Ever feel like you’re doing all of the right things, but somehow you’re still exhausted? Ever heard of adrenal fatigue? Your adrenal glands are responsible for creating your stress hormones, such as cortisol, metabolism regulation, preventing inflammation, and your energy levels.
Stress hormones are needed during times of stress, specifically situations that put you into fight-or-flight. The cortisol levels will be increased in your body, which is good for short periods of time, so that you can “fight” or “flee” from whatever the situation is. However, if the situation goes on for an extended period of time, that increased level of cortisol in your body will begin to have deleterious effects. Your adrenal glands will end up becoming fatigued.
There are three stages of adrenal fatigue: wired and tired, stressed and tired, and full burnout. When “wired and tired”, cortisol levels are increased not only in the morning (which is normal), they are increased in the evening. This causes difficulty sleeping and a “wired” feeling in the evening. When “stressed and tired”, cortisol is high in the morning and then decreases after lunch, which can lead to a feeling of brain fog and exhaustion in the afternoon. A second wind of energy may come in the evening, often in the middle of the night causing difficulty in falling back asleep. The third stage is full burnout, with you feeling exhausted all of the time, no matter how much rest you get. Cortisol levels are completely disrupted, and can lead to other health issues involving your thyroid, gut, and immune system.
Symptoms (and keep in mind these are wide ranging and applicable to a variety of conditions): needing a stimulant like caffeine in the morning, tiredness when you wake up, no matter how much sleep you get, difficulty falling asleep or waking up, reduced ability to handle stress or feeling stressed more often, decreased sex drive, blood sugar or digestive problems, reduced memory or ability to concentrate, dizziness when standing up too quickly, thyroid problems, cravings of salt and sugar, get sick frequently, body aches, depression, and irritability.
So what do I do to help myself recover and become more resilient? The good news is that there isn’t anything beyond common sense things to help your adrenals recover. Eat high quality food - lots of leafy green veggies and those fruits/veggies high in Vitamin C. Foods high in Vitamin B. Eat a protein meal first thing in the morning. Get 8 solid hours of sleep a night. Modulate your screen time at night before going to bed. Move your body daily (not necessarily in a workout, but movement of some kind). Herbs like ashwaganda, minerals like magnesiusm, or adaptogens can be beneficial to help with your adrenal gland function (disclaimer: please check with your health care provider to be sure these are safe for you if you have current health conditions occurring). Recognize when you’re being triggered to reach for caffeine, sugar, or salt, and replace it with a healthier response, like getting up and moving around.
If you have any questions, please reach out to myself or Dr. Liz! We are here to support and empower you on your health journey.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,