Wellness Wednesday by Nurse Fiona- Adrenal fatigue
Are you tired no matter how much sleep you get? Do you feel permanently run down and fatigued? You could be suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Constant stress, whether physical, emotional, or environmental can stimulate a cascade of hormone production by the adrenal glands including the likes of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Under normal circumstances we perceive a threat and our stress hormones are released. Once the threat has passed, the hormones subside to normal levels. Unfortunately, modern life can lead to constant levels of stress and hence it is possible that our adrenal glands get very little rest, eventually leading to adrenal fatigue.
Some amount of cortisol is healthy. It’s the hormone that helps us to wake up in the morning. Problems occur when he have high levels of cortisol as this hormone impacts nearly every system within our bodies. Too much cortisol suppresses our digestion, immune and reproductive systems. Additionally it can impact our nervous system and lead to anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances.
Potential causes of adrenal fatigue
- Long-term stress
- Poor diet
- Lack of sleep
- Food intolerances such a gluten or dairy intolerance
- Exposure to toxins or radiation
Tips to support adrenal glands
- Remove foods that over stimulate adrenal glands. These include caffeine, energy drinks and artificial sweeteners
- Remove gluten from diet. Gluten causes inflammation to the digestive system. This inflammatory cascade can increase cortisol and can further adrneal fatigue
- Remove hydrogenated oils. These include vegetable oils like soybean and canola oils. These oils can be highly toxic to the human body. Opt for coconut oil, organic butter, ghee or olive oil only
- Introduce adaptogenic herbs into your daily routine. Ashwagandha, holy basil, schisandra and rhodiola rosea have been shown to reduce cortisol levels naturally. These herbs may also help to reduce the effects of stress on our bodies.
- Sleep 8-10 hours per night. Sleep is a time that our bodies rest and repair including our adrenal glands.
- Introduce mindful meditation into your daily routine. Use ‘Calm’ or ‘headspace’ app every morning for 5-10 minutes on waking. Research has shown that meditation can help to regulate cortisol levels throughout the day
- Restorative yoga can be helpful to alleviate the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Certain ‘yin’ yoga postures can help increase circulation to kidneys and adrenals to reduce stagnation in these organs.