What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue (also known as non-Addison's hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia, or adrenal apathy) is a syndrome that is the result of the adrenal glands not functioning properly. It is most often associated with prolonged periods of high stress though it can also arise after serious illness.
What are the adrenal glands?
The adrenals are triangle-shaped organs that rest on top of the kidneys. They help regulate the body's hormones. The adrenal glands operate in concert with the hypothalamus and pituitary which regulate metabolism and physical functions. The three work closely together and are known as the HPA axis. Disruptions in one organ throws off the usual operation of other glands.
What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
Some people may look or act relatively normal even if they have adrenal fatigue but use caffeine and other stimulants to keep them going. Symptoms might include:
- Extreme Fatigue: Some people might find it hard to get out of bed for more than a few hours per day. You also might feel tired for no reason or gain weight.
- Food Cravings: Patients report craving certain foods like salty and sweet snacks.
- Stressed Out: Many people report feeling overwhelmed or extremely stressed and are irritable.
- Energetic at Night: People with adrenal fatigue say that they feel most alert and awake in the evenings.
- Inability to Focus: Some might find concentrating on tasks or jobs difficult.
- Worsening Allergies: Patients report that their allergies are either worsening or they are developing allergies they never had before.
What causes adrenal fatigue?
Prolonged stress can trigger unfavorable effects in the body that can progress to chronic disease states. The medulla secrets adrenaline and norepinephrine to help the body handle stress by escalating metabolism. The cortex is in charge for maintaining the body's balance, regulating sugar metabolism, and a complex array of steroid hormones such as cortisone, DHEA, progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. Adrenal function is impaired by long term cortico-steroid drug use, as these will cause the adrenals to shrink. Other pre-disposing factors include continuous stress, anterior pituitary dysfunction, a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, excessive caffeine use, or a vitamin B deficiency.
How do I know if I have adrenal fatigue?
It is possible to have adrenal fatigue and not know it. The fatigue can be covered up by constantly drinking caffeinated drinks. One of my customers would not address the issue and ended up developing onset diabetes. If you lead a high stress life and need five cups of coffee just to get started in the morning, talk to your doctor about getting tested for adrenal fatigue. A simple saliva test can tell you if you have the condition.
What can I do to help with my adrenal fatigue?
If you do have adrenal fatigue, there are some things that you can do to keep it under control.
- Avoid Certain Foods: Avoid caffeine, sugars, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils should be avoided.
- Eat Superfoods: Some of the top superfoods for adrenal health include olives, coconut, avocados, sea salts, cauliflower, broccoli, fatty fish, chicken, turkey, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.
- Take Supplements: Supplements help to keep your body functioning properly. Recommended supplements include ashwagandha, magnesium, vitamin B5, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D3, and zinc.
- Get Enough Sleep: Try to sleep around 8-10 hours per night. Additionally, try to stay on a regular sleep cycle.
- Exercise: Exercising can help to relieve stress, maintain a healthy weight, and boosts your mood.
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