Even if you don’t say this often, there are definitely periods of our lives when we all feel exhausted. I’ve certainly had stretches of time where I feel as if I’m running on the hamster wheel, not getting anywhere with what I have to do, but feeling exhausted as a result. In fact it’s thought that 80% of us will undergo adrenal fatigue multiple times in our lives.
Feeling tired and exhausted seems to be a natural state of everyday life for many of us nowadays, and as a result we reach for stimulants such as caffeine and sugar to keep us going. But these quick fix pick me ups actually make the matter much worse.
The primary gland in the body to cause fatigue are the adrenal glands and the biggest thing to impact them is stress. We’ve all heard of the term ‘fight or flight’ and stress of any kind can put our body’s into this state for long periods of time, leading to what we refer to as adrenal burnout.
Stress comes in many forms, both physical and emotional and many of us are used to having a low level of stress in our lives and may feel we thrive on it. In addition to this, different stages of our lives, such as pregnancy and child birth and the menopause, put additional strain on our adrenals as they are required to work harder during these times. This may mean our usual levels of stress become overwhelming and we need additional support.
Let’s look at some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
- You crash in the early part of the day, or throughout the day.
- You feel tired all day, but more alert at home in the evening. This happens when your adrenal glands hold on to energy reserves in case an emergency arises.
- You’re exhausted but can’t sleep. The body needs adrenal hormones to help with sleep, so a lack of these will cause sleep issues.
- You feel tired even after a night’s sleep. Again this is because of the adrenal hormones needed to aid sleep.
- You are continually sweaty. This is a result of the entire endocrine system being under stress and having to work harder to compensate for the adrenal glands.
- You feel thirsty all the time and cave salt. Cortisol affects the electrolytes in your blood and results in nervous system problems.
- Blurry vision or difficulty focusing. Again this is down to a flood of cortisol, which dehydrates the body. You may also find dark circles around the eyes, which is an adrenal sign.
- Craving stimulants. This is usually a sign of needing a quick energy boost for the lack of adrenal hormones. Alas the crash afterwards forces the adrenals to over perform and then become exhausted, which over time makes the issue worse.
Many of us can recognise a number of these symptoms as present in our lives. So how do we go about avoiding this and boost our adrenals, so that they perform at their optimum for us?
How to avoid fatigue:
- The most obvious but possibly hardest is to avoid long term stress and extreme stress as this sets up the over production of adrenaline.
- Avoid artificial stimulants such as caffeine, energy drinks and drugs that give you an artificial boost.
- Strong negative emotions are another strain on the adrenals. Fear, anxiety, anger, grief. Anything that makes you feel bad emotionally. Positive emotions will give you a boost!
- Eat regularly. Eating 3 times a day will cause your blood sugar to drop and this forces the body to use hormones such as cortisol to keep it ticking over. This puts strain on the adrenals and little time to recover. Snacking every couple of hours on foods such as apples, dates, avocados will help keep blood sugar levels stable.
- Avoid eating too much meat. The fat in meat will put a strain on your pancreas and liver, eventually creating insulin resistance. This is turn makes it difficult for your body to maintain stable glucose levels, which your adrenal glands then need to regulate by creating additional hormones to compensate.
Supplements and herbal support:
You could take an all-round adrenal support supplement, which contains a range of vitamins and herbs to optimise the glands function. Or if you prefer, you can take individual supplements as noted below:
- Ginseng: More suited to men, but women may take it. Will balance the adrenals, increase stamina, energy and libido. Helps to protect the adrenal glands from overreacting to stress.
- Borage: Anti-inflammatory properties, supports adrenal cortex. Helps revive and renew adrenal glands particularly after steroid treatment.
- Discorea: Excellent for restoring the endocrine system. Anti-inflammatory and blood purifier.
- Passiflora: quietens the nervous system, aids sleep in those who are stressed and overwrought.
- Skullcap: a wonderful herb for anxiety and nervous tension.
- Liquorice: can support underactive adrenal glands and boosts the entire endocrine system. Seen as a natural steroid. Will balance the levels of cortisol and cortisone. Can be taken as a tea.
- Vitamin C: Lowers inflammation in the body and soothes the adrenal glands.
- Magnesium: Lowers anxiety and calms overactive nervous system, reducing adrenal stress.
- Chromium: Helps balance insulin levels and improves the strength of the adrenal glands, thyroid gland and the pancreas.
- Selenium helps to normalise the immune system, thyroid function and protects the body against stress.
- Ashwagandha: helps balance the production of testosterone and cortisol. A great supplement for use during the menopause.
- Astragalus: strengthens the immune and endocrine systems
- Lemon Balm: replenishes the nervous system and helps regulate the production of insulin
- Rhodiola: optimizes adrenal function.
My two essences Calm and Energise contain a combination of many of the above herbs and are worth considering as an easily accessible support. Have a browse through my shop page for more information on them.
Of course, there are many homeopathic remedies which can be considered too!
Do get in touch if you’d like my help and support
With Gratitude, Sophie x