Adrenal Fatigue – The Result of Relentless Stress

If ever there was a controversial topic amongst medical professionals, adrenal fatigue would be it. Depending on what physician you speak to will determine their belief in the adrenal glands’ negative effect on the human body that has been living with chronic stress. There is no prescribed medication that can help with adrenal fatigue; perhaps once a prescription has been developed, belief in adrenal fatigue will become more mainstream. Until then, many people will be left wondering why they feel the way they do.

What is adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue (or rather the symptoms of adrenal fatigue) are real, and perhaps if we remove the name and deal with the symptoms, it can be better defined and labelled as “Extreme Relenting Stress,” “Burnout Syndrome,” or “Exhaustion Syndrome. Whatever the name, the symptoms cause adverse reactions in the body

When the body undergoes unrelenting stress, its stress response always stays active. The long-term activation of the stress response and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones produced by the adrenal glands can disrupt the body’s systems

 

In isolation, each one of the symptoms relating to adrenal fatigue can mean different things (including stress), but if you can check off most of the boxes, you most likely have “Adrenal Fatigue.”Adrenal fatigue is when the adrenal glands are overworked and unable to perform their functions effectively. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty getting up in the morning,
  • Not feeling rested after sleeping
  • Often waking throughout the night, or
  • Daytime fatigue even after a good night’s sleep.
  • You may have increased energy as the evening progresses, leaving you unable to relax fully.
  • You may be quick-tempered or impatient.
  • You may have a poor stress response and find it difficult to regulate your mood
  • You may get sick often or have illnesses that last longer.
  • You may feel foggy, forgetful or light-headed when rising from a reclined position.
  • You experience cravings for salty and sweet foods
  • Digestive disorders (increased symptoms of IBS)
  • Adrenal fatigue can also cause an inability to lose weight, especially around the waist, even if eating healthy and exercising

Understanding the role of the adrenal glands

The adrenals are a pair of glands that sit on the kidneys and produce several hormones, including the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones are associated with the “fight or flight” response, stress management, regulating metabolism, sleep, blood sugar and inflammation. When your adrenals are “fatigued,” they are not really “tired” but misfiring. The unrelenting stress forces the adrenals glands to continue to output stress hormones. Over time the output of hormones from the adrenal glands becomes sluggish or compromised, resulting in insufficient amounts of the necessary hormone precursors your body needs.

How can you support your adrenal glands?

There is no specific test for “adrenal fatigue syndrome” and subsequently no prescribed medication. So support of your adrenal glands involves a more personalized and holistic approach that includes supplements, lifestyle changes and personal counselling to help identify and manage the stress.

It takes years of unmanaged stress on the body for the Adrenals to get to the point of “adrenal fatigue or “adrenal burnout.” It can take 6-12 months of continued supplementation, food and lifestyle adaptations for your adrenals to heal and those much-needed adrenal hormones to balance out to more normal behaviour.

When your body is under stress, it requires a lot of Vitamin Bs and Cs. The various B Vitamins play a role in improving the metabolic pathways that boost energy, reduce fatigue and help to create adrenal hormones. Vitamin C is directly involved in the production of cortisol in our adrenals. It is also a building block for the recovery of fatigued adrenals. Both of these vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that do not stick around in the body. We use them; they run out; we need more. A deficiency in either of these vitamins is the start of denying your adrenals the necessary vitamins to produce essential stress hormones.

Your B Vitamins should be in the form of a complex combination of all the essential B vitamins, each performing a unique responsibility for the body and central nervous system. Your B vitamin complex can be liquid, such as Prairie Naturals Liquid B solution. Or in capsules such as NOW Vitamin B50 Complex or Natural Factors - Biocoenzymated Ultra Strength Active B Complex

There are also quite a bit of options for vitamin C supplements. We suggest your vitamin C is a buffered form of vitamin C to protect the sensitive stomach lining.   Also, taking smaller dosages (500 mg) morning and night can ensure you are getting adequate amounts of these water-soluble vitamins to support your adrenal glands

Many herbal products can be beneficial for Adrenal support. Some of the more well-rounded adrenal supplements will contain Ashwagandha, Schisandra, Astragalus, Roseroot, L-Tyrosine, Siberian Ginseng, L-Theanine, Rhodiola or Holy Basil. You can certainly take each of these supplements as stand-alone. However, we suggest a multi-ingredient supplement. A multi-ingredient supplement can help ensure you are receiving the full range of benefits from each of the different herbs in the correct ratios needed.

St Francis Herb Farm - Strest – (Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Oat, Rhodiola & Schisandra)

CanPrev - Adrenal Chill (high dose of ashwagandha and L-theanine)

CanPrev - Adrenal Pro- (L-tyrosine, Ashwagandha, Astragalus, L-Tyrosine, Siberian Ginseng,, & supporting vitamins)

WOMENSENSE - AdrenaSense (Ashwagandha, Schisandra, Roseroot, Siberian Ginseng, Suma)

Make Some Lifestyle Changes

Supporting the adrenal response system with supplements is a great place to start the regeneration process, but don’t overlook the benefits of food and lifestyle choices.   Sleeping can be affected by adrenal fatigue and can also be an underlying cause of adrenal stress. Try to stay on a schedule and create good bedtime habits (lights out. electronics put away, and routine sleep and wake times). If you need some help with sleep, consider a natural sleep remedy such as Healtholgy Sleep Great, which works on all phases of required sleep.

Pay attention to your daily caffeine and processed sugar intake, and while all carbohydrates are not bad for you, too little or too many carbs can worsen adrenal burnout. Find the balance and reduce the high sugar cakes and cookies that we tend to reach for when we are stressed out.

Consider visiting the endocrinologist if your symptoms (listed above) do not alleviate after supplementation. Remember, it takes months and years of constant stress for your adrenals to get to this point. Stay committed to getting them back on track.

Review supplements and herbs discussed in this article with your health care provider to ensure there are no interactions with prescribed medications.


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