Adrenal Fatigue

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Adrenal Fatigue


pic 1Do you feel like you just don’t get enough sleep?  Adrenal fatigue could be the culprit. It is a condition where the body can no longer keep up with the demands of everyday stresses.  Adrenal Fatigue is often associated with too much stress from a fast pasted lifestyle and lack of sleep, however other factors need be considered.

Seven things can contribute to adrenal fatigue:

  1. Having too much sugar and processed carbohydrates in the diet.  When we eat something that has high amounts of sugar it causes a spike in our blood sugar level followed by a drop.  With that drop in blood sugar your adrenals are asked by the brain to release a hormone called Cortisol.  This hormone raises blood sugar level back to a more normal level.  When this roller coaster of sugar level continues it can fatigue the adrenals.  Once that takes place an individual will often suffers from low blood sugar or reactive hypoglycemia.
  2. The use of caffeine and/or other stimulants.  Caffeine, cigarettes, diet pills, medicine with caffeine, energy drinks and other stimulants all cause extra release of cortisol and can fatigue the adrenal glands.
  3. Overtraining.  Exercise is a very good thing for the health of our bodies, but we must remember that exercise is still a stress.  And even good stresses to an already over stressed adrenal system, is just one more stress.  A good test to determine if you are overtraining is to see if your workouts are suffering.  Has your stamina or strength decreased in spite of consistently going to the gym?  If yes, you are probably overtraining.
  4. Food intolerance.  Eating foods that we are sensitive too causes an immune response.  This can cause adrenal fatigue.  Here are some common foods people are intolerant to.  Gluten (a protein found in wheat), rye, and barley.  Dairy, eggs soy, corn and yeast are other foods that can cause inflammation and fatigue the adrenals.  To find out which foods you are sensitive to, you can do an elimination/provocation diet or a lab test.
  5. Gut infections.  If you have an overgrowth of fungus, yeast, or bacteria as a result of a bad diet, these infections will cause inflammation both in the gut and throughout the body.  This can lead to adrenal fatigue.
  6. Autoimmune disease that is not managed.  There are more people with autoimmune disease than there are with cancer and heart disease combined.  Autoimmune disease is when the immune system attacks the body thinking it is a foreign invader.  Like the thyroid gland in Hashimoto’s, the pancreas (in type 1 diabetes), or the nervous system as in multiple sclerosis.  Unmanaged autoimmune disease keeps the immune system active all the time which can lead to adrenal fatigue.
  7. Brain inflammation.  Chronic inflammation from a standard american diet (SAD), autoimmunity, and other causes of inflammation can inflame the brain.  Some common symptoms of an inflamed brain are:  brain fog, low brain endurance and slow mental speed.

Signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue:

  • Tiredness
  • Headaches upon stress or in the afternoon
  • Catch cold easily; weak immune system
  • Allergies
  • Slow start in the morning
  • Craving salt, sweets and stimulants
  • Feelings of lightheadedness, shaky, or irritable between meals
  • Needing food to relieve fatigue
  • Not getting a full nights sleep; waking up between 3 and 4am
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness when going from a seated to a standing position
  • Low blood pressure

As you can see adrenal fatigue is secondary to something else.  The best management of adrenal fatigue is addressing what is causing it in the first place.  Please contact my office and I will be happy to help you:  616.920.0833

1 Comment

  1. Anne Jaeckel says:

    I have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, however even at Mayo I am concerned that it is not being treated or taken seriously, I was taking cortisol, told to stop, yet since I am in Chronic Pain, I struggle with stress, and of course being tired all the time…I am so glad you are bringing this out in the open.

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