How is adrenal fatigue naturally treated?
Did you know that chronic stress can affect your body's ability to recover from physical, mental, or emotional stress? This is probably why most people face adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives.
Many proponents of the condition estimate that almost anyone can experience adrenal fatigue, also known as hypoadrenia, at some particularly stressful point in their life.
Because the adrenal glands affect many parts of the body, symptoms of adrenal fatigue can mimic a number of disorders and are not always easy to spot.
Adrenal fatigue symptoms, such as brain fog, moodiness, and trouble sleeping, can be indicative of many medical conditions and are often overlooked by doctors. However, more and more people are realizing that a combination of these health problems often indicates the onset of adrenal fatigue.
If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, it can have a significant impact on your overall health. Fortunately, there is a natural way to remedy this common problem by focusing on your nutrient intake and lifestyle.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
A relatively new term, "adrenal fatigue", was introduced in 1998 by Dr. James L. Wilson, a naturopath and chiropractor, suggested a new disease. He suggested that overstimulation of the adrenal glands (or "adrenal glands") from long-term stress could lead to inconsistent levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the blood.
In addition to this overload or incorrect levels of stress hormones, people with adrenal fatigue often do not have enough DHEA, the "parent hormone," which is responsible for making many of the necessary hormones in the body.
Dr. Wilson describes the unique progression of adrenal fatigue throughout the day as follows:
- You wake up unable to function without a significant amount of caffeine
- In the early part of the day you will finally feel a surge of energy
- then your energy levels plummet around 2 p.m., rise around 6 p.m. and drop again around 9 p.m.
- at 11 p.m. your energy is finally at its peak again
Is Adrenal Fatigue Real?
The main problem with detecting or diagnosing adrenal fatigue is the inability to distinguish its symptoms and patterns from other disorders. The parameters for this condition are non-specific, which unfortunately has led to a great deal of controversy on the subject, although it is the nature of cortisol and body hormones that their effects are far-reaching.
Diagnosing this condition is difficult because conventional medicine stress hormone levels are usually in the "normal range", although symptoms are clear to those with the condition.
People who believe that adrenal fatigue is not a real health risk often state that constant chronic stress has no effect on the adrenal glands and that the only true endocrine disorder is that caused by other diseases and direct damage to the adrenal glands.
However, many naturopaths know from experience in a medical practice and from scientific evidence that hypoadreniais very real and is associated with a number of complications.
In addition, treatment for adrenal fatigue is relatively non-invasive and will have positive effects on your health regardless of the diagnosis. Of course, you should be under the care of a qualified health care professional, such as a functional medical doctor, whom you trust and will display the symptoms (illness) you are experiencing so that they can determine the appropriate treatment.
What are your adrenal glands?
Your adrenal glands (adrenal glands) are two thumb-sized organs that sit above your kidneys and are part of the endocrine system. Also known as the adrenal glands, they are involved in the production of over 50 hormones that control almost all body functions, many of which are vital.
The adrenal glands work closely with the hypothalamus and pituitary in a system known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis).
Adrenal glands play a huge role in the stress response. This is how it works:
- Your brain registers a threat, be it emotional, mental or physical.
- The adrenal medulla releases cortisol and adrenaline hormones so you can respond to the threat (fight or flight response) and get blood rushing to your brain, heart, and muscles.
- The adrenal cortex then releases corticosteroids to dampen processes like digestion, the immune system response, and other functions that are not necessary for immediate survival.
Your adrenal glands are also responsible for balancing hormones.
When discussing problems with adrenal function, it is important to understand that adrenal fatigue is not the same as adrenal insufficiency, Addison's disease, or Cushing's syndrome / Cushing's disease.
Here is a brief breakdown of these conditions and how they differ from Adrenal Fatigue:
Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison's Disease
- Symptoms of adrenal insufficiency that do not occur with adrenal fatigue include severe digestive problems, weight loss, low blood sugar, headache, and sweating.
- Primary adrenal insufficiency is known as Addison's disease and occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged by trauma and cannot produce enough cortisol or aldosterone.
- Secondary adrenal insufficiency (which is more common) occurs when the pituitary gland stops producing adenocorticotropin (ACTH). ACTH stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
- What is the difference between this condition and adrenal fatigue? In most cases, adrenal fatigue is modeled by excess stress hormone levels, often at the "wrong" times, while adrenal insufficiency is a persistent inability to produce cortisol.
- The biggest difference is that people with adrenal fatigue typically have cortisol levels that are below "normal" but not "optimal" levels, while patients with adrenal insufficiency have cortisol levels that are consistently outside of normal range.
Cushing's Syndrome / Disease
- Cushing's disease is an extremely rare condition in which cortisol is overproduced above normal levels that most commonly affect women between the ages of 25 and 40.
- This condition is sometimes the result of tumors and in other cases there is no known cause.
- Cushing is reversible and is defined as a "curable" condition by the National Institute of Health.
- Unique symptoms of Cushing's syndrome (known as Cushing's disease when it is caused by a pituitary tumor) include weight gain in the abdomen / face, male impotence, menstrual disorders, increased risk of miscarriage, blood sugar, and high blood pressure.
Adrenal fatigue is a condition in which your body and adrenal glands cannot keep up with the tremendous daily stress that many people experience. Sometimes misunderstood as an autoimmune disease, adrenal fatigue can mimic some precursors to other common diseases and conditions.
Wellness doctors and practitioners believe that an episode of acute stress or prolonged (especially over a year) stress can cause the adrenal glands to become overworked and ineffective, and then to improperly release cortisol. You believe that hypoadrenia can be caused by:
- Stressful experiences such as the death of a loved one, divorce or surgery
- Exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
- Prolonged stress from financial difficulties, poor relationships or work environment, and other circumstances that create feelings of helplessness
- Negative thinking and emotional trauma
- lack of sleep
- Poor diet (including crash diets and inconsistent diets) and sedentary lifestyle
- Food sensitivities
- Adverse events in childhood
- Trust in stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Diabetes / disturbed glucose levels
Can Stress Cause Extreme Fatigue? Yes, it is absolutely possible. One study found that students who ended their educational careers with chronic long-term stress while preparing for medical exams impaired the students' cortisol wake-up response.
By limiting that surge in cortisol levels that occurs each morning when you wake up and helps you feel awake, stress inhibits your ability to fully wake up no matter how much sleep you get.
Another study published in 2005 found that high school students diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome had "changes in adrenal function" especially in women, suggesting that their adrenal glands were no longer receiving normal stimulation.
Depression can also play a role in the development or effects of adrenal fatigue. Research has shown that cortisol responses do not return to normal levels as easily after severe depression and may be responsible for recurrence of the depression.
And there is research to suggest that hypothalamic dysfunction is common in multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease. The researchers are investigating why dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is common in multiple sclerosis. However, it is thought to be related to abnormal cortisol secretion.
What happens when the adrenal glands stop producing hormones efficiently?
Every function of the body is affected, and when the adrenal hormone levels go up and down abnormally, the normal "getting up and walking" that you get from them also goes away.
Studies suggest that adrenal fatigue symptoms include:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Chronic fatigue (always tired)
- Brain fog
- Hair loss
- Hormonal imbalance
- Weakened stress response
- Insulin resistance
- Decreased sex drive / libido
- Mood and irritability
- Muscle or bone loss
- Skin diseases
- Sleep disorders / sleep apnea
- Weight gain
- Cravings for sweet and salty food
- Loss of appetite
As you can see, there are a number of symptoms that may be related to other underlying disorders, including some very common women's health problems.
Fortunately, the ways you can combat these issues are very similar and will benefit your overall health. If you are experiencing any of these Adrenal Fatigue side effects, encourage yourself as there are now many natural ways to treat and support your adrenal system.
Many people go on for some time without consulting their family doctor or endocrinologist about some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. This is a major reason the diagnosis of this condition is unusual.
However, having high cortisol symptoms for long periods of time can take a real toll. In addition, some symptoms can indicate more serious conditions.
It's probably time to see the endocrinologist if:
- You have had one or more symptoms of adrenal fatigue for a long time
- Your symptoms have started to interfere with normal life relationships and / or activities such as work, family time, or school
- Diet and lifestyle choices did not significantly improve your symptoms
- Your sleeping habits have turned into insomnia and / or you cannot get a good night's sleep no matter how long you lie in bed
- You have hyperpigmentation or patches of darker skin on your body
- You are a woman who has stopped menstruating
- You have dizziness and / or general weakness for several days in a row for no explainable cause (such as flu, concussion, or excessive exercise).
- Not sure how to study Adrenal Fatigue supplements to take safely, or not sure how to set up an Adrenal Fatigue Diet
Adrenal Fatigue Tests
Unfortunately, testing for adrenal fatigue is another source of confusion for many. You should know beforehand that these tests need to be done by someone who understands the nature of adrenal fatigue and that tests for adrenal fatigue are rarely definitive.
The most common of these tests include testing body fluid for cortisol. Blood tests are almost never helpful in this regard, but a 24-hour saliva panel can help your doctor identify abnormal cortisol patterns, including a lack or overload of the stress response.
Many doctors also test thyroid function in conjunction with cortisol levels as these hormonal systems are interconnected.
Other tests that can be used to diagnose or confirm adrenal fatigue include:
- ACTH challenge
- TSH test (thyroid hormone)
- Free T3 (FT3)
- Total Thyroxine (TT4)
- Cortisol / DHEA ratio
- 17-HP / cortisol ratio
- Neurotransmitter test
There are also two safe home tests that you can try including:
- The iris contraction test: The theory behind this test is that in people with compromised adrenal function, the iris cannot contract properly when exposed to light. The test consists of sitting in a dark room and repeatedly shining a flashlight briefly over your eyes. If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, your eyes may not contract for more than two minutes, and your eyes may widen even when exposed to direct light.
- Postural Low Blood Pressure Test: In healthy people, the blood pressure rises when getting up from a lying position. A blood pressure monitor can be used to test your pressure when you take it off and then after you stand. If you don't see your levels rise or fall, your adrenal glands may be weakened.
Due to the controversial nature of this condition, you may need to see a health practitioner who can help treat adrenal fatigue with a combination of diet and supplement recommendations, and any hormonal or other medication required.
Studies show that an oral dose of 20 milligrams of hydrocortisone is recommended by some for the routine treatment of cortisol, while an occasional dose of 50 milligrams can be prescribed but should not be taken regularly or in higher doses.
Your doctor or endocrinologist should help you understand the possible side effects of this and other recommended medications.
Treatment for adrenal fatigue includes:
- Reduce stress on the body and mind
- Eliminate toxins
- avoid negative thinking
- Fill your body with healthy foods, supplements, and mindsets
When you ask, "How can I help my adrenals?" The answer may be closer than you think. Treating adrenal fatigue is largely similar to eating healthy, healing diets to combat the underlying problems that cause a range of medical conditions.
1. Follow the Adrenal Fatigue Diet
Diet is a big part of any adrenal recovery. There are a number of foods that support the adrenal glands and help replenish your adrenal energy so that your system can return to full health. First, however, you need to remove any hard-to-digest foods and any toxins or chemicals around you.
The idea behind the Adrenal Fatigue Diet is to remove anything that is burdening your adrenal glands.
Foods to avoid are:
- caffeine : Caffeine can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it difficult for your adrenal glands to recover.If you need to drink coffee or a caffeinated drink, consume a limited amount in the morning before noon.
- Sugar and sweeteners : Avoid as much added sugar as possible. This also includes avoiding high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. Avoid sugary foods, cereals, sweets, and candy. Note that sugar is an additive in many breads, condiments, and dressings. Alternatively, look for raw honey or stevia and always use sweeteners of any kind.
- carbohydrates : While carbohydrates aren't all bad for you, the inflammation they can cause is especially problematic when adrenal fatigue occurs. Many people crave high-carbohydrate foods when they are stressed. These provide temporary satisfaction but put more stress on the adrenal glands. When overwhelmed and stressed out, step on the gluten and starchy carbohydrates for some time to see if this regulates your fatigue and energy levels.
- Processed and microwave refrigerated foods : First, the microwave has its own dangers. In addition, most microwave-cooled, ultra-processed foods contain many preservatives and fillers that are difficult to digest and put a strain on your body's energy and digestive cycles. Try to buy groceries on the outside walls of your grocery store and prepare your own groceries whenever possible.
- Processed meat : Protein overload can put more stress on your hormones than you might think, and the added hormones and malnutrition in conventional, processed meats (especially red meats like beef and steak) can quickly throw your system off balance. When buying meat to support the adrenal glands, stick to grass-fed beef and free-range chicken or turkey and eat these protein-rich meats in moderation.
- Hydrogenated oils : Vegetable oils such as soybean, rapeseed and corn oils are highly flammable and can lead to adrenal inflammation. Try to use only good fats like coconut oil, olive oil, organic butter, or ghee.
Next, you'll want to add nutrient-rich foods that are easy to digest and have healing properties.
Some of the foods that you should add to your diet include:
- Avocado and other healthy fats
- Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
- Fatty fish (e.g. wild-caught salmon)
- Free range chicken and turkey
- bone broth
- Nuts like walnuts and almonds
- Seeds like pumpkin, chia, and flax
- Seaweed and algae
- Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
- Fermented foods that are high in probiotics
- Chaga and Cordyceps medicinal mushrooms
These foods help overcome adrenal fatigue because they are high in nutrients, low in sugar, and loaded with healthy fat and fiber.
2. Supplements and herbs
Another important change to overcoming adrenal fatigue is taking the right supplements with supportive herbs. Since getting enough nutrients in each day can still be a challenge, nutritional supplements can be used to ensure you are getting the vitamins and minerals that are important for adrenal support.
Additionally, there are certain herbs, spices, and essential oils that can help combat adrenal fatigue and support an energetic, vibrant life.
- Adaptogenic herbs Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Schisandra and Holy Basil : Research shows that adaptogenic herbs can help lower cortisol levels and mediate stress responses in the body. By using these herbs in food preparation, you can relieve stress on the adrenal glands.
- Licorice root : This spice is available in extract form and has been shown to help increase DHEA in your body. Licorice root is associated with some side effects and can sometimes be avoided by ingesting DGL licorice. Research suggests that pregnant women and those with heart, liver, or kidney problems should avoid licorice root. Do not take it at a time for more than four weeks. Be sure to monitor blood pressure as it may increase in some patients.
- Fish oil (EPA / DHA) : There are a number of benefits to consuming fish oil (or algae oil for those on a vegan or plant-based diet). Some of these are combating a range of symptoms and complications related to adrenal fatigue, such as diabetes, mental dysfunction, arthritis, immune system function, skin problems, weight gain, and anxiety / depression.
- magnesium : Magnesium is one of the necessary nutrients to combat adrenal insufficiency. While the mechanisms behind this are not fully understood, you can benefit from magnesium supplementation if you suffer from adrenal fatigue.
- B complex vitamins : Studies have shown that a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to stress on the adrenal cortex in some animals. Vitamin B5 is another commonly deficient vitamin in people with adrenal stress. Taking a high-quality vitamin B complex supplement can be helpful, especially if you are reducing meat or removing it from your diet to counteract adrenal fatigue.
- vitamin C : Vitamin C is known as a "stress reliever" nutrient. It seems to minimize the effects of stress on people and reduce the time it takes to recover from stressful events.
- Vitamin D : In addition to supporting homeostasis between magnesium and phosphorus in the body and maintaining strong bones, vitamin D can affect other conditions including adrenal dysfunction and disease.
- selenium : At least one animal study found that selenium deficiency can negatively affect adrenal function.
- Lavender oil : Studies in humans and animals show that lavender essential oil has a calming effect that can reduce stress. Research also suggests that it may lower high levels of cortisol when inhaled.
- Rosemary oil : Rosemary essential oil (along with lavender) can lower cortisol levels and reduce oxidative stress on cells.
Remember to use whole food supplements from reputable companies and only use 100% USDA certified and organic certified essential oils. Make sure you trust what you are buying.
3. Reduce stress
The final and most important key to restoring your adrenal function is taking your thoughts and stress needs into account. Take care of your body and try the following natural stress relief products:
- Take a rest when you feel as tired as possible.
- Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.
- Avoid staying up late and sleeping regularly - ideally in bed before 10 p.m.
- Laugh and have some fun every day.
- However, minimize work and relationship stress as much as possible.
- Eat regularly and reduce your caffeine and sugar addiction.
- Exercise (moderate exercise and walking can also help). Yoga in particular can help improve the quality of life and reduce stress reactions. If you feel tired after exercising, it is sometimes beneficial to only walk until the adrenal glands have healed adequately.
- Avoid negative people and self-talk.
- Take some time for yourself (do something relaxing).
- Seek advice or support for traumatic experiences.
Let's talk about "talking to yourself" for a minute. Our body should heal. However, the words we say have a huge impact on our bodies and our ability to heal. Regardless of what diet and supplements you are on, yours isenvironment one of the most important components.
So be nice to yourself. Try to avoid saying negative things about yourself and others. It's important to choose positive people and be positive about yourself.
Many people roll their eyes at such advice, but it has been scientifically proven that it is possible to reduce pathological concerns by practicing "mind-sharing," a positive self-talk practice in which positive results are verbally recited in stressful situations.
How long does the recovery take? This question is not easy to answer as adrenal fatigue recovery time has never been studied.
However, recovery from adrenal fatigue can take a while. After all, it took months, maybe years, for the adrenal glands to become exhausted. so it takes a while for them to regain their strength.
For a full adrenal recovery, you can expect the following:
- 6–9 months with slight adrenal fatigue
- 12-18 months with moderate fatigue
- Up to 24 months with severe adrenal fatigue
The best approach is to make lasting changes to your lifestyle. Some people notice a difference in their overall well-being after just a few weeks of eating better foods that help detoxify the body and taking supplements for adrenal fatigue.
If you are aiming for a balanced lifestyle with healthy levels of sleep, exercise, fun, and a positive environment, then you are most likely keeping your adrenal system going!
Risks and Side Effects
First of all, remember that any new eating habits or additions to your lifestyle should be carried out under the supervision of a doctor / health practitioner you trust.
In general, it will help you incorporate more plant-based foods into your lifestyle and eliminate stimulants, sugary foods, and processed products that have a ton of sodium or chemicals added to them to help you feel better and live better regardless of the conditions You may or may not have.
The bigger problem concerns herbs, spices, dietary supplements, and essential oils that are used to combat adrenal fatigue. Do not use any new supplements, herbs, or essential oils without medical supervision or education on how much, how often, and for how long these supplements should be used.
There are several herbs that should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. These include medicinal mushrooms, adaptogenic herbs, and some essential oils.
- Adrenal fatigue is a controversial condition that is considered an "intermediate condition" before a diagnosable disease state is reached.
- It is said to be caused by high levels of chronic stress, which puts stress on the adrenal glands, forcing them to over- or under-produce cortisol, the stress hormone, at the wrong time.
- Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include severe fatigue, brain fog, decreased sex drive, hair loss, insulin resistance, and others.
- To naturally combat adrenal fatigue, remove inflammatory foods like sugar and excess carbohydrates from your diet and eat lots of colorful plant-based foods, lean free-range meats like chicken or turkey, and lots of healthy fats.
- There are a variety of herbs, spices, supplements, and essential oils that can be used to help combat adrenal fatigue. These should be used under medical supervision.
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