Adrenal Fatigue & 10 Things You Can Do About It
Recently I have just been bone tired. A kind of tired that doesn’t go away when you sleep 8 hours, chilling out (or try too) and drink coffee.
My muscles have felt tired and drained would be the best way to describe the few months. It’s crept on my slowly but I only recently realised that perhaps this wasn’t normal and that stress had caught up on.
Plus I felt so guilty about it! I have no kids so am not up all night, I eat super clean and well and look after my body in every way I can and teach people every day on how to do this stuff yet my body was some how failing. SO what the heck was going on!
But after I had given myself permission to not be ok and to ask for help I chatted with some fellow health coaches and nutritionist (I practice what I preach) I realised ‘damn I think my adrenal are fatigued and sluggish.’
So let’s talk Adrenal Fatigue & 10 Things You Can Do About It…
(Note adrenal fatigue is the most common term of this set of symptoms but it is more accurately named adrenal dysfunction or better yet it HPA dysregulation as it is mainly an issue with the hypothalamus -pituitary-axis in the brain. Adrenal fatigue is a slightly misleading name the best term to use when leanirng about this.
What are your adrenals?
So I will let the (naturopathic) doctor explain:
“Our adrenal glands are two thumb-sized organs that sit above your kidneys and are part of the endocrine system. Also known as the suprarenal glands, they’re involved in producing over 50 hormones that drive almost every bodily function, many of which are essential for life.
Your adrenal glands are responsible for balancing hormones, such as:
Glucocorticoids – hormones that balance your body’s blood sugar, help with energy and food metabolism, help your body bust stress, and manage your immune response (e.g., cortisol).
Mineralocorticoids – hormones that maintain healthy blood pressure, manage your blood hydration level, and keep your blood healthy by keeping salt and water in balance (e.g., aldosterone).
Sex hormones – estrogen and testosterone.
Adrenaline – hormones that affect your heart health, make sure that all parts of the body are getting blood and convert glycogen into glucose in your liver.”
So pretty important then it seems! We need these bad boys to be in tip-top condition and definitely not under par.
What causes adrenal fatigue?
Well the main thing is stress of any kind so this could be
- physical stress – long-term illness, pain or discomfort, Pregnancy, depression, chronic health issues, some medications, lack of sleep, poor diet and deficiencies
- emotional stress – loss of loved one, problems in family or work, relationship struggles etc AKA western life!!?
It also in my observation precludes more frequently to type A personality, so ambitious proactive and hard working people who maybe don’t like to ask for help and will just power through all their bodies signals at resting and nourishing.
For me I don’t think I realised the stress that starting a business can come with so I think that has taken its toll on my beautiful body and we had a family bereavement in the summer which was expected but it probably had it impact too, plus I think I have had unresolved adrenal issues for a long time so they have never been at 100%.
With my one2one clients, I have seen this occur post pregnancy, with over training exercise wise and on-going stress in the work place and more. It really can vary and is thought that up to 80% of people will suffer from some sort of fatigue in their lives.
Most people, like me right now, are suffering from low grade (stage 2) adrenal fatigue so there may just be a few symptoms listed below, whilst for others, this can utterly FLOOR people and leave them mystified at why they can’t get out of bed are achy and worse. This is when you are burned out!
Wellness Mama describes the stages as:
Stage 1- Wired and Tired: Cortisol levels should be naturally elevated in the morning. The first stage of adrenal fatigue is often characterized by elevated cortisol at night (when it should be low), leading to a “wired” feeling at night and difficulty sleeping. People in this stage may also regularly feel “on edge”.
Stage 2- Stressed and Tired: The second stage shows more severe cortisol disruption. People in this stage may have higher cortisol in the morning but it tends to fall quickly after lunch, leading to afternoon fog and tiredness. They may get a second wind at night, but most often wake in the middle of the night and are unable to fall back asleep.
Stage 3- Full Burnout: This stage resembles how a person feels in early pregnancy or with a new baby at home- exhausted all the time no matter how much he/she has slept and completely burned out. Cortisol patterns in stage 3 are completely disrupted or even completely flat and this is especially risky because this stage is associated with higher risk of thyroid disease and autoimmune disease, as well as gut problems.
What does it looks like?
Well, it can often look like these list of rather vague symptoms…how helpful!
- Low energy through the day and trouble getting out of bed
- Body aches
- Feeling overly cold
- Low thyroid function
- Inability to lose weight
- Low or no libido
- Craving salty or sweet foods
- Low blood pressure
- Dizzy when standing up
- Anxiety, mental exhaustion, and/or depression
- Inability to handle stress well
- Reduced immunity
For me it had just looked like being bone tired, not recovering from my exercise quickly/at all, craving salty foods, low blood pressure, often cold hands and feet, afternoon dips and some slight hormones imbalances. pLus getting easily stressed about tiny things. Like I have burst into tears about hanging out laundry on multiple occasions …. rem not normal for me!
Also I think I have realised that I have been adrenally fatigued for a LONG time mildly as I was bullied consistently as a young child which was a source of daily stress which and as I ALWAYS talk about with my clients early years in life can leave a lasting mark and reveals some root causes for our own health issues.
Ahh what the heck do I do about this!!! How do I get my energy back?
Nothing you’re doomed…. joke!
Thankfully there are tons you can do and there is always always always HOPE for you fabulous health and body and energy levels. I see this all the time with my one2one clients, history s hormones issue melt away, candida issues disappear, stubborn fat shifts and digestion becomes easy and normal – there is always hope for your body:)
With time your adrenals can rest. A lot of the advice you would need ideally would be specific to you symptoms and general body happenings but here are some fabulous recommendation
Avoid all the inflammatory food like wheat, ideally gluten, refined sugar, cows milk and processed food. Make your food from scratch just eat real food! I have a free meal plan of you just Click Here
to get yours now!
Obviously, you want to eat ALL vegetables in abundance. I tell my Clubhouse members
and clients at least 50% of all your meals vegetables
(yes even breakfast) as they will supply your body with lots of healing material. For me, I have been having lots of green smoothies and wilt spinach with poached eggs. Green Smoothies are the perfect way to do this – click here to get your recipes!
Add salt liberally to your food, quality sea salt mind you none of this table salt rubbish! Click here
to find out why salt is GOOD for you.
Your adrenal gland uses up tons of vitamin C so in order for it to heal and recover it need regular doses. I am personally taking 3g (when in synthetic ascorbic acid form – I have used this one
) a day with my meals and will increase this over time for a short period but you would need to work with someone to find your own dose. Most vitamin C out there is synthetic and this will do you good but you can also get naturally food derived vitamin C which I prefer to use when possible – here is what I use
This is pretty obvious but be in bed before 10pm and stay in it for as long as you can!
Good quality, local organic meat or fish is going to give your body the protein it needs to heal and repair. Bone broth
is also an awesome healing elixir.
7.Liver it up
Eat fresh organic liver. I know it may gross you out but if you want some fast healing these this is one super food, is full of iron, b vitamin and so much more and is 100% and bio-available to the body. Click here
to watch this video about the benefits of liver!
(If you hate the taste then you can chop it up raw and very small, freeze it and just take it like a supplement!)
8.OR a Quality B Complex
If you don’t like meat then you can always supplement with B vitamin. There is some debate about whether B complexes are actually effective as the different B vitamin can counteract each other but LOADS of people feel benefit from taking a quality version. As with all supplements it really is about quality, you get what you pay for but this is one looks good.
We all need more of these and ideally every day we want to be having some form of good bacteria. You can do this through sauerkraut, kefir or through supplements like this one which is one of my favourite one. Probiotic won’t directly impact your adrenal but are essential for all round health. Click here
to find out more about probiotics and here to buy my fav brand.
May sound strange but it’s super important. I personally am stopping going to the gym and doing high-intensity workout and am just focusing on walking slowly and yoga every other day or two. I know this is hard for exercise junkies but it REALLY IMPORTANT for recovery.
Often exercise can be the method we use to feel good about ourselves to de-stress so often this brings up issues around self-esteem and stress management but even after 2 weeks of stopping going to the gym I am feeling so much better. And if you’re eating well and ditching the sugar addiction then it shouldn’t impact your weight either.
Last but probably the most important you need to reduce the stress in your life. For me this mean putting in better boundaries around my business and working hours (aiming to finish my working day at 3-4pm!!), saying no to more things even if I love them and giving myself permission to not exercise, not hang out with everyone (I am an introvert) and making sure I spend good about of time praying and meditating with god. You can do all the above but if stress is always growing then your adrenals will stay tired.
Other things you could try:
These are more personal and depend on your health history medication and preference. Adaptogenic herbs like liquorice
can really help or ashwagandha, also making sure your own liver is health and happy and detoxify properly is always important, and gut health can play a role. I am also going to trial out taking some actual adrenal gland capsules from an actual cow to see how they help – so I will let you know how I get on.
So I am still only a few week in and waiting on my liver to arrive (!!) but already feeling so much better from just upping my vitamin C and giving myself permission to NOT exercise. But make sure you follow me on social media and I will keep you updated
And if you are feeling stuck and fed up about your energy, digestion, and weight then maybe it is time to take ACTION! I work with clients to create a clear health and supplementation plan so they can heal and thrive.