Adrenal fatigue is becoming very common in our culture with all the work, stress and expectations that we tend to pile on ourselves. Unfortunately is is often mistaken fordepression and therefore can be mistreated with necessary medications, when truly it could be reversed with whole foods and healthy lifestyle changes.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is when your body endures stress for too long and begins to slowly shut down in self defense. It results in a depletion of your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a vital hormone, known as the "stress hormone" however havingthe levels be too high or too low creates issues. In the case of adrenal fatigue, your body has been "stuck in go" for so long that your once likely high levels are now fatigued and withdrawing below where they should be, which can create any of the following symptoms:
- severe morning fatigue and trouble getting out of bed in the morning
- trouble concentrating
- lack of motivation
- difficulty making decisions
- feeling overwhelmed
- feeling like you can't "handle things" like you once used to
Once stuck in this pattern your body focuses on surviving, rather than thriving. All your energy is going toward making it through the day rather than making the most of each day. Fortunately there are healthy ways to reverse these symptoms and feel like yourself again.
How to Get Tested?
Getting tested is pretty simple and can be a great way to get support from a physician. The best method of testing for adrenal fatigue is through saliva. Saliva offers a great, non-invasive way to look at the adrenal hormones, namely cortisol, at various points over the course of the day. It is much easier to see how the cortisol levels vary and if they are following the normal pattern throughout the day. It is much easier than blood testing - especially because physicians normally look at cortisol levels at four points in one day (morning, noon, evening and night). An adrenal fatigue test by blood would usually require four separate visits throughout the day to have the blood drawn.
Healthy Ways to Treat It
Adrenal fatigue is your body's way of communicating to you that it needs a change in order to function at it's optimal levels. There are a myriad of things you can do on your own, or with the advice or support of a physician, in regards to lifestyle, diet, and sleep habits.
- eat small meals every few hours to keep blood sugars and adrenals stabilized
- limit consumption of white flour, caffeine, sugar
- focus on consuming lots of lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables and fruit.
- make sure to eat foods rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, magnesium and Vitamin C; quality supplements can offer good insurance for that as well.
- It is very important to get enough sleep, allowing your body to process and reboot each night.
- It is best to avoid stimulating activities, TV and use of tech devices an hour before bed; this allows your mid to decompress and slow down.
- Soothing tea, warm baths and positive reading are all great night time activities to help you sleep soundly and restfully.
Customized Lifestyle Adjustments
Every person is different, and therefore so are the treatment plans. it will take openness and honesty to access what in your life in contributing to your adrenal fatigue. For some, a simple change in diet and sleep patterns may do the trick, for others they will need to dig deeper and access if their is a root to the problem that needs to be addressed to ensure the problem doesn't keep flaring up. Sometimes this change may call for a change in workload, relationships, or any other life factor that could be affecting you.
The important thing is to be honest with yourself so that you can truly heal and move forward in becoming the thriving person that you want to be. It is best to consult your physician if you are interested in testing and learning what courses of action may be best for you.
May you all find peace and health!