Adrenal fatigue is a fast-growing epidemic which presents itself as a vast number of physical imbalances and diseases.  Western medicine has a habit of trying to treat the various symptoms, instead of identifying and treating the driving causes.  This usually leaves people on a plethora of drugs, which can have other nasty side effects.
 
If you experience any of the following symptoms, consider that it may be your sympathetic nervous system in overdrive, which then in the long run depletes the adrenal glands… Classic signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
  • Fatigue and weakness, especially in the morning and afternoon
  • A suppressed immune system
  • Increased allergies
  • Muscle and bone loss and muscular weakness
  • Depression
  • Cravings for foods high in salt, sugar or fat
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Skin problems
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
  • Low sex drive
  • Lightheadedness (dizziness) when getting up from sitting or lying down
  • Decreased ability to handle stress
  • Trouble waking up in the morning, despite a full night’s sleep
  • Poor memory

There are multiple reasons your adrenal system can become fatigued, and it is estimated that up to 80% of adults will developed a fatigued adrenal system in their lifetime.

What are your adrenal glands?

Your body has two adrenal glands, located just above each of your kidneys. As part of your endocrine system, your adrenal glands secrete more than 50 hormones, many of which are essential for life and include:
Glucocorticoids: These hormones, which include cortisol, help your body convert food into energy, normalize blood sugar, respond to stress and maintain your immune system’s inflammatory response.
Mineralocorticoids: These hormones, which include aldosterone, help keep your blood pressure and blood volume normal by maintaining a proper balance of sodium, potassium and water in your body.
Adrenaline: This hormone increases your heart rate and controls blood flow to your muscles and brain, along with helping with the conversion of glycogen to glucose in your liver.

Together, these hormones and others produced by your adrenal glands control such body functions as maintaining metabolic processes, such as managing blood sugar levels and regulating inflammation; regulating your body’s balance of salt and water; controlling your “fight or flight” response to stress; maintaining pregnancy; Initiating and controlling sexual maturation during childhood and puberty; producing sex steroids such as estrogen and testosterone.

Ironically, although your adrenal glands are there, in large part, to help you cope with stress, too much of it is actually what causes their function to break down.

In other words, one of your adrenal glands most important tasks is to get your body ready for the “fight or flight” stress response, which means increasing adrenaline and other hormones. As part of this response, your heart rate and blood pressure increase, your digestion slows, and your body becomes ready to face a potential threat or challenge.
While this response is necessary and good when it’s needed, many of us are constantly faced with stressors (work, environmental toxins, not enough sleep, worry, relationship problems and more) and therefore are in this “fight or flight” mode for far too long — much longer than was ever intended from a biological standpoint.

The result is that your adrenal glands, faced with excessive stress and burden, become overworked and fatigued. Some common factors that put excess stress on your adrenals are:
  • Anger, fear, anxiety, guilt, depression and other negative emotions
  • Overwork, including physical or mental strain
  • Excessive exercise
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Light-cycle disruption (such as working the night shift or often going to sleep late)
  • Surgery, trauma or injury
  • Chronic inflammation, infection, illness or pain
  • Temperature extremes
  • Toxic exposure
  • Nutritional deficiencies and/or severe allergies
From the list above, I can tell you that a good Naturopathic investigation will cover all of these aspects, and be able to help you identify the drivers of your fatigue.  When you get to the root cause, you always have the greatest chance of recovery from adrenal fatigue.

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