Updated: Sep 10, 2019
It is a normal occurrence in modern day society to be increasingly exposed to constant stressors on a daily basis. Sources of stress can be emotional, physical, dietary, psychological, environmental, and infectious, or frequently a combination of these. A sense of helplessness is also one of the most stress-inducing emotions. With the state of our economy and job market, not to mention the unrest in the world, a sense of helplessness is not uncommon. Often, we get so accustomed to our daily stressors that we don’t even realize the toll they may be taking on us.
The adrenal glands, also known as suprarenal glands, are responsible of helping you deal with stress. They are tiny endocrine glands that sit on top of your kidneys and influence every organ, tissue and gland in your body. The adrenal cortex, or the outer part of the gland, responds to stress by secreting cortisol, our “stress hormone”. If these stressors become chronic with no likelihood of recovery, the adrenal glands may not be able to compensate. Our body responds to stress the same whether the stressor is from an internal source such as an inflammatory food or an external one such as a difficult boss or environmental pollution. Once your body exceeds the capacity to recover, some form of adrenal fatigue occurs.
Cortisol is a glucocorticoid required by your body to maintain balance in many ways including regulating metabolism and regulating blood sugar. Cortisol levels normally fluctuate within our bodies reaching their lowest and highest points throughout the day. These levels will temporarily vary in response to stress, and eventually resume their normal levels afterwards. In chronically stressful situations, this homeostasis is sometimes not reached, thus creating a whole array of problems for us.
What are the most common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?
Body aches and pains
Low sex drive
Low blood pressure
Cravings for sweet/salty snacks
What causes Adrenal Fatigue?
Lack of sleep
Poor food choices
Poor sleeping habits
Constantly pushing/demanding yourself
Lack of enjoyable or rejuvenating activities
A saliva test to help diagnose your adrenal stress index
A cortisol sample to evaluate your body’s response to stress
A customized plan to rebuild your adrenal glands and protect them from daily stressors
Treatment exists for adrenal fatigue but usually involves time. There is no “quick-fix” to adrenal fatigue but a more comprehensive approach using supplements such as adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha and Holy Basil, lifestyle and dietary changes.
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