Your adrenal glands – two small walnut sized organs that sits just above your kidneys can have a major impact on your overall health and wellbeing if not functioning properly. It’s quite common for the adrenal glands to become overworked, or “fatigued” which can happen at any specific point, or points, in your life and is almost always the results of of prolonged, repetitive stressors (mental, physical, chemical, emotional, spiritual etc.) such that the secretion of key metabolic hormones, specifically cortisol is diminished.
Signs/Symptoms Your Adrenals Are Fatigued:
The one challenge with adrenal fatigue is that the symptoms often mimic those of other conditions, which confuses many physicians, so most people never end up being told their culprit is a fatigued adrenal system. However, here are some classic signs that can tell you if your adrenals are involved:
- You have a difficult time getting up, and are not often “awake” until after 10am
- You need coffee/energy drinks to get going
- You have low to no energy between 2 and 4pm in the afternoon
- You have a lot of energy between 6 and 9pm
- Your sleep is disrupted between 11pm and 1am and/or between 3am and 5am
- Sweet/Salty snacks give you a boost of energy/focus
Diagnosing Adrenal Fatigue:
A true diagnosis will require you to preform a 24hr hormone map, specifically looking at the changes in Cortisol and DHEA throughout the day. Thankfully there is an inexpensive at home urine test you can order online atDutchTest.com. The male/female 24 hour hormone tests will allow you to map out your adrenal hormones as well as testosterone, estrogen and more. Once the results are back, you simply need to look at your total Cortisol/DHEA and reference below:
Stage 1 Fatigue: Alarm Phase: Elevated Cortisol and Elevated DHEA. This stage is often asymptomatic.
Stage 2 Fatigue: Deep Alarm Phase: Elevated Cortisol and Normal DHEA. This stage is where you begin to notice a few of the above symptoms
Stage 3 Fatigue: Resistance Phase: Low Cortisol and Low DHEA. This stage is where the above symptoms are present along with symptoms of other conditions (elevated blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure etc.) and most people get diagnosed with those conditions rather than adrenal fatigue syndrome)
Stage 4 Fatigue: Adrenal Exhaustion: Very Low Cortisol and Very Low DHEA. This is where not only does one experience the above symptoms but they often have been “misdiagnosed” with diabetes, heart disease, thyroid disease and have been medicated for many years.
Solving Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome: As with any chronic health condition that is often overlooked by conventional medicine the first step is becoming self aware of the state in which your adrenals are – and this is why testing is so important (even more so b/c most physicians will refuse to acknowledge adrenal fatigue is the cause of your health issue and there standard medical test of cortisol is via the blood, not urine and is only a one time test, not a 24 hour multi collection assessment.
Dietary Approach: You can begin to incorporate what is called the “Adrenal Diet” which simply put is eliminating all known food sensitivities (wheat, corn, rice, soy, oats, dairy, lectins, caffeine and night shades) while focusing on grass fed/wild caught/free range animal proteins, vegetables and low glycemic fruits, nuts and seeds.
Supplemental Support: The following nutrients have been shown to aid the repair/healing process of your adrenal glands
- Licorice root
- Omega 3 Plant/Fish Oils
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Holy Basil
- Lavender Oil
Chiropractic Care: One “secret weapon” to reduce the stress of your adrenal glands and offer innate healing is to decrease the sympathetic tone (flight or fight response) of the nerve system while increasing the parasympathetic (rest and heal response). The Thoracic 10 through Lumbar 1 segments of the spine specifically surround the nerves responsible for adrenal gland function and any alignment/subluxation/interference at this region of the spine can place unnecessary stress onto the nerves responsible for adrenal gland function. This is why countless of people have reported a general sense of release, relief and relaxation following chiropractic care – not just due to releasing the stress on the nerves themselves but as a result of restoring the normal tone to the nerve system which allows the adrenals to return to normal function innately.