Adrenal fatigue is one of the most misdiagnosed health issues in our society and it can lead to a host of problems, some mild and some severe. Why is adrenal fatigue so prevalent? It all boils down to stress: mental, physical, emotional, environmental, etc. Adrenal fatigue sets in when the adrenals have had too much stress and have not had enough rest and time to recover; and thus, fall behind in producing enough hormones to ensure you have a healthy body and mind.
The adrenals produce cortisol, DHEA, adrenaline, aldosterone, secondary sex hormones and other hormones. These hormones help balance blood sugar, moderate the immune system, help with proper brain health and cellular communication, balance blood pressure, regulate the sodium,/potassium pump within the cells, help with a healthy sex drive and several other important body functions.
Before the adrenals hit fatigue, they try to keep up with the stress you are putting them under by producing too much cortisol. Do not blame the cortisol for going too high. Look at your life and make the needed changes to reduce your stress levels.
When cortisol is too high, several health issues will arise: weight gain, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, brain fog, insomnia, low sex drive and a weakened immune system. All other hormones are left in the dark as the stress is telling your adrenal glands to produce cortisol first and for most. Eventually, your adrenals cannot keep with the stress and fatigue will set in. Cortisol decreases below the healthy threshold and other health issues arise: low blood sugar, low blood pressure, low sex drive, afternoon fatigue, insomnia, trouble getting up before 9am, cellular dehydration, low sex drive, brain fog, allergies, inflammation and a weakened immune system.
In regards to the immune system, if cortisol is too high or too low, the immune system will be compromised. Cortisol is the body’s main anti-inflammatory hormone. It moderates the immune system by regulating the white blood cells, histamine levels produced by mast cells and other parts of the immune system. In a healthy body with healthy adrenals, the body’s immune system will be able to effectively keep infections at bay with the perfect moderation by cortisol. Once the white blood cells and histamine do their work, cortisol removes them from the infected area so the redness and inflammation produced by the immune system will stop and the body can finish in the healing process. When cortisol is too high, there will be very little white blood cell and histamine activity. The immune system is weakened and many infections can occur throughout the body. When cortisol is too low, the immune system will be over active as the white blood cells, histamine, etc. will continue to produce redness and inflammation as there is not enough cortisol to stop the actions of the white blood cells, etc. Symptoms can consists of continued redness, a lingering cough, bruises and cuts that take a long time to heal, inflammation, allergies and auto immune disease.
As you can see, when the adrenals are out of balance, you will have health challenges, some which may be very severe and can make your life very uncomfortable.
The most important factor to address adrenal fatigue and to heal your adrenal glands is reducing the amount of stress in your life and eating a very healthy diet that consist of lots of healthy fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrates with an emphasize on green vegetables, including vegetable juice. Strive to keep your carbohydrate consumption at 100 grams or less a day. Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Essential fatty acids, Amino Acids and adaptogens such as Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Maca, Nettles, Schizandra and Tulsi are very important in healing the adrenal glands, when cortisol is too high or too low. Licorice Root is very healing when cortisol levels are too low, but not when cortisol is too high.
Another aspect to consider is inner work with meditation, prayer and self-love. Take a good look at yourself and your life and let go of those things or people that are hindering you from making the necessary steps to heal. Let joy be your beacon of light.