Picture this—you’re driving down the highway at 100 mph and you notice that there is a policeman sitting on the side of the road just ahead of you. How do you feel? You’re stomach drops, your heart beat quickens, and you get flushed with a sudden rush of anxiety. Now imagine that instead of pulling you over, the policeman pulls over the car driving next to you. How do you feel now? Ahhhhh… your nerves calm, heart rate normalizes, and eventually the nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach subsides. You just experienced the normal physical adaption of stress hormones. They responded to a stressor, and when the stressor was no longer there, they went back down to normal levels.
Now picture this—you wake up every morning and instead of hearing your alarm clock, it sounds more like a starting gun. You rush through each morning, work hard all day, try to balance work and home life responsibilities, all the while not taking enough time off, not getting adequate sleep, and not replenishing your body properly with nutritious foods. Because life is hard to keep up with, you resort to caffeinated drinks and sugar to give you the energy to get you through the day.
Many people go on for years at this pace until eventually their health starts failing and subtle signs of maladaptions of their stress hormones start to set in. This is known as adrenal fatigue.
What are your adrenals?
Your adrenal glands are two small glands located on top of your kidneys. They are involved in producing over 50 hormones that affect every organ, tissue, and cell in the body and are most commonly known for their roles in managing stress. When your body senses a threat, your adrenal glands release adrenaline hormones, rushing blood and sugar to your brain, heart, and muscles to help you manage the stress regardless of its origin (emotional, physical, chemical). When the threat has passed, corticosteroids are released to help your body recover —just like in the instance of the speeding example above. But when your body is in a constant state of stress, eventually your adrenals reach exhaustion and that’s when symptoms set in.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
- You wake up tired even after a good night’s sleep and no matter what you do, the fatigue continues throughout the day. This is because the cortisol hormone in your sleep/wake cycle has become deregulated.
- Food Cravings
- You begin to crave salty foods and sugar because your body can no longer regulate sodium and sugar balance.
- Dizziness or lightheaded
- When you stand up you get light headed. This is called postural hypotension and since the adrenals regulate this function, when they’re not working you feel dizzy.
- Joint pain
- With adrenal exhaustion comes ligament laxity. The most common place that people get increased pain with adrenal exhaustion is the low back and knees.
- Low Immune System
- When your body systems are constantly in a fight or flight state, the immune system’s ability to fight off bugs becomes diminished.
- Inability to tolerate stress
- When your adrenals are diminished, your life tends to look worse. Normal things that wouldn’t bother you affect you more. The person that cuts you off, the co-worker that annoys you, your home life all seem like they are unbearable. They’re not, your adrenals have just reached their limit.
What’s the solution?
GIVE YOUR BODY WHAT IT NEEDS TO HEAL. Replenish your body of the nutrients and minerals it needs to have good cellular function and stop using caffeine and sugar as a crutch for energy. The adrenals need a combination of vitamins B and C, adrenal extracts and trace minerals along with a healthy and balanced diet.
The adrenal supplement I recommend is Adrenal Food, which masterfully combines all the factors needed for cellular healing. Most people feel better quickly once the adrenals are given the food they need to function properly.