What Is Adrenal Fatigue & Do You Have It?

Written by Jen Broyles

Adrenal fatigue is becoming more and more common in our hectic, fast-paced society, and you may have heard the term thrown around a few times. However, you may be wondering what it is and if you might have it.

The adrenal glands are small glands that sit atop the kidneys. They're responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of cortisol and adrenaline. In our busy, chronically stressed-out lives, our bodies are pumping out cortisol on a continual basis. We simply aren’t meant to function that way, and eventually it can wear us down and burn us out. To add fuel to the fire, we tend to live on a diet of sugary, processed foods and caffeine. The stress, sugar and caffeine overload can wear down the adrenals.

So how do you know if your adrenals are fatigued?

When the adrenals are tired, the body may experience a number of different symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms caused by worn out adrenals include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Knee weakness or pain
  • Excessive sweating from little activity
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood sugar
  • Muscle twitches
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Heart palpitations
  • Easily irritated
  • Salt cravings
  • Chronic infections (bacterial, fungal, yeast)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Light-headedness upon standing
  • Excessive mood response after eating carbs
  • Tired and wired
  • Poor sleep
  • Sweet, sugar, and carb cravings
  • Premature aging
  • Dry skin
  • Low libido

If you think you might have some level of adrenal fatigue, try these natural methods to provide adrenal support:

  • Eliminate sugar and processed food. Processed carbs and sugar put a lot of stress on the adrenals. It’s important to cut these items out of your diet to strengthen your adrenals.
  • Incorporate a natural, whole foods-based diet. Eat clean animal protein, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.
  • Get quality sleep. We all need 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night. In order to strengthen your adrenals, you must get sufficient sleep. Make it your goal to go to bed by 10 p.m. every night.
  • Quit the coffee habit. I know this might seem like an impossible task, but coffee wears out your adrenals. Drink plenty of fresh water and herbal tea in place of coffee. 
  • Incorporate stress-management techniques. Try techniques such as deep breathing, yoga and meditation to effectively manage your stress and take the burden off your adrenals.

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