Adrenal Fatigue – Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
BY: DR. MELINA ROBERTS
Are you tired for no reason? Do you have trouble getting up in the morning? Do you need coffee, colas, energy drinks, sodas, salty or sweet snacks to keep you going? Do you feel run down or stressed? Do you have weight gain around the mid-section? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then you may be experiencing Adrenal Fatigue.
The adrenal glands are about the size of walnuts and sit on top of the kidneys. The adrenal glands produce the hormones called adrenaline and cortisone, which are responsible for the stress response.
The adrenal glands control your fight/flight response. The fight/flight response is an innate mechanism that puts us into survival mode. Back in prehistoric times when humans were being attacked by a sabre-tooth tiger, your adrenal glands would kick into gear and release hormones that would allow you to either fight the tiger or run to safety. In this acute response the blood flows to the extremities so that we are able to run away. The blood flows away from the digestive tract, digestion is inhibited because we donT need to focus on digesting our foods when we’re trying to survive. High amounts of insulin and blood sugars are released so that our muscles have ample energy supply. Our blood pressure is increased to pump blood quickly to the necessary tissues. We experience heightened brain function so that we can make quick, life-saving decisions. We have decreased pain sensation so that we can focus on getting away from danger. This was an acute response that saved our lives.
In our modern world we have different kind of stresses but our body reacts the same way as when we were running away from that tiger. Our nervous systems cannot decipher between these different stresses. In our modern world our stresses include traffic jams, line-ups, piles of work and deadlines, to do lists, raising children and the list goes on. We lead lifestyles where we are chronically stressed. In addition, we eat foods that our bodies cannot properly breakdown; we get heavy metals into our bodies from dental amalgams and vaccinations; and environmental toxins from pesticides in our foods and the air that we breathe. Food intolerances, heavy metals and environmental toxins add additional stresses on our bodies. In our world, stress in not simply an event, it is a process. This once life-saving acute response has turned into a chronic response in our modern world.
This chronic adrenal response leads to high blood pressure, insulin-resistant tissues, chronic high blood sugars, hypersensitivity to pain, digestive issues, decreased memory and cognition. When the adrenals constantly need to function, they eventually get tired and this pushes the adrenals into a fatigue state called “adrenal fatigue”.
We can support the adrenals by reducing or eliminating stresses on the body. The most biologically active nutrients in the adrenals are B-vitamins and vitamin C, therefore consuming B-vitamins and vitamin C will support proper adrenal function. We can get our B-vitamins from whole grains, leafy green vegetables and animal products. We can get Vitamin C from citrus foods, peppers and tomatoes. Healthy sleeping habits (ie. being asleep before midnight) help to rejuvenate the adrenals. Eating proteins for breakfast helps to build hormones and manage blood sugars. And most importantly we need to take time to relax, get a massage, do yoga and have fun!!!