The term adrenal-fatigue describes a vague, wiped out chronically fatigued syndrome, possibly with aches and pains and sleep disorders. This syndrome has become more common in our burn-out culture. But what causes adrenal fatigue, and more importantly, what are the solutions?
The two small adrenal glands are located one above each kidney. They are directly involved with producing a variety of hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, aldosterone, and testosterone or estrogen. The adrenal glands are also indirectly involved with producing or distributing up to 50 hormones in our bodies. A fight or flight reaction from the sympathetic nervous system kicks in more cortisol.
This sympathetic nervous system reaction can be chronic and low level from “normal” daily living stress that most try to deny or self medicate with alcohol, causing too much burden on the adrenals.
Mainstream medicine considers most adrenal fatigue assessments undiagnosable and non-existent. They claim it’s a made-up syndrome and can serve to avoid detections of depression or fibromyalgia.
They do test to determine extreme adrenal malfunctions such as Addison’s disease (insufficient hormone production) or Cushing’s syndrome (too much cortisol). Both of them are usually associated with other autoimmune diseases. But holistic practitioners point out those diagnoses rare. Four out of 100,000 are diagnosed with Addison’s.
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Furthermore, mainstream medicos can misdiagnose adrenal fatigue as depression, fibromyalgia, or even MS, and wind up prescribing pharmaceuticals with side effects.
Signs of Adrenal Fatigue
Even low-level chronic stress creates higher cortisol levels that make it difficult to really relax while messing up one’s sleep cycles and digestion. It also produces symptoms similar to hypothyroidism. So if your thyroid seems okay but you have some of the symptoms below, you may simply be experiencing adrenal fatigue.
- Fatigue is a given. It can manifest as very slow to awaken fully after a good night’s sleep or chronically tired.
- Low sex drive or sexual energy.
- Strong cravings for sugar, salt, and fats.
- Dizzy or light headed while getting up quickly from sitting or prone positions.
- PMS or menopausal symptom increase.
- Mood swings that were uncharacteristic earlier in life.
- Mental fogginess with memory issues.
- Hormonal imbalance and/or depletion.
- Constant muscular tension leading to hypertension and high blood pressure with an inability to relax completely.
- Autoimmune issues: constantly catching colds or allergic reactions.
Solutions for Adrenal Fatigue
- Many recommend practicing yoga to recover from the basic low level stress that induces adrenal fatigue. Mastering the corpse pose for total relaxation after a yoga session may be the most important part of yoga practice.
- Meditation done regularly is an excellent stress reducer as well. Once you get into it, you can practice it anywhere at anytime. Meditation has been clinically proven manifest other health benefits as well.
- Lifestyle changes toward better sleep, rest, and naps when needed with some form of exercise all help diminish the effects of too much cortisol accumulated from constant stress.
- Many health experts point to vitamin B12 as vital for adrenal and thyroid health. Oral supplements are difficult to assimilate, so it’s important to use a B12 sublingual or spray version or B12 patch with methylcobalamin B12 only. The most commonly used B12 supplement, cyanocobalamin, is disdained by health experts as counterproductive to B12 assimilation. Avoid it. But methylcobalamin B12 can be taken liberally with no concerns of overdosing as long as there is a basic foundation of B complex in the body.
- According to Dr. Sherill Sellman, a non-junk food diet with minimal stimulants, alcohol, sugar, and sugar substitutes helps greatly. She recommends increased magnesium, and B-complex with more attention to B5. She considers high dose vitamin C with smaller doses spread out through the day as highly supportive to adrenal health.
- A healthy dose of magnesium before bed time can be administered several different ways. It’s considered the master mineral involved with over 300 metabolic processes. Soaking in Epsom salts is great for relaxing muscles and nerves. Check out some magnesium-deficiency symptoms here.
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