Can’t seem to make it through the day or regain your energy no matter what you do?
You could be suffering from adrenal fatigue. I’ve seen this condition in both the unhealthiest people, and in the healthiest people.
Anyone can experience adrenal fatigue at some point in his or her life.
Nutrient deficiencies, inadequate rest, a life crisis or too many pressures from everything that’s happening in the world, can all drain the adrenals of even the healthiest person.
When I was in my early thirties, I too suffered from adrenal fatigue.
My blood pressure was 80 over 50 (yikes!), I was exhausted, and my immune system kept crashing.
At that time in my life, I was vegan; abstaining from animal protein, animal fat, and any product made from animals.
My meals were ALL carbohydrate, all the time: whole grains, beans, tofu, vegetables, sea vegetables, nuts and seeds, and fruits. Which seemed pretty healthy (and delicious) to me, but eating that way for too long a period of time led to nutritional deficiencies in my body.
Once the imbalance was adjusted by adding some fat and animal proteins back into my diet, my body began rebuilding its energy reserves.
It was a good lesson for me about the energetics of food.
But, I digress…
Let’s get back to the adrenals.
Adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system. They produce estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, cortisone, adrenalin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
Our adrenals help us cope with everyday stress and survival and are involved in the recovery of chronic diseases, energy levels, and endurance. The quality of our health depends on the optimum functioning of our adrenals.
Symptoms indicating your adrenals need some TLC include:
- Chronic fatigue (lack of energy even after a full nights sleep)
- Lightheaded and dizzy
- Low blood pressure
- Brain fog and forgetfulness (“why am I reading this article again?”)
- Poor immunity; allergies, colds, slow recovery from infections
- Craving salty and sugary foods for stimulation and energy
- Unexplained hair loss
- Morning nausea (and you’re not pregnant!)
- Decreased sex drive
- Insomnia and/or restless sleep
“When your body is under stress – physical stress from infection, illness, or disease and/or emotional stress – the adrenal glands respond by stepping up cortisol production. Cortisol helps your body deal with stress and curbs inflammation. Without enough cortisol, you may experience increased infections, nausea, and changes in blood pressure and blood sugar. Adrenal gland syndrome results when your adrenal glands can no longer meet your body’s demands for cortisol.”
On the other hand, if too much cortisol is circulating in your system, the opposite can happen and you’ll experience anxiety, restlessness and an inability to sleep.
Foods, substances, and other factors can exacerbate adrenal stress:
- Refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, soda and sweet drinks
- Pesticides, additives, and artificial sweeteners (endocrine disruptors)
- Excessive caffeine intake
- Drug abuse – both prescription drugs and street drugs
- Carbohydrate meals without adequate protein and fat to slow sugar absorption
- Constantly on GO without adequate rest
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding – adrenal fatigue results if the mother does not eat enough nutrient-dense foods and/or iodine-rich foods
- Thyroid disease*
*Compromised adrenals put the body in a state of catabolism (break down). When this happens, the thyroid naturally slows metabolism, leading to hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto’s. If the adrenals are properly supported, the thyroid naturally balances itself.
To reclaim our energy it’s imperative to reduce stress, get adequate sleep, and support the body with wholesome foods.
Adrenal recovery can take anywhere from three months to three years depending on the severity of the condition.
We need to be patient (and loving) with our beautiful body. It heals at a pace that is not accepted by modern society – slowly.
A couple of tips to begin your healing process
Eat a nourishing breakfast that includes some protein and fat. Examples include oatmeal with full fat yogurt, eggs with butter and whole-grain bread, grits with greens and sausage, or one of my favorites… Congee with Tuna!
And, snack on protein plus carbohydrates: high energy trail mix, egg or tuna salad on sliced daikon radish or celery sticks, rather than just straight up carbohydrates like crackers, pretzels, dried fruits and chocolate.
Lifestyle behaviors can support our adrenals or drain them as well.
Also, avoiding stress producers like unhealthy relationships, or learning how to deal with those people more effectively would be a good idea.
Just like your daily diet, your body, mind and emotions may be running on empty.
Begin asking questions:
- Is my diet working for me? Am I deficient in nutrients?
- Are my relationships with other people, and with myself, in harmony?
- Am I enjoying life and refueling myself with things I love to do?
If you need support getting answers to improve your energy, I’m happy to help with private Health Coaching.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker, Herbalist and best-selling author. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.
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