Adrenal fatigue is a commonly experienced syndrome in today’s world of stress and high energy. Adrenal fatigue symptoms are often confused for other health issues, and are largely ignored by mainstream medicine. Just as with thyroid conditions, those who are easily fatigued, full of anxiety, or exhausted constantly can face a battle that not many others understand. If you suspect you might have adrenal fatigue (and so many of us do), it is time to uncover adrenal fatigue treatment and solutions that could really work.
There are ways you can support this important part of your endocrine system, to heal, and feel whole again.
The adrenals are small, but are responsible for so much. They are two little glands that sit just on top of the kidneys. They keep cortisol and adrenaline in check (two major stress hormones but essential components to our metabolism) as well as regulate inflammation in the body. They also produce aldosterone, which helps to control blood pressure.
When the adrenals are constantly firing due to the perception of stress, they become over-taxed and begin excreting so many stress hormones that the body begins to shut down – this is why you may feel exhausted if you are always dealing with high amounts of stress and never really get an opportunity to unplug from the demands of life. This then creates a feedback loop in the body associated with the fight or flight response.
Hormones secreted by the adrenal medulla are:
- Epinephrine: This hormone is also known more commonly as adrenaline. Adrenaline (made by the adrenals) rapidly responds to stress by increasing your heart rate and rushing blood to the muscles and brain. It also spikes your blood sugar level by helping convert glycogen to glucose in the liver. (Glycogen is the liver’s storage form of glucose.)
- Norepinephrine: Also known as noradrenaline, this hormone works with epinephrine in responding to stress. However, it can cause vasoconstriction (the narrowing of blood vessels). This results in high blood pressure.
When the adrenals do not make the right amount of hormones and release too much cortisol and adrenalin into the body, the following things start to happen:
- First Stage ‘Fried’ Adrenals – You are wired and tired. Though the adrenals fire more in the morning as part of a healthy system, when the adrenals are fatigued, they will instead fire at night, leading to insomnia, even when you already feel very tired.
- Second Stage Adrenal Exhaustion – Your body is full of cortisol more often, and though you may get a little boost of energy at night, you feel sluggish and foggy-brained during the day and have a hard time going back to sleep if you wake up at night. Dr. Kalish explains:
“If you stay in this high-cortisol state for long enough – at stage one – you eventually go to stage two. Stage two means that the cortisol levels are now starting to fail. This is when people start to gain weight. This is when people start to not be able to sleep. This is when your sex drive starts to go away. This is when people just know that there’s some health problem.”
- Full Adrenal Burnout
“This stage resembles how a person feels in early pregnancy or with a new baby at home- exhausted all the time no matter how much he/she has slept and completely burned out. Cortisol patterns in stage 3 are completely disrupted or even completely flat and this is especially risky because this stage is associated with higher risk of thyroid disease and autoimmune disease, as well as gut problems.”(Continue on next page)
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