This is the most common complaint I hear from my patients. What causes fatigue? It can result from several disorders and diseases, but, by far, the most common cause is adrenal gland dysfunction. The adrenal glands secrete hormones that direct your body to “speed up” or “slow down”. Many patients that I have seen are suffering from “stressed out adrenals” that can skew the delicate balance of hormones. This imbalance can lead to other hormone imbalances such as thyroid dysfunction, blood sugar imbalances, weight gain and insomnia.
Signs of adrenal imbalance are:
- Headaches with stress
- Get shaky if you miss a meal
- Irritable if you’re hungry
- Slow starter in the morning
- Crave sweets, caffeine, cigarettes
- Eating relieves fatigue
- Cannot fall asleep
- Cannot stay asleep – wake up at 3-4 a.m.
The adrenal glands secrete three main stress hormones, cortisol, DHEA and adrenaline. The production of these hormones varies in a 24-hour cycle called the Circadian Rhythm. Abnormal hormone production can cause problems in many bodily functions such as:
- Energy Production – abnormal adrenal function can alter the ability of cells to produce energy for activities of daily living. Low cortisol is a common cause of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
- Muscle and joint function – chronic pain from a decreased ability to repair tissue can be a result of abnormal adrenal function.
- Bone Health – Osteoporosis can be a result of too much cortisol production
- Immune Health – short and long-term stress is known to weaken the immune system resulting in more frequent colds and infections.
- Sleep Quality – the ability to enter “REM” sleep cycles. The regenerative portion of sleeping is interrupted by abnormal levels of cortisol. Chronic lack of REM sleep can reduce mental vitality and induce depression.
- Skin Regeneration – human skin regenerates mostly during the night. An abnormally high cortisol level slows this regeneration process. Abnormal cortisol production is essential for optimal skin health.
- Wheat or grain intolerance – 12-18% of the US population suffers from a genetic intolerance to grains. The digestive system can become inflamed within 30 minutes of consuming grains and this can lead to abnormal production of
cortisol and DHEA.
“How can I find out if my adrenal glands are overstressed?”
The best method is a simple, take home, saliva test. The results will show us how your body is handling stress, blood sugar control and the level of your immune strength.
“If I have overstressed adrenal glands, what can I do about it?”
Natural Therapies can be prescribed for your individual problem. These therapies will help support you adrenal glands and give them the nutrients to heal.