How to Tell If Your Adrenals Are Fatigued (Plus 7 Ways To Support Them)

Written by Jess Ainscough

Too many of us wear stress and busy lifestyles like a badge of honor. Unfortunately, the medal that goes along with stress is usually adrenal fatigue. If you’re one that burns the candle at both ends, leaves stress unchecked, and exists on coffee and nutritionally devoid food, then this is something you might need to address.

Until quite recently, I had no idea what adrenals were. I wasn’t the best science student, and they certainly were never a part of that body part jingle that taught us of the components of the human body. “The shin bone’s connected to the knee bone, the adrenal glands connected to the …”

The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are the triangle-shaped endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of corticosteroids and catecholamine, including cortisol and adrenaline. If that just sounded like a bunch of big words to you, let me break it down. Over-worked adrenal glands = big problems for your health.

Your adrenal glands are super important for a healthy immune system. They are necessary for proper thyroid function, balancing your hormones, maintaining your ideal weight, stabilising your emotions, controlling your cravings and much more. They are pretty much the regulators of your body, and sorting them out may be the key to solving many of your unexplained health challenges.

How do we know if our adrenals are fatigued? Unfortunately, because of the nature of our fast-paced lifestyles, this is a condition that can go unchecked because we just get so used to feeling less than brilliant. However, common symptoms include:

  • Excessive sweating or perspiration from little activity
  • Lower back pain and/or knee weakness or pain, especially on the side
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle twitches
  • Low blood sugar
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sensitivity to light, or difficulty seeing at night
  • A craving for salt
  • Low stamina for stress, and easily irritated
  • Excessive mood responses after eating carbohydrates such as pasta, breads and sugar
  • Chronic infections (bacterial, viral, fungal, yeast)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Light-headedness on standing up
  • Tired but wired feeling, poor sleep, difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
  • Cravings for sweets and carbs, intolerance to alcohol
  • Premature aging
  • Dry, unhealthy skin with excess pigmentation
  • Lack of libido
  • Cystic breasts
  • Tendency to startle easily
  • Negative response to thyroid hormone
  • Poor concentration and fuzzy thinking

7 Ways To Support Your Adrenals

1. Get adequate sleep. Seven to eight hours a night is ideal, and if you can get to bed well before midnight you get extra points. This is when our bodies do most of their healing.

2. Schedule “me time” as part of your daily routine, and make it a priority.

3. Practice stillness or meditation every day.

4. Incorporate yoga into your routine (and spend extra time in savasana).

5. Eliminate refined sugar and processed carbs. They are empty calories and do nothing besides stress out your adrenals. Adrenal glands help to regulate blood sugar levels.

6. Eat a clean diet of organic, fresh, plant-based whole foods. Load up on vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, beans and whole grains.

7. Kick the coffee habit. Swap your caffeine fix for green tea, peppermint tea, dandelion and chicory root tea or nice clean water.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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