ADRENAL FATIGUE 101
Adrenals are small glands which lie on the top of our kidneys. They produce hormones, among others STRESS HORMONES which prepare our bodies for fight or flight in the case of danger.
Nature provided us with this stress response to help us survive. Thousands of years ago “fight or flight” was important in cases such as running away from a hungry animal. After the danger was over, the stress response was no longer needed and the sympathetic nervous system eased down, letting the calming parasympathetic system take over. The person then stayed in this state until the next danger occured.
After the danger was OVER, the sympathetic nervous system eased down.
In our modern era, we are no longer chased by wild animals, but we are facing dangers of different types: jobs we hate, full schedules, unhealthy relationships, even the food that we eat and the air we breathe. These modern dangers are CONSTANTLY HERE, so we are in “fight or flight” mode for most of the time. This means that our adrenal glands are constantly secreting stress hormones and are exhausted as a result.
Adrenal fatigue comes in several stages and – if not treated – leads to burnout. Burnout is a very serious state and it usually takes 12 to 18 months to heal from it. This is why it is very important to recognise adrenal fatigue at its early stages and react before it slips too far.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue are similar in all stages, but are becoming more severe when the stages progress. They include:
- struggling to get up in the morning,
- sleeping disorders,
- weight gain,
- belly fat,
- stressing about safety and security,
- cravings for sugar and/or salt,
- blood sugar issues,
- digestive issues
Because of the fast pace of life which is extremely hard for our body to adapt to, most people have some stage of adrenal fatigue.
Your doctor most probably won’t determine the levels of your stress hormones for two reasons:
- adrenal fatigue is not really ‘a thing’ in Western medicine &
- there is no pill that could heal you from it.
The truth is you can only heal yourself. There is no big science behind it; it is very logical. You need to recharge your adrenal glands and give your body its energy back.
This is done by:
- focused & smart energy investment
- healthy diet based on whole foods
- avoiding glucose spikes
- reducing or eliminating intake of caffeine
- restorative movement (no heavy exercise; a good example of restorative movement is walking or yoga)
- self care & self love.
This takes time and discipline, but it is definitely worth it (or should I say essential).
You got this!