- Alternative & Natural Medicine
How to treat adrenal fatigue
Introduction to adrenal fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is a common problem many people face these days. There are a number of ways to prevent this and to treat it. It is also called HPA axis dysfunction (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal), as it is a dysfunction in your body's natural cortisol rhythms. It typically arises from the adrenal's under performing, mismatched cortisol rhythms and can have a number of causes. It may be due to mental or hormonal issues as well since it involves the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis).
Chronic stress, lack of sleep (or poor sleep quality), blood sugar issues among other issues may be the cause of adrenal fatigue. The primary symptoms are feelings of tiredness, fatigue and burnout which aren't relieved by sleep. It can also cause lack of motivation and an inability to exercise or exert oneself for too long.
While it can be treated with herbs and hormones, there are other ways to treat HPA axis problems (adrenal fatigue). I personally don't use any adaptogenic herbs but they are commonly used in treating adrenal fatigue. Hormones can be used but aren't recommended place to begin. Finding a good naturopath or functional medicine practitioner is a good place to start.
Adrenal fatigue symptoms are varied but generally it is a general feeling of being rundown, tired and difficulty in getting motivated. Adrenal health can even be impacted by thyroid health as well as gut health. Blood sugar problems can cause adrenal issues as well.
As adrenal fatigue progresses into further stages it can get worse and harder to treat, it is better to try to treat it and diagnose it in earlier stages than in more advanced stages of adrenal fatigue. Many conventional doctors either don't recognize or don't treat adrenal fatigue as a condition, so the best option to find help for adrenal fatigue is a functional medicine practitioner or naturopath.
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How to change your diet and lifestyle to help with adrenal fatigue
Going on a paleo diet will help a lot with treating adrenal fatigue. Some may require either lower amount of carbohydrates or higher amount of carbohydrates to keep their blood sugar and therefore adrenals nourished. The adrenals sit atop the kidneys so maintaining blood sugar is very important to having good adrenal health.
Generally speaking having too many carbohydrates (especially simple carbohydrates such as sugar), will cause blood sugar fluctuations which can throw your adrenals out of balance.
Getting adequate and good quality sleep is important as well. I have written before about getting the most out of your sleep here: http://jheldt.hubpages.com/hub/Hacking-Your-Sleep Sleeping 9-10 hours (or as much as you can), will help tremendously with many health problems.
It's also a good idea to lower and manage stress effectively. While under stress, especially chronic stress it can affect the body in a number of ways affecting everything from our mental state, organs, and even out adrenals. Yoga, tai chi, meditation as well as mindfulness exercises can help a lot with managing stress. I always try to do something every day whether it be reading, playing video games or watching television to just relax and done for the fun of it.
Drinking bone broth daily can help a lot with adrenal as well as digestive function. Making bone broth is fairly simple and easy to do. All it requires is the bones (and organs, especially liver if possible) of a chicken or cow. I typically use the bones/carcass leftover after baking a whole chicken.
Bone broth can be easily made in a crockpot by putting in the bones, pouring some vinegar over the bones (to help extract all the nutrients), and adding bay leaves, salt, pepper, garlic, onions and enough water until almost full. Bone broth provides support for the adrenals by providing trace minerals which are hard to come by and nourishing the body and the adrenals.
Supplementation and other therapies to help with adrenal fatigue
Getting your cortisol tested may help a lot in treating and dealing with adrenal fatigue. Treating blood sugar issues (or getting some testing for it) may help a lot as well. I find taking adrenal cortex by Thorne research (dried adrenal extract), helps a lot. Using or drinking bone broth daily helps a lot as well.
I have found taking Seriphos (which helps with sleep as well) as well as adrenal cortex (dried adrenal extract), helps my adrenals out a lot.
Adaptogenic herbs seem to help a lot and using hormones to balance out your adrenals will help as well. Before using hormones to balance out your adrenals I would highly recommend seeing a naturopath or functional medicine practitioner who is experienced in dealing with adrenal issues. Herbs can be very powerful and beneficial but they can also cause problems and complications which is why I recommend seeking someone familiar with adrenal health/fatigue before trying herbs.
Getting plenty of vitamin c as well as magnesium and b vitamins can help a lot as well. You can find adrenal health/complex supplements online which have a combination of vitamins, minerals and herbs to help with your adrenal health. The adrenal glands are the organ in the body with the highest amount of vitamin c found in them, so vitamin c is very important for the health of your adrenals.
I would personally recommend checking out this other hubpage I wrote here: http://jheldt.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-make-natural-electrolyte-mix-AKA-MTHFRade The Natural electrolyte mix can help with a number of conditions as well as improving general health and wellness and is great for sports and working out as well.
Magnesium is a mineral many are deficient in due to a number of reasons such as depletion of magnesium in soil and also it being hard to get enough through diet for the recommended amount of daily magnesium. Making magnesium oil is simple and easy to do and you can find many resources online with help in making it. I find magnesium oil the simplest and easiest way to supplement with magnesium daily.
Dysbiosis particularly (bacterial imbalance in the gut) due to stress seems to affect the health of your adrenals. Handling digestion is very beneficial to the health of your adrenals.
Adrenal fatigue is sometimes treated with the use of hormones but I would recommend finding a naturopath to help or administer hormones to treat it using hormones.
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Getting help for treating adrenal fatigue
Many conventional doctors don't treat or recognize adrenal fatigue as a condition. Not even endocrinologists who specialize in the endocrine system and in organs that are associated with classic adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is best treated and diagnosed at earlier stages and it is important to treat it properly. Different supplements, therapies and herbs are appropriate at different stages of adrenal fatigue. Some may be dealing with low cortisol or high cortisol levels and other health issues as well.
I would recommend finding a functional medicine practitioner in your area which can be found here: http://www.functionalmedicine.org/
Also finding a practitioner that uses a paleo diet/approach can be highly beneficial as well which you can find here: http://paleophysiciansnetwork.com/
Also I would highly recommend Chris Kresser's website here: www.chriskresser.com
Chris Kresser runs a blog, podcast and own small practice in which he investigates many complex and chronic health conditions. His website has been very beneficial and educational for me, especially in dealing with my own health conditions. All the supplements recommended on this page are recommended by Chris Kresser as well (exception being adrenal cortex).
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