What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal Fatigue happens when the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys, do not function normally. The adrenal glands are an important part of your body and help regulate blood sugar metabolism, the nervous system, pulmonary functions, cardiovascular, hormone production, liver and gastrointestinal function.
There are many causes of adrenal fatigue but the major contributor is high and prolonged stress that prevents your body from recovering. The adrenal glands adjust elements in the body based on various stressors and when the stress is constant, the adrenal glands get exhausted and stop working efficiently. Fatigued adrenal glands struggle to take further stress which causes various symptoms to occur. The collective symptoms are described as ‘adrenal fatigue syndrome’.
What are causes of Adrenal Fatigue?
The main symptom of adrenal fatigue is physical tiredness and fatigue that is not easily resolved by a couple of nights’ good sleep. Unfortunately it is not easily diagnosed by checking for depleted vitamin B12 or low iron count, measures that are used to check other forms of fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue can cause much drama in your life, with potentially every organ in your body affected causing issues with your nervous system, cardiovascular, fat metabolism, sex drive and more. Your body will try to keep up but you will be punished along the way!
Causes of adrenal fatigue include:
- Lack of sleep
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Poor Diet
- Excess Caffeine
- Chemical toxicity
- Emotional and Physical Trauma
- Excess sugar
- Too little or too much exercise
- Smoking (nicotine)
- Prescription medicines
- Thyroid issues
What are common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight – sagging fat around your waist and build up of visceral fat around the organs
- Reduced cognitive function including lack of concentration, brain fog, anxiety, irritability, intolerance of others, difficulty handling stress
- Low energy, fatigue, lethargy, sleepiness
- Restless leg syndrome
- Reduced sex drive
- Need alcohol to relax
- Need to naps during the day
- Salt cravings
- Frequent colds and flu
- Soreness in neck and upper back
- Poor memory retention
- Heavy reliance on caffeine stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks
- Chest tightness
- Inflammation in joints – the ‘itises’ e.g. tendonitis, arthritis etc
This post is very personal for me because I currently believe I am suffering from mild to moderate adrenal fatigue. If you have been following my posts you will know that i have had a rough year but also that I have made good strides in overcoming my health problems. My focus will now turn to my adrenal glands and on what I need to do to help them fully recover. So in saying that, what am I going to start doing to support my adrenal glands?
What can I do right now to reduce Adrenal Fatigue?
- Ensure sufficient sleep – 8 hours per night
- Reduce or preferably eliminate coffee, caffeine from your diet – I recently completed a 7 day challenge for this and as a result have reduced my coffee intake which is already making a difference.
- Don’t overdo exercise i.e. don’t work out every day. Walking is great though.
- Add mineralized salt (sea salt) to your diet.
- Take whole food Vitamin C (not ascorbic Vitamin C)
- Learn about Acupressure – I will write a post on this soon
- Take Adrenal Repair supplements. I found excellent information from Dr. Wilson’s site and will be looking into using his quality supplements myself. For more information visit his site – http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/what-is-adrenal-fatigue. I also recommend you complete his questionnaire to determine what level of adrenal fatigue you might have – http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/take-the-adrenal-fatigue-quiz
Well 2014 is nearly at an end and it sounds like I have some great New Years Resolutions to set. I will report back in early 2015 to let you all know how I’m getting on with the lifestyle changes and will let you know what supplements I have taken and what has worked.