Adrenal Fatigue

Does this sound like you:
“I’m so exhausted!”
“I’m feeling overwhelmed.”
“I’m having bouts of dizziness throughout the day.”
“I can’t loose weight even though I’ve been going to the gym everyday for weeks.”
“I’m tired all day, but can’t sleep at night.”
“I feel like my brain is in a fog.”

I am sure many of us can relate to some of these complaints. Have you mentioned them to your conventional medical doctor and they test your thyroid gland function which is normal and therefore prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-depressive medications instead? And, even those medications don’t seem to help. Regularly, I see men and women like you in my office. An area of imbalance in your body that your primary care physician frequently doesn’t think about is your adrenal gland function.

What is the function of your adrenal gland?
When our adrenal glands are in optimal condition, they have many important tasks in our body. For instance, cortisol one of the hormones our adrenal glands secrete helps in reducing inflammation and controlling pain in chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or after a motor vehicle accident. Adrenal glands are also the “rulers of our circadian rhythm”! The hormones from the adrenal glands are what wakes you up in the morning giving you energy for your day, and they are also part of the hormones involved in getting you to sleep and keeping you asleep at night. In addition, cortisol helps regulate your blood sugar. When there is a drop in blood sugar from not eating properly, it’s your adrenal gland that secretes the hormone to help bring your blood sugar levels back into balance.

Demands from our busy lives, mental and emotional stresses, as well as physical stresses like chronic pain can overburden those little stress managing glands making them unable to effectively do their jobs. When this happens we begin to develop symptoms, like: chronic fatigue, insomnia, hypoglycemia, weight gain (especially around your belly), chronic pain, heart palpitations, brain fog, and/or muscle weakness, to name just a few.

How do you test the function of your adrenal glands?
In my office, as with many naturopathic physician’s offices, we use salivary testing to examine adrenal/hormone function. Saliva tests are noninvasive and easy to use. Who’s cortisol doesn’t go up naturally when they see a needle for a blood draw anyway :-)? One of the advantages of using saliva is we can get a better idea of your innate circadian rhythm by testing 4x/day in the convenience of your home or office instead of having you go to the lab 4x/day to get your blood drawn.

How do I treat my adrenal fatigue?
After examining the results of your test, we can effectively choose a treatment plan that is ideal for you. There are three phases of adrenal fatigue, and depending which phase you are in will determine which treatment protocol we use for you. In general, nutrients like Vitamin B5, B6, and C are important dietary cofactors involved in adrenal functioning. Herbs are great tools to help treat adrenal fatigue in all three phases. For instance, rhodiola, eleuthrococcus, and holy basil are some great adaptogenic herbs that I use frequently in treating adrenal fatigue. Adrenal glandular supplementation or other supplements like, phosphatidylserine, may also be utilized depending on which phase your adrenal profile indicates. And you can never, ever forget lifestyle modifications as being part of your treatment protocol, like eliminating caffeine which acts as a direct stress to the adrenal gland itself, and optimizing sleep habits.

Naturopathic Physicians have many tools in their tool box in helping alleviate those symptoms that are inhibiting you from living a vital and optimal life. If you suspect arenal fatigue as the root cause of your symptoms, don’t hesitate to get it addressed right away…and be free of those impending symptoms that are keeping you from living that life you want to be proud of.

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