Too Tired? It Could Be Your Adrenals

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints of the population that I see. It may not be the first complaint, but it is almost always on their list. Many individuals suspect thyroid issues, hormone imbalance, illness or even just their stressful life.  These assumptions may be correct but what many fail to consider is adrenal fatigue.

You have two adrenal glands located just above each of your kidneys. Each is no bigger than a walnut and weighs less than a grape, yet is responsible for one of the most important functions in your body: Managing stress. Your resiliency, energy, endurance and your very life all depend on their proper functioning. As part of your endocrine system, your adrenal glands secrete more than 50 hormones, many of which are essential for life.

It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of adults experience adrenal fatigue during their lifetimes, yet it remains one of the most under-diagnosed illnesses in the United States. Ironically, the adrenal glands are there to help you cope with stress, and it is stress that causes them to malfunction.

The “fight or flight” response is one of your adrenal glands most important functions. As adrenaline is released, your heart rate and blood pressure increase while digestion slows — making your body ready to handle the potential threat.  While this response is necessary, many of us live in a constant state of stress. Work, lack of sleep, bad relationships, financial strain and more keep us in this state of “fight or flight” far too long. Over time, they become chronically fatigued leaving us tired, unable to cope with even minor things, and the weight (especially abdominal) creeps on.

Adrenal fatigue may take months or years to resolve depending on the severity. Diet plays a huge role as caffeine and sugar need to be eliminated. These two items are commonly abused in people who suffer from adrenal fatigue and burn out in order to give themselves a shot of energy. Foods with chemicals should be avoided. Following a plan that revolves around your blood type or metabolic profile will optimize your results

Exercise will help rejuvenate the adrenals.  Activities like long walks, yoga, prayer, meditation and a good book will also have a de-stressing effect on the body.  Hobbies that distract you from the reality of what “stresses you out”, have a priceless effect on your mind and body.

Adrenal supplements are very helpful.  Many are a combination of herbs or maybe even homeopathic remedies.  In severe cases of adrenal burnout, some practitioners will even prescribe very low doses of steroids.

Thyroid function is harder to optimize if the adrenals are not addressed.  A very high percent of our population is hypothyroid and should consider looking at their adrenals as a possible cause of fatigue, especially when stress is involved.

The benefits of addressing adrenal fatigue include more energy and a generally more optimistic outlook.  We definitely do not have control over many of the stressful situations we are faced with, but if our adrenals are functioning properly we have the tools needed to deal with the stressful situation without it taking a negative toll on our physical and mental health.

Saliva testing is the easiest way to look at adrenal function (cortisol levels). The problem with the morning blood draw is that it only looks at one time of the day and it is my experience that most individuals wake up in normal range and then deteriorate throughout the day. Saliva testing looks at levels four times throughout the day to give a better picture of how the individual gets through the day.

If you suffer from a stressful, overworked life — pay attention to your adrenal function. We cannot afford to lose our ability to cope with whatever life sends our way.


Popular posts from this blog

A Midlife Rollercoaster Ride