Most women I see in clinic these days are adrenally fatigued, and I was one of them. Adrenal fatigue has become epidemic in our society and will cause so much imbalance and prevent you from living a life of vibrancy and energy! You definitely will just survive a day, instead of ‘thrive. Adrenal fatigue is considered a modern syndrome because of our busy lifestyles, which can be very stressful. While the condition is recognized by the World Health Organization and very common, there is still a reluctance by some of the professional medical community and in fact, many argue that it doesn’t exist.
So what are the adrenals?
The adrenals are two glands that sit on top of your kidneys, they are part of your endocrine system and they release hormones (such as epinephrine, cortisol, progesterone, DHEA, estrogen, and testosterone). Adrenals are also responsible for energy production, immune function and inflammatory response, heart rate, muscle tone, blood sugar regulation, regulation of minerals, and more.
Adrenaline and cortisol, are responsible for the fight or-flight response. Adrenaline deals primarily with short-term stress while cortisol is produced as a result of both acute and long-term stress. During prolonged stress, the glands become overworked and are unable to keep up with the demand. As a result, cortisol levels become imbalanced and the body cannot respond effectively, we are then in early stages of ADRENAL FATIGUE. Initially, it results in chronically elevated cortisol levels, often kicking in at inappropriate times, i.e. while trying to sleeping, or waking you in the early hours of the morning. Weight gain (especially around the midsection), blood sugar imbalances, thinning skin, muscle wasting, memory loss, high blood pressure, dizziness, hot flashes, night sweats, excessive facial hair, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritability, inability to concentrate, frustration, insomnia, addictions to stimulants and junk foods, mild depression, PMS, headaches, other mild symptoms that often go unnoticed.
Overworked adrenals eventually crash, leading to ADRENAL EXHAUSTION, where the body is now unable to maintain adequate adrenal hormone production. And then you can say hello to feeling really, really, really, unwell. Extreme tiredness, low energy, muscle weakness, depression, an inability to cope, burn out, then YOU hit rock bottom. Knowing what I know as a nutritionist and herbalist, I was concerned about the prolonged and very stressful period I had been experiencing. I had been trying to help my adrenals by taking herbs, supplements and vitamins, yet I couldn’t quite make the changes needed, until I crashed. A single mother, running a clinic and trying to do it all. I wasn’t addressing the problem, I mean how could I rest, how could I STOP?? I was the provider, the homemaker, the caregiver, plus dealing with an incredibly distressing family issue. I started getting forgetful, agitated, anxious, started craving carbs, felt overwhelmed and then sleep became an issue, I was in a viscous cycle, I had my first panic attack, oh boy, now they're scary. I felt I had nothing more to give; but worst of all I was absolutely exhausted but could NOT sleep! It’s an absurd paradox when you are shattered, yet wired … A classic symptom of adrenal exhaustion!
Well, that used to be me, I pushed my body to absolute extremes to stay in control, on time, deadlines and earn money … Now I am much gentler and kinder to myself, I always have some left for me, recognizing when I need to rest. I knew that sugar and other stimulants were only a temporary solution and actually worsened the symptoms long term, but I craved chocolate and carbohydrate rich foods. So what are you relying on? Coffee, chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes? What do you do to boost your energy? I was aware of the crash soon after eating the crappy food, swiftly leaving me to seek out some more stimulant, for yet another fix! When your adrenals burn out, you are in all kinds of disaster as mentioned above, adrenal fatigue has also been linked to autoimmune disorders, diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism and drug abuse.
The best thing you can do for your healing process is to acknowledge your adrenal fatigue and with that awareness, take the appropriate and very necessary action… That’s where I come in, as a practitioner and having experienced this. I have an amazing protocol for adrenal fatigue and exhaustion, I have helped many clients to date, one client in particular had cortisol levels 4 times higher than the average, now within a healthy range!! I now sleep well, eat well, exercise well, I wake early to do my practice and I do not feel tired till the evening, as a general rule of thumb. My adrenals have been supported and I continue to keep them this way. Our modern world, this 24/7 living, stimulants everywhere, no rest, stress and more stress all come at a high price!
Here are some guidelines;
Cleanse your body on a cellular level
A healthy, alkaline, nutritious, diet is absolutely necessary
Make sure you are hydrated
Get out and enJOY nature, sunshine is very important
Most importantly get rid of TOXIC relationships and people
The good news is, you can heal and overcome your adrenal fatigue and bounce back! Feel your energy levels soar!! And start ‘thriving again.
It is really crucial to slow down… Be gentle on yourself and rest. Recognizing that you are here and doing something about it NOW before it really hits you hard. I wish I had listened to the signs, that my body was showing me! But then again, at least I have experienced this myself and now feel that I can help others!!