You have undoubtedly heard the term “adrenal fatigue” at one time or another, but probably have not received a full explanation as to what this term really means. Before we discuss “adrenal fatigue” and what it is all about we first need to cover some of the basics.
Your adrenal glands are found within each kidney and produce several crucial hormones that are essential to our survival. The hormones produces by the adrenal glands include adrenaline, nor epinephrine and cortisol. When functioning correctly your adrenal glands produce just the right amount of each of these hormones. On the other hand serious medical conditions can arise within the body when there is either an excess or deficiency of any or all of these hormones.
The term “adrenal fatigue” refers to a medical condition in which your adrenal glands do not produce enough of these hormones to facilitate proper functioning of your body. When your adrenal glands do not produce sufficient amounts of these hormones, the way your body metabolizes fats, protein and carbohydrates is altered and causes stress for every organ and cell within the body. Additionally, this hormone imbalance affects your cardiovascular health and your body’s ability to properly balance and regulate fluid and electrolyte levels.
Some symptoms of adrenal fatigue can include:
- Tired but wired
- Memory loss
- Weight gain
- Auto immune disease
- Blood sugar imbalance
- dry skin
One common cause of this condition is ongoing unresolved stress. This stress could be mental, emotional or physical. There are many causes of stress that can cause adrenal fatigue, including: excessive exercise, working too hard without ample rest, heavy metal toxicity, lack of sleep, poor diet, infections and even excessive consumption of stimulants like caffeine and nicotine.
Adrenal fatigue can be treated by those who specialize in acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Naturopathic medicine. These doctors may utilize a saliva test to gauge your hormone levels and assess if there is an imbalance that requires attention.
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Registered Acupuncturist in Vancouver. She is also a Registered Herbologist and the founder of BodaHealth.