How Long Does It Take To Recover From Adrenal Fatigue
One of the questions we get asked most regularly is this, How long will it take for me to recover from Adrenal Fatigue? Unfortunately the answer is just not as simple as we might like it to be. An individuals recovery from Adrenal Fatigue depends on several different factors, and I am going to outline them on this page.
Typically, recovery will take somewhere between 6 and 18 months, but there is a very wide variation between patients. Some may take less than 6 months, but others may take two years before they can really claim to have returned to normal.
A Better Response To How To Heal Adrenal Fatigue
There are many other, very common reasons for fatigue that have nothing to do with your adrenal glands and adrenal fatigue.
Fatigue symptoms are most often caused by:
- Gut dysfunction
- Inflammation from food sensitivities or autoimmune conditions
- Sleep problems like sleep apnea
- Other physiological effects of stress
To effectively heal your fatigue symptoms, make sure you are focusing on the right causes.
Q: What Is Adrenal Insufficiency
A: Adrenal insufficiency is a state in which your adrenal glands dont function properly and cannot secrete the vital hormones your body needs to function normally.
Adrenal insufficiency can be caused by Addisons disease, a pituitary disorder or another disorder. Some symptoms of this life-threatening dysfunction include extreme exhaustion, lack of appetite , diarrhea, nausea, low blood pressure and low blood sugar.
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Dangers Of Unregulated Vitamins And Supplements
The FDA does not review or approve dietary supplements based on their safety and effectiveness. This means that many supplements and herbal remedies sold in stores can contain ingredients that may interact with other medications youre taking, or the dosages may be out of FDA-regulated guidelines.
Its best to run any dietary supplements by your doctor first. Not all vitamins, supplements, and herbs are dangerous , but everyones personal health issues are unique. Talk to your doctor if you have other medically diagnosed conditions, or are currently taking prescription medication.
Address The Root Causes Of Your Fatigue
Overcoming your fatigue is about addressing the true underlying causes. You may need some help figuring out what these are. Once you know where your fatigue is coming from, focusing on your digestion, your thyroid health, your iron levels, your diet, or your unique stressors can have you feeling energetic again in no time.
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How The Stress Response Mechanism Works:
The body has no way of distinguishing between real danger and perceived danger. As a result, it treats psychological stressors like finances, work pressures, family issues, etc., as real danger.
The thing is if youre sitting at home on your couch stressing about finances or the kids activities, fretting about your bosss horrible attitude or drinking many cups of coffee so you can push through the day, youre not in real danger. But the body perceives it as real danger and pumps adrenaline into the blood. The adrenals also release cortisol to deal long term stress.
This constant production of adrenaline and cortisol means that the system is constantly switched on. Over time, the adrenal gland burns out or crashes and cannot produce enough cortisol to do its work. It is this prolonged stress that causes adrenal fatigue.
How To Improve Your Energy Levels Chronic Fatigue And Stress Levels
When it comes to how to heal adrenal fatigue, we need to take a few steps back. Though your fatigue is real, adrenal fatigue is not recognized as a medical condition and is even being questioned by many in alternative medicine.
Instead of talking about how to heal adrenal fatigue, we need to discuss what may really be causing your fatigue symptoms.
Treat the cause, not the symptom. The truth is that your gut health, thyroid function, iron levels, blood sugar levels, food sensitivities, and stress tolerance are more likely to be underlying causes of your fatigue. Diagnosing and treating the true cause of your fatigue is the key to getting your energy back.
In this article, well explain the theory of adrenal fatigue and why many experts dont consider it valid. Well explore other possible root causes of fatigue symptoms and how to improve fatigue with research-backed solutions.
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How To Deal With Adrenal Burnout
Do you have poor exercise tolerance/muscle recovery, irregular or non-exisstent cycles, hair loss, insomnia, anxiety or depression? Maybe you depend on coffee or energy drinks all day? These are signs of adrenal burnout and understanding this dysfunction may be the key to getting off you anti-depressnats or harmful medications to help you find more balance and peace in your life. Women and men with these symptoms can undergo a series of tests that evaluate markers of stress, including cortisol and DHEA levels. The results are usually remarkably consistent: only 2025% have cortisol levels consistent with healthy adrenal function, while 7580% suffer impaired function, in various patterns ranging from mild to more serious.
Do you suffer from adrenal imbalance?
Adrenal imbalance or adrenal dysfunction, although you may have also heard it called “adrenal fatigue,” “adrenal exhaustion,” or “adrenal burnout.” It occurs when the adrenal glands are putting out the wrong levels of stress hormones either too low or too high in relation to the amount that’s needed. This mismatch often results in troubling symptoms.
If you’re like many women, you probably can’t imagine how it’s even possible for you to reduce stress and the negative effects it has on your body. But let us assure you, we can show you how to get you back to feeling as energetic and vibrant as you ever have!
Eat Small Meals Frequently To Avoid Sugar Spikes
During your burnout recovery, you want to ensure that youre being as gentle with your blood sugar levels as possible.
The worst thing you could do is consume two or three massive, overly processed meals per day. The best thing you can do is eat four to six small, nutrient dense meals per day. More on this in the next two points.
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Build A Team Of Healers To Help You On Your Journey
It took more than one factor to get you to this place of burnout, and its likely going to take more than one form of treatment to help you get better.
On my personal journey, I visited a medical doctor, two naturopaths, a registered massage therapist, an acupuncturist, an energy healer, and a therapist. I made healing my full time job and I knew that having a dedicated team of healers around me would expedite my process.
While Im not guaranteeing youll need more than a simple visit to your doctor to get the clarity that youre looking for, it never hurts to get multiple opinions and tests done, just to rule out various health factors.
Healing your physical body from extreme burnout is a war of attrition, not a war of annihilation. Put in another way, lots of little things are going to add up to helping you to heal, more likely than it is that youll find one magic bullet to heal you right away .
So enlist help. Yes, friends and family but also enlist the aid of people who help others heal professionally.
Origins Of The Myth Of Adrenal Fatigue
The website of chiropractor and naturopath James L. Wilson, DC, ND, PhD, says that he coined the term adrenal fatigue in 1998 to identify below optimal adrenal function resulting from stress and distinguish it from Addisons disease. As many other naturopaths have taken up the diagnosis, it has spread widely across the Internet. Wilsons website notes that conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome.
That rather understates the attitude of conventional medicine. A literature review published last year in BMC Endocrine Disorders found no substantiation that adrenal fatigue is an actual medical condition. Therefore, adrenal fatigue is still a myth.
Adrenal fatigue is not recognized by the Endocrine Society or any other endocrinology society, but adrenal insufficiency is. One glaring problem for the adrenal fatigue concept is that the reported symptoms dont match those from adrenal insufficiency, although there is some overlap. The adrenal fatigue symptoms are mostly nonspecific including being tired or fatigued to the point of having trouble getting out of bed experiencing poor sleep feeling anxious, nervous, or rundown craving salty and sweet snacks and having gut problems, says Nieman. For the most part, these do not match symptoms of chronic adrenal insufficiency, which is characterized by weight loss, joint pain, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dry skin, low blood pressure, and fatigue.
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When Stress Becomes Distress
The dark side of chronic hypervigilance is anxiety! Your brain and body get stuck in survival mode, and you end up with:
- Afternoon fatigue, caffeine, or sugar cravings
- Allergies, food reactions, hives
- Perfectionism, feeling that youre never doing enough
- Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up still tired
First Change Your Lifestyle
The two most important steps to take are: 1) Change your hectic lifestyle and 2) learn stress reduction techniques.
The idea here is to lower the demands on your adrenal glands. If you continue an exhausting and demanding way of living, your adrenal glands will be constantly struggling to catch up. Full recovery will be difficult if you dont deal with stress.
For stress reduction, yoga, tai chi, meditation, prayer and deep breathing are proven to be effective.
For stress reduction, yoga, tai chi, meditation, prayer and deep breathing are proven to be effective. They are simple, and available. Other ways of lowering stress are being out in nature or doing gentle exercises such as walking. There are also many phone apps for guided imagery and meditation. All these things get you out of the high alert mindset.
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Stages Of Adrenal Fatigue
Think about the development of adrenal fatigue like a cycle within a larger process. Its progress occurs like a clock that counts the hours in a day. But hours clump together to make up the overall cycle of a month.
What that means is the stages of adrenal fatigue happen every day on a microcosmic level. However, these stages are also what happens more broadly over time.
As you run through the same stages, over and over again, every day, youll eventually move from the first stage to the last in a way where your health deteriorates faster over time.
The 4 stages of adrenal fatigue are as follows:
Illustration Of Woman With A Low Battery Icon Hovering Above Head
Dragging your feet at the end of the day? Find yourself longing for a nap by noon? Come to think of it, do you ever feel rested? As Americans, it is part of our culture to burn the candle at both ends. We rise to all occasions at both home and workto our own detriment. It’s no wonder so many of us are exhausted, anxious, and overwhelmed.
A controversial term, adrenal fatigue is often used to describe a host of vague but debilitating symptoms. Described as the depletion of cortisol from the adrenal glands, Western medicine providers do not believe this catch-all diagnosis exists. After all, conventional doctors train in acute care. They prefer to find a specific problem to fix and prescribe short-term solutions.
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How Is Adrenal Fatigue Diagnosed
There is no test which can tell whether or not you have adrenal fatigue. A 24-hour salivary adrenal test has been used to check the function of the adrenal glands. However, many doctors, including adrenal gland specialists, do not consider that this test is appropriate to measure the function of the adrenal glands.
A 24-hour salivary adrenal test involves taking saliva samples four times during 24 hours. The samples are usually taken at 8 am, 12 noon, 4 pm and midnight. The early-morning steroid level should be the highest level of the day but may be reduced if the adrenal gland is not working properly.
You may need blood tests to make sure there are no other reasons why you feel very tired, such as anaemia or an underactive thyroid gland. Further tests will also be needed if there is any concern that your adrenal glands are not working properly.
Treatment Of Adrenal Fatigue
“Optimal adrenal health is one of the major keys to the enjoyment of life,” according to Dr. Wilson. If you have adrenal fatigue, you can fully live life again by making the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes to treat your disorder.
Treating adrenal fatigue is as easy as:
- Adopting a natural whole-foods diet
- Avoiding junk food
- Drinking high quality water, not from the tap. Distilled or spring waters are best
- Eating five to six servings of vegetables each day through juicing or adding them to meals
- Avoiding white flour and other processed grains
- Adding sea salt to your diet, replacing your table salt
- Taking 2,000 to 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C each day
- Taking a high strength B-complex supplement
- Taking high quality fish oils
- Adding licorice root extract and kelp to your diet
- Doing a detox and using an infra red sauna
- Replacing toxic chemical products used around the house with non-toxic alternatives
- Spending some time in the sun each day
- Doing something fun each day
- Getting lots of rest
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Tip #: Long Slow Distance Training
Did you know that you dont need to sweat like crazy to get a good workout? Long slow distance training8 relies on long intervals of low-intensity physical activity.
Through these activities, youre building aerobic strength and endurance that can help stimulate the loss of body fat in your body. All you have to do is one session per week, moving for over one hour at an extremely low intensity.
Take a light walk, go for a hike and benefit your body. This form of training is an opportunity to introduce a consistent hum of fat burning in your daily/weekly/monthly regiment. The more exercise, the merrier, so long as you take it slow.
Key Insight: Take it slow, across longer distances, to keep your exercise routine humming.
Eat The Right Foods At The Right Times
This is probably the least fun part: I had to seriously clean up my diet. My doctor suggested a Paleo-Mediterranean style diet, focusing on low-glycemic, whole foods. This included lots of fruits, veggies, fish, lean protein, healthy fats, and as little sugar and empty carbs as possible.
I also tried to avoid inflammatory foods like dairy, gluten, and alcohol. Ive heard people say to cut out coffee, but I love the stuff, so my doctor said one or two cups a day is fine. I also tried to eat breakfast before 10 a.m. to and make sure I had 3 4-ounce serving of fatty fish a week. That was easy enoughI love salmonbut cutting out french fries, bread, and alcohol was much harder.
Fortunately, I had quit the stressful job and was freelancing at this point, so I was working at home, which made it easy to stock my fridge and cook most of my meals at home.
Breakfast was either a smoothie or toast and an egg. Lunch was pretty much always a big salad Dinners were usually something like zucchini with turkey bolognese some sort of homemade chili or soup or salmon and veggies.
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What Did My Adrenal Glands Have To Do With It
Your adrenal glands are responsible for keeping the well-being of your body in balance through hormones. These glands also produce the hormone cortisol, which is released during your fight-or-flight response. As you can imagine, cortisol is extremely useful at times when you need to be alert and escape danger.
However, according to Harvard Medical Schools stress management report, people today are uniquely in this state of fight or flight for too long. Typically, after a stressful event, your hormones return to normal, but when they dont, the accumulated stress can lead to a compromised immune system and digestive system and general full body burnout.
In the worst of my burnout phase, I was getting frequent colds and coughs, feeling lethargic, and experiencing mental fogs. I was sleeping inconsistently, often waking up at 3 a.m. Everything was getting harder. My motivation for life decreased, and my passion for fitness was deteriorating. Just never feeling quite right was becoming normal.
The doctor who diagnosed me said, point blank, Your body is worn out. You have no fuel left. And if you keep doing what you are doing, it will get worse.
At the time, my hours as a personal trainer were 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., with 15 classes per week of barbell, circuits, weights, step workouts, and boxing. I got some breaks during the day but did most of each class alongside the clients. This schedule was obviously not sustainable for someone in the midst of burnout and extreme fatigue.
Pay Attention To Your Coffee Intake
Coffee is misunderstood when it come to adrenal fatigue. The standard advice is to avoid it entirely because it spikes cortisol. The reality is a little more complicated than that.
Coffee does spike cortisol if you only drink it occasionally. If you drink it every morning, though , you build tolerance to the cortisol release, but not to coffees wakefulness boost.
But in order to build tolerance to the cortisol, you have to drink coffee every morning. If you only drink it occasionally, your body wont adjust, and the coffee will cause a big cortisol spike that isnt good for adrenal fatigue.
Basically, when it comes to adrenal fatigue and coffee, you should take an all-or-nothing approach:
- Drink coffee every morning, or
- Cut out coffee entirely
If you do decide to drink coffee, I suggest Bulletproof Coffee for extra mental clarity and effortless focus, which is crucial when dealing with adrenal fatigue.
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