What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is thought to be a variety of chronic tiredness that affects the hormone production of the adrenal glands and is often correlated with high levels of stress.
Though it affects the adrenal glands, it is not to be confused with either Addison’s Disease or adrenal insufficiency. There is some debate about whether adrenal fatigue should be classified as a separate issue.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
The primary cause of adrenal fatigue is high levels of stress, whether it be physical, psychological, or emotional. When you undergo an especially stressful event or period, your adrenal glands enter a state known as “homeostasis” (attempting to correct for the stress). If your adrenal glands are forced to sustain this state for too long, or if they are subjected to extreme shock, their overall output of adrenal hormones will be reduced due to the overstimulation.
Though adrenal fatigue is chiefly caused by stress, other factors can also play a part in its development, and can also increase its severity if it has already been contracted. These factors include:
- Alcoholism and Addiction
- Autoimmune Disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Dental Health
- Mild Depression
- PMS and Menopause
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sleep Disruption
Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue manifests itself largely in the form of excessive tiredness and sporadic energy and inability to cope with stress.
If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you may have adrenal fatigue.
- Even if you go to bed at a normal time, you still have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
Inability to cope with stress “wired and tired”
- You tend to have more energy and are more alert after 6 PM than during the rest of the day.
- You are sometimes tired without cause.
- Stress and illness are hard to recover from.
- You often feel burned out or swamped.
- You often have a craving for foods with lots of salt or sugar.
Natural Ways of Treatment
One of the best ways to combat adrenal fatigue is to follow a proper diet. You should eat an early breakfast and have a light snack before bed to combat the early-morning fatigue.
Make sure to combine proteins, complex carbohydrates, and some fats consistently throughout the day in order to keep your energy level. Avoid foods with empty calories—lots of sugar or over-processed ingredients.
Emphasise vegetables over fruits, as fruits tend to have a lot of sugar. For carbohydrates, you should focus on whole grains; these provide a more complete and level source of energy than simple carbohydrates, which are quickly broken down into sugars.
In addition to good diet, you can also explore the various supplements manufactured to fight adrenal fatigue, but it is best to be cautious in your selection. These supplements are unregulated, and some of them may not be entirely safe.
If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, our Naturopath, Daniel Cerny can help you design an individualised diet and implement an appropriate treatment protocol according to your specific needs. Recovery generally takes anywhere from three months up to two years. During your recovery phase, Daniel will guide you through a variety of techniques, including mindfulness training, to help you cope with your symptoms while you restore your adrenal glands’ natural function.