Adrenal Fatigue: How it Affects Your Life and How to Heal It
80% of the American population suffers with adrenal fatigue (hypoadrenia) at some point in their life yet most are unaware of the problem. They simply know they are tired of being tired. While symptoms can lead them to explore what may be happening in their body, for many, some damage has already been done.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is about allowing stressors to influence and even take control over your life. Stress is a big issue in most people’s lives and all too often the person has no idea how to deal with the stress. The result is adrenal fatigue as well as many other imbalances within the body, mind and spirit. The many faces of stress can look like:
Anger ~ fear ~ guilt
Not enough sleep ~ chronic fatigue
Too much exercise
Worry ~ anxiety ~ focus on negatives
Exposure to large amount of toxins
And the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are many:
Weight gain, especially in waist or stomach
Fatigue ~ lack of energy ~ lethargy
Brain fog ~ concentration difficulty
Morning sluggishness ~ need for stimulants to get you moving
Nervousness ~ anxiety
Dry skin and hair
Pain in upper back and neck
Unexplained hair loss
Cold hands and feet ~ or just plain cold
Allergies ~ both inhalants and food
Reduced sex drive
What happens when your body becomes stressed?
Your adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney. In this tiny gland is the most abundant hormone in your body – DHEA. Cortisol is also found in your adrenal glands and its main purpose is to be a stress regulator. When you are stressed, your cortisol shoots up to accommodate for the demand put on your adrenals. This is known as the “fight or flight” response and while it can be beneficial when we are in a life or death situation or some kind of temporary trauma, when life becomes a continuous stream of fight and flight events, we can easily develop adrenal fatigue. As a result of continuous stress, cortisol remains elevated and the symptoms begin. It is very likely that at the same time DHEA is declining, and if you are 40 or older, it is doing so naturally. We know that hormones do decline with age, but if we are stressed they will decline more rapidly. All of this not only tears down your health but ages you faster both internally and externally.
Why is cortisol so important?
Blood sugar normalizer – Continuously increased blood sugar levels due to stress create an imbalance which can lead to multiple physical disorders such as diabetes.
Anti-inflammatory – Cortisol is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. When trauma happens to our body the cortisol is released to reduce the swelling and repair the injury. Too much trauma produces too much cortisol.
Immune system supporter – Chronic high levels of cortisol suppress the immune system allowing an individual to be more susceptible to illness, especially to viruses.
Stress balancer – Cortisol helps to balance your stress reactions, but if stress becomes chronic then it can no longer maintain the balance. The result can be weight gain that is difficult to reduce, high blood pressure, estrogen dominance that can lead to uterine fibroids and even breast cancer, and much more.
Steps to repair your adrenals:
1. Get a saliva test that measures your cortisol and DHEA levels.
2. Realize that you may be able to “fix” your adrenal problem temporarily by making some lifestyle changes, but if you don’t release the negative emotion that underlies your stress it will simply come back again, perhaps in another form.
3. Remove your stressors. No matter what is going on in your life, the key is always to look at how you respond to stress so that you can slowly reduce the negative effects. Living stress-free is not some dream. You can do it.
4. Get enough sleep! Insomnia often accompanies adrenal fatigue. 7-8 hours or more are necessary for healing and the adrenals repair most from 11pm – 1am. (Some say the repair begins at 10 pm)
5. Change your diet – It is essential to clean your liver and digest your food well to heal your adrenals.
- Eliminate sugar, caffeine, and alcohol
- Consider adding salt to you diet – but only Himalayan or Celtic types
- Consume many organic vegetables, at least 6 every day
- Consider juicing veggies several times a week for cleansing your body
- Drink warm water on an empty stomach every morning with ½ organic lemon squeezed in it – this cleanses the liver easily and naturally
- Exercise, but only moderately at first. Rule of thumb is to stop if tired.
- Eat regularly, at least three meals per day – some may benefit from 5-6 small ones
- Eat plenty of good protein
- Progesterone cream – promotes healthy adrenals and thyroid glands, helps to balance estrogen overload
Supplements that can help:
- Vitamin C and bioflavonoids
- B-5, pantothenic acid
- Vitamin E, mixed tocopherols
- Magnesium Citrate
- Natural progesterone cream – men can also benefit
- B complex
- Digestive enzymes
Adrenal fatigue affects every part of the body and every aspect of life. If you are experiencing the symptoms described above it is imperative you find a practitioner and get tested and treated.
At The Healthy Choice Compounding Pharmacy, we have everything you need (including adrenal saliva tests) to get you back on the road to a more energized life again. Call, or stop by, to speak with one of our pharmacists, or our Supplement Manager.