Do you crave salty foods? Maybe you've been to several doctors and none of them can say what's wrong with you. You may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal glands, part of the endocrine system, are small, triangular-shaped glands located on top of the kidneys. They secrete more than 50 hormones including cortisol, DHEA, epinephrine, progesterone, and testosterone. Since the adrenals produce so many hormones, they’re involved in many of the body’s functions essential to our physical and emotional health and well being.
The adrenal glands are responsible for:
- Energy production
- Hormone production
- Fluid and electrolyte balance
- Fat storage
One hormone, in particular—cortisol—is extremely important for keeping our body systems in balance, as well as protecting our cells. Cortisol works with certain parts of the brain to control mood, motivation, and fear. It’s best known for helping fuel the body’s “fight-or-flight” instinct, but cortisol plays an important role in a number of other processes of the body, including:
- Controlling the strength of your immune system
- Memory formulation
- Managing how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins (metabolism)
- Reducing inflammation
- Regulating your blood pressure and electrolyte balance
- Thyroid hormone conversion
- Normalising your blood sugar (glucose)
- Controlling your sleep/wake cycle
- Boosting energy so you can handle stress and restores balance afterwards
Prolonged exposure to stress can drain the adrenals leading to a low cortisol state- adrenal fatigue
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
The term "adrenal fatigue" was coined in 1998 by James Wilson, PhD, a naturopath and expert in alternative medicine. Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress, it can also arise during or after acute or chronic infections, especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia.
Changes occur in your carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and even sex drive. Many other alterations take place at the biochemical and cellular levels in response to and to compensate for the decrease in adrenal hormones that occurs with adrenal fatigue.
The symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Heart disease
- Memory and concentration problems
- Problems with digestion
- Trouble sleeping
- Unexplained weight gain/loss
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Craving salt and sugar
Adrenal fatigue is one of the most under diagnosed illnesses in western society. Cortisol output by your adrenal glands is one of the most reliable indicators of your adrenal function and how well your body is dealing with stress. Although it affects millions of people around the world, conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome.
Saliva Testing for Adrenal Hormones
The most accurate and ideal way of measuring cortisol levels is through saliva testing, which can be arranged for you by Claudia Carrillo, your BioMed Healthcare Practitioner. Cortisol levels fluctuate in a daily circadian rhythm with peak levels around 8AM each day. The Adrenal Stress Index is a test where saliva cortisol samples are collected at 8AM, noon, 4PM and 10PM, which allows for a patient’s exact circadian cortisol rhythm to be determined.
Based on these results, Claudia will formulate a treatment plan for long term healing. This may include Bioregulatory Medicines and nutritional supplements, along with recommendations regarding stress management, diet, exercise and sleep, as they all have an impact on adrenal function and recovery.
Vitamin C - is critical for proper production of adrenal hormones. The adrenals require a high dose of Vitamin C to work properly – the reason being that the highest concentration of Vitamin C in the body is stored in the adrenal glands. Vitamin C is utilized by the adrenal glands in the production of all of the adrenal hormones, specially cortisol. Also, Vitamin C helps to heal any damage caused by excess stress.
Recommended dose 7 gms twice a day
Find your exhaustion level-listen to your body
Exercise - gentle exercise-meditation-yoga-walking