Adrenal fatigue is a condition several people suffer from and for many is a condition under-diagnosed. This article will give an overview of what the adrenal glands do, and what can happen when they are overworked and become fatigued.
The adrenal glands are endocrine glands which sit on top of the kidneys from which they are separated by a layer of fat. They are most known for their functioning when in situations of danger or stress the body moves into a ‘fight or flight’ state as they send adrenaline into the blood. It’s the adrenal glands that have the body ‘ready for combat.’
Their function goes far beyond this however. Hormones produced by the adrenal glands control the body’s use of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, suppress inflammatory reactions in the body and also affect the immune system. Other hormones inhibit the level of sodium excreted into the urine, maintaining blood volume and blood pressure, while others are responsible for the formation of male characteristics.
With prolonged stress and an unhealthy lifestyle, the adrenal glands become fatigued causing various symptoms including:
– premature aging
– dark circles under your eyes
– low blood sugar
– low blood pressure
– light headedness when standing up
– cravings for sweets – carbohydrates
– cravings for salt
– easily irritated
– dry, unhealthy skin with excess pigmentation
– heart palpitations
– excessive sweating or perspiration with little activity
– muscle twitches
– lower back and/or knee weakness or pain
– weight gain
– poor memory
– lack of libido
– alcohol intolerance
– fatigue, especially at midday, yet have insomnia or poor sleep
– lower immunity or increased susceptibility to infections
– increased environmental sensitivities
Though this is not an exhaustive list, it gives insight into the vast array of problems that can be experienced when the adrenals become fatigued.
What contributes to adrenal fatigue? Common causes include, but are not limited to:
– imbalance or excess of emotions such as anger, guilt, worry, fear and depression
– sleep deprivation
– chronic inflammation
– chronic pain
– toxic exposure
– excessive exercise
– overworked with physical or mental strain
– inability to absorb nutrients
– nutritional deficiencies
What can you do to help relieve the exhaustion? There are various nutritional and lifestyle changes that can be made to help alleviate the stress on the adrenal glands.
First, recognize that the body needs rest – sleep is vital to a healthy body. Get to bed early and aim for a night of uninterrupted sleep.
Eliminate sugar, alcohol and processed carbohydrates from your diet. Removal of these will help ease the adrenals as they help regulate your blood sugar. Eating regular meals can also help in this respect.
In aiming to keep your blood sugar regulated, it is suggested to avoid high glycemic fruits such as bananas, mangos, dates, pineapples, etc., for a period of time.
Ensure that a healthy fat is incorporated in each meal and eat healthy protein.
Because toxins stress the adrenals, eating organic food that is free of pesticides, insecticides and antibiotics can really rid the adrenals of excess stress when they are already in a stressed state.
Drink plenty of fresh filtered water and cut out caffeinated beverages.
It is also worth considering taking extra nutritional supplementsspecific to supporting the adrenal glands. Find a trustworthy nutritional supplement company and inquire about such products.
Do all within your means to live a balanced life. To the extent that it is within your control, keep your work time to regular hours and let go of activities and people that only add stress to your day.
Do not add to your stress by trying to implement all the nutritional and lifestyle changes at once. Start with one or two suggestions and add others as you go. Getting your adrenals back to a healthy state will be a gift you give to yourself.