Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome – Adrenal Fatigue and How to Beat It
Your adrenal glands are two tiny pyramid-shaped pieces of tissue situated right above each kidney. Their job is to produce and release, when appropriate, certain regulatory hormones and chemical messengers.
Adrenaline is manufactured in the interior of the adrenal gland, called the adrenal medulla. Cortisol, the other chemical from the adrenal gland, is made in the exterior portion of the gland, called the adrenal cortex. The cortex also secretes androgens, estrogens, and progestins. Cortisol, commonly called hydrocortisone, is the most abundant — and one of the most important — of many adrenal cortex hormones. Cortisol helps you handle longer-term stress situations.
In addition to helping you handle stress, these two primary adrenal hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, along with others similarly produced, help control body fluid balance, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other central metabolic functions.
In the heightened nervous state of adrenal burnout, the body overproduces adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones. Constant stress and poor nutrition can weaken the adrenal glands. Eventually, this causes the adrenal glands, the front line in the stress reaction, to show wear and tear and become depleted. This frequently leads to impairment in the thyroid gland, which can cause a further decline in energy level and mood and is one of the reasons why many people have thyroid glands that don’t work well.
When stress continues over prolonged periods of time, the adrenal glands can deplete the body’s hormonal and energy reserves, and the glands may either shrink in size or hypertrophy (enlarge). The overproduction of adrenal hormones caused by prolonged stress can weaken the immune system and inhibit the production of white blood cells that protect the body against foreign invaders (in particular lymphocytes and lymph node function).
Adrenal dysfunction can disrupt the body’s blood sugar metabolism, causing weakness, fatigue, and a feeling of being run down. It can also interfere with normal sleep rhythms and produce a wakeful, unrelaxing sleep state, making a person feel worn out even after a full night’s sleep.
Common Causes of Adrenal Stress
- Fear / Worry /Anxiety
- Overwork/ physical or mental strain
- Excessive exercise
- Sleep deprivation
- Light-cycle disruption
- Going to sleep late
- Chronic inflammation
- Chronic infection
- Chronic pain
- Temperature extremes
- Toxic exposure
- Chronic illness
- Chronic-severe allergies
- Nutritional deficiencies
Testing for Adrenal Health
In order to determine the health of your adrenal glands you need to have a simple blood, urine, or saliva test such as the Adrenal Stress Index performed by your practitioner. Cortisol levels can be checked throughout the day by saliva or in the am by blood. DHEA, and Epinephrine, are some other indicators of adrenal function. The information provided by testing can help to determine the most appropriate type of treatment.
Associated Symptoms and Consequences of Impaired Adrenal Functioning
- Low body temperature
- Unexplained hair loss
- Nervousness/Panic Attacks
- Difficulty building muscle
- Mental depression
- Difficulty gaining weight
- Inability to concentrate
- Excessive hunger
- Tendency towards inflammation
- Moments of confusion
- Poor memory
- Feelings of frustration
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Auto-immune diseases/hepatitis
- Palpitations [heart fluttering]
- Dizziness that occurs upon standing
- Poor resistance to infections
- Low blood pressure
- Food and/or inhalant allergies
- Craving for sweets
- Dry and thin skin
- Scanty perspiration
- Alcohol intolerance
Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome – Treatment
Lifestyle changes such as:
Eating steadily, all day long. Skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do for your body. When you’re hungry, your blood sugar drops, stressing your adrenal glands and triggering your sympathetic nervous system. That causes light-headedness, cravings, anxiety and fatigue. Another drawback to skipping meals: The resulting low blood sugar can affect your ability to think clearly and shorten your attention span.
Skipping breakfast is particularly bad, as it is a sure-fire way to gain, not lose, weight. If you start each morning with a good breakfast and “graze” healthfully every two to four hours, your blood sugar will remain steady throughout the day. You’ll feel more rested and energetic. Eat protein with every meal. Eat Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice. Avoid sugar, junk food, white pasta, white rice, white bread.
Absolutely NO Caffeine. Coffee/Sodas over stimulates your adrenals and they deplete important B vitamins.
Coffee does not give you energy; coffee gives you the illusion of energy. Coffee actually drains the body of energy and makes you more tired, because of vitamin and adrenal depletion.
Exercise to relax. Walking, Yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or stretching. No vigorous or aerobic exercise, which depletes the adrenals.
Avoid alcohol, processed foods, and tobacco. Nicotine in tobacco initially raises cortisol levels, but chronic use results in low DHEA, testosterone, and progesterone levels.
Reduce stress; learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation.
Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome – Helpful Supplements
The use of small amounts of natural adrenal hormone (hydrocortisone) to bring slightly low adrenal function up to its proper normal daily range is often helpful.
Take a daily multivitamin to provide nutritional support to the adrenal gland.
Vitamin C 1,000-3,000 mg a day
L-Theanine 100-400 mg a day
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) 300 mg a day
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), no more than 1000 mg of glycyrrhizin
Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome – Caffeine Addiction and Chronic Fatigue Recovery
In spite of being a constituent in products commonly used for energy, caffeine over-stimulates the adrenal glands, which only causes the illusion of an increase in energy due to increasing the hormone adrenaline. Over time, excessive use of caffeinated substances will cause an adrenal addiction and the glands will produce less adrenaline naturally until they no longer produce at all, which will lead to permanent fatigue since the adrenals are not known to regenerate.
Those addicted to caffeine are on a dangerous downhill slope and need to take decisive action because it will only get harder to recover later. Naturally with everyone having to run around as a ‘human doing’ rather than as a ‘human being’ just to make ends meet in society today, the last thing most people have the energy for is to break a habit.
Breaking habits definitely requires substantially more energy to overcome them than it does to maintain the habit, but almost all of this is mental—a purely mental battle where one generally surrenders to routines rather than muster the strength or courage to break through to a new level.
Mental fatigue is becoming more commonplace and it is a huge factor in the overall energy of the body itself, so even thoughts about change that will require more energy can be tiresome for an individual with chronic fatigue syndrome.
The general response to the thought of quitting caffeine is that it is needed for energy, however admittedly dysfunctional that may be, and it would be too difficult to survive the day without it. So, it is actually the crystallized fear of fatigue that encodes the belief that one cannot overcome it or do without it. However, there is a way to overcome fatigue, particularly chronic fatigue while recovering from long-term caffeine addiction.
Effective caffeine elimination should be done gradually if it is to be a smooth transition without putting the body into shock. A common side effect of strict elimination after extended periods of use is headaches from caffeine withdrawal, which is also a clear sign of the addiction in the body. Generally, a gradual period over a month or two is a reasonable goal to set for complete transition away from caffeinated substances.
The most common culprits for caffeine intake are coffee, tea (excluding herbal teas), sodas, and chocolate, which are not usually issues if enjoyed in moderation. However, when significant amounts are consumed daily, the body is thrown from its natural state of balance within the physiology of its physical and energetic systems.
Contributing factors exacerbated by caffeine addiction as a compounding factor are surface breathing, hormone imbalances, and a lowered immune system. Concentration on these three main areas while weaning off of caffeine can make the transition much smoother for most people. Treatment of a condition is often formulaic, targeting the combination of root stresses responsible for its existence.
Surface breathing is how most people breathe, which is too shallow, and changing breathing patterns requires a conscious effort. It is well worth the discipline to breathe deeply and efficiently because deeper breath oxygenates the blood more completely and facilitates the removal of toxins from the blood stream. Increased oxygenation is a major factor that improves all of the bodily systems, organs, and vital forces necessary for fully functioning holistic health.
Hormone imbalances in the thyroid, pineal and pituitary glands can be contributing factors in fatigue-related issues. The hormones in these glands are easily imbalanced by increased adrenaline in the system, thus their functions are interrupted by continual caffeine consumption. If allowed to continue for long periods of time these imbalances can be completely disruptive to many systems of the body and its energies.
The immune system can be strengthened by the above mentioned breathing exercises to help with the elimination of toxins, however, when the immune system has been suppressed for long periods of time it is necessary to take purifying and immune-enhancing substances to bring the body back into harmonious balance. Getting proper rest, enough vitamins and minerals, and drinking enough water are the cornerstones of restoring the body to health, in addition to taking herbal extracts that have tonic actions on specific systems.
While herbal extracts are a part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle within alternative medicine, they should never be used to the exclusion of qualified care from a licensed physician. Both modalities are important for balance and seeking out a physician that is open to alternative therapies is worth the effort it takes to find one.
Watch this video – How to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome | Dr. Josh Axe
This article is from the Get Your Health Back – Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Freedom. It consists of a strategy filled with guides on sleep, pain, depression, anxiety, diet, exercise and fitness plans, diet plans and packed with 369 healthy and delicious recipes
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