Alternative medicine describes the adrenal gland’s failure to produce adequate quantities of hormones, primarily glucocorticoid cortisol, as Adrenal Fatigue. It should not be confused with recognized forms of adrenal dysfunction such as adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s Disease. This article will focus on the lifestyle-based causes of Adrenal Fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue signs and symptoms include:
- achy and swollen joints
- anger, depression and weepiness
- anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, depression, emotional intensity, nervousness
- bladder urgency
- blurry vision, cataracts
- body aches and pains
- bone loss (osteopenia/osteoporosis)
- bowel troubles (loose stools, constipation), Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- changes in your skin, hair and nails (acne, easy bruising, hair loss or thinning, increased facial hair)
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- decreased libido, impotence
- decreased strength and/or energy
- degenerative diseases of aging
- diabetes (Type II Diabetes)
- digestive issues (nausea, heartburn)
- excessive sweating
- fatigue (both physical and emotional), decreased energy levels
- heart conditions (heart palpitations, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack)
- increased appetite
- increased cravings for sugar, nicotine and alcohol
- increased thirst
- increased blood sugar levels
- infections (shingles, candida overgrowth, interstitial cystitis, etc.)
- insomnia or interrupted sleep
- loss of lean body mass, weight gain around midsection
- lower back problems
- male or female hormone imbalances (progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, pregnenolone, aldosterone, and DHEA)
- menstrual abnormalities (irregular periods and PMS symptoms)
- muscle weakness (especially in upper arms and thighs)
- poor memory and concentration
- protein deficiency state
- round moon face with or without ruddy complexion
- weakened immune system
What causes it:
The two types of adrenal gland dysfunction are glandular-based and lifestyle-based disorders. Both can cause the overproduction or underproduction of your adrenal hormones. Glandular-based adrenal disorders/diseases are caused by: genetic mutation, a tumor, or an infection, and will express as acute and severe symptoms. With Lifestyle-based disorders, your symptoms come on more gradual and develop over a longer period of time due to long-term daily poor nutrition and lifestyle habits. Often lifestyle-based hormone imbalances will produce symptoms long before a blood test will register your imbalance.
Adrenal Fatigue is a lifestyle-based dysfunction and results from these lifestyle adrenaline and cortisol triggers.
Adrenaline Triggers include:
- acute stress (high levels of adrenaline)
- being busy
- excessive or insufficient exercise
- exposure to toxic chemicals
- high androgen hormone levels (DHEA or testosterone)
- high protein intake and/or low carbohydrate intake
- lack of sleep, insomnia
- low calorie intake (dieting)
- low estrogen hormone levels
- poor nutrition
- skipping meals
- stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, ginseng, ma huang/ephedra, Dexedrine, cocaine, ephedrine and pure white sugar)
Cortisol Triggers include:
- chronic stress
- chronic lack of sleep
- dieting (low caloric intake)
- excessive exercising
- exposure to toxic chemicals
- glucocorticoid steroids
- imbalance of Estrodial hormone levels
- low carbohydrate intake
- skipping meals
What can I do about it:
Your hormones are all interconnected and your body’s ability to regenerate efficiently depends on the health and function of your endocrine system. A foundational step in balancing your hormones is a healthy and balanced diet. Here are some diet and lifestyle options for you:
Steps to immediate relief are:
(1) Choose your team of healthcare practitioners wisely. Your Adrenal Fatigue condition and experience of discomfort may be the result of many imbalances in your body, requiring proper testing and an accurate diagnosis. Choosing practitioners with additional training in the areas nutrition, hormone testing/balancing, and detoxification processes will help you take a multi-faceted approach.
Taking ownership of your health equation can be one of the most empowering steps you can take and you can do this by: becoming more informed, listening to your inner wisdom, focusing on your “ideal experience” of health, and partnering with your healthcare and wellness practitioners to effect the best possible outcome. Essential Wellness would be honored to be a part of your wellness team.
(2) Make water your beverage of choice. Water is one of nature’s natural cleansers. Drinking optimal levels of purified water benefits your overall health by supporting your ability to digest your food, supporting your liver in its ability to detoxify your body, and providing fluid for optimal elimination of toxins.
Commit to drinking 1/2 your weight in fluid ounces of water each day. Drinking sips of warmed water (not microwaved) can help support you with detoxifying the congestion in your intestinal tract and lymphatic system throughout your entire body. Eliminating all other caffeinated, sugary, mucus-producing, carbonated beverages (such as coffee, tea, dairy, and soda pop) is essential as they support digestive dysfunction, parasitic and yeast overgrowth, and accumulation of toxins.
(3) It’s very important that you digest, assimilate, detoxify and eliminate properly. Anytime a food is eaten and not completely digested, it will only feed inflammation, gut dysbiosis, and leaky gut. Low stomach acid interferes with the first step of digestion and can be a factor in your health equation.
The HCI Challenge Test can help you determine if you have low stomach acid. If your HCl Challenge Test causes you to experience immediate reflux symptoms, confer with your doctor to rule out a possible H. pylori infection, ulcer, or other stomach issues. Repairing your stomach lining is essential.
(4) Determine whether your symptoms are related to an overgrowth of microorganisms like Candida and Parasites because they often show up with Leaky Gut Syndrome and the symptoms of all three overlap. With this information, you will be better informed to ask questions of your team of practitioners. We can teach you how to improve your diet, eliminate candida and parasites, and repair your leaky gut by incorporating an elimination diet as your next step.
(5) Because Adrenal Fatigue has to do with your metabolism, eliminating the most common highly-reactive, inflammatory foods (dairy, soy, wheat/gluten, eggs, peanuts, sugar and artificial sweeteners, and corn) can help you eliminate the food sources that are contributing to your leaky gut situation, while you complete the required repair work. This is especially important when you are suffering from Adrenal Fatigue. Upgrading your building materials will help you to unburden your digestive system, remove the foods that feed unfriendly microorganisms, stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce cravings, and support your body’s detoxification and elimination processes.
Replace inflammatory foods with satisfying balanced meals (healthy, lean and clean proteins; low-glycemic and high fiber carbohydrates; lots and lots of dark leafy greens; and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, oils). Reintroducing each reactive food group separately will allow you to determine what foods are still a problem for you. At Essential Wellness, we have a specific coaching program designed to help you formulate a diet that will work best for you and teach you how to optimize your digestion.
6) Becoming an expert at reading labels and eliminating unhealthy ingredients is key. If you cannot pronounce the name of an ingredient or know what it is, how will you know if it’s actually safe to consume? Most food companies add preservatives, colorings, and flavor enhancers by adding chemicals to packaged foods. Some ingredients like MSG and wheat are hidden as “spices” in the packaged foods. They often add several sweeteners to a product so that sugar doesn’t have to be listed as a top ingredient. Consuming foods that create inflammation and reaction will only worsen adrenal fatigue symptoms.
(7) Getting into the habit of always washing your fruits and vegetables before consuming them is a proactive choice you can make to reduce your exposure to parasites, bugs, and added pesticide residues present on your produce. Choose organic whenever possible to avoid the drag that insecticides and pesticides play on your digestive and immune systems. Avoiding the consumptions of raw or undercooked meat reduces your exposure to parasites.
(8) Setting yourself up for optimal digestion is key. Drinking a glass of water 15-30 minutes before your meal, then taking the time to sit down, eat and enjoy it in a stress-free environment is a habit that supports optimal digestion. This allows you to chew your food thoroughly in a relaxed manner and it helps facilitate better digestion. This turns off the stress response and turns on the digest response in the body. Eating until you feel 80% full is another key to optimal digestion.
(9) Skipping meals not only affects your blood sugar levels, it puts your body in a state of stress which makes adrenal fatigue symptoms worse and it turns on fat storage hormones. Eating three balanced and satisfying meals each day supports stabilized blood sugar levels. When you have Adrenal Fatigue, focusing your attention on eating balancing, satisfying meals will help you reduce your stress.
(10) Balanced and nutrient-rich meals support the synergistic relationship of your major hormones. Your body needs a variety of nutrients to make all your hormones, and when these building materials are not present your hormone system really suffers. Implementing improvements in your dietary and lifestyle habits support the balance of your hormone levels and reduces your overall stress. Making dietary changes is often overlooked before beginning hormone replacement. See information on Hypothyroidism for more information about your body’s hormonal system.
(11) Implementing an appropriate exercise plan. When you are suffering from extreme fatigue or low energy, your body is in a constant state of stress and exercise can make your symptoms worse. Using stress reduction techniques regularly will help you manage your stress more effectively and can include: light exercise (such as Yoga or Tai Chi) or relaxation therapy. Checking with your healthcare practitioner before beginning any exercise program is a good idea, especially when you have Adrenal Fatigue.
(12) Eliminating excessive stress levels is an important key to your recover from Adrenal Fatigue. It’s okay to be “me” selfish and make taking care of yourself a top priority. Teaching your family how to and setting the expectation for them to be responsible for themselves will allow you to rest and your body to repair itself. Adopt the concept of filling your own cup first before sharing the overflow with others. Using stress reduction techniques regularly will help you manage your stress more effectively.
Stress reduction techniques might include: exercise, relaxation therapy (such as meditation, visualization, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or tai chi), biofeedback, hypnosis, Eden Energy Medicine exercises, EFT, Mental-Emotional Stress Release, counseling or stress management training. We teach various techniques to help you diffuse your stress.
(13) Choosing a bedtime routine that will support optimal sleep eat night is a gift to your body – time for repair and regeneration. Winding down the last 60-90 minutes before you go to sleep and trying to “hit the sack” by 10 pm at the latest is a great habit that supports optimal health. Winding down time sends the message to your body to move into relaxation and rest. You can end your day by spending a few minutes reflecting on all the good parts of your day. Setting an intention to experience a restful and replenishing night of sleep and a smooth and easy-flowing day tomorrow is a fabulous way to quiet your mind before drifting off to sleep.
Keeping a notepad and pen on your nightstand and to write down a quick note about anything that is keeping your mind engaged will allow you to let go of your “To Do List” until tomorrow. Relaxation techniques are an excellent way to end your day. If you need help implementing these relaxation techniques, schedule an appointment with us at Essential Wellness and we can show you how.
(14) The use of essential oils can be beneficial to you. For immediate pain relief, apply 1-3 drops of appropriate essential oil to 1 tsp of carrier oil (V6 or olive oil) and apply through self massage of area(s) where your discomfort lies or massage correlating neurolymphatic and/or foot reflex points (such as your adrenal glands, liver, stomach, pancreas, small and large intestines). Layering multiple oils can create a synergistic effect.
Young Living Essential Oils are safe, effective, and known for their pureness and therapeutic-grade qualities. For more help with choosing the right oils and application of specific points or meridians on your body, schedule an appointment with us at Essential Wellness.
Steps to long-term, permanent relief:
If you are experiencing a lot of the symptoms listed above, your inner ecosystem and hormones have been out of balance for quite some time. It’s time for you to think about implementing these additional steps:
(15) Making your dietary improvements permanent might be exactly what you need to feel better. When you do not provide your body with key nutrients all aspects of digestion, absorption, detoxification and elimination become impaired. Your hormone system can only mirror the quality of the building materials you provide it through your diet.
The place where most people fail is falling back into old habits that slowly recreate their imbalances and symptoms. Eating healthy 95% of the time and indulging only 5% of the time supports your optimal well-being. If you are struggling with how to integrate these changes on your own, as Essential Wellness practitioner skilled in the areas of nutrition, digestion and detoxification can help you.
(16) When you are suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, it will benefit you to complete repair work of your gut lining so that you digest and assimilate nutrients from your food. Herbal supplements like a Biocult probiotic, L-glutamine powder, NAC, Alpha Lipoic Acid, digestive enzymes, and Glutathione spray all have their place in supporting the rebuilding of your gut ecosystem, but they will not make up the difference if you eat a “crappy” diet.
You can also introduce organic, home-made probiotic foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, etc., to continue to feed and build your gut ecosystem. The healthier your gut ecosystem is, the more able your immune system is to chelate toxins from your body. There are many ayuredic herbs that benefit the repair of your digestive system. Young Living has many nutritional supplements that can help you balance your digestive terrain. We can help teach you about these supportive supplements and live foods at Essential Wellness.
Often with adrenal fatigue, you have a digestive issue that interferes with the absorption of nutrients so your supplement recommendations may need to be addressed differently (such as through lozenges, sub-lingual, liquid, or skin patch).
(17) ALCAT allergy testing can easily determine what allergens are triggering you. Your test results will tell you what foods, chemicals, and other environmental triggers (like pet dander, mold, fungi, grasses) are triggers for you. This testing determines the severity of your intolerance and gives you recommendations of how long to remove it from your environment while you repair your digestive system.
If it’s determined that you have food, chemical or environmental sensitivities, receiving NAET Desensitization Therapy might be part of your allergies answer. This desensitization therapy works in combination with cleaning up your diet, strengthening your ability to digest your food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating toxins. It helps reduce the over-triggering of your immune system, which reduces your overall stress.
(18) Detoxifying your body through dietary improvements, an herbal cleanse program, and/or detoxification therapies can be an effective way to improve your overall experience of well-being. Before beginning any detox protocol, check in with your healthcare practitioner, to determine if there is a reason you should not complete a cleanse at this time. (When your body is in an extreme state of stress and toxicity, it’s important to replenish your nutrient reserves before beginning any detoxification protocol.)
It is also very important for your elimination channels to be open before beginning and during any detoxification program, otherwise you may suffer from a Herxheimer Reaction. At Essential Wellness, we know the ins and outs of the cleansing and detoxification process and we can help you minimize your discomfort as you detoxify your body.
(19) Test for Heavy Metals. Adrenal Fatigue often presents itself along with candida overgrowth and leaky gut, and there is a connection between them and mercury poisoning. It can be very difficult if not impossible for your body to repair itself adrenal fatigue as long as you have a candida issue, leaky gut and heavy metal poisoning. Request a Heavy Metal Profile from your health professional. If test results show you have a high level of mercury toxins, work with a naturopathic dentist to properly replace your silver amalgam fillings.
How can Essential Wellness help:
At Essential Wellness, we believe repair and recovery is based on many factors. Although we cannot diagnose, prescribe, treat or claim to cure any medical condition you may have, our focus is on helping you reduce the many levels of stress that are playing into your current health experience.
When you are experiencing Adrenal Fatigue and the therapies you’ve tried are not giving you relief, Essential Wellness can help you. We do this by sharing our knowledge and experience, tools, techniques, and these therapies:
- Nutrition & Wellness Plan is one of our coaching programs that will help you get clear about what your wellness goals are (based on your individual needs), teach you how to decipher and make sense of all the dietary information available to you, and help you formulate your own wellness plan with accountability. The foundation of your wellness plan will be structured around habits that only you have the power to control and change.
- Based on our knowledge and experience, most health disorders including Adrenal Fatigue are connected to some physiological dysfunction that causes accumulated toxicity in the body or vice versa. We offer the detoxification therapies of Colonics, Core Lymphatic, and IonCleanse Foot Detox to help reduce stress on your digestive, detoxification and elimination channels. Colonics in combination with herbal support will compliment your dietary foundation and can be especially helpful to you when you are not eliminating at least once per day.
- We offer Core Synchronism, Eden Energy Medicine exercises, and Vibrational Raindrop Technique therapies to assist you in balancing your physical body by reducing stress associated with adrenal fatigue. When your body feels out of balance and you feel stress, it is usually due to blocked or congested energy that has settled in your physical body. These body balancing therapies help you relieve this kind of stress. We can add Essential Oils to compliment the therapy you receive.
- Toxic emotions can block the flow of your energy channels and become stuck in your physical body. The emotional component of fatigue is boredom or lack of love for what you do, a fear of the future, not feeling safe, and resisting change. If any of these descriptions match what you are experiencing, Mental-Emotional Stress Release techniques can help you understand and integrate these experiences and diffuse the stress they cause you. Flower Remedies can compliment the therapy you receive.
- With Adrenal Fatigue you are most likely experiencing multiple symptoms. We offer RAE Radionics Hair Analysis as another tool to help you address any stress that is present in your energy system.