If you have adrenal fatigue symptoms like exhaustion, body aches, depression, irritability, dizziness, and poor concentration, a controversial condition called adrenal fatigue could be the cause.
Your adrenal glands are small, triangular-shaped glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that control your immune system and regulate metabolism and blood pressure. The adrenal glands also secrete cortisol (the stress hormone) and regulate the stress response. adrenal fatigue symptoms
What is adrenal fatigue?
Natural health practitioners believe that chronic stress taxes the adrenal glands, making them unable to keep up with a constant fight-or-flight state. In 1998, chiropractor and naturopath James L. Wilson coined the term “adrenal fatigue” to describe the stress-induced condition.
“Often times, we are exposed to chronic, long-lasting stressors that seem to keep us in fight-or-flight mode. If our adrenal glands cannot keep up with the demand placed on by stressors, then adrenal fatigue could occur.
There are no blood tests to confirm adrenal fatigue-authors argue that standard blood work is too insensitive to detect small declines in adrenal function. Naturopaths take saliva or urine samples to check cortisol levels.
Without a definitive blood test, conventional medicine does not support adrenal fatigue as a medical diagnosis. 2016 A meta-analysis claimed that “adrenal fatigue” does not exist and highlighted several studies with contrary or unfounded claims.
Natural health practitioners disagree. Online support groups with thousands of members who have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue (or who suspect they have the condition) are looking for answers and embracing strategies to feel better.
Lifestyle modification, dietary changes, vitamins, supplements and herbs are an important part of treating adrenal fatigue.
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Adrenal Fatigue Treatment
Here are four strategies to help ease adrenal fatigue symptoms:
The foods you eat are believed to play an integral role in alleviating adrenal fatigue. Poor food choices and eating habits can deprive the body of essential nutrients. At the same time, it can also create stress and put another burden on our adrenal glands.
The recommended diet for adrenal fatigue includes a combination of fat, protein, and complex carbohydrates to avoid dips in blood sugar and provide energy throughout the day.
Physicians also suggests a diet rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium to help with adrenal fatigue. Processed foods are best avoided.
Take Adrenal Fatigue Supplements
Your naturopath might recommend a combination of supplements to boost energy and ease depletion. “There are some really great herbs and other supplements that can help balance and promote adrenal health. These herbs are called adaptogens, and they help the body respond to daily influences or stressors.” Examples of adaptogenic herbs include holy eleuthero, basil and ashwagandha, he says.
Research shows that ginseng regulates immune and hormonal responses to stress and controls hormones in the adrenal gland. Further research found that ginkgo biloba had a similar effect on cortisol. Another study reveals that a botanical called Robiola rosea has been linked to lower levels of stress-induced fatigue.
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Because chronic stress triggers adrenal fatigue, stress management is essential. The day-to-day stress that you continue to store can have a devastating effect not only on your adrenals but also on your overall health.
Mindfulness-based mediation is a great way to ease stress and may even have other benefits, such as helping to control anxiety, depression and pain.
Deep breathing exercises and journaling can also help keep tension in check.
Give priority to sleep.
Stress and adrenal function can take their toll on sleep. If you struggle with insomnia or feeling exhausted throughout the day, establishing regular sleep and wake times can be helpful. Avoid staying up too late at night or waking up too early in the morning and steer clear of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
As the controversy over adrenal fatigue rages on, it is important to remember that whether you believe the condition exists or not, these are all science-backed, common sense strategies for a healthier life that are beneficial regardless of the state of your adrenal system.