Stressed? Tired all the time? Have to peel yourself off the ceiling every time you hear a loud noise that catches you off guard? Can't pull yourself out of bed in the morning? Crave salty food or sugar like it's nobody's business? Carrying some extra "sumthin sumthin" around your midsection that just won't go away? Have you been to the doctor to try and figure out why you just don't have any "get up and go" yet all tests have come back negative and there are just no answers for you? You could be suffering from what I call the "silent epidemic" that is sweeping the modern world thanks to our ever increasing levels of stress. That silent epidemic is ADRENAL FATIGUE.
As each and every year goes by, and as technology has made modern-day life and commerce a 24-7 requirement, there are more demands on us and our time than ever before and we are paying the price with our health. Adrenal Fatigue (aka Hypoandrenia or Hypoadrenalism) has been one of the most widespread health issues for the past half a century, yet also one of the most under-diagnosed. Despite being described in medical text books back in the 1800's, and despite the development of the first effective treatments in the 1930's, most Western trained medical doctors simply just don't believe that the problem exists. Heck, when I was diagnosed by my naturopathic doctor back in 2010, I mentioned it to my family doctor at a routine visit and he literally laughed out loud and smacked his leg saying "there is no such thing". Yes there is. And while adrenal fatigue may make you feel like you're constantly on an uphill battle to feeling well, it can be treated and you can feel like your blissful and energetic self again.
But What are Adrenals?
Before I get into what exactly adrenal fatigue is and how you can help your body heal, I want to give you a very brief anatomy and physiology lesson on our adrenal glands. So, please excuse me as I briefly go into "Geek Mode"...
Our adrenal glands are little cone-shaped glands that sort of sit like a hat on each of our kidneys. They are responsible for secreting both male and female sex hormones and aldosterone (a hormone which helps regulate the salt content of our blood). But perhaps their biggest job is secreting our stress hormones. Two of these stress hormones you may have heard of already are ephinephrine and norepinephrine, the hormones which are released when we feel a sense of immediate danger or "fight or flight". Like when we're being chased by the neighbour's crazy dog or slamming on the brakes in our car to avoid a collision. These hormones help the body cope with a brief or short-term stressful situation.
The other stress hormone that our adrenals secrete is called cortisol. This is our long-term stress hormone...the one that deals with all of the other constant stressors we deal with like work stress, financial stress, relationship stress, parenting stress, illness and more. The more stress we have in our life, and the more we don't work to manage the stress, the more cortisol our adrenals kick out every day. Eventually, these poor little guys get burnt out and start to shut down on us causing us to suffer burnout as well as some other potentially serious health issues including hypoglycemia, cardiovascular disease and more.
Jill Taylor is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. She is the mom of two pretty awesome teenagers, s very dramatic dog, a hedgehog and a snake (yikes!). Jill assists her clients in achieving true wellness through thoughtful and compassionate dietary and lifestyle coaching. Feel free to visit the "Contact" page to get in touch. Jill would love to hear from you!