Adrenal Fatigue

How are you feeling today?  Did you bounce of bed full of energy? Or did your alarm go off, did you hit snooze a million times, wish that it was Sunday, drag yourself out of bed and into the shower and then make your way to the kitchen for a coffee to get you through the morning. Then did you start to pick up around mid-morning and get some work done and then around 3pm did you start to crash again, start searching for an afternoon pick me up to get you through the rest of the day, feel ok until dinner time and then fall back into bed exhausted.

 Some of you may have found you got a second wind up around 10pm and stayed up late reading watching TV and playing on your phones only to wake up more often during the night and not fall into a deep relaxing sleep. Some may have jumped into bed at the earliest opportunity they could only to wake up around 4am and not be able to get back to sleep.

Then we just hit rinse and repeat onto the next day right!? Who can relate to this?

These types of patterns are signs that your body is out of balance and in need of some support. We live in a fast paced world with many different stressors coming at us multiple times a days, you might be a working parent that is rushing to drop the kids at school, sitting in traffic to get to our busy high pressure jobs, you might have recently lost a loved one, been through a relationship breakdown, have found out some bad news, work shift work, have financial stressors, have deep underlying emotional trauma, there are so many different issues that can impact our daily lives and cause us to feel stressed.

Our bodies are not designed to be constantly stressed, and when this is ongoing without a break we can find ourselves stuck in what is known as the “fight or flight” response.

 Our adrenal glands play a huge role in our stress response and when they become fatigued it is because they cannot keep up with the huge amount of daily stress many people experience. When our brain registers that there is a threat, this may be an emotional, mental or physical threat, the adrenals release cortisol and adrenaline in order to help you respond to this threat. Blood then rushes to the brain, heart and muscles activating the fight or flight response. The adrenals then release corticosteroids in order to reduce the function of non-life saving body systems such as digestion, the immune system, and reproductive system as these body systems are not necessary for immediate survival.

 Factors that can impact our stress response:  

  • Death of loved one, or a relationship breakdown / divorce

  • Exposure to environmental toxins and pollution

  • Prolonged stress due to financial hardship

  • Bad relationships, stressful work environment

  • Negative thinking and emotional trauma

  • Poor sleep quality or lack of sleep

  • Poor diet lacking in essential nutrients

  • Lack of exercise

  • Food sensitivities

  • Adverse events in childhood that have caused trauma

  • Reliance on stimulants like caffeine

  • Over training for things like a marathon without sufficient rest

These are all factors that play a role in adrenal fatigue, signs to look out for include:

·      unexplained weight loss or weight gain

·      digestive disorders

·      body aches and muscle pain

·      fatigue (difficulty getting out of bed in the morning)

·      low blood pressure

·      salt and sugar cravings

·      shakiness

·       light-headedness after skipping a meal

·      dizziness upon standing

·      feeling of tired and wired

·      sleep disturbance

·      low libido

·      infertility

·      thyroid imbalances

·      hair loss

·      blurred vision

·      severe allergies

Top tips on how to overcome adrenal fatigue:

·      Dietary changes, cut out the sugar, alcohol, caffeine and carbs

·      Eat a healthy protein rich diet for breakfast

·      Increase nutrient dense foods, leafy green vegetables, protein and healthy fats

·      Sleep! Be in bed by 10pm, no screen time!

·      Look at supplements to support your healing (listed below)

·      Learn how to breathe properly

·      Lifestyle changes – meditation, yoga, walking, tai chi, swimming, weight bearing exercise. Not HIIT workouts until you are healed

·      Say no, don’t overcommit to things and ensure time out for yourself. (no, its not selfish!)

·      Avoid negative people and negative self-talk

·      Seek help for past traumatic events

Supplements and herbal remedies are also great to help enhance your healing, my top supplements are:

-       Adaptogenic Herbs, such as Withania, Rhodiola, Licorice, and Holy Basil

-       Magnesium, Fish Oil, Selenium, B-complex vitamins Vitamin C, l-theanine  

Always remember though that we cannot supplement our way out of poor lifestyle and diet choices. Always seek advice from a qualified naturopath before taking supplements also.