Adrenal Fatigue: A 21st Century Epidemic
Are you exhausted?
I'm not talking just a little tuckered out here. I mean, I'm-so-wiped-out-I-can't-frigging-sleep exhausted. Do you need extra caffeine and or nicotine just to make it through your day?
If you have checked "Yes" to one or more of these symptoms, then you might be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, an illness which, many experts say has pretty much become an epidemic here in the 21st century.
Many different kinds of stress on your body can lead to Adrenal Fatigue. Being in an abusive relationship. Too much exercise. A history of drug abuse. Too much drinking. Ingesting too much caffeine, too many energy drinks. Too many cigarettes (well, you shouldn't be smoking those anyway, but I figure you already knew that -- unless you've been living under a cave for the past fifty years). Also, an underlying disease, such as Lyme disease, can also cause adrenal fatigue.
Some adrenal fatigue symptoms include, but are not limited to: Hair loss, tinnitus, joint pain, back pain (upper and lower), obsessive compulsive disorder (Yes! Even OCD), TMJ dysfunction, social anxiety, depression, insomnia.
The disease is the result of years and years of abuse on the adrenals, which are two walnut-sized glands located on the top of both kidneys. After years of stress on these glands, the adrenals slowly stop producing cortisol, a stress hormone. And we need cortisol because, well, it helps our body endure stress. And it also serves our body as a natural painkiller, of sorts. If our body is dangerously low on cortisol, then not only will we experience many unsavory symptoms such as insomnia, extreme exhaustion and the like, but we also might begin to experience some very unpleasant body pains, including headaches, leg pain, joint pain, you name it.
It is vitally important to address adrenal fatigue once you receive a proper diagnosis. There are plenty of saliva/cortisol tests out there, which entail you spitting in a little vial all day, putting the vial in your freezer, and then sending it off, via the post office, to the designated laboratory for testing. Once you receive the results, if you have AF, you well receive three diagnoses: Stage 1, which is the easiest to fix and stage 2, which is a little harder to remedy, and stage 3, which will require some major lifestyle changes, as well as a good variety of supplements for you to fully recover. As I have already stated, the final stage of AF is one of the worst ones. And you will want to address it quickly, before your condition worsens. After stage 3 of adrenal fatigue, certain sufferers can possibly have Addison's Disease, a nasty illness in which your adrenals stop producing cortisol completely. Addison's Disease can be far more brutal than adrenal fatigue even, resulting in symptoms for some like coma and death.
Once you receive your cortisol results, it's good to find a good natural doctor to help you understand the results and to help devise a supplemental plan for your full recovery. Here are some supplements your doctor or specialist might prescribe for you.
Licorice is fantastic for our adrenals. It also helps to promote energy--natural energy, unlike the wired sensation we get from caffeine. Licorice might be a great short-term remedy and treatment for adrenal fatigue, however, there is one drawback. Licorice raises blood pressure. So if you already have or are prone to high blood pressure, you might want to reconsider buying this herb at your local health food store to heal your adrenals, and try some of the other supplemental suggestions on this list.
Ashwagandha, like licorice, is an adaptogenic herb, which helps normalize your cortisol levels. Many adrenal fatigue specialists prescribe their AF-suffering patients ashwagandha.
Derived from the actual adrenal glands of animals, glandulars are a great way to treat and, possibly even help cure, adrenal fatigue. Please note that not all AF sufferers are the same. And what might help some sufferers, might hurt other adrenal fatiguers and intensify their symptoms. Many adrenal glandulars, for instance, have a minute amount of actual animal adrenaline in them--usually bovine--and if you're to the point where your adrenals are already super-weak, then glandulars might not be the best bet for you.
Our adrenals love vitamin C, period. Picture these two essential glands of ours as being Popeye, and imagine the vitamin C being the spinach. In fact, the highest amount of vitamin C in the body is stored in the adrenal glands.
Dhea is a hormone, produced by the adrenal glands. Many adrenal fatigue sufferers experience hormonal imbalances as a result of the disease. DHEA supplementation might be needed, to restore your adrenals, and your health in general, back to its original, optimal state.
These are just a few of you supplements and hormones your specialist might prescribe for you, to restore your adrenals. By no means, take these on your own, unless it is under the direction and the guidance of a professional.
If you suspect you have adrenal fatigue, it's not the end of the world. The condition is becoming more and more commonplace these days, I believe, on account of all the energy drinks, the proliferation of regular and electronic cigarettes, overzealous doctors prescribing too much medication, and the outrageous rent prices nowadays, Americans are more stressed than usual. When the wind-and-grind of life becomes too unbearable, it not only affects us mentally, but it also affects our adrenals. Ridiculous amounts of caffeine, of sugar, of nicotine might seem to be the logical answer at first, to get you through your day. However, in the grand scheme of things, these things are undoubtedly making your symptoms and condition worse.