By: Dr. Alisun Bonville — Just helping you out in your everyday journey 🙂
Let’s talk about adrenal fatigue. This is a true epidemic in our society due to the pressure to succeed in all categories of life and to look great while doing so! We work hard, play hard and spend more hours in our day working than we do relaxing and enjoying each other. Between the pressures of life and the food we have come to know as “healthy” it is no surprise that most of us are walking around exhausted and dependent on stimulants like coffee, sodas and sugar.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
This is our bodies reaction to us asking too much of it. Each time we wake up and drink our morning cup of coffee, the adrenal glands kick in and produce the hormones known as corticosteroids. Cortisol levels typically are at their peak in the morning when we wake up and then taper off at night to help us begin our sleep cycle. Caffeine and sugar increases our cortisol levels. Once we begin our work day and our stress levels rise because of deadlines, a difficult boss, co worker or customer etc and more cortisol is produced to help the body manage these stressors. Now after a hard day of work, we hit the gym or the trails and we push our bodies to the max asking more from our adrenals. Or perhaps we lead a life of low stress that includes meditation, gentle exercise and pretty good diet, however we have an unknown food intolerance that causes bloating, joint pain, fatigue, brain fog and dis-ease. Or perhaps we have an injury or a accident that called for surgery….All of these incidents and lifestyles can lead to adrenal fatigue or worse exhaustion. Sounds hopeless? Not at all!
What are the symptoms?
Chronic fatigue, menstrual abnormalities, insomnia, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, depression, rapid aging, obesity, stress. Waking up after a full 8 or more hours of sleep and you’re still tired or not being able to fall asleep until the wee hours of the night are both symptoms that your adrenal glands are stressed.
How do I prevent this?
The good news is there’s a lot we can do to avoid this adrenal catastrophe! We can test for adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalances and food intolerances to get a clear picture of what’s going on. We can work with a doctor and nutrition expert to guide us through diet and supplements to support our adrenal health. A two fold approach is necessary in maintaining adrenal health.
A clean diet void of food intolerances, fried and processed foods and low in sugar, caffeine, alcohol and gluten not only help your body run like a freshly lubed engine, but also gives your adrenals a break and allows them to produce enough hormones at the appropriate times, rather than all day long! If you can maintain a diet rich in plant nutrients, healthy fats & proteins and organic fruits and vegetables along with probiotic rich foods like fermented cabbage (think sauerkraut, kimchi) your gut will thank you with a balanced gut flora and strong immune system. When your gut is healthy and balanced, your adrenals don’t have to go in over drive. This diet will also reward you with a sharper, more relaxed mind and sustained energy rather than brain fog, sugar spikes and crazy energy.
Laugh more, dance more, love more, and do what you enjoy more! Managing your stress through meditation, practicing your spirituality, talk therapy, self care (massage, acupuncture, craniosacral work, yoga, time away) and moderate exercise is important not only for your sanity, heart and bones but also for your over worked adrenals. Take some time to listen to your favorite music and go for a walk or perhaps you play an instrument or used to dance and sing? Tap into the things you used to do before life got hectic! Unplug from your electronic devices and plug into your loved ones or nature.