What it is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is a term for a collection of symptoms and signs which makes it a syndrome rather than a condition or disease. It is not yet a recognized diagnosis by mainstream medicine however, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is becoming more prolific in our current times. That’s why it’s important to understand what lead to Adrenal Fatigue and how our adrenals work and why they may become fatigued.
What are the adrenals?
The adrenals are glands, situated on top of our kidneys they are producing hormones that we can’t live without. These includes cortisol and sex hormones. Cortisol is an important hormone that is responsible for adapting to stress, energy production, maintaining blood sugar and fighting inflammation.
All of these are extremely important for a day to day activity and long therm health. Because today’s life rhythms pose lots of stress to the adrenals, we observe increase in adrenal disorders. This may result in too much or too little hormone production. Although much often in clinical practice I see clients with low adrenal performance which called Adrenal Fatigue.
Signs and symptoms that usually are experienced before Adrenal Fatigue:
- Change in libido
- Lack of motivation
- Blood pressure issues
- Difficult to engage in exercise
- Food allergies and intolerances
- Brain fog, poor concentration and memory
- Inflammation in muscles, joints and gastrointestinal tract
The RED signs that may indicate Adrenal Fatigue
- Brain fog
- Salt craving or salty foods
- Poor stress response and mood regulation
- Bad circulation, puffiness and weight gain
- Over use of stimulants e.g coffee consumption
- Difficulty to wake up and stand up straight after waken up
- Constantly feeling tired and unrested even after a long sleep
Let’s look a little bit deeper into the function of adrenals.
Adrenal are responsible for Fight or Flight & Rest and Digest mode, which engages our Sympathetic Nervous System, making us more alert and ready to deal with danger (like the Saber-toothed tiger) this response is balanced by our rest and digest response or the Parasympathetic Nervous System which helps us to maintain homeostasis.
The modern world pose a constant low-level stress, rather than a short intense situations as we used to experience previously over a long period in the history.
Another factor that predispose to Adrenal Fatigue is unbalanced diet and excessive stimulants.
Lets look at what predispose us to poor adrenal function.
- Alcohol excess
- Chronic fatigue
- Poor diet habits
- Sleep disturbance
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Inadequate exercise
- Food allergy and intolerances
- Systemic Infections like Lyme
- Depression and anxiety disorders
- B-vitamin, Potassium and Magnesium deficiency
- Malabsorption (leaky gut syndrome and disbiotic microflora)
What to consider if you suspect you may experience Adrenal Fatigue
The most important thing when dealing with Adrenal Fatigue is to perform tests. This would help to determine which biomarkers of nutrients re in deficiency or in excess. Nutrient deficiencies and misbalances are always observed in Adrenal Fatigue.
I recommend to perform the following tests:
Hair Mineral Analysis & Toxic Elements. Extremely valuable tool when suspecting Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenals use minerals for metabolic functions, knowing your mineral deficiencies and heavy metals is essential to get a quicker recovery. Mineral misbalance and deficiency is coexist with all diseases and especially with Adrenal Fatigue.
Other suggestions you can start implement immediately.
Balancing WORK – LIFESTYLE balance.
Make changes to your lifestyle through understanding your work, rest, sleep and enjoy balance. Bringing in changes to create a more even balance between these four areas of your world. Taking a 20 – 40 minute nap during the day especially between 2 – 4 pm can greatly improve your overall sleep and your energy and concentration levels.
Acknowledge the triggers that bring you out of balance.
What are your external stressors and how can you make changes to them? Sometimes you can’t change certain external stressors, but we can learn to manage our own levels through organisational skills, routines, meditation and relaxation techniques. Remind yourself what you love doing and invite this in for a small amount of time on a daily basis.
Ideally work with a professional Nutritionist like myself to get to the bottom of your problem to get quicker to recovery. Otherwise you can start with the following key points.
Watch your coffee intake. Minimise it to one a day and choose organic and freely ground coffee when possible.
Balance your daily protein intake. These should be not less than 1 g of protein for each kg of your body weight. Protein is a building block for metabolic function of your adrenal, without them the hormones cannot be synthesised in enough quantity.
Most of my clients are chronically dehydrated from coffee and other stimulants, read my article about hydration here:
Be aware of screen time, avoid blue light 2 hours before going to bed.
Regularly take a wander into nature. This allow your mind to go where it needs to go, studies show that its much more difficult to worry and dwell when walking amongst the trees.
Mindfulness is a practice where one brings intention into experiencing the present moment, in other word’s paying closer attention to how we feel physically, emotionally and mentally without judgement. Often it can be difficult to get your-self to sit down and relax enough to be paying any attention at all, and so, how can you bring this mindfulness practice into your daily routine and life?
Notice the food you are eating, chewing mindfully and allowing the flavour to sweeten and transform in your mouth (did you know we do most of our carbohydrate digestion in the mouth!).
Washing the dishes, taking out the rubbish, having a shower, brushing your teeth, all of these daily activities can have just a little more attention and mindfulness added to them. It has been proven in formal study’s that these relaxation techniques greatly improve the levels of resting cortisol and therefore our stress and energy levels, improving the syndrome of Adrenal Fatigue.
Do you need support and a step by step approach, book the consultation with me today by filling the contact form here.