Let’s Talk Adrenal Fatigue: Is it Real? What You Need to Know

Adrenal Fatigue

Do you feel like your battery is at about 20%, and you can’t quite get your charge up, no matter what you do? It doesn’t seem like the usual ebb and flow of energy and fatigue that’s part of everyday life but appears to be much more. And you are JUST DRAINED. 

 

Take note, because the cause could be Adrenal Dysfunction, aka Adrenal Fatigue, and your body is telling you that your adrenal glands have had enough! Simply, the “fight or flight” response that your body naturally takes on never quite lets down. And you need to get back on track. 

 

What exactly is happening? Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands for use in the regulation of blood pressure.  Factors in our life or lifestyle can keep cortisol at an increased level, and the body can not keep up, so it stops producing the cortisol. Since the adrenals have such a profound effect on the body, you start to see a cascade of negative symptoms if you suffer from Adrenal Fatigue. 

 

Signs you could be suffering are:

 

  • Tiredness upon waking up, intermittent crashes during the day, and overall extreme fatigue. 
  • Inadequate stress response and mood regulation. Feelings of anger, depression, and anxiety.
  • Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, inability to remember things, and other cognitive issues. 
  • Cravings for foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Overuse of caffeine and other stimulants.
  • An increase in the frequency of colds or flu and other respiratory conditions. This can lead to a compromised immune system.
  • Non-specific digestive issues can occur like random diarrhea, constipation, and dyspepsia (indigestion).
  • You tend to gain weight, especially around the waist and the inability to lose it.

 

Less common signs can be:

Insomnia, joint pain, decreased libido, poor circulation, and frequent urination.

 

This wellness series will dive into the controversy of adrenal fatigue, stages, and treatments, but let’s start with this: 

So many of these ailments are typical for the average stressed-out adult of today. 

How do you know you aren’t just suffering from everyday stress, tiredness, poor diet – you know, just the general exhaustion that comes from living in today’s world?

Does Adrenal Fatigue REALLY Exist?

 

“Adrenal fatigue”  was coined in 1998 by a chiropractor and naturopath named James L Wison. It is an increasingly common condition, just as it is controversial. 

 

The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce an abundance of hormones that work to keep our bodies functioning correctly. We often only hear about cortisol and DHA being produced by the adrenals, but they are also responsible for up to 40 % of our estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and several more. Those are some pretty big players!

 

When the body becomes stressed or experiences trauma, it produces cortisol as a defense mechanism. This is entirely normal and exactly what we want our bodies to do. However, when our bodies are subjected to chronic stress or trauma, the adrenal glands can not keep up with the demand and begin to “shut down”. This is when we start to experience brain fog, extreme tiredness, food cravings, weight gain, and sleep disturbances. These are very general symptoms; however, we should pay close attention because our body is trying to tell us something is wrong. 

 

Adrenal fatigue has been rejected and challenged by conventional medicine as a diagnosis. They believe there is not enough scientific proof that adrenal fatigue exists as a medical diagnosis. Only true endocrine disorders can cause damage to the adrenal glands; therefore, the adrenal glands are always producing cortisol at the correct levels. However, practitioners of alternative medicine know from experience and have been treating this condition for years. Their practice of medicine searches for an underlying etiology of low cortisol and symptoms, the root cause.

 

Whether you believe it is a condition or not, the symptoms are very real and should be taken seriously. This is what every practitioner, both conventional and alternative, should be focused on. They should investigate the cause of each symptom or group of symptoms. We expect to see more conventional doctors incorporate alternative treatments as science advances and continue to study the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis.

 

So, it makes sense that a life trauma would create a prolonged heightened cortisol response, but if that is not the case for most people, it doesn’t explain why Adrenal Fatigue’s symptoms are so prevalent in society. 

 

What exactly are we doing in our everyday life to make this prolonged heightened cortisol response? 

 

Simply put: Life is a marathon; quit trying to sprint through it without taking water breaks!! Slowing down is easier said than done. As a society, coffee and energy drinks are a way to make it through the day, and running on empty is the norm. What we do not realize is the toll it takes on our bodies and mind. Doctors prescribe medication as a bandaid to the symptoms we are having instead of looking into the root cause and treating the problem vs. the symptoms. We are left unhealthy and in mental anguish, wondering what is wrong?

 

Can stress be the cause of extreme fatigue, adrenal fatigue? Yes! What happens to college students during finals? They often get sick, depressed, and so tired they can sleep for days. This is not a coincidence. One study done in China found that male students that went through chronic stress while prepping for a medical exam had impaired cortisol awakening response.

 

Common causes of Adrenal Fatigue are:

 

  • Chronic stress– hostile work environment, unhealthy relationship
  • Emotional trauma– upsetting memories, anxiety, or depression that does not go away
  • Low self-esteem / negative thinking– feeling helpless, finding the worse in yourself, others, or a situation.
  • Chronic pain– not being able to control inflammation, injury
  • Poor diet/ food sensitivities– diets high in unhealthy fat, processed or fried foods, and sugar
  • Insomnia – not able to  fall asleep or stay asleep

 

As always please let us know if you have any questions or would like to chat with Nurse B about Nupeutics Health blends.

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