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Adrenal Fatigue

Sturart Morick consulting with clientDo you suffer from lack of energy and feel tired all the time? Your adrenal glands might be behind it, causing a condition known as adrenal fatigue.

Your adrenal glands are located on the top of your kidneys. They produce hormones essential for life and well-being, including cortisol,  aldosterone, DHEA and dopamine. These hormones interact with our immune system, nervous system and psyche. If the adrenals start to slow down, you can be adversely affected in many ways.

Western medicine generally classes adrenal fatigue as Addison’s disease, which is usually identified by symptoms including low blood pressure, extreme tiredness, muscle weakness, weight loss, mental confusion and skin discolouration (in some cases). Essentially a disease process is acting on your adrenals, causing them to reduce hormone output. Addison’s is usually diagnosed by various blood tests, scans and an injection of synthetic ACTH, a hormone that stimulates your adrenal glands.

In contrast, adrenal fatigue is milder, generally a state where you are not completely burnt out, but soon will be. You will feel absolutely lousy and may exhibit some of the symptoms for Addison’s disease – the usual indicators are extreme tiredness, lethargy and feeling highly unmotivated.  Importantly, there is usually no disease process affecting the adrenal glands.  Rather, your adrenals have been pushed beyond their normal capable limits and are unable to produce the hormones you need at an adequate level.

Adrenal fatigue may be identified by a salivary hormone test. Four saliva samples are taken at regular intervals throughout the day and the cortisol in the samples is measured, providing an overview of your adrenal glands’ daily output pattern.

If testing identifies a low daily cortisol pattern, your naturopath will develop a prescription which may include an array of herbs and nutrients to help nourish your adrenals to a better state of health. Nurturing your adrenal glands back to full health may take anywhere from six to 12 months, but sometimes even more time may be necessary.

It’s important to note that a number of other factors can also cause fatigue. For example, lack of energy may be caused by low vitamin B12, low iron, poor blood sugar control, lack of sleep, post viral fatigue, bacterial diseases (e.g. Lyme disease) or an inadequate diet. A discussion with your naturopath will help identify the cause of your symptoms and set you on a journey to better health. Give us a call and schedule your appointment today!

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