You’ve probably seen articles and heard the buzz about adrenal dysfunction, maybe you’ve even tried some supplements, but you weren’t sure if healing them is really something that can help with chronic fatigue.
I get that. Years ago, I didn’t either!
Thankfully, after studying Nutritional Therapy I discovered it was, and that adrenal dysfunction was the reason I was tired all the time.
I got very busy healing those important little glands and saw tremendous improvement in my emotional state, brain fog chronic fatigue, and blood sugar — quickly.
I know that when you’re in the thick of things with chronic fatigue, it feels like every step is a big ordeal (hello anxiety and brain fog!). And I know it’s easy to go into analysis paralysis when it comes to navigating chronic health conditions… I’ve been there! So I hope to share some information that will help you heal too.
Think of it like this… Your body wants to heal, but it might be stuck in a chronic stress response.
Stress is one of the most common causes of adrenal dysfunction, as it creates an intense demand for hormones (like cortisol) to be released.
Normally, when there is immediate stress, the hypothalamus signals the hormones needed for your fight-or-flight response. The adrenals pump out extra hormones, and you go into survival mode. Once the danger is over, everything returns to normal. But…
When the body is in a state of chronic stress, the stress response is constant. The body wants to meet this high demand for cortisol, so it decreases the production of other necessary hormones, including slowing down the thyroid.
4 Types of Stress that Contribute to Adrenal Dysfunction:
1. Sleep Disorders – One of the fastest ways to induce adrenal dysfunction is through sleep deprivation, as it interferes with the body’s ability to release the human growth hormones it needs to heal. This was big for me!
2. Mental/Emotional Stress – Feelings such as grief, guilt, fear, anxiety, excitement, and embarrassment can be classified as stress. This stress is based on our perception, not on the nature of the individual stress.
3. Metabolic/Glycemic Dysregulation – This means you have lost the ability to regulate glucose levels very well, due to eating too many high-glycemic carbohydrates. Blood sugar becomes a roller-coaster of highs and lows. When you eat, it spikes up too high but soon after drops down too low, leading to a crash.
4. Chronic Inflammation – Cortisol dampens inflammation, so when you are chronically inflamed you put a huge burden on the adrenal glands. Chronic inflammation may occur from joint pain, obesity, toxic burden, inflammation in the gut from pathogens, or food sensitivities, which will signal cortisol for its anti-inflammatory effect.
Rebooting your adrenals can have a major impact on your chronic fatigue. I’m not saying it will fix chronic fatigue for everyone, it’s not the only reason why people have chronic fatigue, CFS or M.E. But it is a major factor and it’s the root cause of about 1 in 5 of the clients I see.
How to Reboot Your Adrenals
1. Eat a low glycemic diet – This means ditching white sugar and white flour products which spike your blood sugar putting you on the glycemic roller-coaster we talked about earlier. Instead, eat lower glycemic wholefoods – free from processing. Curb your sweet tooth and give your adrenals time to recover.
2. Support your adrenals with vitamins and minerals – zinc, magnesium, Vitamin C and B vitamins (esp B5) are all necessary for the adrenals to do their job properly, so getting good amounts of these nutrients will go a long way towards your adrenal recovery.
3. Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night – Make sure you’re getting to bed on time and resting deeply. Herbs like valerian, chamomile, and lemon balm can help you get to sleep fast and sleep deeper. If you have a serious sleep disorder then it’s time to talk to an expert, as sleep is crucial for adrenal recovery.
4. Reduce chronic stress – Many people don’t realise they are chronically stressed. They are going around in fire fighting mode most of the day, thinking that being on red alert all the time is normal. It’s not! Take time each day to practice deep breathing to train your nervous system to be relaxed at the base level.
5. Reduce over-stimulation – Anything which puts your nervous system into sympathetic dominance has to go. Perhaps you’re okay with 1 cup of coffee, perhaps not. If it puts you into overdrive then it’s impacting your adrenal glands. Stimulants are something you need to keep an eye on – like tea, coffee and energy drinks, but other things too, like video games, could also have an over-stimulating effect. Be honest with yourself and be ruthless in your pursuit of better energy levels.
So there you have, the main types of stress that lead to adrenal dysfunction and a plan to allow you to recover. It worked for me so give it a go and watch your adrenal health and energy levels get better.