In today’s stressful environment, it can often seem like being tired and unfocused is normal and that nothing can be done about it.
We blame our lethargy on too little sleep, pressures at work, and too little time to focus on our own needs. While all of these can certainly be to blame, some people experience a more serious condition that needs to be addressed.
Adrenal fatigue is a condition in which the adrenal glands are depleted due to multiple circumstances, leading to increased stress and a decreased ability to deal with it.
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The health of our adrenal glands is extremely important to our overall well-being. As hormone regulators, the adrenal glands produce cortisol that does everything from controlling the strength of our immune system, normalizing blood sugar, regulating electrolyte balance, and keeping our system in balance.
When our adrenals are fatigued, hormone regulation can easily be compromised and result in too much or too little cortisol.
Periods of prolonged stress are usually the culprit in adrenal fatigue syndrome. Most people experience at least some stress in their lives and it’s normal to have stressful experiences.
However, those who go through periods of intense stress due to divorce, job loss, health issues, or life transitions are at risk of depleting their adrenals.
Because the effect of stress on these glands is cumulative, it may take months or even years of stress before symptoms start showing up.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Not feeling like yourself lately?
If you don’t look forward to things that used to bring you joy or have an unexplained feeling of anxiety when thinking about normal day-to-day issues, you may have adrenal fatigue.
Depression and anxiety not only stem from adrenal fatigue, but they can also worsen the condition if not addressed.
1. Lack of Energy
The most obvious symptom of adrenal fatigue syndrome is a lack of energy. You may feel you don’t have the energy to complete everyday tasks that used to be easy for you, or feel you need multiple naps to even get through the day.
Though it’s normal to have certain slow days—especially if you don’t get enough sleep—a constant and prolonged lack of energy is a warning sign of something more serious.
2. Low Blood Sugar
Do you often feel light-headed when you sit or stand too quickly?
Are you cold all the time or feel ‘spacey’?
These symptoms could be due to low blood sugar, which is a symptom of adrenal fatigue.
3. Craving for Salty Food
Found yourself unable to pass by a bag of chips or order of French fries lately?
Craving for salty food could be a symptom of adrenal fatigue. The adrenals produce aldosterone, which helps the kidneys regulate fluid.
If they are compromised, we tend to excrete large amounts of important minerals in our urine and develop an urge to replenish them through salt intake.
4. Inability to Handle Everyday Stress
Stress is not only a cause of adrenal fatigue syndrome, but it is also a symptom.
In an individual with normal adrenal function, the body responds to stress by releasing hormones such as adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol.
These hormones increase our focus and awareness and allow us to effectively navigate stressful situations. If the adrenals are fatigued, their ability to release these hormones is compromised and can result in irritability, disinterest, or increased anxiety when faced with normal stress.
Adrenal Fatigue Treatment
Fortunately, adrenal fatigue is highly treatable. Much of the treatment plan is based on reducing the factor that caused the condition in the first place: stress. Lifestyle changes, the incorporation of relaxation methods, and dietary supplements can help sufferers begin the healing process and enjoy a happier life.
1. Effectively Manage Stress
We can’t eliminate stress from our lives, but we can find ways to manage it more effectively. The first step to managing stress is identifying its main source.
Are you stuck in a job that puts too much pressure on you?
Are you in an unhealthy relationship?
Are you taking on too much in every part of your life and never having time to yourself?
Once you have identified the source, you can make decisions on what changes need to be made. It could be as simple as reserving one night a week to practice your own hobbies or it could involve a large shift such as a career change.
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2. Try an Adrenal Fatigue Diet
Your diet has a big impact on your overall health, including your adrenal glands.
An adrenal fatigue diet incorporates healthier eating (think more brightly colored veggies and fruits, lean protein sources, and whole grains), elimination of sugar and caffeine, and identifying any food allergies that could be contributing to your condition.
Many sufferers have gluten or other intolerance they have not yet identified and this can lead to inflammation and compromised nutrient absorption. Pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods and consider visiting a doctor to help you identify any allergies you may have developed.
3. Incorporate Adrenal Fatigue Supplements
There are numerous supplements available that can boost your adrenal function, reduce
However, going to the store and buying whatever you find on the shelves is usually not effective and could lead to even more problems.
It’s important to work with a doctor familiar with the condition who can help you develop a supplement regimen that will lead to an adrenal fatigue cure.
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Do you think the symptoms you experience could be a sign of adrenal fatigue syndrome?
If your everyday life is being disrupted by anxiety, lethargy, cravings, and other symptoms, you could have a treatable condition.
Visit a doctor who can perform an adrenal fatigue test on you to confirm a diagnosis and guide you on the path to wellness. If you’d like more information on adrenal fatigue syndrome, schedule your appointment today.