Adrenal Fatigue – How to deal with it
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal Fatigue describes a condition where the adrenals in your body exhaust from constant stress. The adrenals are based at the top at both of your kidneys and play a huge role in the endocrine system. They are producing many key hormones, especially the stress hormone cortisol, but also blood regulating hormones such aldosterone.
Cortisol is a two sided hormone, unlike many other hormones. Having too high cortisol levels is bad, having too low cortisol levels are also bad. It always depends on the current situations, past stress levels and general lifestyle.
When dealing with adrenal fatigue, the general idea is that the adrenals became exhausted from too much stress and therefore are not able to produce enough cortisol anymore.
Do i have Adrenal Fatigue?
There are a few key “factors” that increase the chances having adrenal fatigue extremely. Those are:
- Stressful job / lifestyle in general
- Bad diet (typical american standard diet)
- Sleeping disorders
- Chronic stress in general
The most common symptoms are:
- Feeling cold all the time
- Low sex drive
- Lower back-pain
- Food allergies
- Night sweats
- Going more often to the toilet
Those are not all symptoms when someone deals with adrenal fatigue, however, they are the most common.
How can i diagnose it?
Adrenal Fatigue isn’t hard to diagnose for the alternative medicine, however, the school medicine don’t have a “way” to diagnose it. With a simple saliva test for cortisol it’s pretty easy to diagnose it and also save. However, most MD Doctors don’t accept this test, as they say it’s not accurate, which is of course, completely false. My personal test were almost exactly the same like the blood serum test. Many studies have already shown that a saliva test is even more accurate than the standard blood sample test, as hormones fluctuate very much and therefore it’s always a few hours / days later visible in the blood. Not so with the saliva test.
There are many labors out there that offer a saliva test for adrenal fatigue. You could purchase one by your own, or look up for an alternative doctor in your local area.
When dealing with adrenal fatigue, your hormones will be unbalanced. The key hormone is here cortisol, which is a stress hormone. It’s often time very low to low when are having adrenal fatigue, however, the body tries to compensate this with high cortisol levels at night, which is why most get sleep disturbances.
My cortisol is okay in the saliva test, does that mean i don’t have adrenal fatigue?
Having a normal cortisol level is first off a good sign. However, you should also test your sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone. Often times, these are low or very chaotic when having adrenal fatigue. Also, melatonine is often times way to low and the ratio between those hormones are also way off. If all this is not the case, than it’s unlikely that you are suffering from adrenal fatigue. On the other hand, if your cortisol is completely okay but the other hormones (especially the sex hormones) are not and you are suffering from the typical symptoms, than yes, you have some stage of adrenal fatigue.
So how do i fix adrenal fatigue?
Curing adrenal fatigue is a “complex” thing in the first case. Because the problem often relies on the lifestyle of a certain person.
The key is to balance cortisol again. Since cortisol is a stress hormone, does that mean that less stress would help to heal adrenal fatigue? The answer is yes. However, many people are dealing with further stages of adrenal fatigue, which means their endocrine system is really messed up. Therefore, an easy “less stress” routine wouldn’t help too much.
The first thing to do, is do take certain pro hormones / hormones in order to help “relax” the adrenal glands. Those hormones are Pregnenolone, DHEA, Progesterone. There are also a few minerals and vitamins that your body needs in order to rebuild and heal the adrenal glands. Let’s talk about the hormones first.
Pregnenolone role in the body
Pregnenolone is not an active hormone, unlike DHEA for example. The adrenal’s produce many key hormones for the body, such as: testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, Progesterone, Cortisol, Aldosterone and also pregnenolone
The Adrenal Gland’s produce with vitamin B2 and cholesterol, cholesterin and from that pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is therefore the basic hormone for all the other hormones. The Adrenal Gland’s produce out of pregnenolone: DHEA, Testosterone, Estrogen, Cortisol, Aldosterone and much more. Having constant stress leads to a so called pregnenolone-steal. What does that mean? Well, having constantly high cortisol level’s requires constantly high pregnenolone levels. But pregnenolone is used by other hormones as well. So if cortisol is always “taking” the pregnenolone away, the other hormones can’t be produced anymore enough. The typical Adrenal Fatigue symptom’s occur from stage 1: High pulse frequency, being on “electricity”.
DHEA itself is a antagonist to cortisol. The more DHEA the less cortisol circulating in the body. When you are dealing with adrenal fatigue, your adrenal gland’s are highly focused on producing cortisol all the time, to the point, where the production of other hormones are lacking. If your body can’t produce enough DHEA anymore, the cortisol has a free way on being all time high. Even if you aren’t in a stressful situation anymore, you will feel anxious and overall not so well.
With that being said, DHEA is an excellent short term treatment hormone for adrenal fatigue, however, used too often, too much, can actually shut down the natural production ability of the adrenal gland’s, since DHEA is, unlikely pregnenolone, a full active hormone.
DHEA transform’s in the body into the sexual hormones estrogen and testosterone. It has calm effect’s on the mood (since it’s reducing cortisol) and it has libido boosting abilities. It’s used oral or trans-dermal, however, trans-dermal is always the better option when it comes to hormones. The reason for that is, that oral hormones need to be broke down by the organ’s in order to “work”, trans-dermal application just goes straight into your blood stream without any breakdown.
The sexual hormones are Estrogen and Testosterone. Those are the main key hormones. There are many more and some derivation’s of them, as an example: DHT. Dehydrotestosterone convert’s from testosterone and is a stronger androgen agent then testosterone itself. DHT is used in the body to grow hair, for your overall well being and even for your libido.
Estrogen is the main female hormone, testosterone the main male hormone. Both give each genders typical characteristics. But that doesn’t mean that only man have testosterone and only woman estrogen. Both hormones are available in both genders, however, the amount varies. While at males 300ng/dl are considered low, for woman it would considered very high. A normal high testosterone level for woman are 80-150ng/dl.
So how are those hormones affected by adrenal fatigue? The sexual hormones are suffering from a high cortisol level. The reason for that is that cortisol itself suppresses both sexual hormones. At a normal stress level, this would cause a short suppression of the sexual hormones. However, if the stress is chronic, or the body itself in a chronic stress level, it will lead to an chronic suppression of the sexual hormones. The reason for that is the pregnenolone steal. The body just uses all pregnenolone almost completely for the cortisol synthesis. This is the reason why so many complain with adrenal fatigue to have also a low sex drive or almost non existing one.
How to actually counter this? Well, sexual hormone suppression cant be acquired on itself. The pregnenolone steal is one of the causes of it, therefore, giving the body enough rest and enough minerals, vitamin’s and pregnenolone can actually help to balance the hormone axis. A way to increase Testosterone and Estrogen “manually” would be by supplementing DHEA. DHEA not only suppresses cortisol by being its antagonist, it also transforms directly into testosterone or estrogen, since DHEA is the direct pre hormone of both sexual hormones. Supplementation’s of different minerals and vitamins, such as zinc, may also help.
Aldosterone is the regulating the blood pressure in the body. It’s necessary to store salt and therefore store water. Because of the on going pregnenolone steal inside the body, the adrenal gland’s are not producing enough aldosterone. A low blood pressure is often the result. While its very common that people who deal with adrenal fatigue have a low blood pressure, it also can be the opposite. In this case, people have a higher blood pressure than normal, often times in the pre high blood pressure range (120-140 / 80 -90). This happen often when people are in the pre stage of true adrenal fatigue, which mean’s: The body is all the time in the ‘alarm’ mode and can’t slow down by itself anymore. The more stress is going on from there, the higher the chances of an adrenal crash, with the typical adrenal fatigue following.
In order to get a better aldosterone level the pregnenolone steal has to stop. Supplementing pregnenolone will help here as well as using a good salt, like Himalaya salt.
The supplements play a huge role in order to heal the adrenal gland’s. Its important to note that supplementing hormones have a huge impact on the body. That is very good. However, if misused it can lead to other problems or even exhaust the adrenal glands even more.
All oral forms of hormones are basically bad or should be taken with care, since the body needs to detoxify and transform them before they are active. Trans-dermal on the other hand is much more better, since its very quickly in the body and can be used immediately.
Pregnenolone itself can transform into ephedrine in the liver, when applied oral. Ephedrine are the stress transmitters adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. DHEA is less toxic when taken orally, however, using it as a creme is much more effective.
Supplementing adrenal cortex can be useful as well. Its used to build up adrenal gland tissue and therefore very helpful. Vitamin C can be supplemented as well.
Can be used as a standard base treatment. Diet and environment changes (to a less stressful one) need to be applied as well. Rest is important.
An healthy diet is mostly vegetables with fruits and nuts as a base. You can add fish or meat to it, however, fish is always the better option. It has less heavy protein’s and is much easier on the digestion system then meat in general. Try to eat raw as possible. Sugar should be avoided completely and stimulant’s as well (self explaining).
How long does it take in order to feel better?
Depending on your current stage of adrenal fatigue and other factor’s such as how long it’s been untreated or if you have any other sub-clinical health condition’s (very likely with adrenal fatigue) than it will take a few months to years. However, starting to use supplement’s and trying to start a healthy lifestyle will make you feel much more better after a short time of period. Long term changes and improvements on the other side will take month’s to years.
They key is a lifestyle change in diet, supplements and general activity. Walking or doing slow and easy exercises are good for the body in order to relief stress hormones. This blog post is a guide on how to start smoothly with a new activity: How to be more active & how to walk / jog [Guide]
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