The adrenals are a pair of glands that sit on the kidneys and produce several hormones, including the stress hormones epinephrine and norepiniephrine that are associated with the “fight or flight” response. Can you tire these glands out? In the absence of any scientific evidence, chiropractor and naturopath James Wilson coined the term “adrenal fatigue” in his 1998 book of the same name. Take a look at Wilson’s own extensive questionnaire, at adrenalfatigue.org. Do you ever experience the following? You may have adrenal fatigue.
A: After ruling out possible endocrine disorders, your endocrinologist can refer you to other specialists, including urologists, cardiologists, rheumatologists, allergists/immunologists and infectious disease physicians. If you’re diagnosed with POTS or another disorder, these specialists will work together to manage your health and develop a targeted treatment plan — putting you on the path to symptom relief.
Adrenal fatigue can be caused by a one-time extreme stress such as a bereavement, or by a prolonged situation such as stress in the workplace. Other factors can also play a role in adrenal fatigue and these include poor diet, insufficient sleep, substance abuse and prolonged situations that leave a person feeling trapped – such as a bad relationship, lack of financial resources and so on. Chronic illness can also reduce the function of the adrenal glands.
Ideally, cortisol is released into the system only on an occasional basis, rather than in response to chronic stress. If cortisol levels become too high for too long, they may have undesirable side effects, including loss of bone density, muscle wasting, thinning of the skin, decreased ability to build protein, kidney damage, fluid retention, spiking blood sugar levels, weight gain, and increased vulnerability to bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts, allergies, parasites, and even cancer.
The adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys like little kidney baseball caps, release several important hormones one of which is cortisol. Cortisol is one of your primary stress-related hormones and regulates your energy. Normally, it rises in the morning to help you wake up, then slowly goes down throughout the day, sinking at night so you can sleep well. Cortisol also helps regulate your blood sugar and pressure.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the government agency that oversees most food and medical products) does not oversee nutritional supplements and vitamins. This means there is no guarantee that what's on the label of a supplement is really what's inside the bottle. In some cases, supplements have very few, if any, active ingredients. In other cases, the dose of a particular ingredient may be too high. This is true if you purchase supplements from your local drug store or a specialty pharmacy (sometimes called a compounding pharmacy) where supplements are made directly by the pharmacist.
Dr. Michael Lam is a western-trained physician and nutritional medicine pioneer. In this landmark textbook, he presents the scientific, neuroendocrine evidence in great detail behind this condition. Dr Lam also shares his clinical pearls that he uses to help countless individuals around the world recover from this condition through his nutritional coaching. He utilizes both conventional and alternative approaches. By separating the myths from facts with natural, safe, and effective solutions, anyone can follow this step-by-step approach to regain energy and lost vitality.
But can stress cause extreme fatigue? Yes, it absolutely can. One study found that students undergoing chronic, long-term stress when prepping for medical exams at the end of their educational careers impaired the students’ cortisol awakening response. (10) By limiting this surge in cortisol that naturally occurs every morning when you wake up to help you feel alert, stress inhibits your ability to wake up fully, no matter how much sleep you get.
Her brain felt foggy, she was irritable, and she was drinking three cups of coffee a day to get through her afternoon slump. At night she became super mom, cooking and taking care of the kids. Usually she was at her laptop until about midnight, which is when she physically couldn't keep her eyes open. Everything she described was classic for adrenal fatigue, but I wanted to make sure we were on the right track.
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