What is adrenal fatigue
The balance of your body tissue between fat and muscle, is orchestrated by your endocrine system. And the endocrine system is in charge of your hormones. Now I know the connotation hormones bring with them, however this does not only include the infamous sex hormones!
There are around 70 known hormones working in the human body.
The proper balance of hormones will determine if you lose weight or put it on
The adrenal glands are part of this delicate balance. And this balance is even more delicate for females. The hormone we are going to talk about is cortisol and it is produced by the adrenal glands in response to ‘stress.’
This STRESS is anything that is a burden to the body: mental stress, emotional stress, foods that cause inflammation, trauma, sickness, allergies and exercising too much.
All of these things will make the adrenals release cortisol.
Cortisol is part of the body’s immune inflammatory response
It’s supposed to be there. The problem arises when you have too much stress… excess cortisol is being released and it becomes increasingly difficult for your body to get rid of it. It starts hanging around.
When cortisol hangs around for too long, it can start to cause other problems in your body. One of those problems is belly fat that you cannot get rid of, no matter how hard you diet or exercise. Other problems include trouble with sleep and/or getting sick more often.
When your adrenal glands are continuously producing cortisol, they eventually become tired or fatigued.
There are 4 stages of ‘adrenal fatigue’ starting with mild problems to complete exhaustion. Eventually, the glands will not longer be able to produce cortisol at all.
When the ability to balance is gone, the previously mentioned issues will worsen.
You will also notice you become hypoglycemic, which means after you eat you have a huge crash or get very tired.
The 4 stages to stop ‘adrenal fatigue’
It is common in people with adrenal fatigue to need coffee to get going in the morning, have a crash in the early afternoon (and need more coffee), to get sick often, to not sleep well (many times with a wake-up in the night), to develop food sensitivities, to just be generally tired a lot, and to gain weight.
Usually most of these symptoms are ignored and the frustration comes in when you cannot lose weight, no matter what you do. But none of these symptoms are normal AND there is A LOT you can do about it.
1. Remove or reduce the sources of stress
Cortisol is released in response to stress, so naturally if you remove or reduce the stresses it is going to help in the healing process of your adrenal glands. (A big contributor to stress in these situations can be food sensitivities).
Don’t rule it out without doing an elimination diet to make sure, which you can find in my Fatigue to Fitness plan.
If mental stress is a big contributor, learn how to meditate.
2. Avoid sugary foods and reduce foods that your body uses as sugar
By normalizing your insulin (another hormone) levels, it helps to reduce the amount of cortisol is your body.
Processed sugar is inflammatory and will increase cortisol levels, which complicates your adrenal issue. Kick the sugar to the curb and white breads/pastas.
3. The 10pm bedtime club!
To rest your adrenals, it is recommended to be in bed by 10pm, without any lights from computers or TVs. Even if you cannot fall asleep right away, let your body rest at the time it was meant to.
Your body works on a circadian rhythm or with the movement of the sun.
Being in bed by 10pm helps to retrain your body, so that it can heal at these optimal hours of the day.
4. Support the adrenal glands
Supplementation with certain herbs and minerals help support proper function of the adrenal glands.
Adaptogenic herbs such as ashwaganda, vitamins D and A, among others are supportive of adrenal healing. (My Fatigue to Fitness plan helps walk you through the healing process.)
If the STRESS is not lessened or removed, adrenal glands issues will become complicated and may lead to more serious issues. Take your health into your own hands and start your healing journey now.
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