From emotional stress to financial pressure to lack of sleep, we live in a stressed-out world! With all of the stressors in our daily lives, it’s no wonder many of us are out of balance. When chronic stress overloads the body’s ability to cope and recover, some form of adrenal fatigue occurs and we experience symptoms such as lethargy, weight gain, moodiness, depression, inability to focus, low sex drive, insomnia, etc.
It’s the job of the adrenal glands to maintain internal balance in the body during stressful situations. During acute stress –a serious injury or the sudden death of a loved one – the hormones of the adrenal glands assist in the “fight or flight” response prompting several physical changes in the body. These changes include increased breathing rate, blood flow (to skeletal muscles and away from digestive organs), heart rate, blood sugar, and blood pressure; pupil dilation; and decreased digestive action. The human stress response was likely meant to save our ancestors from the clutches of a saber tooth tiger not to save us from the “emergencies” of modern society such as work deadlines, monthly mortgage payments and traffic jams.
If you think you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, the first step is saliva testing to determine what your cortisol levels look like throughout the day. The Adrenal Stress index (ASI) test requires at least four samples so you get an idea of your cortisol rhythm. This way we can develop a plan to support your adrenals accordingly.
Not surprisingly, stress management plays a major role in restoring adrenal health. In fact, lifestyle factors are probably the most important piece to overcoming adrenal fatigue. While a little stress is normal and healthy, chronic stress that doesn’t allow the adrenals to recover leads to burnout.
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can (and should) do nutritionally to support your adrenals. For starters, balancing blood sugar is extremely important. In addition, vitamin C is essential for healthy adrenal function. It’s used in large amounts by the body during stressful times.
Certain herbs can be used to help support the adrenals. Specifically, adaptogens are helpful to balance and restore a body under stress. Don’t go it alone when choosing the right supplements and herbs. Some supplements can make you feel worse or further aggravate symptoms. Reach out to me via phone or email to schedule a free 15-minute phone consult to discuss your unique symptoms.
Until next time, make every bite count!