What the Heck is Adrenal Fatigue & What Can You Do About It?
We all deal with stress in our lives in one form or another. Our bodies deal with stress in many ways but did you know that the adrenal gland is the workhorse when it comes to dealing with stress?? Dr. Keith Ungar, D.C. states in his book, Your Thyroid Chemistry Doesn’t Lie, “The adrenal glands are the most overlooked and neglected glands in conventional medicine.” I have seen thousands of patients in my practice and I agree with Dr. Ungar’s statement. When I first review my patient’s case history, I rarely see that any lab results that would allow me to do a proper adrenal evaluation. Adrenal testing typically uses markers to rule out some underlying pathology, such as adrenal tumors, or are to check a single cortisol marker to make sure it is not at a dangerous level indicating a possible underlying life-threatening pathology. As explained below, testing the adrenal glands in this way is not enough.
The adrenal gland is a magnificent organ that produces a variety of important hormones that many are familiar with such as the adrenaline hormone epinephrine. So what’s the big deal about the adrenals anyway??? Adrenal fatigue is a problem that people often overlook when trying to seek answers about their own personal health. Dr. James Wilson PhD describes some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue as trouble getting out of bed, feeling run down and stressed, chronic tiredness and the constant need for coffee or energy drinks for the caffeine jolt. I agree that these are often symptoms associated with abnormal adrenal findings.
So you might ask yourself, how do I know if I have adrenal fatigue? If you don’t feel your best self and feel as if your health is declining then maybe it is worth finding a qualified practitioner who will run a proper adrenal panel and who understands the physiology of the precious gland. Cortisol is the key hormone to check when considering the functional health of the adrenal gland. When checking the Cortisol level you must check the levels throughout the day. This means that you have to check those levels at least 4 times throughout the day – not just once! This is important because our body’s natural circadian will cause the cortisol hormone levels to fluctuate throughout the day. Your cortisol levels need to be at certain levels at different parts of the day for you to feel your best. As it goes, in a healthy adrenal panel, the cortisol levels are high in the morning and lower as the day goes on. This means that a doctor who checks your level only one time during the day, is not getting the full clinical picture of how the adrenal gland is really performing. [Click to Tweet]
Adrenal fatigue is something that can be supported through lifestyle and nutrition. [Click to Tweet] If your lab tests come back and objectively show that your cortisol is out of balance then try following these few helpful guidelines to allow the body to heal over time.
Consider finding a functional medicine doctor who will order full functional testing to find out why your adrenal glands are not functioning properly and follow his or her instructions to balance your body’s chemistry. Perhaps it’s a hormone imbalance or something going on in your digestive system.
Avoid sugar, caffeine, and junk foods
Avoid people who stress you out
Avoid “The Grind”
Avoid skipping meals
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Here are some other things you can do to help heal the adrenal glands:
Do things you enjoy
Drink more water
Don’t dwell on the future or the past. Focus on the now.
As I said before we all deal with stress. If you find yourself always thinking or telling people, “I’m so stressed,” then first evaluate your life and try to remove any unnecessary stressors over which you have control. Once you have done that, consider running an adrenal panel to see if you have abnormal adrenal findings and if you do, run other functional testing to find out why. The results speak for themselves and if you do have issues then dig in and do the things you need to do for a better state of health.
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
 Ungar DC, Keith: “Your Tyroid Chemistry Doesn’t Lie” page 79.