The chemical balance of the body is a fragile one, with many factors involved in maintaining it. One of the conditions that can arise due to an imbalance is called adrenal fatigue, which can be debilitating in its worst forms. After you have begun to suffer from this fatigue, the issue becomes finding a way to cope with it in a way that will not further deteriorate your already diminished state.
When it comes to issues of this nature, it can be somewhat difficult to find a way to recover from them. Adrenal fatigue can be especially tricky if you are not aware of what you are dealing with. We hope to help enlighten you on how to tend to your adrenal fatigue and get back to being your original, healthy self.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue, otherwise known as "Hypoadrenia", was identified by Dr. James Wilson in 1998. Wilson was a well-known naturopath who identified adrenal fatigue as the exhaustion of the adrenal glands. When these glands are exhausted, the body is incapable of manufacturing hormones, specifically cortisol. This is a highly detrimental effect that is remarkably similar to other forms of adrenal dysfunction. Because of this similarity, care must be taken not to confuse adrenal fatigue with clinically diagnosed conditions such as Addison's disease.
Dr. Wilson claims that the causes behind adrenal fatigue are generally chronic infections such as influenza or pneumonia. There are other factors, such as intense stress, that can also exhaust your adrenal glands. The symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue are:
- Body aches
- Sleep disturbances
- Digestive issues
While official medical diagnosticians do not commonly consider adrenal fatigue to be a medical diagnosis, its effects can still be highly detrimental. Given the condition's origins among naturopaths, natural treatments are among the more common and most recommended methods. Oftentimes, adrenal fatigue is an issue that can be resolved through simple lifestyle changes.
The overall goal is to reduce the strain placed on your adrenal glands and minimize the common need for cortisol production in your body. Since cortisol is the stress hormone, many techniques that reduce bodily stress can help with adrenal fatigue issues.
When it comes to treating your adrenal fatigue, your best route is to employ naturalistic options from the comfort of your home. One of the first things to consider is adjusting your diet and lifestyle to regulate your blood sugar level better. Excessively high blood sugar levels can adversely affect the adrenal glands since they produce cortisol to combat elevated glucose levels. This can exhaust the glands and render them less effective for future issues. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to help regulate your blood sugar levels.
The first step to managing your blood sugar is to maintain a regular exercise plan that keeps you at a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight will increase your body's sensitivity to insulin which, in turn, helps your body better process the sugar in your bloodstream. In addition to this, exercise helps develop muscles that will use the sugar in your system for contraction and therefore reduce the extra sugar in your bloodstream.
Some of the exercises you should consider for regulating your blood sugar are weightlifting, walking at a brisk pace, running, cycling, dancing, hiking, and swimming. By increasing your insulin sensitivity and the sugar consumption in your bloodstream, you avoid taxing your adrenal glands by jumpstarting the production of cortisol.
The next thing to focus on is portion control, which significantly impacts how much blood sugar you will build up. It ties in heavily with weight management. By closely monitoring how much you eat in a given time, you can reduce the calories you accumulate and reduce your risk of contracting type 2 diabetes or suffering from blood sugar spikes. Some helpful techniques for exercising portion control are to verify serving sizes of the food you purchase or even to keep a food journal to keep track of what you eat.
While it might seem trite, another significant component for managing your blood sugar is staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water. By drinking water, your kidneys can flush out any excess sugar. Studies were conducted in which individuals who primarily drank water were at reduced risk of accumulating high sugar levels in their bloodstream. The regular consumption of water also rehydrates your blood to reduce the risk of diabetes overall, while drinking sweetened beverages like soda or juice will have the opposite effect.
Another excellent way to help regulate your blood sugar is to regulate your intake of carbohydrates and to avoid consuming too many at any given time. The reason for this is that your body will break down carbohydrates into sugars it stores for later use as an energy reserve. Eating too many carbohydrates or suffering from an issue with your insulin's functionality can disrupt the draw of this sugar store for energy and lead to an increase in your overall sugar level. An excellent way to combat this is to plan your meals to minimize your intake of carbohydrates to ensure you do not overload on the sugars your body would create. Studies have found that these low-carb diets also lend themselves to reducing blood sugar spikes.
The next consideration to make is to increase your intake of fiber. Fiber helps slow the rate of digestion for carbohydrates and sugars alike, which gives your bloodstream time to build up blood sugar levels slowly. When consuming fiber, two types must be understood: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is excellent for improving your body's ability to manage and regulate blood sugar levels, making it the most important of them. High-fiber diets also help with the management of type 1 diabetes.
The final step you should take to manage your blood sugar levels is to selectively purchase and consume food that is low on the glycemic index. The index itself serves as a reference chart on how effectively we can digest foods and how quickly they add to our blood sugar levels. The amount and type of carbohydrates in food directly correlate to how it affects our blood. Foods that are low on the glycemic index reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics, making them ideal. Foods that are low on the index are:
- Wheat pasta
- Non-starchy vegetables
Monitoring your blood sugar levels is one of the most powerful tools you have against adrenal fatigue. However, it is not the only tool you can employ to overcome the potential for adrenal fatigue to plague you.
As with most efforts to keep healthy, different types of food should be eaten, and others must be avoided. Most doctors will advise you that you should limit food and beverages that are high in processed and refined sugar. This is a broad recommendation, however, as countless popular foods must be avoided without exception:
- White sugar
- White flour
- Fried foods
- Processed foods
- Fast food
- Artificial sweeteners
This list is far from comprehensive. Already, you can probably see how difficult it is to avoid these ingredients. In addition to avoiding certain foods, you also need to make sure your meals are evenly spaced out and well-timed to help your body regulate your adrenal glands. This means that you should space out your meals to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at appropriate times. If you were to skip breakfast or lunch, your body would burn stored nutrients more regularly, reducing your overall energy levels for the day. You can also indulge in an occasional snack or two throughout the day between meals.
While avoiding certain foods is a major factor in maintaining an adrenal diet, there are also certain foods you should indulge in to promote a healthy adrenal system. Doctors will advise a triple threat of balancing protein, healthy fats, and high-quality carbohydrates to maximize a healthy system. You will also want to consume a large number of vegetables that are rife with vitamins and minerals. You will also need to consume significant sources of vitamin C, B, B5, and B6, along with magnesium. More specific examples of foods to eat for your adrenal diet are:
- Lean meats
- Leafy greens
- Whole grains
- Low-sugar fruits
- Moderate amounts of sea salt
- Healthy fats
Consuming foods of this nature, along with avoiding the aforementioned types of food, you will enjoy a healthy and responsive adrenal system that will be able to regularly produce cortisol to keep you healthy and happy throughout your day. Proper diet and blood sugar maintenance are major aspects of overcoming adrenal fatigue, but there remain other, minor methods you can use to help fortify these treatment options.
Like any condition, there are other ways you can tend to your body to manage and overcome adrenal fatigue. These methods are minor habits you can pick up to give your body the time it needs to rest and reset your adrenal glands.
The first thing you should consider is getting into a regular sleep schedule, as going to bed at a reasonable time will help keep your hormonal balance at proper levels. Specifically, you should aim to be in bed and asleep before 11:00 P.M. since your body provides a secondary surge of cortisol after that time that would otherwise disrupt your ability to get to sleep. You might also consider implementing a nap or two into your day to keep yourself level.
You might also consider getting into meditation to relax your body and mind to reduce your stress levels. Adrenal fatigue can easily be brought on by stress, and employing meditation to alleviate it can be a remarkable way to help mitigate that stress. In addition, by relaxing your body and reducing stress, your adrenal glands will be able to manufacture hormones rather than over-applying them to cope.
These techniques are less intensive and do not require the same levels of dedication that dietary changes do. Rather, they are simply a reassessment and adjustment of potentially detrimental habits you might have adopted over the years due to work or stress. All these habits combined with the dietary habits previously discussed will easily fortify your body against the risk of adrenal fatigue.
Official Medical Treatment
Unfortunately, adrenal fatigue is not commonly recognized as an actual medical condition. The symptoms are typically tied to other conditions, and the underlying cause of your ailment may not be as simple as adrenal fatigue. This means that it's difficult or impossible to get a medical doctor to address your specific concerns.
Any time you're experiencing significant medical issues in your daily life, it's worth taking the time to visit a physician. You can bring up your concerns about adrenal fatigue and its related symptoms. Your doctor may be able to run tests to identify if you have any specific conditions causing them. Once identified, they can be treated, likely in many of the same ways as adrenal fatigue itself is treated.
Adrenal fatigue is not a fully understood or even entirely accepted condition that can severely damage your body's ability to manufacture critical hormones you need to maintain a healthy body state. If you constantly need the hormones your adrenal glands provide, they will be exhausted, and your body will be left to cope without the proper resources.
An excessive blood sugar level will strain your adrenal glands as they attempt to manufacture more cortisol and other hormones to keep your body level. Unfortunately, this will only serve to exhaust the glands and render them unable to activate when truly needed. For this reason, you need to maintain a healthy diet and employ the appropriate measures to keep your body healthy enough for your adrenal glands to do their job.
There are other causes of adrenal fatigue, like stress, but simply getting into better habits and indulging in stress-relief techniques can help prevent this issue. Your adrenal glands are a vital resource that needs to be properly maintained lest you fall into poor health.