Five Reliable Ways to Treat Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal Glands: More Than Just for Adrenaline
Your adrenal glands perform far more functions than just pumping adrenaline. These small glands located just above your kidneys are responsible for several hormones of the androgen, mineralocorticoid, and glucocorticoid variety.
Apart from adrenaline, the most commonly known hormone produced by the adrenal gland is cortisol. It is known as the “stress hormone.” Though, it is also produced to regulate glucose in the blood. It aids in metabolizing macronutrients, and acts to suppress immune reactions when necessary. Frequent overproduction of cortisol will result in negative effects such as
- Reduced ability to fight disease and inflammation
- Muscle weakness
- Weight gain
Now that it is obvious that you should not have too much, there are also consequences for having too little. Frequent underproduction of cortisol, on the other hand, will result in effects like
- Weight loss, particularly of muscle
- Salt craving
Key evidence to the importance of properly functioning adrenal glands is the fact that they have among the highest rates of blood supply for their size in the body. Their secretions are critical to the proper function of the entire body.
Diseases Related to Improper Adrenal Function
Adrenal deficiency with respect to a lack of sufficient production of glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids can result in the development of an autoimmune condition known as Addison’s disease. Common symptoms of this disease are a general darkening of the skin, as well as chronic fatigue. Sufferers are also prone to having an adrenal crisis. This is a life-threatening occurrence that has the initial symptoms of fever and vomiting. Left untreated, it can result in a coma.
Dysfunction can also lead to the development of tumors. While adrenal tumors are most often not cancerous, they can invite further health problems such as hypertension, which can eventually lead to heart disease.
Fortunately, if you think you may have acquired adrenal fatigue, there are several measures to reverse this condition.
Remember to Hydrate
Roughly half of Americans are habitually in a varying state of dehydration. Even if you are not suffering from adrenal dysfunction, hydration remains an important practice in everyday life for optimal health on every front.
If you do have adrenal fatigue, this is arguably one of the most important factors in overcoming it. Without adequate water, blood circulation is reduced. The blood going to and from your adrenal glands is responsible for carrying its secreted hormones through the body. Proper hydration, in and of itself, will result in a noticeable improvement in your energy levels.
Many of us forget to hydrate because they do not feel thirsty. Remember, when you feel thirsty, that means you have waited too long. Set your phone to alarm periodically if you tend to forget. Don’t try to get your fluid intake in two or three big servings. Drinking a lot at once will make your kidneys want to produce more urine. It is more effective to drink moderately throughout the day.
Drink the Right Beverages
If you are suffering from adrenal dysfunction, you should either cut out or drastically reduce the amount of intake of beverages containing
- Artificial sweeteners
This measure would probably be a good idea for many who also do not currently have adrenal problems, as the majority of Americans ingest an excess of at least one. Plain water, herbal teas, or water flavored with spices, mint, lime, or lemon should be your mainstays. Alcohol is a diuretic, and will partially offset your hydration measures. Caffeine promotes energy spikes and valleys. Sugary beverages will compound the blood sugar levels. Artificial sweeteners make you crave sweets and sugars.
Improve Your Diet
Since adrenal fatigue can cause an excess of blood sugar, it is imperative that you lower your intake of simple carbs, beginning with cutting refined sugar. To restore your adrenal glands to proper capacity, you should aim to obtain a larger percentage of your calories from quality proteins and fats, and eat complex, fibrous carbohydrates. Keep all sugary snacks, and even fruits that are exceptionally high in sugar to a minimum. It also becomes even more imperative to minimize processed food.
Get a Moderate Amount of Sun
Vitamin D, or “The Sunshine Vitamin,” is essential for optimal working of the adrenal glands. Because adequate amounts are difficult to get from food, exposing yourself to the sun is the most efficient way to reach the recommended level. For best results without overexposure to UV rays, 15-30 minutes in the sun should suffice with at least half of your body’s skin exposed. When weather does not permit this activity, either by temperature, or by clouds, supplements are the next best thing.
Allow Enough Time for Sleep
If insomnia is one of the symptoms you are facing, it is best to move up your bedtime enough to relax yourself into sleep. Many people have established the practice of knowing how much sleep they need, and then going to bed at that many hours before they need to wake up. This puts pressure on you to sleep right away, and emotional pressure is counterproductive to falling into a sleeping state. Go to bed at a time that will allow you to take some of the pressure off, to not have to try so hard to sleep. If necessary, use some proven insomnia prevention techniques.
You are probably wondering how long it will take for your adrenal glands to fully recover. When you will stop showing the symptoms that are related to glandular dysfunction. The timeline can have a wide variance based on how far the dysfunction has progressed.
Adrenal fatigue, depending on the source, can be classified in three, four, and sometimes seven different stages. They are characterized by the severity and number of symptoms, with earlier stages generally having milder energy fluctuations. Later stages are characterized by chronic fatigue, depression, and a thorough breakdown of the glands’ capacity to supply the correct hormone levels.
If you begin to make the correct lifestyle changes while your adrenal fatigue is still in its early stages, your recovery time should be on the order of several weeks, with marked improvements seen and felt after a few weeks. However, if the adrenal fatigue has progressed to a deeper stage, it could take six months, or even longer for the glands to be fully restored to their normal function.
Many of the remedies for adrenal fatigue are also general smart health habits. You will just have to be stricter about some of the rules of good health if you do end up developing adrenal fatigue. Keeping a healthy diet, have a reliable outlet of stress, and getting the right amount of sleep for you will go a long way towards preventing this taxing condition.