Are you tired for no reason? Even after getting a good night’s sleep. Do you crash in the afternoon but get a burst of energy in the evening? Are you struggling to deal with the normal pressures of daily life? You’re not alone! Adrenal fatigue is growing rapidly but some doctors still dismiss the symptoms and give women little advice on how to support their adrenals.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal Fatigue or hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction is a condition where your body’s stress response begins to malfunction. In the beginning the adrenals release too much of a hormone called cortisol which can negatively affect the production of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. As time goes by the output of cortisol significantly decreases leading to adrenal burnout.
The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system and the have an important job in activating the hormones adrenaline and cortisol during the “fight or flight” mode which can be life saving. During this time hearing is heightened, digestion is halted, pain perception is reduced and blood can clot more easily to slow bleeding. The body is truly a magnificent creation but if we are under chronic stress then things can go haywire and we spend too much time in survival mode.
You do not need a test to support your adrenals right away. If any of the symptoms listed below pertain to you then go ahead and get started. But if you want to definite proof that your adrenals are not functioning correctly then ask your doctor about doing a saliva test. This will measure cortisol levels throughout the day. If you are in adrenal fatigue when you wake up your cortisol levels will be lower. That’s why it’s hard for a lot of us to get out of bed even after adequate sleep. Levels fluctuate throughout the day, dipping in the afternoon but rising in the evening.
In his book Adrenal Fatigue, Dr. James L. Wilson shares a way to test yourself at home by taking your blood pressure. Low blood pressure is a common symptom and indicator of Adrenal Fatigue. Lie down quietly for 10 minutes and take your blood pressure while lying down. Then stand up and immediately take your blood pressure again. Normally it will rise 10-2- mmHg after standing but if yours drops then you likely have hypoadrenia.
Read below the symptoms associated with Adrenal Fatigue to see if your body has been sending signals that your adrenals need support.
- difficulty waking up in the morning
- fatigued in the afternoon even after adequate sleep
- increased energy in the evenings (wired & tired)
- feeling of overwhelm with simple tasks
- increased anxiety
- compulsive behaviors
- craving salty foods
- increased PMS symptoms
- memory loss
- brain fog
- vertical ridges on nails
- heart palpitations
- food sensititivities
- rashes or sensitive skin
- body aches
There are several root causes that could trigger adrenal fatigue. It’s always important to identify root causes with any condition.
- traumatic life event
- chronic emotional stress e.g. job, family, finances etc.
- lack of sleep
- exposure to toxins and endocrine disrupters
- alcohol or drug abuse
- poor diet
- physical stress e.g. injury, surgery, infection, dehydration, respiratory ailments
- gut dysbiosis
The good news is that there are many steps that you can take to support your adrenals right away. After addressing possible root causes and eliminating what you can then get started on some of the suggestions shared below.
- adaptogenic herbs e.g. Ashwaghanda, Rhodiola, Licorce root (use with caution if you have high blood pressure), Eleuthero, Holy Basil
- nervine herbs e.g. Skullcap, Lemon balm, Oatstraw, Chamomile
- drink supportive herbal teas like our tea Happy or Luna
- supplements e.g. B complex, vitamin C or multivitamin, magnesium, L-theanine, probiotics, minerals, amino acids
- sunlight for 20 minutes in the morning to reset your circadian rhythm
- wear blue light blockers in the evening and while on screens
- balance blood sugar
- eliminate processed foods
- remove food triggers such as gluten
- reduce caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake
- drink half your bodyweight in ounces
- get in good sleep habits
- unplug as much as possible
- light exercise such as walking or yoga for 30 minutes a day
- practice deep breathing
- essential oils such as Stress Away or Lavender rubbed along your vagus nerve
- singing or humming
- take up a hobby that creates joy
- prioritize relationships that are life giving
- if under emotional stress hire a therapist or a life coach (Dr. Edie’s Life Mentoring School is what I use and love)
- create healthy rituals in your day to reduce stress like a bubble bath before bed
For more specific resources to help you on this journey visit our amazon storefront.