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.
The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys and are responsible for secreting more than 50 different hormones that are essential for life. Among these are adrenaline, cortisol, progesterone and testosterone. 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.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
There are some symptoms that are common among people who are suffering from adrenal fatigue. These include:
- Feeling tired for no reason
- Craving salty or sweet snacks
- Morning fatigue
- Mid-afternoon sleepiness
- Increased energy in the late afternoon
- Decreased sex drive
- Mild Depression
- Weight gain, especially around the waist
- Low body temperature
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.
Supplements: Finally, adding supplements to your diet can speed healing of adrenal fatigue. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, E, and B complex are recommended. Also try to avoid ‘junk’ food as much as possible. Rather, add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.
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.