What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is a decrease in the function of the adrenal glands that characteristically manifests as a reduced output or alternation in the diurnal pattern of the adrenal gland hormone secretion including cortisol. People suffering from decreased adrenal function commonly complain of fatigue but may also experience sleep disruptions, weight changes, salt and/or sugar cravings, allergies, anxiousness nervousness, low blood pressure and numerous other symptoms.
Saliva testing reveals adrenal fatigue is wide spread in the United States. Functional Medicine clinics have observed that over 80% of their patients are experiencing some level of adrenal dysfunction or adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue does not discriminate-it may be experienced by men as well as women, and it can occur at any age. Today many individuals in their early 20s are already experiencing adrenal fatigue.
What causes adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue results from continuous or sudden stress. It may begin abruptly, or as a result of prolonged, repeated stress. Sources of stress may be both positive or negative and may include:
- Recurrent disease and illness
- Physical stress-injury, diet, surgery, tobacco, alcohol addiction, etc
- Emotional stress-marriage, divorce, death of a loved one, strenuous work relationships, a new baby, financial insecurity, etc.
- Environmental stress-chemical pollution of air, water, food, etc.
Successful support and treatment protocols for people suffering from decreased adrenal function include:
- Lifestyle modification to include exercise, healthy sleep patterns with ideal sleeping hours of 10pm-6am, balanced diet high in vegetables and including healthy fats and proteins, frequent laughter and deep breathing exercises
- Avoidance of food allergies/sensitivities, caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars.
Individualized treatment plans may include the following depending upon saliva testing results (phase I, phase II or phase III).
- Supplementation of dietary cofactors necessary for adrenal function including vitamins C, B5, B6 and E
- Physiologic cortisol supplementation
- Phosphorylated serine (elevated cortisol levels only) It is important to note that the different stages of adrenal fatigue may all present with the same symptoms, yet treatment protocols can be significantly different based on the diurnal pattern and volume of cortisol production for each individual patient. Testing adrenal function is a critical first step in devising the correct treatment plan.
If you suspect that you have adrenal fatigue, call our office to set up a no-charge consultation.