Exhaustion of nutritional reserves (either through poor diet or stress) or damage to the adrenal gland (through illness or trauma) results in low production of adrenal hormones and resulting symptoms of illness such as fatigue.
This condition is what is referred to as adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion.
It has been shown in multiple studies that people suffering from CFS, fibromyalgia and other environmental illnesses (including Executive stress) have low output of the adrenal hormones cortisol and DHEA.
The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys and produce a large number of hormones. The cortex (outer part) produces corticosteroids made from cholesterol, these include cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), aldosterone and the sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen. Cortisol is the major hormone involved in the stress response. Under prolonged stress cortisol levels are elevated, increasing blood pressure and blood sugar levels and suppressing the inflammatory response of the immune system. DHEA is thought to counteract the negative effects of prolonged high cortisol levels such as immune suppression and damage to brain cells through over stimulation. DHEA levels decline with age which is why it is sometimes called the master anti-aging hormone.
The symptoms associated with low adrenal function include:
- Poor response to stress
- Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
- Low blood pressure and dizziness upon standing up
- Recurrent and persistent infections
- Tendency to gain weight and unable to loose it, especially around the waist.
- Reduced sex drive.
- Poor memory
- Lack of energy in the mornings and also in the afternoon between 3 to 5 pm.
- Feel better after a meal.
- Often feel tired between 9 – 10 pm, but resist going to bed.
- Need coffee or stimulants to get going in the morning.
- Crave for salty, fatty, and high protein food such as meat and cheese.
- Increase symptoms of PMS for women; period are heavy and then stop, or almost stopped on the 4th day, only to start flow again on the 5th or 6th day.
- Feels better when stress is relieved, such as on a vacation.
- Need to lie down when under emotional stress
Adrenal glands can be restored to optimum health naturally by adhering to healthy living principals. Proper rest, together with specific nutritional diets and removal of stressors are key components to adrenal fatigue recovery. Most people who suffer from adrenal fatigue also have multiple endocrine (Hormone) imbalances including sub-clinical hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, and oestrogen dominance.
These need to be appropriately tested for and optimized by an experienced antiageing doctor.
A full recovery can take up to two years to achieve.