Leading a demanding lifestyle is something we’ve all become accustomed to. Overloaded schedules and putting in long hours at work can leave you feeling drained and worn out at the end of a day. According to Dr. James Wilson, author of Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome (Smart Publications), ‘Adrenal fatigue affects an estimated 80% of people living in industrialised countries at one time or another in their lives.’
Whether you’re suffering from physical or emotional stress, too much stress can affect your cortisol production. Cortisol is an adrenal hormone that helps us to manage our stress, and a lack of it can result in your body not being able to maintain your blood sugar levels or protect your immune system effectively. This won’t only leave you feeling fatigued and unenergetic; symptoms range from unexplained cravings and weight gain to an increase in PMS and a decreased libido.
With the burden of a modern world leaning heavily upon our shoulders, adrenal fatigue can affect anybody. The more stressed you are, the likelier your chances are of developing this condition. We know that taking stress out of lives completely is impossibility, but minor changes to the way you run your daily life can certainly make a difference and help to push up your much-needed cortisol production.
Resident Wellness Warehouse homeopath, Reena Sukdev, believes that a simple lifestyle change can help adrenal function. ‘Eat more consciously by increasing your consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It’s vital that you get all the essential nutrients in place to set a foundation to recovery. Eliminate stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and sugar and increase your intake of essential fatty acids to reduce adrenal fatigue.’ Besides an alteration to your daily diet, Sukdev says exercise can be a helpful tool too. ‘Practicing yoga allows for both a balanced release of hormones from the endocrine system as well as helping to treat some of the other symptoms of adrenal fatigue.’
If you’re worried and have been experiencing tell-tale symptoms, adrenal fatigue can be diagnosed via three methods: namely through blood, saliva or urine tests.
‘Adrenal fatigue has been ignored and largely untreated by the medical community,’ says Dr Wilson. Brent Murphy, of The Journal of Natural Medicine, agrees: ‘Many doctors are unfamiliar with adrenal fatigue because it is difficult to diagnose the condition using traditional blood tests.’
In order to diagnose the condition more easily, the ACTH (Adrenal Corticotrophic Hormone) blood test has been developed, measuring whether your adrenals are responsive to the cortisol hormone-stimulating ACTH. Saliva hormone tests are considered to be the easiest and most reliable option, examining and informing you of whether your cortisol levels are either too high or too low. Sukdev says over-the-counter medication can assist in the treatment of adrenal fatigue, but you need to first see your doctor before taking any of them.
Whether you choose the medication route or simply decide to alter your lifestyle, don’t feel defeated by this condition. Adrenal fatigue can be beaten.