We live in a very fast paced society where many are juggling career and family and with both there are a ton of demands on your time. We need to keep up and get ahead. In the midst of this fast paced life we can start to fall behind. We wind up lacking sleep and being overly stressed and if that isn't enough, we wind up having to increase the amount of stimulants that are going into our bodies to help us get through just one more day. This results in being tired but unable to catch up on sleep, being increasingly stressed, depressed or moody, but still attempting to stay up to speed.
If this describes you then could be dealing with adrenal burnout, or adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue can happen after dealing with too much:
- Lack of sleep
- Too many stimulants (like caffeine and cigarettes)
- Poor diet (high in sugars or refined carbohydrates)
- Not enough protein (helps the body regenerate the lost Serotonin)
- Not enough vegetables (vitamins that will also help regenerate the system)
Adrenal glands are hormone-producing glands that sit on top of the kidneys. The hormones produced by these glands are very important, they are:
Hydrocortisone Hormone- this hormone, also known as cortisol, controls the body's use of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Corticosterone- this hormone, together with hydrocortisone hormones, suppresses inflammatory reactions in the body and also affects the immune system.
Aldosterone- this hormone inhibits the level of sodium excreted into the urine, maintaining blood volume and blood pressure.
Androgenic Steroids(androgen hormones- these hormones have minimal effect on the development of male characteristics.
Epinephrine- Also called adrenaline, this hormone increases the heart rate and force of heart contractions, facilitates blood flow to the muscles and brain, causes relaxation of smooth muscles, helps with conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver, and other activities.
Norepinephrine- Also called noradrenaline, this hormone has little effect on smooth muscle, metabolic processes, and cardiac output, but has strong vasoconstrictive effects, thus increasing blood pressure.
The adrenal glands work in conjunction with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. If the adrenal gland produces too much or too little hormones then you can have a variety of health issues on you hands. Cortisol is produced in the adrenals and too much cortisol can cause, fatigues, weight gain, higher blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, increased infections and irregularities with menstruation for women. On the other hand low cortisol levels can cause: fatigue, depression, anxiety, sleep issues, low blood pressure, low blood sugar and allergies.
The adrenals are important to help us deal with stress, the problem is that they were meant to deal with short burst of stress, not prolonged chronic stress and in our society we are seeing dramatic rise in long term chronic stress.
Stress can happen from the usual dealing with a lot of family and work demands, but it can also happen from injuries.
There are a few things you can do to help yourself overcome adrenal fatigue.
Below are some of the supplements that have been used for adrenal fatigue. You still have to see which ones are the right match for you since I am sure you do not want to take this many supplements at once. I would recommend talking to your doctor or other health care specialist about which ones are right for you. If your doctor is not very knowledgeable in supplements (because it is not what MD's generally go to school to study) find a ND or an integrative doc. They may have more knowledge in the area of supplements.
Supplements that others have seen improvement with are:
- Vitamin C
- Ginseng complex
- Liorice root
- Fish Oil
- 7 keto DHEA
- Adrenal glandulars
- Magnesium (be careful taking too much of this or else you will not be able to leave sight of a toilet)
Nutrition is the key for most health issues in our lives. Every persons diet and needs are different; but lets get started on the basics.
For each meal:
Eat at least 1 cup of steamed vegetables, raw vegetables, fresh veggie juice or veggie smoothie (no more than one piece of fruit in this)
Eat between 3- 8 oz of protein. This depends on your weight and your lifestyle. This can be lean meat, eggs or if you are vegetarian or vegan do a vegetable protein powder.
If you are a carbohydrate eater keep it complex like:
- Brown rice
- Wheat berries
- Buckwheat goats
- Whole barley
- Old fashioned, steel cut or Irish oats. (not the quick cooking oats)
- Sweet potatoes
- Squash (not zucchini or summer squash)
Stay away from refined carbohydrates and have a larger portion of vegetables. Eat these carbohydrates last since vegetables offer carbohydrates as well but also are adding a lot of other vitamins your body needs. Depending on your needs go with between ¼ cup and 1 cup of carbs.
Reducing stress is going to be the long term-solution here. I have written another article just on stress and stress-management. Check out that one here. link other article here
Adrenal fatigue can affect many areas of our lives. If we eat healthy and learn how to handle our daily stress better we can beat this issue and enjoy life more, with more energy.