Due to the increased stress of modern living, Adrenal Fatigue is a condition affecting more and more people. Here at the clinic we are seeing a marked increase in the number of adrenal fatigue cases. In this article I want to talk about the reasons why so many of us have some degree of adrenal fatigue and the link between stress and compromised adrenal function.
Adrenal fatigue happens when your adrenal glands are unable to sufficiently meet the demands of stress. Because of the nature of modern life, we are generally exposed to far more stressors than our ancestors were. Things like traffic, increased demands at work, the unrelenting expectation to be available through email and social media, the marked rise in both parents working and increases in the cost of living are all factors creating stress everyday.
Your adrenal glands mobilise your body’s response to every kind of stress. It doesn’t matter if stress is real or perceived. Your adrenals produce hormones that regulate energy production and storage, immune function, blood sugar responses, your nervous system and other processes that enable you to cope with stress. When we are constantly relying on these hormones - because we are in a constant state of stress - your adrenals become over taxed and overtime stop working effectively. When this happens you experience some degree of adrenal fatigue. We have a blog about common symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
As discussed above, adrenal fatigue can be the result of prolonged everyday stress; insufficient sleep, too much intense exercise, eating foods that promote blood sugar peaks and lows, reliance on caffeine, and insufficient strategies for stress reduction such as meditation, yoga or hiking.
However, an acute episode of stress such as severe or recurrent infection, surgery, addiction, relationship breakdowns, death of a loved one and even pregnancy and breastfeeding can trigger adrenal fatigue. What this means is even if we eat a good diet, get plenty of sleep and are conscious of managing stress, at some stage in our lives we all will be prone to experiencing some degree of adrenal fatigue.
In this blog we are addressing cortisol and stress levels to help you understand how cortisol works. This will influence your choices in regards to diet, lifestyle and exercise.
Cortisol is an important stress hormone. When activated, it helps us escape a dangerous situation. We can’t live without cortisol, but we need to understand how cortisol works optimally within our bodies.
Cortisol levels normally fluctuate throughout the day and night in a regular pattern that peaks at about 8 AM and reaches it lowest around 4 AM. While it is vital to health for the adrenals to secrete more cortisol in response to stress, it is also very important that bodily functions and cortisol levels return to normal following a stressful event.
Unfortunately, in our high-stress modern culture, the stress response is activated so often that the body does not always have a chance to return to normal levels. This can lead to health problems resulting from too much circulating cortisol including insulin resistance and weight gain, and/or from too little cortisol if the adrenal glands become chronically fatigued.
One of the first steps you can take in fixing adrenal fatigue is to assess your current level of stress and becoming aware of incorporating stress-management techniques into your daily life.
We are running an email series specifically about treating adrenal fatigue. We cover what adrenal fatigue is, how to test for it, what foods should you eat and avoid, how should you exercise and so much more...