Without even realizing it, the signs of too much stress can slowly creep in. Suddenly we are feeling symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, inability to fall asleep and stay asleep, weight gain, craving salt and asking ourselves why?
There is no denying that our to-do lists of everyday life can walk us straight down the road to burnout. It’s all too easy to carry on with our best ‘grin and bear it’ smile than to give a voice to our fatigue— adrenal fatigue to be exact.
Understanding adrenal fatigue and how it affects our health will allow us to feel more in control of our bodies while operating at an optimal performance, and who doesn’t want that? As we delve deeper into adrenal fatigue let’s begin with the adrenal gland.
What is the Adrenal Gland and Why is it Important?
The adrenal glands are first to the scene in helping your body respond to stress. These relatively small glands of the endocrine system sit on top of the kidneys and produce many important hormones in the regulation of your body. The two primary parts of the adrenal gland being the medulla, and the cortex.
Even though the adrenal glands are most commonly referred to as the “stress response” glands they could take their picking from a handful of other names seeing that the adrenal hormones can have a direct or secondary effect on circulation, blood pressure, insulin levels, estrogen levels, inflammation, metabolism and several other physiologic functions. Now when the adrenal functions at a low level for a period of time it is often referred to as adrenal fatigue.
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Your adrenal will be activated with conditions such as:
- Sympathy Response (fight or flight)
These conditions constantly stimulate the pituitary to produce ACTH, which in turn stimulates the adrenals to work. Only by slowing down and resolving these demands in your life will your adrenals return to normal function.
What are the Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?
- Difficulty standing without fatigue
- Weight gain
- Low or high blood pressure
- Dizziness upon standing
- Blood sugar dysregulation
- Poor immune response
- Poor response to stress
- Poor sleep
- Craving salt
- Perspiring easily even with little or no exertion
- Afternoon headaches
- Weak nails
Many practitioners spend their time and the patient’s money trying to support the adrenals with supplements before resolving the underlying issues and make very little if any progress. Complete labs and proper evaluation are necessary to truly understand the condition and the processes needed to help restore function.
The good news is that once the primary underlying causes of the adrenal demands are resolved, or at least addressed, there are several nutritional products and herbs that can be very helpful in supporting the adrenals and assisting them to heal. My favorite is a product by Apex Energetics called “Adaptocrine.”
With proper management, adrenal fatigue can be effectively resolved. Through diet, exercise, mental/emotional management, and supplementation we can effectively resolve this condition.