Chances are you have heard of adrenal fatigue, but you may not be quite sure what it is. Understanding this condition is important however, because some experts suggest that 80% of the Western world will be affected by adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives.
What Are Adrenal Glands and Where Are They Located?
Your adrenal glands play a very important role in maintaining your health. They are incredibly small, about the size and weight of a coin. They are located above your kidneys, just below the muscle tissue of your lower back.
What Do Adrenal Glands Do?
Your adrenal glands are responsible for secreting more than 50 different hormones that are essential for life. Among these are adrenaline, cortisol, progesterone and testosterone. They are also responsible for the amount of inflammation in our body, our immune system, our blood sugar levels and the electrolytes in our blood. They influence all the physiological functions processes of the body and help stave off physical fatigue.
Because they regulate so many important hormones, their proper function is critical for many functions essential to life such as producing energy, balancing electrolytes and storing fat. These glands also help you deal with stress. When you are under stress, the adrenal glands engage many different responses in your body to make it easier for you to handle that stress. But during periods of intense, prolonged stress or chronic illness, the adrenal glands begin functioning below the level needed to maintain health and well-being in the body. They still function, but at less than optimal levels. The result is adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
When there is something wrong with our body, it will start to signal us that something needs to be addressed. Here is how your adrenal glands will signal you that something is wrong.
- Your blood sugar level will either drop or spike suddenly.
- Your hormones will be all over the place. One moment you are happy and the other moment you will find yourself crying over something that does not even bother you that much.
- You get sick more often because your immune system will not function properly without healthy adrenal glands.
- You will be stressed and it will be hard for you to manage your stress levels.
- Your sex drive will decrease.
- It will be hard for you to complete your daily tasks because those tasks will require a lot more effort than usual.
- You will find it hard to keep yourself awake even if you know that you need to sacrifice sleep for a very important task.
- You will constantly crave food, mostly salty and savory foods, and it will be hard you satisfy your cravings. You will find yourself craving them more even if you have just eaten something.
- Your body will take longer to heal properly.
- You will fail to find happiness or excitement in tasks and hobbies that you enjoyed before.
- You may find yourself skipping meals.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Treatment for adrenal fatigue focuses on making changes to your lifestyle and diet. If you have minor adrenal fatigue, you can expect to be better within 6-9 months. Moderate to severe adrenal fatigue can take between 12-24 months to heal, and severe cases can take even longer.
Stress: One of the first things you should do is reduce the stress in your life. This may mean clearing your schedule, reworking some relationships or learning time management skills. In order for your adrenal glands to heal, the demands placed on them should be lightened.
Sleep: Sufficient sleep is also important. The main repair work on your adrenal glands takes place between 10 pm and 1 am. If you are prone to late nights, consider training your body to go to bed earlier. It is also a good idea to reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet in order to help you sleep more soundly.
Exercise: Adrenal fatigue can also be helped by exercise. Exercise regulates cortisol, relieves depression and increases blood flow. Each of these benefits will contribute to your recovery. Try to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes each day. However, don’t overdo it as this will worsen adrenal fatigue.
Supplements: Finally, adding supplements to your diet can speed healing of adrenal fatigue. To improve your adrenal health, add proteins, healthy carbs, zinc, calcium, magnesium and vitamins (especially C and D) to your diet. Try to avoid ‘junk’ food as much as possible. Rather, add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Increase foods like coconuts, avocados, olives, chia seeds, bone broth, nuts, vegetables and fish, but make sure you do all of this in moderation.
If you suspect you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, don’t be discouraged. You can start the recovery process by making the above changes to your diet and lifestyle. If you would like to learn more about how you can work with me to develop your personal wellness plan, schedule your discovery session at www.bookmydiscoverysession.com.
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