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When your stress levels soar, or you suffer from insomnia (lack of sleep), or you overindulge caffeine, it’s very possible that you might have adrenal fatigue…
A condition where your adrenals have been overused for too many years trying to deal with all the stressors of life, stimulants, sleep problems, and poor diet.
When your cortisol (stress hormone) levels soar, you’re likely to suffer adrenal fatigue.
Your hormones are essential for your store of energy. When your hormones are out of balance, your adrenal health suffers.
If you’re under intense stress, there’s a good chance that your adrenals have weakened.
But what are the tell-tale signs that your adrenals are under attack? And are there lifestyle changes you can make to put your cortisol levels back to the optimal range?
There are three major stages of adrenal fatigue:
Stage one is where cortisol levels are too high all the time. Many people feel good during this stage, have a lot of energy, and can burn the candle at both ends.
If you don’t make any diet or lifestyle changes, you’ll eventually move into stage 2.
At this point, your cortisol levels will start to drop too low, and you’ll begin to experience fatigue and other symptoms.
Stage three kicks in when your cortisol levels are too low, virtually all the time. You’ll likely feel exhausted and have no energy to do routine activities you’re used to.
And…did you know that your adrenal health and gut health are related?
Two of the most important adrenal hormones also help to regulate the digestive tract by strengthening the immune system and reducing inflammation.
The hormones–cortisol and DHEA–are made throughout the body, but they’re primarily produced by the adrenal glands.
Cortisol is the main anti-inflammatory hormone in the gut. If your cortisol levels are too high or low, you might experience chronic digestive problems due to the inflammation in the gut, which can also lead to inflammation in other areas of your body.
The DHEA hormone is extra important for your immune system as it helps fight and prevent infections in your gut.
And…by the way, you’re exposed to pathogenic bacteria all the time, and DHEA helps protect your body against them.
So, there is no denying that having the right amounts of cortisol and DHEA is essential, not only for healthy adrenals, but for proper digestive and immune functioning, too.
There are key indicators to look out for adrenal fatigue. ..
- Spiked blood sugar–cortisol is linked to blood sugar regulation. So if your blood sugar is too high or low, it may be a sign of cortisol issues.
- Low blood pressure–if your blood pressure tends to be too low, it’s a good sign that your cortisol output is too low.
- Poor sleep--if you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or not feeling rested enough when you wake up, it could be a sign of cortisol dysregulation.
- Infertility–adrenal hormones help to regulate sex hormones. If you’re having difficulty getting pregnant, or impregnating, you may need to check your adrenals.
Other common adrenal fatigue symptoms include:
- Lower back pain
- Knee weakness or pain
- Feeling tired
- Excessive sweating from little activity
- Dizziness or light-headedness upon standing
- Muscle twitches
- sensitivity to light
- Heart palpitations
- Salt cravings
- Chronic infections (bacterial, fungal, yeast)
- Sweet, sugar, and carb cravings
- Premature aging
- Dry skin
- Low libido
- Easily startled
And how can you get your adrenals firing on all cylinders again?
Restoring your adrenals is possible through lifestyle changes, diet, and supplementation.
First and foremost, it’s critical to implement healthy lifestyle changes that help promote balance and reduce stress levels. You can achieve this by making time for self-care practices like yoga and meditation.
Eliminate sugar and processed foods from your diet. Consider also eliminating gluten, dairy, and soy, as these foods tend to trigger inflammation.
Eat a natural, whole foods-based diet. Indulge animal protein, healthy fats, vegetables and fruits.
Get adequate, quality sleep. You need between 6-8 hours of quality sleep every night in order to support adrenal health. Make it your routine to go to bed by 10 pm every night.
Quit coffee for some time because it wears out your adrenals. Take a break by drinking plenty of water and herbal tea in place of coffee for one month. After your coffee detox, limit yourself to one cup of coffee in the morning.
Besides lifestyle changes, there are certain vitamins that can help boost your adrenal health. Strive to eat more foods that contain these vitamins, or take them in supplement form.
Vitamin C–it’s directly related to cortisol output. In fact, vitamin C is found in its highest concentration in the adrenal glands. Choosing vitamin C with bioflavonoids can hasten its absorption.
B Vitamins–these are necessary for gut health and overall well-being. In particular, Pantothenic Acid, or B5 is important for the adrenal glands as it plays a role in creating every hormone in the body.
Vitamin B5 also helps with anxiety, stress, and the production of cortisol.
Adaptogenic Herbs–these include rhodiola, ginseng, cordyceps, and ashwagandha, among others…
And are all proven to support the adrenals.
These herbs are considered adaptogenic because they adapt to the state of your body and improve it. In other words, they will raise cortisol if it’s low, or lower it if it’s too high.
If you have experienced any type of chronic stress–physical, mental, or emotional–for a prolonged period of time, it’s advisable to get your adrenals tested…
And once you support your adrenals through the right diet, lifestyle changes, and supplementation, you’ll be on the right track to healing your body, regaining your energy, and feeling vibrant again.
May your adrenals work like a well oiled machine!
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