What Are These Adrenal Fatigue Cocktails Promising to Boost Energy on TikTok?

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Adrenal fatigue (AF) cocktails are the new “it” thing on TikTok, with users raving about these concoctions for their energy-boosting properties. But here’s the twist — the term “adrenal fatigue” itself is a bit controversial in the medical world. So, while it’s gaining popularity on social media platforms, it’s also raising a few eyebrows in the medical community. 

TikTok recipes include orange juice, coconut water, and sea salt with optional add-ins such as coconut cream, collagen, and aloe vera juice. While seemingly healthy, the hefty claims around busting fatigue and helping to “cure” AF deserve skepticism. 

The Adrenal Cocktail Trend

TikTok has also become a hotbed for health and wellness trends, and adrenal cocktails have made the rounds multiple times, with the #adrenalcocktail hashtag garnering over 18 million views and counting. TikTokers share their experiences with the cocktail with different takes on the recipe. The general claim is that stress uses nutrients in your body that the cocktails replace, staving off nutrient depletion and its fatigue, sleep-altering, and mood-lowering effects.

One user, Nourishedwithbecca, says, “Adrenal cocktials [sic] are my go to for energy crashes, mood swings, high cortisol, gut issues, hormone imbalances, and more.” She claims drinking “one or two of these a day will help with your energy, moods, digestion, sleep,” and can even replace your morning coffee. (1)

Another claims her cocktail is “amazing for replenishing your adrenal glands,” and says she turns to it in place of a second coffee whenever she’s feeling sluggish or stressed. (2)

Typically, the drinks contain three essential ingredients:

  • Orange juice: Rich in Vitamin C for immune support and a natural source of sugar for quick energy
  • Coconut water: Hydrating, high in potassium, essential for body tissue and mineral balance in blood
  • Sea salt: Important for electrolyte balance. Typical US diets have too much, but in moderation, it’s beneficial.

Sometimes, the cocktails are jazzed up with a splash of aloe vera juice, a coconut cream dollop, or a collagen sprinkle. Other recipes have cropped up with ingredients from natural sodas and passionfruit to strawberry jam and cream of tartar, but the basic idea is to include some form of vitamin C, potassium, and sodium.

Combined, these ingredients provide hydration, essential minerals, and a quick energy boost, each with health benefits. However, no scientific evidence suggests that they can improve adrenal function.

What Is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is a term applied to a collection of symptoms, including fatigue, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and digestive problems, according to Jeanette Giacinto, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for Bodybuilding Reviews

While some have used the term in the medical community and media to define a condition that occurs when one withstands chronic stress, no endocrinology society acknowledges it as an actual condition. Why? Because there is no hard evidence of its existence, they say. (3)

Dr. Marney Johnson, a licensed naturopathic physician with a background in research, says it’s important to distinguish between chronic stress and true AF, a line often blurred in popular internet terms. She believes just because the medical system can’t establish a solid definition doesn’t mean it’s a complete myth. “The fact is, the symptoms are real, whether the diagnosis is eventually established or we discover another cause for their symptoms,” she explains.

What Johnson calls functional adrenal fatigue is often confused with Addison’s Disease (adrenal insufficiency). Adrenal insufficiency is a rare medical condition when your adrenal glands fail to function correctly and don’t produce essential hormones. 

This condition is potentially life-threatening and can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, lack of appetite, and extreme exhaustion. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is vital to seek immediate medical attention from a healthcare provider, not rely on a cocktail or social media to give you advice.

Do Adrenal Cocktails Really Work?

While the ingredients in adrenal cocktails have individual health benefits, there is no concrete scientific evidence that they can directly boost energy or relieve fatigue. 

That being said, the components of these cocktails can support the body in other ways. “The components of popular ‘adrenal cocktails,’ like coconut water, orange juice, and minerals, are healthful and can support the body. A lot of people, especially those who exercise frequently and eat home-cooked meals, are actually not meeting their mineral needs or replenishing minerals lost,” says Giacinto.

So, while adrenal cocktails might not be magic elixirs, they do contain ingredients that can contribute to overall health. They provide hydration, essential minerals, and a quick energy boost from natural sugars.

However, it’s important to remember that these cocktails should not be a standalone solution for fatigue or stress. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and good sleep hygiene are still the tried and true habits for maintaining energy levels and managing stress.

Johnson takes a whole-person approach to sleep and stress management, “I typically use food, supplements and nutraceuticals, lifestyle, and mind-body practices,” she says. She stresses the importance of broader healthy habits in managing fatigue and stress rather than relying solely on quick fixes like adrenal cocktails.

Potential Dangers and Risks of Adrenal Cocktails

The draw of adrenal cocktails is understandable — they can be a refreshing and potentially healthful addition to your diet and are easy to make at home. But, it’s important to be aware of their potential dangers and associated risks. 

If you have been diagnosed with kidney failure or chronic kidney disease or are on dialysis, you should consult with your healthcare provider before trying an adrenal cocktail due to the potentially harmful high potassium level in these drinks.

If you have diabetes, the sugar content in an adrenal cocktail could cause problems with blood sugar regulation, especially as the drink lacks sugar-regulating nutrients like fiber and protein that slow digestion and prevent spikes of sugar in the blood.

Tips to Support Energy Levels

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It’s a more necessary and cost-effective way to stay hydrated than adrenal cocktails.

Maintain potassium levels. Include potassium-rich foods in your diet, such as avocados, leafy greens, oranges, bananas, potatoes, or yogurt. These foods can more effectively cover your potassium needs than adrenal cocktails.

Balance electrolytes. Adopt a healthy diet and drink plenty of water to balance minerals in your blood. This is more beneficial for maintaining an electrolyte balance than relying on adrenal cocktails.

Eat healthy food. Consuming a balanced diet and staying well-hydrated can help you feel more alert and less sleepy and provide a wide range of nutrients that support overall health and energy levels. On the other hand, processed and fast food can contribute to feelings of stress and fatigue and can negatively impact your energy levels and overall health. Opt for healthier food choices instead.

Try herbs. Johnson suggests using adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, Schizandra chinensis, and Rhodiola rosea combined with stinging nettle or dandelion to support tissue health. Incorporate one or two nervine (a.k.a. trophorestorative) herbs, such as oats, skullcap, or lemon balm, to support the nervous system and help reduce anxiety.

Take time for yourself. Dedicate at least 10 minutes daily to self-care activities such as deep breathing, meditation, or a short walk. This can help reduce stress levels.

Get active. Regular exercise can boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and help you manage stress. Being active during the day can also help regulate your circadian rhythms, improving sleep and energy levels.

Focus on good sleep hygiene. Regular sleep patterns can significantly improve your energy levels and ability to manage stress. Avoid blue light three hours before bed, get natural sunlight within the first two hours of waking, and sleep in a dark, cool environment.

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  • 1. @Nourishedwithbecca; TikTok; https://www.tiktok.com/@nourishedwithbecca/video/7323700564716457259?lang=en&q=%23adrenalcocktail&t=1710349823976; January 13, 2024.

  • 2. @lainiecooks; TikTok; https://www.tiktok.com/@lainiecooks/video/7323593622954216746?lang=en&q=%23adrenalcocktail&t=1710349823976; January 13, 2024.

  • 3.  Cadegiani, Flavio A.; Kater, Claudio E.; “Adrenal fatigue does not exist: a systematic review,” BMC Port of Springer Nature; https://bmcendocrdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12902-016-0128-4; August 24, 2016.

  • Giacinto, Jeanette. Author interview. March 2024.

  • Johnson, Marney; Author interview. March 2024.

Rachel MacPherson

Rachel MacPherson

Rachel MacPherson, BA, is a CPT, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Exercise Nutrition Specialist, Certified Pre/Post-Partum Fitness Trainer, and Pain-Free Performance Specialist. She's passionate about providing readers with straightforward, actionable tips to make living an active, vibrant, fulfilling life easier. When she's not writing, you can find her lifting heavy things, reading, exploring outdoors, or watching the newest iteration of the Star Wars Universe. She lives with her family and pets in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada.

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