What is Adrenal Fatigue & What Can You Do About It?
Have you come across the term “adrenal fatigue” and do you wonder what it means? I know I have wondered, so thought it was time to find out more.
You might think this is a rather boring subject matter but adrenal fatigue is quite common with many sufferers never realizing that they have the condition.
The adrenals are glands but if they are abused in any way, this can lead to adrenal fatigue.
There are some particular situations that lead to adrenal fatigue
- A sudden life change, such as a moving home or the loss of a job
- Severe emotional trauma such as divorce or death
- Being a single parent
- Going off to college
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Being a workaholic
- Being too much of a perfectionist towards life or work
We have all heard of an adrenaline rush – but too much and too often can also lead to adrenal fatigue.
When we eat a diet that is high in carbs and low in fat (in much the way that we have been encouraged to do in the last few decades) it causes first hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and then hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Our adrenals were never designed to be used for daily blood sugar regulation but only for rare “fight or flight” situations.
When it keeps on happening, our adrenals are drained and become fatigued.
What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
First to look out for are low energy levels, lack of libido, low blood pressure and a weakened immune system (such as when you seem to pick up every cold or any infection doing the rounds).
But there is more:
- As well as low energy through the day, sufferers can experience difficulty in just getting out of bed in the morning.
- A low thyroid function (known as hypothyroid).
- The inability to lose weight.
- Feeling dizzy when standing up.
- Cravings for salt and sugar.
- Anxiety, mental exhaustion and/or depression.
If you or someone close to you is suffering from such symptoms, it could mean that adrenal fatigue is a factor. While the bad news is that it is seldom recognized as a health issue, the good news is that with some dietary and lifestyle changes, you can recover.
If you are concerned, you can take a simple cortisol level test through a lab or by requesting the test from a naturopath or natural health practitioner.
How to make those changes for recovery
Three important factors work together to address adrenal fatigue – diet, supplements and lifestyle.
Diet means eliminating grains, legumes, fruit juices, refined sugar and vegetable oils as these are all foods that stress the adrenals and increase inflammation. A high protein breakfast within thirty minutes of waking up will help stabilize blood sugar through the day. Most people with adrenal fatigue crave salt. You can consume as much unrefined salt as you can tolerate but only use Himalayan salt or celtic sea salt and not processed table salt. Small and frequent meals are recommended including a bedtime snack. Suggestions are some of that same salt, a saturated fat (such as coconut oil or grass fed butter, pastured egg yolks and grass fed meats) and a healthy carb. The latter are ideal when they come from fresh fruits, root veggies and starchy fruits and veggies like plantains. While monounsaturated fats from avocado and unadulterated olive oil can be enjoyed, take care to limit nuts and seeds because the fatty acid profile and anti-nutrients impair thyroid function and digestion. While we usually advise plenty of pure filtered water daily, in this case too much can reduce thyroid function. Also avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Supplements that can be taken include glandular treatment; herbal adrenal support; dessicated liver capsules; and plant sourced vitamin C support.
And finally lifestyle means plenty of good quality sleep plus half an hour of rest during the day and gentle exercise only.
Correct your adrenal fatigue and you will feel like a new person with all the energy you need to get through the day. If you are female, it becomes even more important to resolve any adrenal fatigue before menopause to prevent many of the symptoms associated with menopause.
Sources: http://www.herbsandoilsworld.com/how-to-recover-from-adrenal-fatigue/ http://healthylivinghowto.com/1/post/2013/07/adrenal-fatigue-what-to-do-when-you-just-cant-do-it-any-more.html