Adrenal Fatigue, in all its mild and severe forms, is the sub-optimal functioning of the adrenal glands and is usually caused by some form of stress. Stress can be physical, emotional, psychological, environmental, infectious, or a combination of these.

The purpose of our adrenal glands is to protect us from the effects of stress.

The hormones secreted by our adrenals influence all physiological processes in your body.

Cortisol is the principle stress hormone. It increases heart rate, increases blood pressure, dilates airways, increases respiratory rate, increases blood sugar, releases fatty acids into the blood, suppresses immune function and breaks down muscle. Think of cortisol as a long acting adrenaline.

Chronic stress elevates cortisol. It can be all day, or part of the day depending on individual reaction and circumstances. Testosterone and DHEA levels rise along with cortisol, melatonin decreases. The adrenals become low on reserves and cannot produce hormones. Testosterone and DHEA fall along with cortisol.

Your susceptibility to develop certain kinds of disease and your ability to respond to critical illness is significantly influenced the adrenal glands. Some conditions associated with chronic stress are cancer, fatigue, cardiovascular disease , diabetes, arthritis, depression, weight gain, insomnia, PMS, Hypothyroidism, asthma, digestive disorders , infection, dermatologic disorders and hair loss.

Some of the signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue are constant fatigue, depression, decreased ability to handle stress, muscular weakness, estrogen dominance (increased PMS and peri-menopausal symptoms, decreased sex drive, apathy, allergy symptoms, GI issues, mental fatigue, confusion, poor memory, anxiety, emotional, (tense, irritable, quick temper, aggressive), procrastination or lack of concern.

Here is a quick way to note adrenal fatigue … look at your energy patterns….Morning fatigue: hard to get up and get going. Fatigue decreases until lunch. Mid-afternoon energy low. Increase in energy after 6 pm. Tired at 9-10 pm. Second burst of energy if up at 11 pm. Sleeps best in morning, 7-9 am.

Also your visceral fat (belly) is a sign. Men with a waist circumference over 40 inches and for women over 35 inches. This is a better predictor of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular mortality than BMI.

Besides the signs and symptoms, salivary testing for measuring of cortisol is best single lab test available for detecting adrenal fatigue. It measures the amount of hormone inside the cells where the hormone reactions take place. Other hormones such as estradiol, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA can be tested at the same time as well to get a complete picture.

So How Do We Manage This Syndrome That Affects So Many People? Support your adrenal glands.  Start by taking adaptogens.  One of the best products I’ve found that contains adaptogens, vitamins and minerals and is considered a glandular product is ADR Life Force.

Eat breakfast within an hour of getting up to restore blood sugar levels that were depleted during the night. Try to avoid fruit in the morning as it gives you a quick spike in sugar, but is not long lasting. Try to eat every 2 to 3 hours during the day. Avoid preservatives, artificial colors, dyes and chemicals.

Behavior therapy (sleep-very important for adrenal recovery and relaxation) . All of these treatments are necessary. There are many ways to support your adrenals.  First identify stressors, eliminate the stressors or change your response to stress.

Article by

Maria Musitano,
B.Sc. Pharm

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

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