With the chaos and nonstop go-go-go of daily life, adrenal fatigue is becoming more than just a buzzy term. Your adrenal glands govern the stress response within the body, aid in the metabolic process and help control blood pressure. Long-term exposure to mental and physical stressors including consistently overdoing workouts, severe emotional trauma and chronic infection can cause them to function inadequately.

The adrenals are located above the kidneys. These two triangle-shaped glands produce a variety of hormones, such as adrenaline, aldosterone and cortisol. To keep your bodya??s stress receptors running smoothly, its important that you take care of your adrenals, especially when you are working out regularly.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Unusual or long-lasting fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain

Additional signs may include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, irritability and depression, a craving for salty foods, headaches, sweating, irregular menstrual periods and low libido.

The body is designed to be able to handle everyday stressors. But occasionally, the demands of modern society can push us into a state of adrenal fatigue. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to ensure that your adrenal glands are running at full capacity:

1. GET PROPER REST BETWEEN WORKOUTS

Overdoing your workout can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body. Studies show that doing high impact workouts like high-intensity interval training for two consecutive days can actually impair your immune system. Building a rest day into your week can minimize immune disturbances.

2. DON’T OVERDO YOUR TIME AT THE GYM

If you find yourself in a period of being bogged down by stress, its best to tone down your workouts until your anxieties subside. When your adrenals are depleted and cortisol is low, James Wilson, ND, PhD, suggests that his patients engage in moderate forms of exercise that normalize cortisol, blood sugar and any electrolyte imbalances. He recommends combining steady-state and high-intensity cardio, as well as flexibility exercises. Exercise daily just to comfortable capacity, he says. If you feel more tired 90 minutes after exercise or the next day, cut back. Avoid competing with yourself or others or pushing to do more.

3. GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Sleep is crucial, says Dr. Erica Lehman, founder of Beverly Hills-based Pro Health Group. She stresses that its especially important to catch your zzzs between midnight 3 a.m., since those are the hours when growth hormone, a hormone made in the pituitary gland that is responsible for the growth and repair of cells, is made. Growth hormone decreases with age and is important for weight control but also maintaining muscle mass, says Lehman.

4. KEEP STRESS AT BAY

The primary source of stress is adrenaline, says Dr. Michael Platt, M.D. the author of Adrenal Dominance. The body responds to stress by releasing cortisol. Cortisol, as many people are aware, can cause weight gain because it raises sugar levels.

Managing and alleviating stressors help to decrease the overproduction of cortisol, thus decreasing its negative effects, says Dr. Matthew R. Herron, of Riverside Doctors Hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia. Engaging in stress-reducing techniques like yoga, meditation and deep breathing can help ward off daily anxieties. Herron also suggests healthy practices such as getting ample sleep each night, scheduling personal time into your day and even taking an entire day off once a week. The American addiction to busyness, multitasking and work addiction can destroy a body created to work and rest.

5. EAT A HEALTHY DIET

Wilson recommends following a diet that is rich in healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates (like whole grains) at every meal. This combination helps provide a steady stream of energy throughout the day, he explains. For protein, opt for high-quality meats, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds and legumes. He also suggests eating 6-8 servings of antioxidant-rich vegetables in a variety of colors per day. Its also a good idea to go easy on the caffeine, as studies show that it can increase cortisol secretion in people at rest or undergoing mental stress. Coffee is a stimulant, just like adrenaline, says Platt. People who have excess adrenaline can usually benefit by avoiding caffeine.

10 Comments

  1. Nina Houston

    At this point in time adrenal fatigue is
    NOT a recognized condition by the medical community. If you click on the link to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in this article, you will quickly note the link talks about Adrenal Insufficiency. NOT adrenal fatigue. In order to diagnose adrenal insufficiency , you have to have an 8am cortisol blood test drawn(yes timing is important). If that comes back low, an ACTH stim test should be done to determine if you do have adrenal insufficiency, and whether you are primary or secondary. Primary means your adrenals aren’t making it even though your pituitary is telling you to. Secondary means your pituitary cannot make the ACTH to signal your adrenals. Treatment is almost the same for both , and both are life threatening without treatment, and sometimes even with treatment. This is a very serious disease, and should not be taken lightly or touted about as adrenal fatigue. This article should not even be here, as the source they are quoting says Adrenal Insufficiency. Not adrenal fatigue. It may seem “close enough”, but it is not.

  2. patti

    You people are clearly clueless. Adrenal fatigue is very real. Is it Addison’s Disease? No. I suffered for years with adrenal fatigue and every symptom of it. The real test for adrenal fatigue is a cortisol test, not the ACTH push test. Unlike Addisons (where cortisol is no longer produced), adrenal fatigue leads to extremely low amounts of cortisol that rise and drop at the wrong times of the day. I had every symptom of it, and I did everything she says to fix it and finally got my cortisol levels back to regular production at the right times of day. I did take cortisol for a very short time because mine was so low, but ultimately, I was able to get my adrenals functioning properly again. There IS a difference between adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue, but they both exist. One is a lesser form of the other and very much life depleting. For those of you with Addisons, I’m sorry (I was tested for it, I know it’s scary). But that does not mean that adrenal fatigue does not exist.

  3. What the heck kind of BS article is this! Clearly this author has not done any research on this topic. There is NO such thing as Adrenal Fatigue! It is not a recognized medical disorder! The real disease is ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY, a life threatening condition! This author has cited part of a web site that supports and provides information for people with Adrenal Insufficiency. The actual part of the article with the info reads as this:

    “Points to Remember
    Adrenal insufficiency is an endocrine, or hormonal, disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough of certain hormones.
    Addison’s disease, the common term for primary adrenal insufficiency, occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged and cannot produce enough of the adrenal hormone cortisol. The adrenal hormone aldosterone may also be lacking.
    Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when the pituitary gland fails to produce enough adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), a hormone that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. If ACTH output is too low, cortisol production drops.
    The most common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency are chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, and abdominal pain. The slowly progressing symptoms are often ignored until a stressful event, such as surgery, a severe injury, an illness, or pregnancy, causes them to worsen.
    If not treated, an adrenal crisis can cause death.
    A diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency is confirmed through hormonal blood and urine tests. Imaging studies of the adrenal and pituitary glands can be useful in helping to establish the cause.
    Adrenal insufficiency is treated by replacing, or substituting, the hormones that the adrenal glands are not making.
    Problems can occur in people with adrenal insufficiency who are undergoing surgery, suffer a severe injury, have an illness, or are pregnant. These conditions place additional stress on the body, and people with adrenal insufficiency may need additional treatment to respond and recover.
    People with adrenal insufficiency should always carry identification stating their condition, “adrenal insufficiency,” in case of an emergency, as well as the supplies necessary to administer an emergency corticosteroid injectiion.”

    This author is misleading and if someone really has Adrenal Insufficiency than following this advice could lead to death! Shame on the author for not being responsible!

  4. Jo Derek

    ANYONE READING THIS. GET OUT OF HERE QUICK! She knows nothing, and will kill you.

  5. Jo Derek

    am sick to death of this BS. You clearly no NOTHING about health, you are a sharlitin, and you should be prosicuited for plagerism as you have taken a quote about A REAL AND LIFE THREATENING MEDICAL CONDITION, and replaced the most important word. Fatigue. IT IS ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY. YOU, my dear, are the most dangerous person I have seen on the internet this week.

  6. Marlene Delos Reyes

    Typo – I would not wish this (not which)

  7. Marlene Delos Reyes

    I agree 100% with Laura Vega and Lian Schmidt. Adrenal Insufficiency is a real life threatening disease whereas Adrenal fatigue is NOT. I would not which this disease on anyone, if I read this before being diagnosed with Addison’s disease I may have thought this was all I had and I would not be here today writing this post because I would most likely be in my grave. Adrenal Fatigue has been mentioned a lot lately and I feel it should be called something else because of the confusion it causes and there is a HUGE difference between fatigue and Adrenal Insufficiency, one can kill you!

  8. Lianschmidt

    What a hack job! To emphasize Laura Vega’s point, if one is truly low on cortisol, which can only be determined by proper medical testing, then one needs to take a replacement dose of corticosteroids. The recommendations of this article could lead someone down a very dangerous path.

  9. pippipen

    Yep, this!

  10. Carrie L

    This!

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