Exhaustion. Utter exhaustion. And it is not from lack of sleep!
Does this sound familiar?
What is Adrenal Fatigue
I experienced adrenal fatigue as part of the comorbid issues while combating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Because our adrenal glands play a major role in our stress response, in turn, chronic stress is the number one factor that contributes to a Cortisol imbalance, over triggering the glands to “misfire,” sometimes to the point of exhaustion (aka adrenal fatigue).
However, adrenal fatigue can also be caused by:
- Exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
- Negative thinking
- Emotional trauma
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet, toxic load, and heavy metals
- Lack of exercise or over exercise
Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and regulated by the pituitary gland. It is a steroid hormone with many critical bodily functions. For instance, when our adrenal glands release Cortisol into our bloodstream, it helps to reduce inflammation, control our blood pressure, and send a “flight or fight” response in uber-stressful situations.
Adrenals not only produce cortisol, but they are also responsible for producing over 50 hormones that assist in almost every biological function, many of which are essential for life.
Since the adrenal glands are so intricate in our bodily functioning, imbalances can lead to a disruption in our overall health that can be easily missed until someone is severely affected. Adrenal glands are very important and should be adequately cared for.
What You Can Do
Change your diet to one that is low in sugar, processed foods, and gluten. You can also supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals including selenium, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Vitamins B5, B6, and B12 (WebMD, n.d.). Selenium helps relieve oxidative stress and helps inhibit the HPA Axis–the stress machine (Chanoine, Wong & Lavoie, 2004).
Several individual studies have indicated a number of adaptogenic herbs’ ability to help moderate our stress responses including licorice (Al-Dujaili et al., 2011), panax ginseng (Panossian et al.,, 2007), Holy Basil (Ahmad et al., 2012), ashwagandha (Singh et al., 1982) and rhodiola (Wiegant et a., 2009. I personally have used both licorice and ashwagandha to heal my adrenal glands.
Acupuncture would also be beneficial in supporting your adrenal gland health since it is part of the endocrine system. This works by supporting hormone balancing effects.
Ahmad, A., Rasheed, N., Gupta, P., Singh, S., Siripurapu, K. B., Ashraf, G. M., … & Al-Sheeha, M. (2012). Novel Ocimumoside A and B as anti-stress agents: modulation of brain monoamines and antioxidant systems in chronic unpredictable stress model in rats. Phytomedicine, 19(7), 639-647.
Al-Dujaili, E. A., Kenyon, C. J., Nicol, M. R., & Mason, J. I. (2011). Liquorice and glycyrrhetinic acid increase DHEA and deoxycorticosterone levels in vivo and in vitro by inhibiting adrenal SULT2A1 activity. Molecular and cellular endocrinology, 336(1-2), 102-109.
Chanoine, J. P., Wong, A. C., & Lavoie, J. C. (2004). Selenium deficiency impairs corticosterone and leptin responses to adrenocorticotropin in the rat. Biofactors, 20(2), 109-118.
Panossian, A., Hambardzumyan, M., Hovhanissyan, A., & Wikman, G. (2007). The adaptogens Rhodiola and Schizandra modify the response to immobilization stress in rabbits by suppressing the increase of phosphorylated stress-activated protein kinase, nitric oxide and cortisol. Drug target insights, 2, 117739280700200011.
Singh, N., Nath, R., Lata, A., Singh, S. P., Kohli, R. P., & Bhargava, K. P. (1982). Withania somnifera (ashwagandha), a rejuvenating herbal drug which enhances survival during stress (an adaptogen). International journal of Crude drug research, 20(1), 29-35.
WebMD (n.d.) Adrenal Fatigue: Is It Real? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/adrenal-fatigue-is-it-real#1
Wiegant, F. A. C., Surinova, S., Ytsma, E., Langelaar-Makkinje, M., Wikman, G., & Post, J. A. (2009). Plant adaptogens increase lifespan and stress resistance in C. elegans. Biogerontology, 10(1), 27-42.