Most of us don’t think about our adrenal glands when we think about our health, but there are some pretty crucial things to know about adrenal fatigue if you’re looking to improve your health, energy levels, and even your weight. The adrenal glands’ job is to put us into action and give us energy. Located near the kidneys, these two important parts of our body are intricately related. In simple terms, our adrenal glands can either help us or hinder us. When the adrenals aren’t in good health, we’ll be stressed, low in energy, lacking motivation, constantly tired and moody, and we’ll gain weight but lose muscle. Among these things, read some of the other things to know about adrenal fatigue that you may not know. I feel sure that after reading these, you’ll be more attentive to the important glands that control so much of your health and vitality!
1. The Cortisol Connection
Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone, and one of the most important things to know about adrenal fatigue, is how cortisol production plays a role. The adrenal glands are where cortisol is produced and secreted. In normal circumstances, cortisol is used for our benefit to give us energy in times of exercise, emergency situations, and anytime our body needs immediate energy. Yet, when we produce cortisol in excess, it creates a sense of stress that can lead to abdominal weight gain, fatigue, foggy thinking, headaches and a lack of willpower to do anything. To control your cortisol levels, and resist exhausting the adrenals, stop doing stressful exercises or activities and turn to stress-lowering ones instead like walking, yoga, meditation and Pilates. Also, be sure to get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet.
2. Say No to Stimulants
Perhaps when our adrenals aren’t working so well and we have low energy, many of us force our bodies to produce energy from external help. We get up after too little sleep, make coffee, take an energy pill, drink too much caffeinated tea or an energy drink. Or, maybe you turn to sugar and other processed, stimulating foods to boost your energy. You may get an initial energy boost, but you’re not doing your adrenals any favors. Though these stimulants may up your energy in the short-term, it exhausts them two fold later. The adrenals are forced to execute increased cortisol levels for energy, yet an hour or more later, you’ll suffer that crash we all think is due to a lack of caffeine or sugar. In a sense, it is, but it is also a result of you exhausting your adrenal glands. Stop consuming stimulants for energy. This may take some time getting used to, but it truly is worth it. Reduce your coffee intake to one cup per day and stop relying on caffeine, energy drinks and sugar to energize you. It might sound kooky, but raw veggie juice and green smoothies are incredibly energizing and powerful foods for your adrenals!
3. Be Sure to Care for Your Kidneys
Since the adrenals and kidneys are so closely related, it won’t surprise you when I tell you that if you suffer adrenal fatigue, you’re seriously harming your kidneys. Frequent urination is one sign and result of adrenal fatigue and can occur when sodium and potassium levels are out of balance due to adrenal fatigue. If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, you’ll crave salt and sugar, which are signs that the kidneys are having to work harder due to poorly functioning adrenals. Drinking plenty of water won’t cure the issue like you may think either. Reducing the amount of stimulants, eating the right proportions of salt, getting enough rest and consuming a balanced diet is key to good kidney health and adrenal health.
4. Eating Disorders Can Be the Underlying Issue
Five years ago, I was trying to be the perfect raw foodist and take care of my adrenals. I said no to all stimulants, including coffee and cacao, got plenty of rest and reduced my exercise. I did everything right except for one thing: I refused to acknowledge I had an eating disorder and all that hard work I did trying to take care of my adrenals went right out the window. No matter how much you reduce your stress, if you have an eating disorder, your adrenals sense your body is stressed. You may not realize it, but if you’re underweight, your adrenals sense a state of panic, and you may suffer internal stress without even knowing it. This results in adrenal fatigue with signs of constant fatigue, cravings for salt and sugar, weight loss, anorexia, symptoms of OCD and ADD, foggy thinking, increased anxiety and constant worrying.
5. Severe Problems May Occur
If you’ve taxed out your adrenals and simply believe you can fix the issue without any other effects taking place on your body, think again. The adrenals are important glands for major functions in your body that you may not even realize. If you tax them out long enough, you could develop chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety disorders, kidney problems and heart problems. Our hormone glands affect every aspect of our bodies and taking care of them should be just as important as taking care of our weight, or our heart.
6. It Can Cause Depression
Since adrenal fatigue causes so many problems, one of the major signs that your adrenals are taxed is depression. Stress is a major cause of adrenal fatigue, and no matter how careful you are, if you are stressed for long periods of time, consistently, your adrenals will suffer fatigue, and depression will occur. If you’re keeping a busy schedule that allows you no time to rest, or taxes your body, give your body the attention it needs. If you find yourself depressed, seek natural types of therapy, and find healthy things in life to increase your happiness. Taking care of yourself is top priority when it comes to your adrenals and your health overall.
7. You Can’t Be Tested for It
Unlike low thyroid, heart disease, high blood pressure, or any other condition, you can’t be tested for adrenal fatigue. It is more of a symptom than a condition. You’re not low on energy because you’re suffering adrenal fatigue, but instead, your adrenals are fatigued because you’ve exhausted your energy, if that makes sense. See, adrenal fatigue is more of a symptom that your body is under stress. When you care for your adrenals by getting plenty of rest, eating an alkaline, stimulant-free diet, getting enough nutrients to maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your stress levels, your adrenals are healthy. When any of these issues go awry, then you suffer adrenal fatigue.
Start focusing on decreasing stress in your life. This is the easiest way to take care of these important hormonal glands that can work for you or against you. Have you ever heard of adrenal fatigue?