Adrenal Fatigue/ Burnout
Adrenal fatigue or adrenal burnout affects many people, and most people have never even heard of it. The adrenals are organs that sit above the kidneys. Their job is to produce several hormones for the body including your cortisol and epinephrine. Cortisol is our “stress” hormone and epinephrine is what some people refer to as your adrenaline. These hormones put the body into a “Fight or Flight” state.
This is great for survival mode, but it is not great when it is being constantly triggered all day, every day. When we are overly stressed the body pumps more and more cortisol. If your body stays in this state of constant stress for long periods of time, the adrenals begin to get run down. This can leave you exhausted and shattered.
Normal cortisol levels reach their peak in the morning when we awaken. The levels slowly decline throughout the day, leaving you with low levels at night so that you can go to sleep. They then return to their higher levels the next morning, so that you can wake up. When the person has been suffering constant stress, the adrenals can get out of rhythm and start to produce cortisol when you shouldn’t be (like at night when it is time to sleep!).
Adrenal Fatigue Signs
Below are signs that you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue or adrenal burn out.
1. You must wear sun glasses whenever you go outside during the day.
2. You have trouble falling asleep at night and can’t wake up in the morning.
3. You feel light headed when you stand up quickly.
4. You feel tired and draggy all day long. This is usually worse from 2-4 in the afternoon.
5. You cannot function unless you drink coffee or other stimulants during the day.
6. Tendency to have low blood pressure.
7. Cravings for salt
If you have several of the above symptoms and think you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue, please see a Naturopathic Doctor to have a cortisol test run. A cortisol test is a saliva test that shows your body’s pattern of producing cortisol.
Fix my adrenals!
Unfortunately, there is not an easy fix for the adrenals. Some people may take up to 2 years for their adrenals to fully heal. A person with adrenal fatigue will need to start following a healthy diet geared towards supporting the adrenals. Nutrients and adaptogenic herbs will also be given to help healthy adrenal function. Please see a naturopathic doctor for a protocol.