Is adrenal fatigue real?
Adrenal fatigue is one of the most common yet overlooked disorders. This condition can take a toll on your health, causing exhaustion, chronic tiredness, flu-like symptoms, and low energy.
In the long term, it affects brain function and hormonal balance. Even though adrenal fatigue is not officially recognized by the medical community, its symptoms are as real as it gets. Millions of people are struggling with this “invisible” illness that makes daily activities unbearable.
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?
Also known as hypoadrenia, this disorder is considered the 21st century stress syndrome. It is caused by adrenal gland dysfunction and gets worse when you’re stressed or tired. Poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, chronic stress, infections, and toxin buildup contribute to adrenal disorders. If left untreated, it affects thyroid function.
The thyroid-adrenal-pancreas axis plays a key role in thyroid health. The adrenal glands, which are found on top of your kidneys, produce over 40 hormones, including DHEA, adrenaline, and cortisol. They are close to the aorta, the major artery of your body. These glands are sensitive to changes in a person’s environment, such as physical and mental stress.
A diet that’s high in sugar and trans fats, poor sleep, trauma, and other factors can affect your adrenal glands, causing a decrease in the production of hormones. Over time, this weakens your immune system and alters the way your body processes nutrients from food. It may also lead to increased heart rate, low libido, sluggish metabolism, electrolyte imbalances, and tiredness.
When the adrenal glands have reached a state of fatigue, they are no longer working properly. As a result, your cortisol and DHEA levels decrease, leaving you vulnerable to diseases. Low DHEA levels have been linked to a higher risk of thyroid disorders, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, cancer, and multiple sclerosis.
Since the adrenal glands help convert inactive T4 into active T3, any dysfunction will affect these hormones. This puts you at risk for thyroid disease, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. At the same time, your body loses its ability to eliminate toxins and metabolism waste, which in turn, puts stress on your liver. This explains why most people with adrenal fatigue show symptoms of liver dysfunction.
The Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Toxin buildup in the liver causes a myriad of symptoms, from acne and eczema to muscle pain, irritability, and low energy. You may also experience insomnia, recurring infections, allergies, depression, migraines, dizziness, heavy menstrual periods, joint pain, acidosis, and nutrient deficiencies. Basically, adrenal fatigue is an umbrella term for these symptoms.
This condition can interfere with your daily life and cause permanent damage to your health. When the adrenal glands can no longer produce cortisol and DHEA, your symptoms will get worse. Most people suffering from adrenal fatigue report increased hunger, bloating, ulcers, blurred vision, mood swings, trouble falling asleep, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, excessive sweating, and fluid retention in their arms and legs.
If you experience these symptoms, check your cortisol and DHEA levels. Without proper treatment, adrenal fatigue can lead to thyroid disorders, liver disease, and adrenal failure. Consider taking dietary supplements that support adrenal function, such as tyrosine, magnesium, and vitamin C. Ditch the sugar from your diet, get more sleep, and manage stress through meditation, exercise, yoga, and other relaxation techniques. You can also try a short-term adrenal detox nutrition plan to jump start your journey to better health.