Tired all day every day?
Do you experience any of the following:
- Tiredness for no reason?
- Difficulty getting up and getting going in the mornings?
- Feeling like you haven’t had a holiday after the holiday?
- Dependence on coffee, energy drinks, tea to keep you going?
- Cravings for sweet or salty food?
- Decreased immune response – recurring colds, flu, coughs?
- Thyroid dysfunction – under- or over-active?
- Decreased sex drive?
- Tiredness all day every day?
Adrenal fatigue is caused by many forms of stress:
- Physical: Excessive or lack of exercise.
- Chemical: Drugs (prescription and non prescription), caffeine, alcohol, nicotine.
- Mental/emotional: Financial, marital, work, family, fear, negative attitudes/beliefs.
- Nutritional: Processed foods, sugar, poor quality food and poor eating habits.
- Electromagnetic: Artificial light, microwaves, mobiles.
“95% of all disease is caused by stress” National Institute of Health, 2010
When the body is stressed (no matter what the stressor is), the nervous system helps us respond by triggering a sympathetic response that increases our heart rate and blood pressure and acts on the adrenal glands, the organ that produces the stress hormones adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol. Digestion is slowed down. This prepares the body for what’s commonly known as the flight or fight response.
This stress response is natural and the body is designed to cope with short bouts of stress. However, in today’s busy world we are commonly faced with a barrage of stressors all day, every day, for years (physical, mental/emotional, chemical, nutritional and electromagnetic). This continual onslaught of stress and activation of the ‘stress response’ causes disruption to the body. When the body is unable to cope with ongoing stress, symptoms appear.
The body moves into the acute/phase 1 of adrenal fatigue (yellow zone). Cortisol, adrenalin/noradenalin production increases - you may feel “wired and tired” and sleep may be affected. Over time our adrenal glands become fatigued from being chronically overworked (sound familiar) and cortisol production begins to decrease. This marks phase 2 (orange zone), where you may start to self medicate with stimulants to keep you going.
It is important to note that the total cortisol value in the compensatory phase (orange zone) of adrenal fatigue is the same as the ‘normal’ value. This is critical because a single blood sample measure may diagnose you as ‘normal’, when you are in fact in phase 2 (orange zone) of adrenal fatigue. Without adequate treatment (consisting of repair and recovery) you would slide into the exhaustion phase of adrenal fatigue (red zone), facing exhaustion, lower sex drive, aches/pains and potentially, for women, perimenopause.
As a Kaizen health practitioner, I have access to high quality adrenal fatigue testing kits. Our tests have three key benefits:
- A comprehensive questionnaire identifying how your body is coping with stress and where your stress is coming from so the cause can addressed rather than the symptoms.
- Our test measures cortisol at four points across the day to track your cortisol levels. This is critical, as cortisol should rise in the morning and gradually drop off across the day. As mentioned, taking a single blood sample doesn’t allow you to determine your cortisol levels across the day AND it could diagnose you as ‘normal’, when you are in fact in the compensation phase of adrenal fatigue.
- Our test measures:
- DHEA (growth and repair hormone).
- Total Cortisol. If your total daily cortisol measure is higher than your DHEA value, then your body is breaking down faster than it can grow or repair. Not ideal for anyone, let alone a competitive athlete.
Understanding you have adrenal fatigue and what stage you are experiencing is a big step on the pathway to regaining your health. We can then make recommendations to modify your lifestyle in small progressive steps so they are realistic for you to achieve. It is a journey and not something that will happen overnight; however, it is worth the effort in order to function optimally, be symptom free and feel healthy again, from the inside out.
If you are interested in having your adrenal glands tested, please get in touch.