In the last decade, the pace of life (and all that comes with it, i.e., stress) has increased. If you’ve not yet dealt with adrenal fatigue it’s likely that you will at some point in your life. In fact, “Many proponents of this condition estimate that almost every person can experience adrenal fatigue, also known as hypoadrenia, to some degree at a particularly stressful point in his or her life.”1
If this is the first you are hearing about adrenal fatigue, you may be experiencing it right now but haven’t quite had the words to explain how you were feeling. But you aren’t alone:
“Because of the vast influence of the adrenals on the body, symptoms of adrenal fatigue can mimic a number of disorders and isn’t always easily recognizable. Most sources agree that adrenal fatigue symptoms include extreme fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, insulin resistance and others.
Some people at high risk for the symptoms of adrenal fatigue include busy new parents, students in college or post-graduate studies and caregivers, such as nurses or family members caring for invalid relatives.
If you have adrenal fatigue, it can also be a major cause of excess fat storage and low energy levels. Luckily, you can heal adrenal fatigue with three simple steps: start an adrenal fatigue diet, take supplements and reduce stress.”2
What are the Adrenal Glands?
Adrenal glands are thumb-sized organs that sit above your kidneys and are part of the endocrine system. And it is that system that produces “over 50 hormones that drive almost every bodily function, many of which are essential for life”3 either directly or indirectly.
“They react to each other as well as respond to conditions in the body in an intricate and highly sensitive balancing act. The adrenal glands work closely with the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in a system known as the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis).
Normally, the adrenal glands release cortisol on a diurnal rhythm, referring to the process of boosts of cortisol throughout the day that help wake us up, with a decline in this hormone level in the evening to aid the body in sleeping.”
However, that rhythm doesn’t function well when stress happens:
- The brain registers a threat (emotional, mental or physical).
- The adrenal medulla releases cortisol and adrenaline hormones to help you react to the threat (fight-or-flight), rushing blood to your brain, heart, and muscles.
- The adrenal cortex releases corticosteroids to dampen processes like digestion, immune system response and other functions not necessary for immediate survival.
The longer you stress your adrenals, the longer the recovery. According to Dr. Axe, full adrenal recovery can take:4
- 6–9 months for minor adrenal fatigue
- 12–18 months for moderate fatigue
- Up to 24 months for severe adrenal fatigue
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:5
- Autoimmune conditions
- Chronic fatigue (always feeling tired)
- Brain fog
- Hair loss
- Hormone imbalance
- Weakened stress response
- Insulin resistance
- Decreased sex drive/libido
- Moodiness and irritability
- Muscle or bone loss
- Skin ailments
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight gain
- Sweet and salty food cravings
So, what do you do if this sounds like you? Again, Dr. Axe:
“Treatment for adrenal fatigue involves reducing stress on your body and your mind, eliminating toxins, avoiding negative thinking and replenishing your body with healthy foods, supplements and ways of thinking.”6
1. Follow an Adrenal Fatigue Diet
2. Take Adrenal Fatigue Supplements and Herbs: See Dr. Axe’s article here for a list.
3. Reduce Adrenal Fatigue Stress
One of the most important parts of restoring adrenal function is listening to your body and minding your stress levels. Take time for yourself. Get good sleep. Eat good food. Spend time with people you love. Heal emotional wounds. And remember, be patient; it took time to get to where you are and it will take time to heal.