If you’re living the fast paced life just like so many of my patients then it’s possible you’ve developed adrenal fatigue. This condition supposedly affects around 80% of the population at some point in their lives. Yikes! I certainly see a lot of it. We ask so much of ourselves in the 21st century. Our ability to bounce back from emotional, mental or physical stress is dependent upon whether we give ourselves down time to recover or just push on. These days many just push on.
Busy jobs, gym sessions, trying to become pregnant and exposure to the modern world isn’t necessarily what we were built for. Sure, we may be able to juggle these things, but when something additional is thrown into the mix such as disappointment of negative pregnancy results, illness within the family, job changes, etc, then the body goes into overload. Where’s the time for recovery?
So, what are the adrenal glands and why are they so important? The adrenal glands are two little thumb-sized organs that sit above our kidneys. They’re one part of the endocrine system and are involved in producing over 50 hormones which monitor all our bodily functions. As I often harp on about, our hormonal system is a delicate system that needs to be kept in tip-top condition, especially for fertility. Estrogen and testosterone are balanced by the adrenals when all is working well. When we’re under any sort of stress, the adrenal glands release adrenaline hormones which rushes blood to the heart, brain and muscles in a fight or flight response. Then the adrenal cortex pumps out corticosteroids to slow down the functions in the body which aren’t urgently required for survival, such as our immune and digestive systems. So, this process takes its toll on the body when we expose it to stressful situations over and over again.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue may be:
- chronic tiredness
- trouble thinking
- feeling rundown
- more tired during the day than in the morning
- inability to handle stress
- craving sweet and salty foods
- a weakened immune system
If this just describes your entire life then perhaps its not adrenal fatigue at all! Sometimes other factors can cause fatigue such as:
- poor diet
- lack of sleep
- lack of moderate exercise
There are some medical conditions that also ave an affect on adrenal function such as Addison’s Disease which can trigger similar symptoms as adrenal fatigue!
If you suspect your adrenal glands are not functioning properly then you should see an endocrinologist and have the appropriate tests done. In the meantime, follow a healthy diet full of plenty of vegetables and good quality protein. Avoid preservatives and junk foods and any foods you may have allergies to. Keep your gut health strong by eating fermented vegetables, natural yoghurt and take probiotics to improve digestion and better food absorption.
Finally, minimize coffee and alcohol intake, drink plenty of water and make time to sleep properly. The rules never seem to change do they?
Be sure to have a look at our article on Estrogen Dominance.