Adrenal fatigue is believed to be the result of periods of high stress and anxiety where the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol leading to the adrenals becoming overworked. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or HPA axis can then become depleted and dysregulated.1
Although fatigue is one of the primary signs, there are actually many more including:
1. Difficulty Getting Out of Bed
Cortisol is released in the morning to wake up and give you enough energy to start your day. Dysregulation of cortisol levels can result in not enough in the morning and difficulty getting out of bed.
2. Inability to Handle Stress
Those with adrenal fatigue frequently have a difficult time dealing with stress. When you become stressed your amygdala sends a signal to your adrenals to release the stress hormone cortisol. Persistent stress can then make this worse by rewiring your brain to be predisposed to getting stressed out.2
3. Weight Gain
When cortisol levels are dysregulated they can frequently spike in addition to periods when they are low. These spikes can increase weight gain by raising blood sugar levels and inhibiting the breakdown of fat and increasing fat storage especially in your stomach area due to the high number of cortisol receptors on abdominal fat cells.3
4. Trouble Falling Asleep or Disturbed Sleep
If you are stressed out or anxious and have high cortisol levels at night, which many adrenal fatigue sufferers do, it can be a lot harder to fall asleep and you might lay in bed for hours before you are finally able to sleep. To learn how you can improve your sleep today read our article on 7 ways to improve sleep and read about the best science-supported supplements for sleep.
5. High Levels of Fatigue
Since cortisol levels help promote metabolism and energy production when levels are normal, during periods when cortisol levels are low you may feel a high degree of fatigue.
6. Low Libido
High levels of stress and anxiety are never a good thing for your libido. Since adrenal fatigue is frequently accompanied by stress and anxiety, low libido is a frequent sign.
7. Depression and Anxiety
The mental roller coaster of high and low cortisol can wreak havoc on your body and mind. You might start feeling overwhelmed and start to get anxious and sad over events you never would have before. If you are looking for mood support read our article on the benefits of magnesium and curcumin.
8. Craving Salty Food
Adrenal fatigue may lead to craving salty food by increasing mineral loss through excess urination.
9. Overuse of Caffeine
Dysregulated levels of cortisol can make you feel like you are constantly out of energy especially in the morning when you are just starting your day. As a result you are more likely to use caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and energy drinks to get through your day.
10. Weak Immune System
As a stress hormone, cortisol helps to control your “fight or flight” response. When levels are high, your body shuts down less essential processes like your immune system.
What can you do?
The first step is to improve your diet and start eating more whole and unprocessed foods. Also, reduce your consumption of refined sugar and stimulants like caffeine because although it might make you feel better now, in the long run you will become desensitized and dependent because stimulants can prolong your recovery.
You should also practice some exercises to help relieve stress and anxiety like breathing exercises, thinking positive and relaxing. Read our article on 12 ways to relieve stress and anxiety to learn more.
You may also want to consider taking a supplement. There are several nutrients and herbs which have been shown to positively affect stress and anxiety from poor adrenal health in numerous scientific studies. We combined them into our unique formula called Adrenal Support by Beyond Vita®.*
Additionally, if you persistently have low energy you might benefit from a supplement like CoQ10 and PQQ Complex by Beyond Vita®. CoQ10 and PQQ are cellular energy factors that have been shown in scientific studies to help reduce fatigue and increase energy levels.*
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