Fatigue is on the rise in modern culture.
Many of my patients tell me they feel more tired than they used to. Even those who live active lives find they don’t have the energy that they once did. If you are also experiencing pain or stiffness, this creates a double-whammy for your quality of life.
As a reader of this newsletter, you already know that one reason for this is the modern diet. Hopefully you’ve moved away from eating unnatural, processed and packaged foods.
But sometimes, just changing your diet isn’t enough.
Of course even if you’re eating the best food you can you may still notice a drop of energy. It’s tempting to blame “getting older” for this, and to a certain extent it’s true.
What about getting older contributes to fatigue? Several things.
For one, as you age, your ability to adapt gets slowly worn down. Stress, overwork, injuries, etc. cause this. Much of this comes down to adrenal fatigue. Here’s how it works…
Your adrenals are your organs of survival. If you’re walking in the jungle and an tiger jumps onto the path ahead of you, you’d better have good adrenals. At that moment, your adrenals pump out large amounts of cortisol. It gives you the energy and strength to either run or face the threat.
In acute emergencies, cortisol is a good thing. So far, so good.
But in modern life, people often experience survival-related events on an ongoing basis. What events? How about having to perform well at work so you won’t lose your job? Or what about driving in traffic during rush hour? Stressful relationships also can feel like life-and-death events.
In nature, cortisol is there to keep you alive in emergencies. But in modern life, ongoing stress pushes your adrenals past their natural function. Over time this weakens them.
The tricky part comes in because survival is a prime directive for your body. Without surviving, pretty much nothing else matters. So when your adrenals get tired, they start drawing on other resources. Among the first of these are what I call the “quality of life” hormones. Testosterone and estrogen are the most well-known of these.
The root of your quality of life hormones is something called DHEA. When stress goes on too long, your adrenals start “stealing” from the source of DHEA, so levels go down. This is so you’ll have enough cortisol to have energy to survive. At this point, you are in what’s called Stage II adrenal fatigue.
If this goes on longer, even your cortisol levels go down. At this point, you enter Stage III of adrenal fatigue.
In both cases, one of the effects is tiredness. This tiredness affects everything you do. Your work suffers. Your family doesn’t get your best attention. You don’t enjoy things like you used to.
Many people who go through this start giving up. But they don’t have to. By working with someone who’s trained in Functional Medicine, you can get to the bottom of why you are tired. And, more importantly, you can turn it around naturally.
The bottom line is you don’t have to give in to fatigue. You can fight it and get back your energy and quality of life.
All the best to you for your health and happiness,