Could you be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue?
Fatigue makes everything we do seem more difficult and can rob us of enjoyment, enthusiasm and quality of life!
Have you lost your get-up and go?
Are you tired all the time, despite a good night’s sleep?
Does your energy slump at 3pm?
Do you experience brain fog or mood disturbances?
Does your body ache?
Are you putting on weight easily?
Do you use energy drinks or coffee to get you thought the day?
Have you lost interest in sex?
Are you getting sick often?
If you said yes to any of the these questions, then read on as I explain the factors that contribute to fatigue and strategies that you can use to improve your energy levels.
FACTORS THAT CAUSE FATIGUE
There are various contributing factors that can make you feel constantly tired such as:
Metabolic imbalances. Metabolism refers to the various processes involved in the conversion of food into energy. Any imbalances in this process can wreak havoc with your energy levels and can make you feel lethargic. Metabolic conditions that can make you feel tired include an underactive thyroid, insulin resistance (blood sugar dysregulation) or hormone imbalances.
Toxicity. Our environment, the products you use and the food that you eat all contribute to your toxic load. A high toxic load puts additional stress on the liver and is particularly damaging to the thyroid gland – the master of your metabolism, which can make you feel tired, irritable, moody and unable to think clearly.
Pharmaceutical medications. Some drugs alter the way that you produce or absorb nutrients. For example cholesterol lowering medications interfere with the production of CoQ10 which is required for energy production. Antacids and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) used to treat heartburn and reflux can reduce the absorption of B12 and iron, which can also result in fatigue.
Nutrient deficiency. Food is our fuel. Our body requires many different nutrients in order to perform its many functions, therefore a diet that is missing essential nutrients such as magnesium, B vitamins or iron is going to reduce your body’s ability to perform at its best.
Inflammation. Inflammation in the body can come from high levels of stress, food sensitivities or leaky gut. The inflammatory response requires large amounts of energy.
Infection. We all know how tired we can feel during an acute viral or bacterial infection, but when the fatigue is ongoing it can be a sign of a hidden chronic infection, such as Glandular Fever, which can affect your mitochondria – the organelle responsible for cellular energy – long term.
Poor sleep. Adequate amounts of good quality sleep are essential for the repair and regeneration of our body. A common sleep disorder, sleep apnea in which the airways become blocked at night, can leave you feeling tired despite getting eight or more hours of sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to immune dysfunction, low mood, lower sex drive, cognitive impairment and many diseases such as heart failure or stroke.
Energy vampires. Albert Einstein discovered that everything is energy – therefore every interaction you have with another person is an energy exchange. If you are working or living in an emotionally toxic environment or if you’re involved in an unhealthy relationship, these people will deplete you of energy – just imagine what this does to your energy levels if you are exposed to this every day!!
Stress. I think this is a massively underestimated cause of fatigue and adrenal exhaustion. The body simply isn’t designed to deal with high levels of stress every day, yet that is what many people are experiencing – we have just become conditioned to thinking that it is normal. Prolonged stress – physical, emotional or chemical – can lead to burnout (adrenal exhaustion) chronic fatigue, infertility, thyroid issues, fibromyalgia, gut and immune issues and many other health problems.
THE ADRENAL GLANDS
Of all the organs in the body the adrenal glands are the most affected by stress. They sit on top of our kidneys and while they are very small, about the size of a peanut, they produce a host of hormones and neurotransmitters including cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine. The health of your adrenal glads will affect your sleep, immune function, fertility, mood, weight and stress response.
THE FOUR STAGES OF ADRENAL FATIGUE
Adrenal fatigue doesn’t happen overnight. It is a prolonged process that can progress over many years. It can be triggered by infections, chronic daily stress or from significant acute stress (e.g the death of a family member). Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome. The presentation of adrenal fatigue evolves according to its chronicity, and generally progresses through the following stages:
Stage 1: fight or flight
This stage is triggered when you are doing things that are either exciting or nerve-racking such as public speaking, performing in a play, meeting a tight deadline or welcoming home a new baby. Stress is high for a short period of time, but you manage to relax again and your stress levels return to normal.
Stage 2: wired but tired
If the stress is prolonged, you will start to feel ‘wired but tired’ You’re on high alert 24/7 and can’t slow down. You’re putting stress on your adrenals to stay alert during the day, but then crashing hard in the evening. This is when most people develop an unhealthy dependence on coffee or other stimulants.
Stage 3: resistance
Your body is now producing stress hormones at the expense of your sex hormones. This is because hormone precursors are being stolen to produce more cortisol. At this stage, you’re probably able to go to work and live a relatively ‘normal’ life – in fact you’ve probably become accustomed to always feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed and think that it’s normal. You’re enthusiasm for life may be waning and the last thing you feel like is sex! This phase can continue for several months or even years.
Stage 4: burnout!
At stage 4 your body has run out of ways to produce both stress and sex hormones. Your cortisol levels are always low, so you feel exhausted 24/7. This is when you realise the difference between being tired and completely exhausted, especially in the morning. Levels or neurotransmitters may also be low. You may be experiencing extreme tiredness, lack of sex drive, dizziness, irritability, depression, anxiety, weight loss, apathy and frequent colds and infections. Recovery even with the right treatment and mindset can take years.
STRATEGIES TO GET YOUR ENERGY BACK
These are my top six strategies that you can implement immediately to boost your energy.
- Exercise regularly, aim for 4 times per week. Aerobic exercise increases the number of mitochondria in muscle tissue – which produces more energy!
- Sleep for 7 to 9 hours every night. Aim to sleep and wake around the same time every day, including weekends.
- Stay hydrated. Hydration improves mental and physical performance.
- Eat a nutrient-rich whole food diet and avoid processed and fried foods. Additional nutritional supplementation may be beneficial during times of increased stress. Check out The Resilient Woman and The Happy Vegan meal plans for additional dietary support.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, chocolate and energy drinks. They may give you a short term burst of energy, but this is often followed by a crash and they often impair sleep quality later that night.
- Prioritise self care and relaxation practices such as yoga, meditation, reading, walks, whatever makes you feel happy and at peace. Check out my ‘Creating a Life of Ease’ workbook – it’s my step by step guide to creating life that you love.
I AM HERE TO HELP
The key to recovery from adrenal exhaustion is establishing the root cause(s) of your fatigue and then supporting the body to repair itself and restore balance. I use a truly holistic approach when supporting people to achieve optimal levels of vitality and wellbeing.
The first step is a thorough health assessment, including blood test analysis to uncover if any of the underlying drivers of your fatigue are pathological.
If any nutritional deficiencies are involved in your experience of fatigue, dietary changes and nutritional supplementation can support you to reach your body’s nutritional requirements.
A specific class of herbal medicines called adaptogens are particularly helpful in supporting the body and the adrenals to recover from the affects of stress, therefore individually formulated herbal tonics may assist you to feel more energetic during the healing process.
Reducing your exposure to stress, modulating your response to external stressors and incorporating stress reducing practices into your daily routine are fundamental to sustained energy levels. Together we’ll review all aspects of your life to remove or adapt to exisiting stressors and to make time for more of the things that make you happy and relaxed.
I love nothing more than supporting women to break-free from fatigue so that they have the energy and motivation to pursue their dreams and live their best life. You don’t have to do this alone, I am here to support you every step of the way.
Let’s chat about how I can support you to feel happy, vibrant and new.
Or book now, to start your healing journey today.
fatigue, chronic fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, poor sleep, weight gain, stress, exhaustion, stress reduction, immune function, tired, stressed, depression, herbal medicine, adaptogens, mood, stages of adrenal fatigue, naturopathy.