What Is Adrenal Fatigue Steps To Overcome It Naturally
Did you know that chronic stress can affect your bodys ability to recuperate from physical, mental or emotional stress? This is likely why most people have dealt with adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives.
Many proponents of this condition estimate that almost every person can experience adrenal fatigue, also known as hypoadrenia, to some degree at a particularly stressful point in his or her life.
Because the adrenals influence many parts of the body, symptoms of adrenal fatigue can mimic a number of disorders and isnt always easily recognizable.
Adrenal fatigue symptoms, like brain fog, moodiness and trouble sleeping, can be indicative of many disorders and are often overlooked by doctors. But more and more people are starting to realize that a combination of these health issues often indicate the onset of adrenal fatigue.
If you have adrenal fatigue, it can have significant effects on your overall health. Luckily, you can improve this common issue naturally by focusing on your nutrient intake and lifestyle choices.
Cravings For Salty Foods
A part of the adrenal glands named the cortex is responsible for producing aldosterone, a mineralocorticoid which works with the kidney to regulate our fluid and mineral excretion. When the adrenals become fatigued, we produce less aldosterone and tend to excrete large amounts of important minerals in our urine. Individuals with depleted endocrine systems often report frequent urination, which is often attributed to age but may actually be caused by depleted adrenals.
This means that Adrenal Fatigue sufferers effectively lose the ability to balance the levels of minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium in their blood. In turn, this leads to cravings for foods which will replace the sodium that we have lost. If you find yourself suddenly craving salty snacks, you could be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.
Inclusion And Exclusion Criteria
Inclusion criteria were: whole article written in English, cortisol profile and fatigue or energy status as the primary outcome, specific tests performed for evaluating the adrenal axis, absence of corticosteroid therapy, absence of confounding diseases that would lead to an impaired cortisol status caused by the disorder itself . Studies with a merely description about adrenal axis impairment with no tests performed were excluded.
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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.
How To Manage Adrenal Fatigue In Women
So how do we deal with all of this? The most obvious solution would be to reduce levels of stress. The good news is that, through a combination of lifestyle management and a diet rich in specific nutrients, you can reduce both stress and the threat of high cortisol levels. When you want to defeat stress, the best place to start is to avoid stressors in your daily life. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Oftentimes, we have no idea when we are about to be faced with situational stressors. However, we often deal with stressors in our day-to-day lives that are more predictable and, therefore, easier to avoid. Whether those daily stressors are specific people or locations, it is important to identify them to see if they can be removed from our daily lives. Being able to do so could have lasting, positive implications for our long-term health. There are also a number of foods that we can eat as part of an adrenal fatigue diet. Some of these foods include healthy starches , organic vegetables, wild caught fish, grass-fed organic meats, and foods that contain healthy fats.
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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.
Other Conditions That Affect The Adrenal Glands
Certain conditions, such adrenal insufficiency , can prevent your adrenal glands from making enough hormones. Addisons disease is a rare but serious disease.
The symptoms of Addisons disease include fatigue, body aches, unexplained weight loss, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, loss of body hair and skin discolouration.
Addisons disease is recognised by doctors and can be detected through blood tests that show insufficient hormone levels. On the other hand, these tests are often normal in people who are told they have adrenal fatigue.
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Higher Energy Levels In The Evenings
The lower levels of cortisol can play havoc with our energy levels throughout the day. In a healthy person, cortisol reaches its highest level early in the morning before declining gradually throughout the day. However, some Adrenal Fatigue sufferers experience spikes in cortisol in the late afternoon and evening, often leading to insomnia.
A typical progression is to find yourself tired all day, then suddenly get a bounce in your energy levels late in the evening. This tends to occur in the earlier stages of Adrenal Fatigue when the adrenals are still capable of producing significant amounts of cortisol and adrenaline.
First Of All What Are ‘fatigued’ Adrenals
When your adrenal glands are fatigued, they are no longer able to effectively make essential hormones needed to function optimally primarily cortisol. Cortisol, the daytime hormone, helps modulate your immune system, anti-inflammatory responses, nervous system, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and gives you energy. When you cant produce the right ratios of cortisol to other hormones, you experience adrenal burn-out / fatigue.
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Distinction From Addisons Disease
Adrenal fatigue is closely related to, but not to be confused with, Addisons Disease, a disorder characterized by insufficient cortisol production due either to a pathology directly affecting the adrenals or a disruption of signaling between the brain and the adrenals. While symptoms of Addisons Disease are similar to adrenal fatigue, the primary difference is that adrenal fatigue is considered a possible result of the overuse of otherwise healthy adrenal glands due to stress.
The adrenals are necessary to have gluconeogenesis to take place in the liver, as well as the glycogen storage where it stimulates the production of blood glucose, says Dr. Wilson. So, most of the major symptoms of either adrenal fatigue or Addisons Disease are a result of either a lack of cortisol or a lack of blood glucose and the many effects that it has systematically throughout the body.
He theorizes, Unlike Addisons, adrenal fatigue doesnt have a pathological origin, with the exception of the overuse of antibiotics which may partially shut down the use of the adrenal glands. So, you do get different symptoms with versus adrenal fatigue, because youre talking about the difference between a body that cant secrete cortisol versus a body that isnt secreting sufficient cortisol.
Engage In Gentle Exercise
While exercise can be excellent for stress management, you’ll want to take precautions when dealing with adrenal fatigue. To an overworked body, strenuous exercise can come as an additional stressor. For this reason, it’s best to stick to gentle exercises.
Start slow with low-impact exercises like walking, yoga, and light resistance training. These activities provide the benefit of clearing your mind and getting your blood flowing without the risk of overdoing it or potentially causing more harm.
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What Is The Outlook
Most people with adrenal fatigue will recover quite quickly but severe symptoms may take some months to recover, or even longer. The time for recovery will vary enormously from person to person and will also depend on the cause of stress and the severity of symptoms. Following a good treatment plan, as described above, will help you to recover more quickly.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is a collection of non-specific yet often debilitating adrenal dysfunction symptoms. It is not a myth but rather an increasingly common and often debilitating condition.
Fatigue and lethargy are the most common complaints amongst adults. If you have symptoms such as tiredness, fearfulness, allergies, frequent getting sick, aches and pains of unknown origin, anxiousness, depressed mood, reduced memory and difficulties in concentrating, difficulty sleeping, inability to lose weight, you may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue. The onset of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is often slow and insidious.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome should not be confused with another medical condition called Addisons disease, where the adrenal glands are not functioning. While Addisons disease is often caused by autoimmune dysfunction, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is primarily driven by stress.
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A Weakened Immune System
Cortisol has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps to regulate your immune system. Inflammation is often simply a sign that your body is fighting an infection, but cortisol prevents this reaction from getting out of control. Maintaining a balanced cortisol level not too low and not too high is an important part of our health.
If stress is causing your cortisol levels to be elevated, this anti-inflammatory effect becomes too strong. This effectively stops your immune system from working as it should, and this weakened state can last for the duration of whatever is causing the stress. Without a properly functioning immune system, you become vulnerable to disease. Conversely, a lower level of cortisol allows your immune system to over-react to pathogens. This can lead to chronic inflammation and a number of respiratory or auto-immune diseases.
So what does this mean for Adrenal Fatigue sufferers? It depends on which stage of the condition you have reached. In the early stages, consistently high levels of cortisol suppress your immune response and leave you vulnerable to infection. In the later stages of Adrenal Fatigue, low levels of cortisol can lead to chronic inflammation, allergies, and autoimmune diseases. Neither is a good outcome, and so your Adrenal Fatigue treatment should focus on restoring cortisol to a sustainable, balanced level.
Stages Of Adrenal Fatigue
The adrenal glands are producing more cortisol due to an increased stress response. Inflammation is a natural response to a stressor in the human body. However, if the inflammation becomes chronic, the adrenal glands can be taxed beyond their potential.
Symptoms that may present during this stage:
- Trouble sleeping
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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.
Overuse Of Stimulants Like Sugar And Caffeine
Are you one of those people whose day revolves around finding your next shot of caffeine? If so, youre not alone! Millions of people rely on stimulants like coffee and sugar to lift them up when they get tired. However, theres a big difference between drinking an occasional coffee and consuming stimulants all through the day.
The problem is that stimulants tend to lose their effectiveness over time. As chronic stress takes its toll on your endocrine system, each cup of coffee or sugary snack gives you less of an energy boost. Caffeine can prevent you from getting a good sleep too. The more stressed and tired you become, the more stimulants you need. This vicious cycle is how many people unwittingly accelerate their decline into hormonal dysregulation and extreme fatigue.
It doesnt have to be this way. Simply becoming more mindful of your caffeine and sugar consumption will often help to reduce it. Limit yourself to one or two coffees each day at first, then try to give it up entirely. Eat a nutritious, healthy diet, and try some of these low sugar recipes. Look for low glycemic fruits instead of sugary dried fruits or fruit juices. Learn how to improve your sleep hygiene so you wont feel the need for those stimulants. And identify ways to work more efficiently during the day, so you take rests when needed.
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Here Are The 5 Most Common Signs
1) Are you tired for no reason even after a good nights sleep?
This is the hallmark sign. A lack of energy, or persistent tiredness for a consistent period of time. It can be normal to feel more tired and rundown than normal occasionally, but it shouldnt be a daily occurrence.
2) Sensitive to sunlight and need sunglasses?
Another common symptom is light sensitivity. This is caused by imbalances in sodium and potassium. When your body is stressed you use certain minerals more quickly than others. We rely on these minerals for every single bodily function including pupil dilation in response to light in the case of this symptom.
3) Do you constantly have afternoon lows?
One constant source of stress is unstable blood sugar levels. If we eat diets high in refined sugars and carbohydrates, our blood sugar levels constantly rise and crash. It is common for people experiencing nervous system fatigue to experience afternoon lows as a result of a blood sugar crash. Physiologically our bodies want us to boost blood sugar levels, reduce cortisol and lessen stress. The problem is, we often reach for caffeine or sugar to provide quick relief and this perpetuates the cycle.
4) Crave salty or sweet snacks?
5) Not hungry until 10am?
In addition to waking us up, cortisol stimulates hunger. This is why diminished appetite early in the morning is another common sign.
Common Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
Adrenal Fatigue is a stress-related condition that results in symptoms like exhaustion, weakened immunity, sleep disturbances, and food cravings. The adrenal glands and HPA axis become depleted and dysregulated after a long period of emotional stress or chronic illness.
As you might expect, tiredness and exhaustion are some of the most common Adrenal Fatigue symptoms. However, these are far from the only ones that you might experience.
What is Adrenal Fatigue and how can you recognize it? Adrenal Fatigue leads to lower levels of a number of hormones and neurotransmitters, changes that can affect every single part of your body. Every individual with Adrenal Fatigue tends to have a slightly different set of symptoms, although there are always common complaints.
The most common signs of Adrenal Fatigue, which are experienced by most sufferers, include symptoms like fatigue and food cravings. Then there are the less common symptoms, which are only experienced by a smaller set of patients. These include low blood pressure and frequent urination. Typically, an individual with Adrenal Fatigue will have most or all of the main symptoms listed here, along with a handful of the less common symptoms. Take a look and see how many apply to you.
After youve read about these symptoms, scroll further down to look at the 4 main ways to treat Adrenal Fatigue.
The first section of this page contains the 7 most common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
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Q: Why Is A Multidisciplinary Approach So Important
A: After ruling out possible endocrine disorders, your endocrinologist can refer you to other specialists, including urologists, cardiologists, rheumatologists, allergists/immunologists and infectious disease physicians.
If youre diagnosed with POTS or another disorder, these specialists will work together to manage your health and develop a targeted treatment plan putting you on the path to symptom relief.
Fatigued Adrenals In The Modern World
In the BePure Clinic we are seeing a marked increase in the number of fatigued adrenals, and tapped out nervous system cases, which suggests its becoming more common in the general population. So, in this article, we will talk about why it is so common and common signs to look out for.
Its important to note, you do not have to have all of the following signs to be needing some support in this area. These are the most common signs we see and it exists on a scale.
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