Are Your Adrenals Holding You Back?
Here at No Shoes Nutrition we are discovering that more and more of the clients we work with are dealing with chronic stress that is potentially holding them back from reaching their health goals. We are going to post a series all about the adrenal glands and how these special little endocrine glands that sit just above the kidneys affect us, good or bad, on a daily basis.
In 1998 Dr. James Wilson, a naturopathic doctor and chiropractor authored a book “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome”. He coined the term “Adrenal Fatigue” which Dr. Wilson claimed affects the body’s ability to bounce back from stress whether emotional, physical or mental. Prolonged stress drains the adrenal glands and they are no longer able to perform optimally. The adrenal glands produce more than fifty hormones that help to drive functions of the body. These hormones are essential to our life.
The adrenals release cortisol in a specific rhythm. A spike in cortisol is what wakes us up in the morning and a decrease in the evening hours is what helps us relax and fall asleep at night. Dr. Wilson proposed that this is not always the case when we are experiencing chronic stress. In the case of Adrenal Fatigue there are inconsistent levels of cortisol and often there is an association with low levels of DHEA which is responsible for many essential hormones of the body. It should be made clear that Adrenal Fatigue is not because of damage to the glands themselves as is the case with more serious diseases of the adrenal glands.
So, what does Adrenal Fatigue look like in real terms? A typical progression during the day looks a little like chronic fatigue. Someone with Adrenal Fatigue is exhausted, but that exhaustion comes in a specific pattern. First thing in the morning it’s hard to wake up, it’s difficult to get out of bed and the only way to really get going is to consume more and more caffeine or another stimulant. Once you get going you have a burst of energy around mid-morning but around 2pm your energy plummets. At 6pm another boost of energy comes and again at 9pm the energy drains. This would be a great time to just go to sleep but rarely is this possible and at 11pm another burst of energy comes and sleeping is difficult if not impossible. And so, the cycle begins again the next day, and the next, until total exhaustion sets in.
Traditional western medicine doesn’t recognize Adrenal Fatigue as this pattern is difficult to pin down in everyone and other symptoms (that we will discuss shortly) mimic other disorders. Studies have been conducted to try and study Adrenal Fatigue but there has been little evidence to support true Adrenal Fatigue as the studies were few and poorly designed. It has been a hard disorder to design studies for as there are so many varied symptoms and not everyone experiences every symptom.
The Main Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Extreme fatigue (being tired is not enough)
High cortisol levels in saliva tests
Suppressed immune function (prone to more colds and flues)
Increase in blood pressure
Small stresses become overwhelm
Decreased sex drive
Muscle and bone loss
Moodiness and irritability
Sweet and salty cravings
Are you at risk? Anyone that finds themselves under extreme chronic stress can experience Adrenal Fatigue. This includes students under pressure to make the grade, new parents that are dealing with life changes, caregivers of different types like nurses, or people caring for elderly parents. There are likely many other scenarios, this just names a few.
In our next blog we will discuss specific steps to overcoming Adrenal Fatigue. In the mean time Are you ready to get even healthier? Want help figuring out how to feel more energy to get more done in your day-to-day life? Want to stop feeling the effects of adrenal fatigue? Curious about how health coaching can help you on your journey to optimal health? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with us today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. We work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!