Adrenal Fatigue: Why Am I So Tired?

December 09, 2013 • Healthy Living, Naturopathic Medicine

Adrenal Fatigue

If you suffer from regular stress in your professional or personal life and are finding it difficult to function due to a lack of energy, adrenal fatigue may be to blame. Adrenal fatigue is the result of an overexertion of the adrenal glands and can result in a variety of symptoms, from feeling run down and overtired (no matter how much sleep you get), to having difficulty recovering from illnesses.

What are the adrenals and what do they do?

The adrenal glands are located above a person’s kidneys, and are responsible for releasing hormones when your body is undergoing stress. When stress is encountered, the adrenal glands release cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline to help the body deal with stress.

What happens in the stress response?

The hormones released by the adrenal glands during a stress response assist the body in dealing with a stressful situation by increasing energy levels, improving long-term memory, and sharpening reaction times. You might notice this type of response when faced with a tight deadline at work, or when you partake in a reasonably risky activity – like downhill skiing or bungee jumping. It is natural for the body to respond to stress over a short period; this is how the human body has dealt with danger for millions of years.

How does chronic stress affect the body?

Unfortunately, the adrenal gland does not function well under chronic or continuous stress – it just isn’t able to keep up with the production of hormones over the long term. When the body is faced with chronic stress the adrenal glands become fatigued and the result is a variety of symptoms that leave a person feeling exhausted or sick.

What are the signs and symptoms on adrenal fatigue?

You may be experiencing adrenal fatigue if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
  • Chronic infection
  • Longer recovery times from exercise
  • Low sex drive
  • Depression
  • Consistent feelings of being overwhelmed or run down
  • More energy after 6pm than the rest of the day

A simple test to measure cortisol levels in a person’s saliva can be performed by a naturopathic physician in order to determine whether they are suffering from adrenal fatigue. Once a diagnosis is reached, your physician can work with you to develop a treatment plan to help the adrenal glands reach normal function.

What should I do now?

If you think you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue, contact Balance Natural Health Clinic and schedule an appointment. In the meantime, try to reduce stress as much as possible and get at least eight hours of sleep per night. You can also help your adrenal glands recover more quickly by lowering caffeine intake and reducing your consumption of refined carbohydrates – like white bread and sugary foods. It is also beneficial to eat more vegetables and whole grains, and to consider taking vitamin B-complex and vitamin C supplements. If you are suffering from stress and are tired or having difficulty recovering from illness, adrenal fatigue may be the cause. Schedule an appointment with your naturopathic physician now to start your recovery.