It Might Not Be You…It Could Be Adrenal Fatigue
In recent years, there’s been a rise of epidemic proportions in cases of adrenal fatigue. The medical community doesn’t quite recognize it as a disease but as more and more doctors are seeing cases of it, it’s definitely causing quite a stir. But just what is adrenal fatigue? It’s somewhat of a buzzword in the natural health world but it’s a bit of a novelty to some people. Here’s the 411 of what it is and ways to prevent it from happening to you. And for those of us who are dealing it with now—have hope! There’s ways to remedy the fatigue and guard against it.
Meet the Adrenals—Party of 2
Everyone has a set of adrenal glands and they hang out just above each kidney. If you turn around and place your hands on your mid to lower back, you’d probably be hovering over your adrenal area. They are a little funny looking. The right side is in the shape of a triangle (kinda) and the left looks more like a half moon. They’re yellow and tend to go unnoticed by most people. But here’s the thing—they control hormones that respond to stress, the environment around you and your ability to bounce back from illnesses. They balance everything even your sex drive. So in other words, they’re a real big deal!
Quick Breakdown of the Adrenals
- The outer shell is called the capsule and it’s a fat layer that protects the gland.
- Next you have the cortex, which is divided into three zones. Don’t try to pronounce this if you’re out in public because these words are real doozies. They are zona glomerulosa, zona fasiculata and zona reticularis.
- The above zones all surround the core of the adrenal gland called the medulla.
Adrenals have a myriad of functions, but one of the most important is the production of adrenaline aka epinephrine. They also secrete the hormone that has the ability to raise blood pressure. Hormones are affected by your emotional state, physical wellbeing and psychological health. Adrenals regulate the energy production and storage and have the ability to impact immunity, heart function and even muscle tone. It’s crazy to think how little triangle and half moon shaped objects can have such powerful influence in our bodies!
When adrenals are functioning correctly, they meet a crisis such as an illness and release the correct hormone levels in order to help us deal with it effectively. If the adrenals aren’t working properly then insufficient amounts are released and we lapse into what is called adrenal fatigue.
There are a few different ways these little guys can be affected, and full-blown adrenal fatigue can often lead to the following symptoms.
- Tired for no reason even after a restful sleep
- Body aches/Trouble concentrating
- Decreased sex drive
- Moodiness and irritability
- Trouble waking up in the mornings—cue the coffee!
- Rundown and overwhelmed no matter how large or small the issue
- Hard time bouncing back from sickness–especially upper respiratory illness
- Tend to crave sweet and salty snacks—where’s the chocolate!?
- More awake after 6pm than any other time in the day
- Hair loss/muscle loss
You might read these lists and feel overwhelmed at the possibility of having adrenal fatigue, but take heart. There are ways to build your adrenals back up to healthy, properly functioning glands. Just imagine feeling like your healthy self again!
A Big Player in the Healing Process
Here are a few other things to consider avoiding to help strengthen your adrenals…sugar, processed foods, excess caffeine, and hydrogenated oils. Instead use: coconut oil, avocados, fish and chicken and snack on seeds. Remember, a big contributor to fatigue is too much coffee…it boosts you up, but may be masking too many restless nights! If you’re feeling desperate for caffeine, you can always try switching to green tea. Not buying it? Then consider switching out only one of your daily cups of joe with green tea.
How To Handle Stress?
That may sound a little crazy in today’s world but it’s totally possible. And, yoga is becoming increasingly more popular for relaxing and centering your mind and body. And, it helps give your adrenals a rest. After practicing a few times a week, you’ll be amazed at the difference in how you handle stress, and your energy levels throughout the day.