Adrenaline Junkie31 May, 2020
Did you know that there’s a critical link between your adrenal health and your overall health and that it’s been said that most of us will experience adrenal fatigue multiple times during our lives?
Unfortunately, given the digital age we’re currently living in, we’re now forced to respond to life quicker! This, together with the elevated stresses of today mean constantly heightened adrenaline levels appear to be the new normal with so many of us now addicted to the hormone adrenaline.
As with any addiction, the more we act on it, the more desensitized to it we become and over time we end up requiring more of the drug in order to satisfy the addiction. In the case of adrenaline, we’re not just talking about acts like bungee jumping, sky diving, base jumping but also the mere act of multitasking between the demands of a job, partner, children, running the home, catching up with friends, meeting family obligations, etc. To keep up with today’s fast pace of life, many of us are in an almost constant state of fight or flight and corrosive adrenaline is continuously pouring through our bodies… increasing the acidity of our body and placing a major strain on our mitochondria, the powerhouse ‘battery’ of our body, thus setting the stage for dis-ease….
Let us take a few steps back… what are the adrenals?
The adrenals are two small glands situated on top of our kidneys that form part of our endocrine system. These little lumps of tissue have a crucial role to play in that they are responsible for producing adrenaline and cortisol, hormones essential for effectively responding to stress. These responses work on the assumption that the stress response will be a brief reaction to immediate threats that are promptly resolved. So, when someone is under constant stress, as would be the case when dealing with issues like chronic illness, financial trouble, emotional stress, etc. the adrenal glands become fatigued and eventually, for lack of a better way of putting it, ‘burn out’ over time.
The trouble here is that exhausted (‘burnt out’) adrenals produce either too much or too few hormones – both of which can lead to poor health outcomes, e.g. too much adrenaline can result in depression as your brain gets deprived of crucial neurochemicals and too much cortisol can weaken your liver, your brain and your central nervous system. Too little cortisol, on the other hand, can hamper thyroid function.
So, are you struggling with adrenal fatigue and subsequent cortisol disruption in your body?
Symptoms such as a lack of energy, abdominal weight gain, forgetfulness, weakness, difficulty concentrating, poor digestion, anxiety, insomnia, depression and experiencing trouble with the completion of basic tasks may indicate adrenal fatigue however these symptoms can also be as a result of many other ailments, so other things you would need to consider include:
- Energy “crashes” early in the day and throughout the day.
- Feeling tired all day but energetic in the evening
- Feeling exhausted at night but you struggle to fall asleep
- Waking up feeling unrested after a full night of sleep
- Extreme sweating when performing mere light tasks
- Feeling unmotivated and / or irritable
- Thirsty all of the time and can’t seem to quench your thirst
- Dry mouth
- Dizziness when standing
- Diminished or lack of libido
- Loss of hair and / or thinning of hair
- Blurry vision or difficulty focusing your eyesight
- Experiencing frequent cravings for salt or sugary snacks.
Sometimes however symptoms aren’t present, but the corrosive adrenaline still hits the nervous system and the liver. The adrenaline itself can do more damage than the adrenals being weak. We can therefore get more symptoms from the adrenaline on its own instead of just the adrenals being weak. Therefore, just because you have weak adrenals doesn’t mean that you’re going to experience a host of symptoms – the symptoms can present after you’ve had many adrenal issues.
“Your stress response system can only take so much fight or flight before it just hits the freeze button and you crash. Over activation of the stress response sabotages your hustle, drive and ability to get it all done. When most women hit the wall, their emotions take on a life of their own!”
So, what can we do to help our adrenals?
Eating only three times per day can be tough on our adrenal glands because if our blood sugar drops too low between meals the adrenals release cortisol to bring our blood sugar back up again. When our blood sugar is habitually erratic our adrenals take strain as they struggle to produce the hormones to compensate. Therefore, regularly going for long periods without eating places a huge strain on our adrenals and hampers their ability to recover.
We can however support our adrenals by eating a light snack every 2-3 hours, starting within half an hour of waking up. Grazing will help to keep our blood sugar stable throughout the day, allowing our adrenals time to rest and recover as well as help to prevent acidic, corrosive adrenaline from causing more damage throughout our body.
Choose snacks that comprise a balance of sodium, potassium and natural glucose (such as that from fruits, which contain essential nutrients – not table sugar).
Adrenal-supportive snacks could include:
- Coconut water, banana and spinach
- Orange, avocado and spinach
- Apple, celery and dates
- Cauliflower, apple and cucumber
- Sweet potato and kale (with freshly squeezed lemon on)
Another strategy to help our adrenals is to drink lots of water. In Chinese Medicine the adrenals & kidneys are seen as part of the same organ, so therefore what would help the kidneys would end up helping the adrenals too. Upon waking each morning, try drinking a glass of water before you get out of bed, and each time you urinate drink a glass of water thereafter.
Other foods that support the adrenal glands and help to combat adrenal fatigue include berries, cherries, lemons, mangoes, grapes, figs, asparagus, leafy greens, sprouts, garlic, parsley and raw honey.
Engaging in lifestyle therapies such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, journaling, exercise, and other activities can also be very beneficial to supporting the health of our adrenals.
Adrenal Supportive Supplements
While it’s important to prioritise lifestyle choices to support our body to use its own wisdom to heal and strengthen our adrenals, there are supplements that have been specifically formulated to help relieve strained adrenals.
Product featured: Moonshine Botanicals Adrenal Herbal Blend & DNA Biopharm Adrenal-Fast
Product featured: Sfera Nutrition Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha, a powerful herb used in Ayurvedic healing, is well-known for its restorative benefits, such as helping to combat the effects of stress, reducing anxiety and depression and stabilizing blood sugar to name a few. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen – a group of herbs known for their improvement of adrenal function, immunity, physical and mental endurance.
Product featured: Viridian Enhanced Rhodiola Complex
Adaptogenic herbs, as their name suggests, help you to adapt to and therefore cope with stress by adjusting your stress response on a physiological level.
Another adaptogenic herb known to decrease stress, fight fatigue, and improve physical performance is that of Rhodiola. Licorice root, containing glycyrrhizinic acid is yet another adaptogenic herb that can offer great support for our adrenals. Please note that licorice root is not recommended for those with high blood pressure.
Product featured: Good Health Turmeric 15800 Complex
Don’t forget about the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune supporting action of Curcumin and how it supports our overall well-being.
Product featured: Metagenics Mag Glycinate
Lastly, Magnesium is a mineral that is critical to our health and well-being as it fuels hundreds of enzymatic reactions in our body. Besides being great for our bone health and helping to ease stress and anxiety, taken at night, magnesium helps to relax our brain, heart and other muscles whilst we’re sleeping. Magnesium deficiency is rampant and can certainly contribute to adrenal fatigue.
To end off…before you delve into ways to heal and strengthen your adrenals, take a moment to get curious as to the possible root-cause of your adrenal fatigue and what you can do to mitigate the situation from getting worse. Seek the assistance of a medical professional if necessary but do take the time to invest in this critical piece of the puzzle that is your health & well-being – your future self will thank you!
“The particular kind of rest you need when you have adrenal fatigue comes not so much from lying down, but from standing up for yourself, and from removing or minimizing the harmful stresses in your life.”
Disclaimer: Each person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual condition is unique. The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your doctor for matters pertaining to your specific health and diet. The author of this article is not held responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use or misuse of any information, suggestions or procedures described herein. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.