In this fast past world we live in, is it any surprise that stress has become one of the top killers? It affects most people in one way or another and can cause a great amount of harm to the body. Although we have a built-in mechanism to handle stress, even that system can be damaged by excessive and long-term exposure to stressful situations leaving our bodies in disarray. Being able to handle stress is key to our survival, but when the stress control center is dysfunctional, the entire body can and will shut down causing what is known as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome or AFS.In this fast past world we live in, is it any surprise that stress has become one of the top killers? It affects most people in one way or another and can cause a great amount of harm to the body. Although we have a built-in mechanism to handle stress, even that system can be damaged by excessive and long-term exposure to stressful situations leaving our bodies in disarray. Being able to handle stress is key to our survival, but when the stress control center is dysfunctional, the entire body can and will shut down causing what is known as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome or AFS.
What Exactly Happens When Your Body is Under Stress?
Let’s say your car breaks down on the way to an important work meeting. This evokes extremely stressful feelings. There are a series of chemical reactions that take place in your body that are designed to deal with the incoming stressors:
● Your hypothalamus signals your pituitary gland to release ACTH or the adrenocorticotropic hormone
● ACTH will them stimulate the adrenal glands to secrete epinephrine and cortisol.
● Epinephrine and cortisol will increase the body’s energy levels
● Your heart rate will increase
● You may begin to sweat
● Your muscles will tense up
● Blood will be diverted away from your gut resulting in slower digestion.
● The rectus muscle and bladder may relax
When the above physiological response occurs over a long period of time, Adrenal Fatigue is the resulting ailment.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is a series of symptoms that draw a picture of an over-stressed person. Signs and symptoms include:
● Weight gain with an inability to lose it
● Low immune system
● Reduced desire for sex
● The need for stimulants like caffeine
● Cravings for salty, fatty, and high protein foods
● Increased symptoms of PMS for women
● Unexplained back or neck pain
● Mild depression
● Food and or inhalant allergies and sensitivities
● Inability to handle stressful situations.
● Dry and thin skin
● Low body temperature
● Heart palpitations
● Unexplained hair loss
● A multitude of digestion issues
If someone suffers from the majority of these symptoms, most likely they are already dealing with a progressed stage 2 of adrenal fatigue and should take proactive measures in their healthcare to avoid further suffering or damage to their bodies. Adrenal Fatigue occurs when the amount of stress exceeds the body’s ability to deal with it accordingly. It’s debilitating and can quickly diminish someone’s quality of life.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
Stress comes in many shapes and forms and is very common in western societies. Although the most common causes of stress are pressure from work, changing jobs, the death of a loved one, moving, illness, and marital disruption, there are many other stressors that can lead to adrenal fatigue including:
● Chronic fatigue
● Chronic pain
● Chronic illness
● Chronic infection
● Excessive exercise
● Gluten intolerance
● Low blood sugar
● Exposure to toxins
● Severe or chronic stress
● Lack of sleep
● Excessive sugar intake
● Excessive caffeine
● Parasitic or bacterial infections
Stage 1 of Adrenal Fatigue
Although a person may feel tired, there usually are no other symptoms reported at this stage and daily activities are unaffected. The body is undergoing aggressive anti-stress responses to attempt to reduce the stressors that have been brought on.
Stage 2 of Adrenal Fatigue
If the adrenals become unable to properly handle the stress, they become exhausted. Cortisol levels decline, and anxiety kicks in. Irritability takes place. Insomnia becomes common, and infections more frequent. The body starts showing many symptoms, fatigue being the most prevalent.
Stage 3: Adrenal Exhaustion
At this point, the adrenals cannot keep up with the body’s demand for cortisol. Early in the third stage the symptoms present in stage 1 and 2 are persistent or chronic, and the body is in a constant state of mild fatigue. In the latter part of this stage, severe fatigue is the norm. The body continues a downward path of impaired functioning. Adrenal Fatigue Treatment With a proper treatment plan under a knowledgeable health care practitioner, adrenal fatigue can be reversed. Within a matter of 6 months to 2 years, the adrenals, and the neuroendometabolic system can regain their balance and recover from the devastation of this ailment. Contrary to what you may believe, adrenal fatigue treatment does not include the use of conventional medicine but relies heavily on healthy lifestyle changes that include specific adrenal fatigue nutrition, plenty of rest, exercise, and most important, the removal of stressors.
● Adrenal Fatigue Nutrition. Following a clean, organic AFS diet, along with a balance of adrenal fatigue vitamins are required for full recovery. Recommended supplements for adrenal fatigue include:
○ Vitamin C
○ Vitamin B5
○ Vitamin E
○ Vitamin D
○ Adrenal glandular, extracts and herbs including ashwagandha root, licorice root, Korean Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, ginger root, and ginkgo leaf can be helpful for short term.
○ Extra-adrenal fatigue vitamins that should be considered are beta-carotene, selenium, magnesium, lysine, proline, glutamine, DHEA, pregnenolone, Ribose and co-factors, CoQ, and Type 1 and Type 3 collagen.
○ The proper delivery system for the adrenal fatigue nutrients plays a significant role in therapy. The best delivery methods include liposomal, powdered, and capsulated.
○ Sleep. During sleep, the body recovers and rejuvenates. It uses low levels of energy and encounters almost no stress. It is recommended that AFS sufferers get at least 11 hours of sleep each night. Resting from approximately 10 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. if possible.
○ Exercise. Exercise is a key component to adrenal recovery. It is a great stress reducer, lowers the risk of depression, increases blood flow, and normalizes the level of cortisol, insulin, blood glucose, growth hormones, and thyroid. It is extremely important to maintain a level of exercise that is equivalent to the capacity the body can handle. Over-exercise can lead to crashes and an increase of AFS symptoms.
○ Stress. You can take all the requested supplements for adrenal fatigue and get adequate rest and exercise, but if you do not remove the stressors from your life, your adrenal fatigue condition will continue to decline and your quality of life will rapidly diminish. It is important to address all stresses that exist including family, financial, marital and work-related issues. It is best to receive treatment for adrenal fatigue under professional guidance to ensure all the steps that are required are taken in a timely manner. A knowledgeable clinician will understand the body’s signals and with the proper lifestyle changes, the adrenal gland will normalize and the body will recover.
For almost 20, years Dr. Lam has provided the world a most comprehensive library on adrenal fatigue syndrome. WWW.DrLam.com is a free and educational website, with evidence-based information that has provided both public and health care professionals insight into the practice of alternative medicine for the use of AFS and other age-related ailments. Dr. Lam serves as a senior health and nutritional coach where his personalized telephone-based coaching services have assisted people around the globe to regain control of their health using natural, holistic therapies.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome is a stress-induced ailment that has affected almost everyone at least once in their life. Hard to diagnose, yet very symptomatic, AFS can quickly diminish a quality of life and needs proper addressing. The condition is reversible. Treatment does not always require conventional intervention, but consists of healthy lifestyle changes for the healing of the adrenals.