Here’s how you can tell… and what to do if they are.
If you’ve been feeling more run down lately, you’re not alone. The National Institutes of Health estimates that half a million people in the U.S. are struggling with chronic fatigue at any moment. And those are just the diagnosed cases. Many more people suffer from undiagnosed, subclinical symptoms of fatigue.
There can be a number of causes for feeling this way. Poor diet and exercise, too much stress, lack of sleep and other lifestyle imbalances can all contribute. Other factors like candida overgrowth, blood sugar issues, anemia and allergies may also be part of the pattern.
The end result, however, is still the same: overwhelming fatigue, inability to handle stress well, and poor mental focus.
Your Internal Batteries
Sitting on top of your kidneys are two cap-shaped glands that act in many ways like your reserve batteries for energy. These are your adrenal glands (“ad” means above and “renal” means kidney).
Your adrenals control many aspects of keeping your system in balance. In addition, because they are the source of survival and stress hormones (adrenalin and cortisol), they can be considered your ‘survival’ glands.
This survival aspect of your adrenals is why they can get worn down over time. If you push yourself too hard, don’t get enough sleep, or are stressed and overloaded long enough, your adrenals take the brunt of it.
The list of possible symptoms from low adrenals is surprisingly long. Here’s a short summary of the chronic symptoms someone might have:
- Asthma, Bronchitis Or Chronic Cough
- Allergies or Frequent Colds or Flu
- Muscle Weakness And Back Pain
- Lack of Sleep or Restless Sleep
- Dizziness When Standing Up from Sitting or Lying
- Symptoms of Inflammation
- Hypoglycemia / Diabetes
- Headaches (especially those made better by lying down)
- Depression and/or Over-reacting to People & Events
- Memory Problems and Lack of Mental Clarity
- Craving Salt or Sugar
- Hemorrhoids or Varicose Veins
- Poor Digestion and/or Elimination
Although adrenal fatigue isn’t the only possible cause for all of these symptoms, having any of them usually indicates that your adrenals are tired.
Assessing and Treating Weak Adrenals
Although there are blood tests to determine levels of adrenal hormones, they aren’t as sensitive at detecting problems as saliva tests. I recommend testing saliva for both cortisol and DHEA. These tests sample saliva 4 times over the course of a day to determine how well your adrenals regulate these hormones.
Depending on test results, you can then consider supporting your adrenals with herbal and nutritional supplements.
Adaptogenic herbs such as Eleutherococcus (Siberian Ginseng), Panax Ginseng, Astragalus, Licorice Root and Rhodiola are effective for supporting weak adrenals. Also useful are vitamins B-5 (Pantothenic Acid), B-6 (Pyridoxine) and C. In more extreme cases, purified adrenal tissue extract can be used
When taking adrenal support supplements, it’s best to only take them in the morning and at noon. Some people find that they have a mildly stimulating effect that might interfere with sleep.
I also recommend that people taking these kinds of supplements start at low doses and slowly add more as their body becomes stronger. As always, it’s best to consult with your health care provider to determine what’s best for your unique situation.
Reference:Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr. James Wilson