Are you just tired or do you have adrenal fatigue?
The common statements I hear range from “I am just so tired all the time, but I cant sleep” to “I just cant be bothered its all too hard”. Should you just sleep more, de-stress and take a vitamin B?
It is really a lot deeper than this most of the time.
Have you heard of adrenal fatigue? It can strike anyone, even if on the exterior they appear physically healthy and like they are totally composed.
Many question whether or not adrenal fatigue really exists. So this often makes it hard for those to know if they have it or not. Those with adrenal fatigue will often visit their doctor many times and feel as though many questions are left unanswered.
What sort of symptoms would you display if you had adrenal fatigue? The biggest one is obviously excessive fatigue. This may be accompanied with poor immunity, feeling run down, changes in blood pressure, difficultly waking up in the morning, low libido, mental fogginess, poor memory and irritability, particularly when overwhelmed. You will generally feel like it doesn’t matter how much you sleep, you will still be tired!
How does this happen? The biggest cause is long term stress and essentially burnt out. Our body is only suppose to be put into a stress response for a very short period of time. If on a day to day basis we are continually stressed, busy or overwhelmed the body keeps on producing massive amounts of the stress hormones from the adrenal glands. With time they fatigue and the production of the hormone, cortisol, reduces.
The big question is, what do you do if you have adrenal fatigue? These are just a few of the simple changes you could implement.
Reduce carbohydrates and remove refined sugar. Generally our diets sit too heavy towards carbohydrate. When you eat refined sugar, processed or simple carbohydrates your body releases insulin. This hormone causes your blood sugar levels to peak and then drop. Those with adrenal fatigue are usually more sensitive to these peaks and troughs.
I tend to recommend keeping carbohydrate to a low-moderate level (never very low) and making sure there is protein at each meal and at least 3 cups of low starch vegies to help balance your blood sugar levels. Getting your carbohydrates from sources like quinoa, sweet potato and pumpkin are generally better sources than the grainy types.
Eat smaller portions. You may also benefit from eating 6 smaller meals over the day rather than 3 big meals to help balance your blood sugar levels. And reduce the heaviness of food as the day goes on, to assist in the digestion of your food. A stressed gut can impact the adrenal glands.
Increase the vegies. Ensure you are eating plenty of colourful vegies and high antioxidant fruits in your diet. Fantastic fruit examples include berries and kiwi fruit. I always say your shopping basket should look like the rainbow. Of course, only natural colours!
Cut out the caffeine. Your morning coffee may feel like it is giving you a boost, but that is very short lived. It is adding pressure onto your adrenals and over the long term can contribute to fatigue. It may seem like it isn’t important to cut out, but if you do have any form of fatigue it is an important factor to address.
Add in some gut boosting goodness! Bone broth is incredible. It contains an abundance of anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and gut healing nutrients. You can use it as either a base for soups and cassoroles or sip as a hot drink.
Brew some tea. A combination of licorice and Siberian ginseng is a blend that comes to mind. A tasty combination and great for a subtle pick up.
So if you are presenting with these sorts of symptoms I always recommend requesting to have your adrenals and the nutrients essential for adrenal function tested with both the assistance of your GP and Naturopath. We generally prefer the hormone cortisol to be measured over the day and not just a single sample to see where your adrenals function at their highest and lowest. Following this a plan can then be customized based on those results and your presenting symptoms.
Author: Suzi Le Fanue
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