1280px-Chronic_fatigue_syndrome

Do you feel like you’re always tired no matter how much sleep you get?

Do you have to rely on coffee or soda to get enough energy to make it through the day?

Do you find your mind wandering and have trouble concentrating for long periods of time?

You likely have Adrenal Fatigue. Those of you who are older remember when Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was the new highlighted disorder? This was a under diagnosed disorder that caused extreme tiredness. Around 1998, Dr. James Wilson made the connection between being constantly tired and the adrenal glands being overworked. He re-coined Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to the new disorder known as “Adrenal Fatigue”. In that the symptoms for this disorder were common to many of us we had a lot of questions. The most pressing questions were:

What are the adrenal glands and what’s their purpose in the body?

How do we know if our adrenal glands are fatigued?

What causes adrenal fatigue?

What can we do to heal our adrenals?


What are the adrenal glands and what’s their purpose in the body?

Kidney_and_adrenal_gland

Our two adrenal glands are about the size of our thumbs. They are located above our kidneys and are part of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, gastrointestinal tract, adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries (in females) and testicles (in males). Basically the adrenals work with the important hormone “feel happy” organs in our bodies.

The job of the adrenal glands in this hormone balancing system is to release adrenalin and cortisol when there is inflammation or stress – emotional, mental or physical. The adrenalin gives us the feeling of a rush of energy:

  • blood pressure goes up
  • breathing rate increases to gather more oxygen
  • glucose is released and fat is stored in the muscles for energy
  • brain goes on high alert
  • nervous system is activated increasing heart rate

Our body gets ready to get the urgent task completed or to prepare to move our body quickly in a fight-or-flight response. But our bodies cannot stay in this state and that’s also where the adrenal gland comes in – it releases Cortisol. Cortisol has the job of reducing the inflammation created from these actions and reducing the elevated body levels back to a normal, peaceful state.

The problem arises when our stress continues on a regular basis without the time to rebuild – think juggling job, family, exercise, bills, fast foods, etc. 

How do we know if our adrenal glands are fatigued?

tired

Because the adrenal glands control all the hormone balances in your body, there are some indicators that begin to show up when your adrenal glands are becoming taxed from working too hard. The difficulty with diagnosing this disorder is that the symptoms are not that obvious and the feelings of tiredness are so commonplace that we think of them as a normal part of life. Here’s a list of the most common symptoms:

  • body aches, muscle weakening
  • difficulty concentrating on tasks for extended time
  • thoughts racing with too many ideas or day dreaming off of the task at hand
  • moodiness and a feeling of irritability you can’t seem to lose, depression
  • always having a feeling of tiredness even when you get enough sleep
  • feeling overwhelmed by all you “have” to do every day, anxiety
  • hormones being out of balance – low sex drive and libido for both men and women, menstrual changes
  • unexplained weight loss/ fat gain
  • cravings for sugar, salty foods, caffeine, or other things that boost energy levels
  • unexplained hair loss/ skin discoloration
  • unexplained aches and pains, inflammation and allergies

Worried you may have adrenal fatigue? You can take a free adrenal fatigue test on Dr. James Wilson’s website.   

What causes adrenal fatigue?

StressSymptoms

Adrenal fatigue is caused these triggers:

  • intense stress (death of a loved one, divorce, surgery)
  • prolonged stress (financial hardship, bad relationship, stressful work environment)
  • exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
  • emotional trauma (victimization, abuse, negative thinking)
  • lack of deep, restful sleep (need 7- 8 hours per night on a regular basis)
  • Poor diet and lack of exercise (gluten sensitivity, caffeine addiction, high sugar intake, bad fats, too many simple carbohydrates, etc.)
  • acute or chronic infections (influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia)

Adrenal fatigue can also be caused by these diseases:

Cushing's_syndrome

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Adrenal Tumor
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Hyperaldosteronism

 

What can we do to heal our adrenals?

Most of us suffer from adrenal fatigue at some point in our lives. Luckily we are able to reverse the damage with a few simple changes to our lifestyle and our diets. Here’s the recommendations from the top specialists in this field of study:

  • Reduce caffeine, alcohol, drugs and cigarettes – interferes with sleep patterns, creates a more acidic inflamed digestion system, takes your liver and kidneys with toxins, changes blood pressure and heart rate
  • Avoid sugars, sweeteners containing high fructose corn syrup (HFC) and artificial sweeteners – storage of toxins in fat, increased digestive inflammation and altered insulin production  
  • Reduce your consumption of microwaved foods – destroys all the nutrients in foods, instead cook on the stove, flat grill or in the oven
  • Reduce consumption of processed foods – too high in sugars, hydrogenated oils and additives that inflame the adrenal system

Some additional supplements you can take to boost your adrenal system and balance your hormones are:

  • Ashwagandha
  • B vitamin complex (take higher than the base RDA levels)
  • Vitamin D3 and K2 (must be used together to be effective)
  • Krill Fish Oil (DHA/ EPA and Omega 3
  • Vitamin C (lyposomal and more than the base RDA)
  • Zinc

Lifestyle changes you can make right now to support and heal your adrenal gland and endoctrine system are: relax-button

  • Get quality sleep and make resting when you’re tired a priority and a right
  • Go to sleep and wake up around the same time each night + get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, every night.
  • Eat healthy organic, grass fed foods that feed your body with nutrients and vitamins
  • Exercise regularly but at a slower pace that respects the signs your body is showing you. Yoga is a great thing to do until you feel more healthy
  • Take short breaks away from work during the day and try not to take work home with you
  • Do what you can to change or minimize relationship stress
  • Avoid negative talk, whether it is from yourself, coming from others or being viewed in magazines or in the media.
  • Love yourself. Take moments to enjoy the people and world around you. Laugh and enjoy a moment in every day. Do or say something nice to yourself every day.

Cauliflower Moment…being a grumpy, old man may be a disease rather than a state of being.