Adrenal Fatigue 101

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Maybe you just don’t feel right; you’re tired, anxious, emotional, have poor sleep, brain fog, or just feel lackluster overall. Adrenal Fatigue can present as any and all of these symptoms and more.

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The demands of life can cause the adrenal glands to work overtime leading to adrenal fatigue.

Lack of rest, poor nutrition, and “go-go-go” lifestyles are usually at the core of it all. In a nutshell, it’s caused by STRESS and the effect of stress on the body is cumulative.

There are 3 phases of adrenal dysfunction, and symptoms can vary in each phase. The most accurate way to assess adrenal health is a by combination of a thorough lifestyle history and nutritional evaluation along with a saliva test called an Adrenal Stress Index (ASI). Typically, the cost of this test is around $120. Saliva tests are actually more accurate than blood tests for evaluating adrenal function. So if you’ve been to the doctor and have been told everything is “normal,” don’t despair—You’re not crazy (maybe). Adrenal dysfunction is one of the most overlooked health conditions I’ve seen in my nearly 20 years of practice.

The three phases of adrenal dysfunction are as follows:

Phase 1: Wired all the time. Your brain and body are “ON” and it is hard to shut them down. Usually getting adequate sleep is becoming an issue.

Phase 2: Wired and tired. Your brain is always on go, and maybe some anxiousness or brain fog is building up. You’re tired, yet it is still difficult to sleep.

Phase 3: Tired all the time. Even if you want to be active or productive, you simply have no physical or mental energy to do it. This is clinically the “adrenal fatigue” state.

During all three phases symptoms can vary. Weight gain especially around the lower belly usually starts after you have been operating in phase one and two for an extended period of time. When your weight gain is a result of too much cortisol (stress hormone) being secreted for long periods of time, it becomes extremely difficult to lose weight. Over the years I’ve had a lot of success helping people lose weight, although it’s not because I have a magic workout plan. Instead, we address the state of the adrenal glands. In cases of adrenal fatigue, excessive exercise and trying to reduce food intake can even make things worse.

How to help

There are no proven medications or drugs that successfully treat adrenal dysfunction. Yet, adrenal dysfunction is very treatable with the right plan! These three steps are what I suggest for anyone who might have any phase of adrenal dysfunction.

Step 1: Learn how to shut “off’ your cortisol production. This can be done very easily and instantly through a specific breathing technique. Take a long slow inhale in through your nose, expanding your lower belly and chest with air. Then exhale as slowly as possible through your mouth. Repeat this breathing exercise several times when you notice you are wound up or stressed.

Step 2: Create boundaries. Learn how to shut it down at night. Using your computer or iPhone at night stimulates your brain and inhibits the release of melatonin for sleep. This may be the biggest problem for most people.

Step 3: Proper nutrition and supplement support. Improving the health and function of your adrenal glands is the goal. This may look different than just eating a good diet. This is where an experienced Holistic Health care practitioner can be of great help. Using a combination of good food choices and specific whole food supplements for adrenal support can be extremely effective.

Kelli & Bart Precourt
Kelli & Bart Precourt

To find out if adrenal dysfunction is at the core of your health concerns, contact our office for an evaluation. Your health is worth your effort!