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Adrenal Fatigue 101!!!

Updated: May 5, 2022

Top tips to restore balanced adrenal function, reduce stress & improve energy levels

In our modern world, being busy is seen as a badge of honour. However, being constantly on the go every waking minute, without giving the body adequate down time, overstimulates our nervous system, pushing our adrenal glands hard to produce all those excitatory hormones to keep us going.

Over secretion of Cortisol pushes us in to fight or flight - we are only meant to be in this zone in the face of danger and not for long extended periods of time. Modern living causes the majority of people to be predominantly in fight or flight mode, causing physiological changes within our bodies that are detrimental to our health and cause chronic illness in the long term.

The adrenal glands sit on our kidneys and make our steroid hormones, such as cortisol, our stress and energy hormone.

Cortisol levels spike within an hour of us waking up, helping us to get active and get going with our day. Then levels drop throughout the day, and should be lowest at night, allowing our natural melatonin production to start lulling us into sleep.

Cortisol plays an important role in regulating vital endocrine functions, such as:

Blood sugar regulation

Energy production

Blood pressure maintenance

Regulation and kidney function

Fat building

Muscle building and protein synthesis

Inflammatory processes

Immune system function and healing

Bust Stress once and for all!

Rest is a powerful healing activity and extremely under-rated - Rushing Women's syndrome - the need to always be busy and productive could be burning you out! Learning to honour our natural rhythms and cycles is essential to more effectively manage our energy levels.

Signs that your adrenals are stressed and in need of some TLC:

common symptoms of adrenal imbalance include:

  • Fatigue and feeling flat

  • Low motivation

  • Weight gain around the middle

  • Mood swings

  • Anxiety, irritability and overwhelm

  • Poor sleep; difficulty falling asleep and waking in the night

  • Craving for sugars and caffeine

  • Mid afternoon crash around 2 - 4pm

Top tips to reduce adrenal stress, restore healthy adrenal function and improve your energy and vitality. These key tips will transform you from feeling flat and fatigue to feling motivated and passionate about your life again!!!

These changes will reduce adrenal stress and anxiety levels:

  • Increase omega 3 foods in the diet, such as salmon. It reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

  • Drink Green Tea. L-theanine in green tea can cross the blood brain barrier and promote relaxation. Ironically, the L-theanine seems to counteract the caffeine and reduce cortisol levels.

  • Have a glutamine rich diet - glutamine helps protein synthesis, immune function, gut barrier repair, and managing cortisol levels in the muscle. Foods include bone broth, meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, and can be purchased as a supplement.

  • Fruit and Veggies - fresh produce rich in vitamin C helps lower cortisol.

  • Exercise for no more than 1 hour. Promotes the production of serotonin and dopamine. More than 1 hour will result in increase cortisol in the blood.

  • Breathing exercises. Breathing centres the mind, and relaxes the nervous system rapidly. Use mindfulness, focus on the in and out breath, and feel into your body.

Top tips to beat fatigue and boost vitality

  • Eat 1.5 grams of high quality protein per kg of your body weight every day.

  • Omit poor versions of salt, and introduce 1 teaspoon of natural salt to the diet daily - eg Himalayan or Celtic sea salt. Your adrenals love salt!!

  • Exercise in the morning only. Cortisol should be highest 60 minutes after waking, so to train your body, do some exercise 45 minutes after waking, ideally in the sunshine.

  • Drink licorice tea - unless you have high blood pressure.

  • Increase vitamin C rich foods in the diet.

  • Have a set night routine - and stick to it!

  • Get sunshine a few times through the day.

Herbal Medicine: The adaptagens......

Adaptogenic herbs or “adaptogens” are a class of herbs that help the body “adapt” to stress. Adaptogens have been used for centuries, herbs such as ashwagandha, ginseng, and Rhodiola have a long history of use in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.

Russian scientist Israel Brekhmanfirst coined the term “adaptogen” in 1947. He outlined the following criteria to classify herbs as adaptogens. To qualify as an adaptogen, an herb must:

  1. Increase the body’s ability to cope with internal and external stresses.

  2. Exhibit stimulating effects after both single-time use and prolonged use, leading to increased working capacity and mental performance under fatigue-inducing conditions.

  3. Normalise the functions of the body.

  4. Be completely safe and free of negative side effects

Adaptogens have been touted for their ability to boost vitality. Adaptogens also are known to support the body in combating fatigue. Several well-studied adaptogens have a balancing effect on body processes and optimising the body’s stress response. We know that stress is at the root of many chronic illnesses. Adaptogens may be just what you need to support your immune system.

Top adaptogenic herbs include:

  • Licorice

  • Rhodiole

  • Withania or ashwaghanda

  • Astragalus

  • Ginseng: Korean and Siberian

  • Rehmannia

Nutritional Medicine: The adrenals and nervous system need activated B vitamins to nourish and support their functioning. People with adrenal fatigue will commonly have Magnesium deficiency - this will cause more stress, tension and sleep issues. Supplementation with these vital Vitamins and minerals are essential to support healthy adrenals and nervous system function. They will reduce stress levels and improve quality of sleep and increase energy levels......

Don't continue to struggle with your energy levels explaining it away as age or being busy - get the help and support that you deserve and start feeling like YOU again!!

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