Adrenal fatigue is one of those conditions that can go unnoticed by others, especially doctors. However, those who have the condition are very aware that something is wrong. Unfortunately, without a diagnosis from the medical community, a lot of people who suffer from adrenal fatigue go through life without knowing what’s causing their symptoms.
Then there’s the issue with misdiagnosis, where people who suffer from adrenal fatigue are told that they are just tired or depressed.
What are your adrenal glands for?
Some of you may not be familiar with your adrenal glands and what they are used for. These walnut-sized organs are located right above your kidneys and have a big job function to perform.
Without properly functioning adrenal glands, you will have problems with cortisol regulation, inflammation, energy levels and metabolism.
They secrete hormones that are used in “fight or flight” situations, where you need the extra boost of hormones for survival. However, today, we have over-secretion of these hormones, which causes the adrenals to become fatigued (especially for people who drink a lot of caffeine).
The 3 stages of adrenal fatigue
A staggering 80 percent of adults in America suffer from some form of adrenal fatigue. There are different stages of this condition, which are as follows:
Stage One: This is when you are wired and tired. Normally, when you wake up in the morning, your cortisol levels should be elevated, but instead, you have it at night when it’s supposed to be low. This gives you the wired, yet tired feeling that can make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
Stage Two: At this point, you start to feel stressed and tired. This is when there’s a severe disruption in your cortisol levels. A lot of people at this stage have high levels of cortisol in the morning, but it quickly depletes right around lunchtime. This leaves you feeling foggy and tired. Then once nightfall hits, you get a second dose of cortisol that makes it difficult to fall asleep.
Stage Three: During the final stage, you start to feel burnt out all the time. If you’ve ever had a baby, this is how you feel during the first couple of months of pregnancy or right after you have a baby. No amount of sleep can make you feel well-rested and this is because your cortisol patterns are completely out of whack or downright non-existent. You are now at risk of gut issues, thyroid disease and automimmune disease.
Signs that you have adrenal fatigue
The typical way for adrenal fatigue to be diagnosed is by looking for certain symptoms. However, you can also have a cortisol saliva test performed, which will measure the levels during different parts of the day.
The known symptoms of this condition include:
- Reliance on caffeine and other stimulants each morning
Feeling tired when you first get up, even though you’ve slept 10-12 hours
Problems with falling asleep or getting up
Inability to deal with stress and feeling more stressed than usual
Sex drive drops low
Problems with your digestion and blood sugar
Inability to concentrate and memory problems
Feeling dizzy when you stand up too fast
Cravings for foods, especially salt and sugar
Thyroid issues or hypothyroidsim
Getting sick more often due to decreased immune function
Aches throughout your body
More irritable than usual
High levels of stress or always feeling like you have too much on your plate
So what causes adrenal fatique?
In order to put an end to you adrenal depletion, you have to learn what causes it. Unfortunately, the reason why so many of us have it is because we live a modern lifestyle.
We all know how today’s world can be stressful and when you are stressed for too long, it can result to adrenal fatigue.
However, there are other culprits to keep in mind:
- Being exposed to artificial light at night
- Drinking too much caffeine and stimulants
- Having poor sleeping patterns
- Not getting enough nutrition in your diet and eating a lot of processed foods
- Exposure to pollution from water, air and your home environment
- Dealing with low-level stress for a long of time (i.e. caused by family or work issues)
Diet and lifestyle tips for combating adrenal fatigue
If you are dealing with this problem, then you are going to have to make some adjustments to your diet and lifestyle. As for your diet, you should consume more of the following:
- Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil and coconut oil
- Sea salt (such as pink Himalayan sea salt or Celtic sea salt)
- Consuming protein in the morning (40g), which can come from quinoa cereals or hemp protein shakes
- Eating more leafy greens
- Eating consistently throughout the day (multiple small meals)
- Vitamin C rich foods like camu camu (fruit, which can be purchased as a powder and added to smoothies)
- Drink high nutrition smoothies that contain vitamin C, vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium. I recommend putting Irish moss, bladderwrack, moringa, camu camu and ashwagandha in your morning smoothies.
Some of the changes you’ll need to make to your lifestyle include:
- Making sure you’re getting enough sleep each night (8-10 hours and try to be in bed at a decent hour)
- Reducing the level of stress in your life (mental or emotional)
- Seeking counsel from a professional, friend or lover
- Drinking plenty of water (try adding pink salt to it as well)
- Avoiding exercise, since this will further deplete your energy levels and cause your adrenal glands to work harder to give you energy. You can participate in walks and leisure swimming, but no high intensity exercises.
Hopefully, you will stay committed to restoring your adrenal glands back to health, so that you can regain your youthful energy and happiness!
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