Eat For Blood Sugar Balance
Low blood sugar levels can be a cause of fatigue, yawning, sleepiness, and brain fog. Eating a diet that minimizes blood sugar swings can help.
To keep your blood sugar stable, aim to eat a diet low in processed carbohydrates like bread, pasta, crackers, and chips. Eat more whole foods, such as high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and complex, slow-burning carbs, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and seeds.
The paleo diet is a low-carb diet that helps keep blood sugar steady [24
If you need help changing your diet, reach out to our clinic to learn more about meeting with our health coach.
The Natural Approach To Adrenal Health
Conventional medicine is still looking for a drug to cure extreme fatigue. But a pharmaceutical solution isnt a good idea or even necessary for the vast majority of women who need to support and rebalance their adrenals. Whether youre wired all the time because of stress and cant wind down, or youre barely able to get out of bed due to fatigue, the good news is that you can use a natural approach to find relief from adrenal fatigue.
Unlike prescription medications that usually just mask symptoms, the natural approach helps break the existing patterns your body has developed as it reacts to negative stress. By combining simple changes in your nutrition, supplements and lifestyle, you can adjust your bodys overall response to stress to dramatically reduce and even completely eliminate symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, weight gain and more.
If youre experiencing adrenal stress symptoms, restoring balance to your adrenal function can help you feel calmer and more energized. Since adrenal dysfunction occurs on a continuum, its a good idea to take action now before you feel even worse.
Based on the results of the thousands of women Womens Health Network has helped with their adrenal issues, here are the three most important questions to ask to start better supporting your adrenals:
So Whats A Person To Do
Navigating this ocean of uncertainty is not an easy task. Symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue probably have multiple causes. Frequent follow-up visits and a strong patient-clinician partnership are critical elements for success. Alternative and complementary clinicians often have better results, because the appointments tend to last longer and they view patients through a more holistic lens. An important word of caution: some medical professionals prescribe cortisol analogs to treat adrenal fatigue. Cortisol replacement can be dangerous even in small doses. Unintended consequences can include osteoporosis, diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease.
Regardless of what we call it, there are millions of people suffering from similar symptoms, and a personalized plan that involves counseling, medications, supplements, lifestyle change, among others could work for many. Improvement following these programs is slow, and the evidence is weak, but I hope advances in big data, genomics, and its relationship with the environment and the microbiome, may shine a light on how to better help people who suffer from these ailments.
The adrenal fatigue theory may fit like a glove to explain your symptoms, which are very real. But before buying expensive protocols over the Internet to treat something were not even sure exists, take a deep dive and reexamine your lifestyle. The path to feeling better may be closer than you think.
About the Author
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This Is How To Recover From Adrenal Fatigue
Recovering from adrenal fatigue depends upon you. It means changing your lifestyle, changing your relationships with other people, and taking good care of yourself. I tell my patients to treat yourself just like you would a newborn babywith a lot of loving care and attention. When you are tired, go to sleep. When you are hungry be sure you have plenty of healthful, nourishing food. When you are stressed by someones demands, learn to say no, at least temporarily. In this way, you will slowly learn to take the stress off your adrenal glands and allow them to heal.
Diffuse Essential Oils In Your Space
Theres nothing like enjoying the scent of diffused lavender or sage oil in your space. Diffusing essential oils has become a self-care ritual, commonly known as aromatherapy. When you inhale these pleasant plant-based scents, the hypothalamus and pituitary glands are stimulated, helping the body release feel-good hormones. A study found that essential oils also proved helpful in decreasing cortisol levels, relieving stress from your adrenals.
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Avoid Caffeine Which Pushes Your Body Beyond Its Limits
If you are feeling tired in the morning and If you use coffee or diet soda to feel good, you are likely to feel bad about two hours later. This is when the caffeine crash happens. If you eat a high sugar or starch breakfast, you will also feel an energy crash about two hours later. This is because your blood sugar plummets.
What Is The Cause Of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is usually caused by long-term stressors. These can include financial stress, overwork, family disputes, or marital problems. Often it might a be a combination of factors, such as those experienced by a high-flying executive with young children.
Other factors can come into play too. A poor diet means that your body has fewer reserves and less capacity to deal with stress. Chronic or latent disease can be a factor, as can regular exposure to toxic chemicals or pollutants. And dont forget sleep one of the most important requirements for your body to function properly. If youre burning the candle at both ends, consider that a lack of sleep might be damaging your long-term health.
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Related Conditions & Diseases
This content is not available in another language.
This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.
The NIDDK would like to thank:Constantine Stratakis, M.D., D.Med. Sci., Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH
The Answer Lies In The Adrenal Glands
Source: National Cancer Institute
These endocrine glands sit right above the kidneys and are responsible for pumping out the hormones that we need to survive and function every single day, including cortisol and a few sex hormones too .
Cortisol, in particular, is a critical hormone affected by adrenal function. Cortisol is what helps you respond to stress normally and in a healthy way. Not only that, but it also maintains blood sugar levels, regulates the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, and controls your immune responses.
So what can cause all those negative effects of adrenal fatigue?
There are several adrenal gland disorders that can diminish the function of the adrenal glands.
Genetic mutations can often be the culprit, as can tumors, chronic infections, or certain medications. Problems with other glands, like the pituitary gland, might also be to blame as they help regulate and control the adrenal glands.
Unfortunately, theres a long list of symptoms you can expect to accompany any case of adrenal fatigue. If youre wondering how to diagnose adrenal fatigue, checking how many of these common symptoms apply to you is a good place to start. Remember that adrenal fatigue affects everyone differently, but there are certain effects that many people can expect to experience.
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Top 5 Things You Can Do To Feel Better If You Have Adrenal Fatigue
In the midst of your busy schedule, pencil in downtime during the day and start saying no more often to extraneous obligations that put you on overload. The school bake sale can still go off without a hitch without your famous homemade cookies that take you hours to make.
If there is something extra stressful that you must do, try to do it at a time when you will have time afterwards to relax and recover. So, that stressful meeting with your boss? Schedule it for just before a long and leisurely lunch in order to give your stress response a chance to turn back off.
Also, make sure you sleep during the right hours. Be in bed and sleeping by 10:00 or 10:30 PM at the latest. If you need to unwind, or it takes you awhile to fall asleep, then get to bed at 9:00 or 9:30 PM. Your night of sleep sets the stage for how easily youll handle stressors the next day. Make sleep a priority.
To help you sleep, try drinking soothing chamomile tea at the end of the day, or soak in an Epsom salts bath, or consider a relaxing herbal supplement to naturally help you wind down.
How Many Symptoms Are You Experiencing
Women are often responsible for balancing the needs of our own work, home and family, and can wind up taking more care of others than ourselves. The negative impact of the stress we experience can build until it bursts out in miserable symptoms, crushing fatigue and health problems.
If you suspect that adrenal stress and fatigue are behind your symptoms, take our Adrenal Stress and Fatigue Quiz to understand the stress your body is experiencing right now. Its the first step to feeling better and more like yourself.
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The Limits Of Conventional Adrenal Testing
If youre worried that your adrenal glands arent functioning properly, you probably want to know if theres a test for that. The frustrating answer is that the current conventional testing protocol for cortisol only calls for evaluating the extremes of adrenal imbalance that require immediate medical intervention: Addisons disease, when cortisol production is severely deficient, and Cushings syndrome, when cortisol production is excessive.
If your test results fall between those high and low cut-off points on the test even if youre very close youll probably be told that your adrenal function is normal, no matter how many symptoms you have. Saliva tests for adrenal function typically measure cortisol at different times of the day and can therefore pick up more subtle imbalances, but many conventional practitioners are unaware of them or dont trust them.
As you will see, the best indicator of your adrenal health is whether you are feeling well or not. Your symptoms are your best guide to choosing an approach that will help you feel better.
How Do You Treat Adrenal Fatigue
Finding a cure for your adrenal fatigue usually means reversing the factors that led to your poor health in the first place. This might mean removing added sugars and junk food from your diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding or eliminating sources of stress.
There are other ways to support your body, make it more resilient to stress, and treat your adrenal fatigue. Adaptogenic supplements like ashwagandha can help to moderate your stress response, while basic nutrients like vitamin C can give your adrenal glands the nutrients they need.
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Types Of Adrenal Fatigue
Most women suffering from adrenal fatigue experience symptoms that usually fall into one of three categories along a spectrum of fatigue: wired, tired and wired, or tired. As adrenal imbalances worsen, women may move through these stages until they reach the point of near exhaustion.
Your type of adrenal fatigue determines what kinds of symptoms show up and how you will find relief and restore healthy adrenal function.
Common adrenal fatigue symptoms for wired women
When you have a wired type of adrenal imbalance, your body is creating and responding to a constant flow of stress hormones. This can cause you to remain in active mode, feeling antsy and ready to go. You may be periodically overwhelmed by fatigue, but sleeping feels like a waste of time because you have so much to do.
Many wired women dont realize that their bodies are sending out warning signals with symptoms like these:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, anxiety at night
- Feeling driven or speedy all day
- Anxiety, panic attacks, easily startled
- Racing thoughts, scattered thinking, inability to focus on one task
- PMS, difficult menstrual periods, hormonal shifts of perimenopause or menopause
- Fluid retention
- Food cravings, tendency to eat a lot of calories at night
- Frequent colds or infections due to a suppressed immune system
- High blood pressure
Common adrenal fatigue symptoms for tired and wired women
Tired and wired symptoms can include:
- Fuzzy thinking/forgetfulness
- Low libido
Purify The Mind And Body
Do you feel exhausted? Burned out? Do you often ask yourself, Why am I so tired all the time? Do you crave sugar and caffeine? Do you get frequent cold and upper respiratory symptoms? Gaining weight despite diet and exercise? Do you have muscle and joint pain? Do you feel irritable or anxious and less able to handle stress? You could be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue!
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The Story Behind Adrenal Fatigue
The human body wasnt built for chronic stress, but rather immediate danger. Cortisol causes changes in our bodies to ensure our survival in the face of danger. Imagine a tiger jumping out from behind a bush. Cortisol increases the blood sugar in our bodies to ensure our muscles and brain have the fuel needed to run from the tiger.
Cortisol activates part of our immune system to produce inflammation in case the tiger bites our blood will clot well so we can keep running. It also suppresses another part of our immune system the part that helps us fight viruses and cancer the body isnt worried about cancer when we are facing a tiger! Additionally, blood flow to our intestines decreases because the body isnt concerned with digesting and absorbing food in that moment.
While these bodily changes are important for our survival, they exist for short, intermittent periods of time. If cortisol levels are too high or too low for a prolonged length of time, they cause detrimental changes in the body. Consistently increased blood sugar leads to weight gain and diabetes. Chronically increased inflammation leads to numerous medical problems including hypertension, asthma, allergies, arthritis, obesity, and muscle and joint pain. When our natural killer cells are constantly suppressed, we have an increased risk of viral infections, autoimmunity, and cancer. Low blood flow to the intestines over time causes constipation, diarrhea, or an irritable bowel.
Q: Why Is An Accurate Diagnosis So Important
A: Unfortunately, adrenal fatigue doesnt truly explain whats going on in your body, which can lead to misdiagnosis, mistreatment and unpleasant side effects. Even more concerning: A diagnosis of adrenal fatigue can potentially mask something else going on in your body something that should be further explored with your care team.
Sometimes, patients who have been misdiagnosed with adrenal fatigue are prescribed prednisone or advised to purchase expensive adrenal supplements to replace the cortisol that is presumed to be missing. But patients experience no benefits from taking these medications and in fact, taking prednisone can result in negative side effects and could ultimately even suppress your bodys own ability to produce cortisol.
Often, it turns out that patients misdiagnosed with adrenal fatigue actually have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome , a surprisingly common condition. Patients may also have various underlying illnesses, making a thorough workup with your primary care team a vital part of your care plan.
Its very important that doctors spend enough time gathering your history details and performing tests before diagnosing the problem and beginning treatment. Sometimes, we can start to help a patient immediately by making modifications to their diet, prescribing an exercise regimen and/or recommending specific supplements.
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Is It A Myth
Thereâs no science to back it up. The Endocrine Society, the world’s largest organization of endocrinologists , flatly says that adrenal fatigue is not a real disease. And it says the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are so general, they can apply to many diseases or conditions or stem from everyday life.
And the society says some of the treatments can be dangerous. Improving your diet will probably make you feel better, no matter what ailment you have, but taking unidentified supplements to help your body produce extra cortisol if you don’t need them may cause your adrenal glands to stop working, it warns.
Sympathetic Vs Parasympathetic Tone:
When the body is under stress, it increases sympathetic tone, which is a part of our nervous system that wires us into a fight or flight mode. This is a normal and natural way our body protects itself. The problem is when this goes on for a long-period of time and creates a state of sympathetic dominance.
On the contrary, when we are able to relax, have fun, play, laugh, spend time deep breathing and in gratitude and prayer, we stimulate parasympathetic tone. This is the part of our nervous system that enhances healing and repair mechanisms.
We need good balance between both our sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. We want them both to be good at responding to the environmental demands. Most often, we want to be in a state of parasympathetic dominance so we can heal and repair effectively from the daily stressors .
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