predisposition, metabolic rate, and inherent body composition tendencies.

In summary, metabolic body types classify individuals based on their innate metabolic characteristics and physical attributes, including ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs, with an emphasis on metabolism and body composition tendencies.

Adrenal body types, however, focus on the impact of stress and hormonal imbalances on body shape, specifically in relation to the adrenal glands.

Although both concepts consider individual differences in body composition, they diverge in terms of underlying factors and primary areas of focus.

Key Takeaways

Getting your stress levels under control is the most important remedy for the adrenal body type. As you address chronic stress, your cortisol will lower and your hormone balance will normalize, making it much easier to get healthy and lose weight.

If you want to learn more about your body type, check out my book, The Healthy Keto Plan

Which adrenal body type symptoms have you experienced? Share your story in the comments section below!


1. How can I fix my adrenal body type?

The best way to address the adrenal body type is to reduce your stress. Go for long walks, avoid stressful people, and use adaptogenic herbs. 

2. How can I lose weight with an adrenal body type diet?

The key to losing weight with an adrenal body type is to reduce your stress levels. Stress causes high cortisol, which can trigger insulin and promote weight gain.

You won’t unlock the full potential of Healthy Keto and intermittent fasting until you address your stress levels. 

3. What is the adrenal body type?

The adrenal body type is characterized by high stress and cortisol. Those with this body type often have a sagging belly and built-up stress. 

4. What can I eat for the adrenal body type?

My Healthy Keto and intermittent fasting plan is a good place to start. Additional protein is essential for the adrenal body type—have 7 to 10 grams of protein per meal. 

5. What is the best exercise for adrenal body types?

Low-intensity exercise is the best form for adrenal types. Try going on peaceful walks or doing yoga. Avoid high-intensity exercise—it often increases your stress level. 

6. How can I detox the adrenal body type?

Relaxation is the best detox for the adrenal body type. Enjoy nature, take a relaxing bath, or go on vacation. Anything that relaxes your body and mind will help repair your adrenal glands. 

7. Is the keto diet good for an adrenal body type?

Absolutely! Healthy Keto gives your body the nutrients it needs to adapt to stress. Those with the adrenal body type should add additional protein to their keto diet to help offset protein loss due to high cortisol. 

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