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  • A. M. Hennessy

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

What Are Adrenals?

The adrenal glands are two thumb-sized organs that sit above your kidneys and are part of the endocrine system. They help produce over 50 hormones that affect almost every bodily function. Hormones are involved in the function of almost every organ and tissue in the body. The adrenal glands work closely with the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. They form a system known as the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.

The adrenal glands release bursts of cortisol throughout the day that help wake us up and it declines in the evening to aid the body in sleep. This natural rhythm, however, doesn’t always happen when external stress occurs.

Adrenal glands play a serious role in the body’s stress response. When your brain detects a threat, whether emotional, mental, or physical; the adrenal medulla releases cortisol and adrenaline hormones to help you react appropriately. Also known as the fight or flight response. To help our body focus on these stresses, the adrenal cortex then releases corticosteroids to reduce functions like digestion, immune system response, and other functions not needed for immediate survival.

So…What Is Adrenal Fatigue?

The term “adrenal fatigue” was proposed in 1998 by Dr. James L. Wilson, a naturopath, and chiropractor. He believed that overexertion of the adrenal glands by chronic stress could lead to an unbalanced level of cortisol in the bloodstream. Adrenal fatigue is where your body and adrenal glands can’t handle the massive amount of daily stress we place on our minds and bodies.

Wellness practitioners believe that an occurrence of prolonged stress can cause adrenal glands to become overburdened and ineffective. This can lead to the body releasing unbalanced amounts of cortisol and a multitude of other health issues.

What Can Cause Adrenal Fatigue?

Some stressful experiences which may lead to adrenal fatigue are :

  • The death of a loved one

  • Financial strain

  • Lack of sleep

  • Unhealthy diet

  • Emotional trauma

  • Food intolerances

  • Acute pain

  • Overall poor health

Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms may include:

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Hormone imbalances

  • Depression

  • Weight gain

  • Muscle or bone loss

  • Irritability

  • Decreased sex drive

  • Hair loss

  • Brain fog

  • Autoimmune disorders

  • Insulin resistance

  • The craving for sweet or salty foods

It is important to note that many of these symptoms may be related to other disorders.

Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue

They are many healthy and natural ways to combat the effects of adrenal fatigue, some examples are:

  • Healthy diet

  • Sleep 8-10 hours a night and nap whenever you feel tired

  • Reduce stress on the mind and body

  • Take adrenal support supplements

  • Moderate exercise

  • Eliminate toxins from the body and environment

  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones

  • Counseling for traumatic experiences

Foods To Avoid

The body needs to focus on healing your adrenals and not the inflammation and digestion difficulties the following foods may cause:

  • Processed Foods

  • Hydrogenated Oils

  • Sugar and Sweeteners

  • Caffeine: Caffeine can negatively affect sleep patterns and sleep is necessary for healing the adrenals.

  • Complex Carbohydrates: Although some may be beneficial, they should be eaten in moderation.

Adrenal Supportive Foods

Avocados, cruciferous vegetables, fatty fish, free-range poultry, olives, coconuts, bone broth, sea salt, nuts, and probiotic-rich foods. Supplements and herbs such as; ashwagandha, fish oil, licorice root, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B Complex, vitamin D, selenium, lavender, and rosemary essential oils.

Adrenal fatigue is not recognized by many in the medical community. However, these symptoms and causes exist, and many have seen the benefits of these lifestyle changes. And none the less, if you have any of the above symptoms, consult a doctor.

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