Adrenal Fatigue? 7 Tips to Fight Back Naturally

adrenal fatigue

Everyone has felt stress at some point in their lives.  That feeling of being so overwhelmed and overworked that you can’t eat or sleep.  Unfortunately, stress has become ingrained in our culture.  We associate it with hard work and success, assuming that we can’t have one without the other.   Though some stress is necessary, we often bite off more than we can chew.  We fail to realize that the more stressed we are, the less efficient we are.  We ignore the negative effects stress has on our bodies but unnecessary stress can lead to a multitude of symptoms including:

  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances

.

adrenal glands

What Are Adrenal Glands And What Do They Do?

The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are the triangle-shaped endocrine glands that sit on top of your kidneys.  The adrenal glands are hormone producing glands similar to ovaries, testicles and the thyroid.  They are the regulators of your body as they’re responsible for regulating stress responses and play an important role in the maintenance of a healthy immune system.

Adrenal glands are key contributors to:
  • Proper thyroid function
  • Balance of hormones
  • Maintaining one’s ideal weight
  • Stabilizing emotions
  • Controlling cravings

Multiple studies have proven that the health of the adrenal glands will dictate the health and recovery of many types of chronic illnesses.  Since chronic stress is the main cause of overactive adrenals, it’s important that we find a way to control and eliminate stress.

Click here to read, “CFS – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms & Natural Solutions”.

Moreover, proper nutrition, adequate rest, and exercise is also very important. Unfortunately, an astounding amount of people suffer from adrenal fatigue due to lifestyle factors that are often overlooked.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is a common side effect of stress and has three phases:
  1. The Alarm Phase – when the body is acknowledging stress
  2. The Resistance Phase – when the body is trying to fight stress
  3. The Exhaustion Phase – when the adrenals become tapped out.

Depending the phase a person is in, the levels of cortisol (produced by the adrenals) will range from high or low at different points in the day.  Cortisol levels should be at their peak in the morning.  So, when we wake up we feel refreshed and ready to go.  Alternatively, they should be at their lowest at night when it’s time to go to bed.  Any variation of these levels will affect a person’s well-being.  Especially if stress is experienced for long periods of time.  Hence the last phase being exhaustion.

Click here to read, “Bedtime Woe’s? – 5 Simple Tips For Blissful Zzzz’s”.

Other than exhaustion, additional symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Cravings for salt
  • Chronic infections
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low blood sugar
  • Muscle twitches
  • Lack of libido
  • Light headed
  • Poor concentration
  • Sleep disturbance (typically waking up between 2-4 am)

So what can you do?  There are numerous natural ways to support the adrenals.

adrenal fatigue

Are Your Adrenals Fatigued?

I see the following scenario regularly in my practice.  A busy mom with a demanding career comes in complaining of;

  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of libido
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Feeling low

For the last 15 years she has been dealing with;

  • Work deadlines
  • Kid’s sports
  • Homework
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning

She goes from morning to night with little sleep.  Her adrenals are tired but she pushes through the chronic fatigue and insomnia.  She notices other symptoms such as headaches, inability to lose weight, and mood swings.  This common scenario is what many natural health professionals refer to as, “adrenal steal”.

Unable to function properly due to years of stress, the adrenals are forced to steal key hormonal building blocks from other hormones like:

  • Progesterone
  • DHEA
  • Estrogen
  • Testosterone

Hence contributing to hormonal imbalances and a slew of side effects that come with them.  Keeping the adrenal glands in check is the best way for women to avoid fatigue and keep their hormones happy.

How to Fight Adrenal Fatigue

chiropractor

See a Chiropractor – Chiropractic care plays a crucial role in adrenal health.  Physical, chemical or emotional stressors can cause stress on the spine and nervous system.  The goal of chiropractic care is to balance and optimize the entire nervous system contributing to healthy adrenal function in addition to a multitude of other health benefits.

early to bed

Go to Bed Early – You should be sleeping 7 to 8 hours and preferably going to bed before midnight.  Make sure you allow some time to wind down and relax to help your cortisol level lower before bed.

clean eating

Eat Clean – Avoid processed foods and sugar.  Focus on good fats, moderate protein, and tons of veggies that are phytonutrient rich.  You are what you eat, so feed your body the right fuel.

vitamins

Take an Adrenal Support Supplement – Consuming whole, organic foods rich in phytonutrients is great for adrenal support.  However, supplementation is sometime needed to support proper adrenal function.

Beneficial supplements Include:
  • B complex
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Omega 3 fatty acids

Also beneficial are botanical adaptogens.  They can be taken to help support the adrenal glands throughout the stress response process.

Examples of botanical adaptogens include:

  • Ashwagandha root
  • Rhodiola rosea extract
  • Suma
  • Schisandra chinensis berry extract
yoga, meditation

Exercise – Regular exercise is known to combat stress, which helps to improve adrenal function.  But be aware that if your adrenals are exhausted, intense exercise may be more detrimental than beneficial.  Try yoga or meditation.

Click here to read, “Put A Little Namaste In Your Life”.

cortisol saliva test

Get Tested! – Measuring cortisol levels can help determine adrenal health.  The Cortisol Saliva Test also know as the Adrenal Stress Test, has become the preferred way of evaluating cortisol levels.

A newer test, the DUTCH test, is another method one can use.  The test involves a urine steroid hormone profile.  This measures hormones and hormone metabolites (called conjugates) in a dried sample.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) technology used by chiropractors, is another way to evaluate stress.  It measures and tracks a patient’s autonomic nervous system state.

Think your adrenals are suffering from adrenal fatigue?  Start by taking an inventory of your life stressors and see which ones you can kick to the curb following the 7 tips above.

Detox Now: 287 Industrial Chemicals Found in Umbilical Cord Blood

Detoxify or Die

I was 22 years old, wearing a white lab coat in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with an acupuncture needle in my hand, I was trying to steady my hand because it was shaking a lot!  I was about to stick this needle into a patient’s eye!!  Ok, not really their eye, but just below their eye, but above the eye socket bone.  You may be asking, Why?  Because this was one of the acupuncture points that I had to needle for this patient, who apparently had a tumour in her brain that was putting pressure on one of the nerves in her brain that was affecting her vision.  Who told me to use this acupuncture point?  It was the great Dr. Anton Jayasuriya, who was by far the greatest and smartest person that I had ever met by that point of my life.  I was a second year chiropractic student and had come to Sri Lanka with some fellow classmates to learn acupuncture from this famous Dr., who was a Board Certified Medical Doctor and Rheumatologist as well as a Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Master.  We would come to his class every morning to learn about acupuncture and in the afternoon, we gained experience treating patients in his clinic.  And there was no shortage of patients!  They were lining up to see him from the early morning until late at night and they would come from all parts of the country!  It was an amazing experience!

The reason I tell this story is that there is one thing he said to us while we were learning there that I still remember today.  During one of our classes, we asked him to predict the future of medicine and to guide us by telling us what to focus on in terms of patient care.  He said the next major shift in medicine would be towards something called “Environmental Medicine”.  We all looked at each other and wondered what he meant.  He explained that the world today (and this was back in 1994) was full of toxic chemicals and pollution and that it would cause an epidemic of health problems and diseases that would be impossible to treat. 

Since then I have thought about what this great man said and looked at my own life to see how I could eliminate toxins. 

• I changed my toothpaste to a natural one without fluoride
• I changed my under arm deodorant to one without aluminum (and yes, I still smell ok!)
• my family and I invested in a home water filtration system that helps to remove chlorine from the water (it’s been found that we can absorb a lot of chlorine through our skin when we take a shower!!)
• we buy organic produce to avoid the harmful pesticides sprayed on our vegetables and fruit
• we switched to organic and grass fed meats to avoid meat from animals that eat genetically modified grains that are heavily sprayed with an especially toxic herbicide called Glyphosate as well as to avoid meat from animals that were given hormones and antibiotics during their life.

From the book, Detoxify or Die by Sherry A. Rogers, M.D., I read something really scary, it was the results of a research study by the Environmental Working Group that looked at blood taken from the umbilical cord of 10 babies born in the US in 2004 which found 287 industrial chemicals and environmental pollutants including pesticides, mercury, fire retardants, consumer product ingredients, teflon chemicals and waste from burning coal, gasoline and garbage!!! 

Of the 287 chemicals found, 180 of them have been found to cause cancer in humans or animals!! 

I thought to myself, if all these chemicals are found in the blood of newborn babies, who knows how many chemicals are found in you and me!! Dr. Rogers also wrote about how industrial smokestacks disseminate into the air chemicals like dioxins and PCBs (the most potent cancer triggers known to man) and then clouds carry these chemicals to every continent and every body of water around the world!! 

As I think back to my time in Sri Lanka, treating that woman with cancer and remembering what Dr. Anton said about “Environmental Medicine”, I can’t help but think he had a magical crystal ball because we are living in a world where diseases like Cancer are so prevalent and even childhood cancers are at an all- time high as it is the number one cause of death by disease in kids ages 1-15!!

So as a Chiropractor, you may ask, why do I talk about toxins and the need to detoxify?  Well if you look back to the founders of our profession over a 100 years ago, they discussed the concept of removing subluxations from the spine so the body can get well.  They also discussed 3 causes of subluxation which are emotional thoughts, physical traumas and chemical toxins!!  That is amazing that more than 100 years ago they mentioned chemical toxins!  So let me ask you, what are you doing to detoxify???

_________________________________

Guest Blog by Dr. Suhill Samji, D.C. DABCN

Dr. Suhill Samji DC, DABCNDr. Samji has been in practice for over 20 years. He completed 2 years of his undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia, after which, based on his academic performance was bestowed the honor of admission to the prestigious Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (Canada’s only English speaking Chiropractic college). Dr. Samji is a member in good standing with the B.C. College of Chiropractors which is the sole regulatory authority in British Columbia. Dr. Samji further expanded on his thirst for knowledge and higher education by immersing himself in a 3-year postgraduate study of the subspecialty of Chiropractic Neurology.

Dr. Samji is a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board (www.acnb.org) having studied under Professor Carrick of the Carrick Institute in the USA (www.carrickinstitute.org). The DACNB designation (although not recognized by the B.C. College of Chiropractors) earned by Dr. Samji, is one he shares with only 600 professionals worldwide. Dr. Samji has also undergone extensive training for the treatment of children and expecting mothers (www.ICPA.com) and can skillfully adjust the spine with his hands or gently with the use of an instrument. Dr. Samji’s office is conveniently located on the northwest corner of East Broadway and Commercial Drive. His clinic offers Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Registered Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, and also has a Pain Medicine Specialist M.D. When not at the clinic, Dr. Samji can be found spending quality time with his wife and young son, and of course the 2 dogs, or playing soccer in North Vancouver’s Men’s League or practicing Yoga.

Find Dr. Samji at:

[email protected]

www.physiomedvancouver.ca

www.physiomed.ca