By: Diellona Zymeri (CPT, RHN)
I’ve heard people throw around phrases like “my adrenals are shot” but do they really know what that means?
You’ve probably only hit the surface if you think your fatigue is from “stress” or “over-consuming caffeine”. Those are most definitely part of it but there’s so much more. In fact, multiple studies have been released concluding that adrenal fatigue isn’t an actual diagnosis and can mean there’s something deeper going on. So, do you suffer from chronic adrenal insufficiency or are you just tired? Let’s dig in…
“Adrenal fatigue is the notion that our adrenal glands get overworked by stress and stop producing the hormones we need, including cortisol.” – Anat Ben-Shlomo, MD.
Adrenal insufficiency looks like:
- Body aches
- Unexplained weight loss
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of body hair & Skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation)
Adrenal insufficiency usually happens in 3 stages. The first being when cortisol levels are too high. Adrenaline and insulin levels in the blood stream tell your body that you’re in a flight or fight state…even if you’re not running away from a tiger.
Once that stage ends, the levels of DHEA in your body decrease (that means your testosterone levels also decrease, saying goodbye to any major gains), leading to feelings of irritability, low sleep quality, jitters, and digestive issues.
This is usually when your relationship to caffeine rises to try to make up for feeling sluggish (yes, I’m guilty of this).
And finally, you enter a stage where your adrenals are so overworked that it stops responding to stimulants like caffeine, and significantly reduces the release of cortisol. Day-to-day activities will start feeling impossible, no matter how much coffee you have. This is where chronic fatigue comes in. Most of us know this as feeling “burn-out”. Once this happens, it’s a vicious cycle of health issues…So, how do we avoid this?
- SLEEP! Let’s go back to the basics here, 7-8 hours of quality sleep is optimal for most people (and no, 5 hours is not enough – you know who you are). Try for a few days in a row of good quality, long sleep.
- Avoid high impact training. This is added stress to the body. Try restorative exercises like cardio, stretching or anything where your heart rate is at a low steady pace, only until you’re back to normal.
- Eat your protein – You really should already be doing this if you’re in the gym but try including relax-inducing foods like turkey that contains tryptophan (this is why we get really sleepy after thanksgiving dinner btw).
- Load up on Magnesium! Foods like fish, avocado, dark leafy greens (and possibly a supplement before bed) to help relax and restore ATP.
…just to name a few.
Send this to someone you know needs to relax!
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