Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

Adrenal fatigue is not a formal medical diagnosis, rather it is a lay medical term used to describe a variety of related experiences. Adrenal fatigue symptoms include unmanageable stress, body aches and pains, fatigue that cannot be managed by 'catching up on sleep' or general rest, hard to control spikes in anxiety, debilitating headaches, brain fog and trouble concentrating, insomnia and even digestive problems.

That last symptom might surprise you, but it shouldn't! There is significant overlap between people who experience gallbladder problems and people who experience adrenal fatigue symptoms – in fact, recent scientific studies have sought to examine whether gallbladder problems can cause fatigue.

What Are Adrenals?

The adrenals are small glands that sit just above our kidneys. These glands are responsible for creating and modulating the release of hormones related to our stress response, such as cortisol and adrenaline – hormones that regulate body functions such as heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.

Our bodies have evolved to release a surge of these hormones when we are under stress – and this provides a functional advantage for us when the stress is short term.

For example, increased levels of adrenaline make our heart beat faster and our lungs breathe more efficiently, which in turn means our brains and muscles will get more oxygen in order to help us think and act fast in an emergency.

Cortisol increases levels of blood glucose and slows our metabolism. This can also be helpful to us by ensuring fuel is available to our bodies and brains as we are navigating a crisis and may have less time or resources for regular eating.

However, both of these effects are meant to be short term responses to a sudden and temporary threat, not a constant state for our body to function in.

Experiencing chronic stress for months and years is like driving your car around town to do basic errands as if you're fleeing from the scene of a bank robbery – all the engine revving, squealing tires, slamming on the brakes and making sudden turns is going to wear down your car parts pretty fast!

Adrenal Fatigue

What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?

Our modern lifestyle, which includes a demand to perform academically and professionally almost nonstop from childhood, and which doesn't teach us proper stress management techniques from a young age, both set us up for the experience of chronic stress.

We also experience more stressors on the body in modern times, such as exposure to higher numbers of chemicals, eating processed foods, and being separated from the rhythms of nature and light/dark cycles – all of which can contribute to a constant state of taxation.

Are My Health Challenges Related to Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms?

The first stage of wear and tear from adrenal fatigue is when your body begins to experience the ill effects of chronic stress: high blood pressure, insulin resistance and weight gain to name a few.

If the stress persists through these initial symptoms, and the adrenal glands are still being asked to pump out hormones at an unusual frequency, the glands themselves can become dysregulated. When you've reached this stage of physical taxation, your body needs extra support to heal, even if and when you are able to make major lifestyle changes.

Healing From Adrenal Fatigue

Working to reduce external causes of emotional stress is an option for us some of the time, but we cannot expect to always control the life circumstances that cause a stress response: they are often beyond the scope of what we have personal power over. Systemic problems cannot be healed by personal choices.

However, what we always can do is bring our awareness to our emotional patterns and shift the ways in which we respond. This could look like creating space in our days for a regular practice of physical, emotional and spiritual self care: gentle and joyful movement, meditation, and journaling have all been shown to reduce overall stress.

Healing Adrenal Fatigue

One of the most important first steps you can take to heal adrenal fatigue is to inventory your life, and take note of the potential causes of stress. It's one thing to have a general sense of, "Yeah, my life is stressful!" and something else entirely to be able to articulate to yourself, "When XXX situation arises, I feel YYY." – because specific awareness of a pattern is the first step in shifting and healing that pattern.

The next step involves shifting the ways in which we choose to respond to a stressful event in the moment. When we know that opening our bills or interacting with a certain coworker can trigger an emotional stress response, then we can train ourselves to go into a situation prepared, and slow down our reaction time by taking a few slow deep breaths, counting to five or ten before responding, asking for time to think about your coworker's request before you give your answer, and so on.

Healing Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms Can Take Time

Resetting the lifestyle and emotional patterns that have provoked stress for years or even decades will not be healed overnight. However, there is one way you can move the needle quickly, by investigating the possible causes of physical stress to your body that you might not have been aware of, or which you might never have connected to your symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

Here are a couple of quick questions to get you started:

  • Are there toxins in your household products such as laundry detergent, cleaners, shampoo or perfume?
  • Are you spending a large amount of time under artificial light, and looking at screens without blue light blocking glasses?
  • Are you not getting enough movement into your day? Conversely, are you approaching exercise like it's military boot camp?
  • Are you eating processed convenience foods, and attempting to combat fatigue with caffeine and sugary snacks?
  • Are you getting enough time in contact with nature, and getting sun on your skin, especially in the mornings?

This list of prompts is just a beginning meant to provoke some thought into the ways you might be unwittingly adding stress to your body and taxing your adrenals.

Supplements to Heal Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

We always mention supplements last, because we are committed to encouraging your good health – and there are no health problems you can supplement your way out of if you're not also willing to make major changes to your lifestyle and your eating habits. That said, when we're also committed to taking a holistic approach to healing ourselves, supplements can give us the added support we need to experience meaningful relief and lasting results.

There are several supplements we carry which can augment your lifestyle changes and reduce the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. For example, melatonin can help us to establish a healthy sleep cycle and reduces inflammation. Vitamin D3 can elevate your mood, improve cognition, and support a healthy immune response. Fermented beet root will support cardiovascular health and support optimal blood flow and nutrient delivery to your muscles. We've even created a Stress Support Kit that will not only help to reduce adrenal fatigue symptoms, it will also modulate your stress response so that you are not constantly revving up your adrenals in the first place.

However, for those of you who feel their adrenal fatigue has gotten so bad that you even lack the energy or motivation to contemplate beginning to make lifestyle changes, we have a powerful supplement to recommend to you. Adrenal Benefits contain a combination of adaptogenic herbs and glandular support to work on healing the adrenals directly, not just addressing the secondary symptoms. We don't recommend taking Adrenal Benefits as a long term plan, but by supplementing with it for a few months, you may be able to access the energy and focus you need to really dig in and make positive lifestyle shifts for your health and wellbeing.

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