180 Nutrition: Is your daily life an uphill struggle? No matter how much sleep you get, you can’t shift the brain fog? Are your blood tests fine but you KNOW there’s something not right? If this sounds familiar, you should know that there is a little-known part of your body called the adrenal glands, and if the working order of these bad boys is compromised, your overall health and well-being will suffer dramatically.
If you feel as though you’re living your life surrounded by cement, both physically AND mentally and you’re like many of the population and have never heard of the adrenal glands, allow me to introduce you.
What Are Adrenal Glands
Put simply; the adrenal glands are located near your kidneys and their primary role is to make and secrete hormones which are essential for you to live.
They produce adrenaline (which alerts your brain to dangerous situations), aldosterone (which aids kidney function) and cortisol (which regulates your bodies reaction to stress).
When your body is in a stress-induced state, the adrenal glands go into overdrive to produce those critical hormones which serve the purpose of fundamentally saving your life.
In the past 50+ years, the lifestyle of the average Westerner has evolved dramatically. It is now common to see people suffering from high levels of stress, a poor diet high in sugar and processed foods, and 24-7 access to electronic devices which is increasingly omitting the ability to shut off and get a good night’s sleep.
It is a combination of these factors which has put the adrenal glands to business, and they are now producing those hormones at an almighty rate to try and regulate our frazzled bodies. This has created a disease known as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.
And it’s Making Our Lives A Misery
Look back over the past five years of your life; if you can identify with a shift in lifestyle that’s involved periods of high stress, poor diet and lack of rest, and you’re suffering from any of the following symptoms; your adrenal glands could be fatigued. They are struggling to produce the hormones that you need to survive your day-to-day life, and you need to take action now.
1. Disturbed sleep patterns:
The Adrenal glands are responsible for the production of cortisol. In a healthy person, cortisol is at its highest level in your body first thing in the morning and reduces throughout the day to reach its lowest level just as you go to bed.
When the body is under stress, higher levels of cortisol are produced by the adrenal glands at night time leading to an energy spike before bed making it harder for a person to relax and unwind which leads to insomnia.
2. Struggling to get out of bed each day:
OK, who doesn’t struggle, especially on a Monday morning? Well, healthy people actually.
If your alarm goes off and you have to hit snooze a few times before you can even think about getting up, and when you do you still can’t focus correctly, this is the result of the cortisol that has been coursing through your body throughout the night. Even when your eyes are closed, your brain is still waiting to send your body into battle for you, and you don’t get a proper rest making it difficult, if not impossible, to function throughout the day.
3. Unable to handle stressful situations:
If the car’s broken down, the kids are in trouble at school, or a conflict at the office are now big things that you’re struggling to deal with rationally, Adrenal Fatigue could be to blame. You could once pride yourself on sailing through life taking life’s little problems on the chin, but now, the stress of these situations weighs you down. Cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine are all hormones released by the adrenal glands when you’re faced with a stressful situation, and they help you to cope. When the adrenals become fatigued, the production of those hormones is stifled, and you struggle to get through those events which would normally be water off a duck’s back.
4. Salt cravings:
Aldosterone is produced by the adrenals and helps the kidneys control the secretion of minerals that the body doesn’t need. When the adrenals become fatigued this marker becomes ineffective. You will urinate more frequently and eliminate minerals, including sodium, that your body should be keeping a hold of.
If you can’t stop thinking about salty chips and nuts, Adrenal Fatigue could be the cause.
5. Susceptible to illness:
If you find that you’re now picking up every bug and virus that is flying around, this could be due to an imbalance in your cortisol levels.
Cortisol contains a natural anti-inflammatory that keeps your immune system under control. When cortisol levels are too high as they are in the first stages of adrenal fatigue, anti-inflammatory properties also become too high which reduces the effectiveness of your immune system. When cortisol levels are too low as they are in the latter stages of adrenal fatigue, anti-inflammatory properties are removed, and inflammation spreads throughout your body causing illness and allergies.
While these are some of the common symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue, there are rarer symptoms which you may be experiencing one or more of:
• Breathing difficulties
• Bags or dark circles under your eyes
• Low blood pressure
• Reduced libido
• Pain in your joints
• Increase in weight
• Skin conditions.
If you are suffering from a combination of any of the above symptoms and have experienced a period of chronic stress over the past few years, it is likely that Adrenal Fatigue is the problem.
Diagnosis of Adrenal Fatigue takes place with a series of simple saliva tests taken over a period of time, and the positive results of this could lead you to start turning your life around immediately. Learn here our top 10 tips to beating adrenal fatigue.