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NATUROPATHIC NEWS & REVIEW:

By Columnist Trudy Cadoo – Senior Naturopath:

Managing stress reduces adrenal fatigue
Photo Credit: Bottled Void, 2008 – Stress

Do you feel burnt out? If so, then it may be time to look at how you’re living your life.  Having a double espresso to get you moving in the morning and a bottle of wine to wind down at night, may not be ideal.

Do you find it difficult switching off at night?

Do you wake in the morning rarely feeling refreshed from your sleep?

Do you need a cup of coffee to switch on in the morning?

Do you often feel overwhelmed with what life is presenting?

Do you wonder when it’s all going to slow down?

Do you feel unmotivated?

Do you suffer headaches regularly?

High Stress Levels and You

If any of these questions sound familiar, then your body may be under stress. High stress is something many people are living with day in day out, and most don’t even recognise it.  Our lives have become significantly busier over the past decade.  The impact stress is having on us is becoming more evident in our health and wellbeing.  Understanding where you are at, what you need and putting a few simple techniques into play, can go a long way to calm the stress in your day, regain your vitality and lead you back to living life with passion as you once did.

Are you experiencing any of the following?

  • Constant fatigue.
  • Difficulty waking in the morning.
  • Craving for salty food.
  • Lethargy.
  • Low motivation.
  • Low libido.
  • Low-stress tolerance.
  • Mild depression.
  • Mentally fatigued.
  • Poor memory.
  • Afternoon slumps.
  • Headaches.
  • Increased PMS.

Do your symptoms become worse when meals are missed?

You may be looking for answers as to why you are feeling this way and you may be becoming increasingly frustrated as nothing is coming up in your blood tests. On paper, you look like a healthy person. If you are feeling any of these symptoms, then you may be experiencing Adrenal Fatigue.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue is a modern condition that is usually associated with high stress levels and it is characterised by the adrenals not functioning properly.  This is not to be confused with Addison’s disease. Addison’s is a rare endocrine disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands cannot produce sufficient hormones (corticosteroids), which is thought to be caused by an autoimmune disorder. This disorder is called Cushing’s Syndrome (hypercortisolism),  which is a collection of hormonal disorders characterised by high levels of the hormone cortisol which may include tumours of the pituitary and adrenal glands.

Adrenal Fatigue, although not recognised by many main stream Doctors, is estimated to affect around 80 percent of people in the world. According to James Wilson (author of “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome“).

What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?

The primary role of your adrenal glands is to produce and regulate the stress hormone cortisol. Altered levels of cortisol are indicative of acute or chronic mental and, or physical stress.

Cortisol has been called the “stress” hormone because it’s what your body produces to get you out of danger.  The bodies stress response system is usually self-limiting. Once it perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. But when stresses are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight or flight reaction keeps hormones turned on. The problem today is a lot of people are under a permanent state of extreme stress.

Lifestyle, physical and psychological stresses can have an impact on the adrenal glands.

Factors that contribute to Adrenal Fatigue include:

  • Poor sleep patterns.
  • Poor diet.
  • Use of stimulants – coffee, energy drinks, sugar.
  • Constant demand and pressures.
  • Perfectionism.
  • Insufficient rest and relaxation.
  • Taking on too much.
  • Chronic emotional load.
  • Physical trauma and illness.

Life events

  • Work stress.
  • Home stress.
  • Emotional trauma.
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Major surgery.
  • Infection.
  • Financial changes.
  • Head trauma.
  • Moving house.
  • Chemical exposure (including drug and alcohol).

Lifestyle

  • University.
  • Parenting.
  • Unhappy marriage.
  • Unhappy/stressful work place.
  • Self-employment.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Shift work.
  • Long work hours.
  • FIFO (fly in, fly out).

Can My Cortisol Levels Be Tested?

Testing for the stress hormone Cortisol can be done, and if you find blood tests to be stressful, let me put your mind at ease.  The Adrenocortex hormone profile is a non-invasive saliva test that serves as a reliable marker of stress response and a critical tool for revealing adrenal imbalances.  Lifestyle stresses put a constant demand on the adrenal glands, and we can assume that most individuals today would be under some level of stress.  If the adrenal glands become depleted adrenal fatigue or insufficiency may be experienced.  Saliva samples are taken over the day to give an accurate indicator of your cortisol levels.

Treatments for Adrenal Fatigue

The best way to treat adrenal exhaustion is to address the underlying cause: stress.

  • Diet – consume a balanced wholefood diet, avoiding any food intolerances.
  • Drinks – Avoid stimulants such as coffee, and energy drinks, as well as alcohol.
  • Balance blood sugar levels with regular meals – eat protein rich foods throughout the day and enjoy a well balance whole food diet.
  • Exercise – regular exercise, avoid over exercise.
  • Relaxation techniques – meditation, warm bath, acupuncture and massage.
  • Good quality sleep – getting to bed by 10pm, avoid taking your computer into the bedroom.

Supplementation

  • B group vitamins.
  • Magnesium.
  • Adaptogenic herbs.

If you feel that stress is taking hold of you, it may be time to talk to a qualified Naturopath and get some balance back in your life.

About Our Naturopathic News and Review ColumnistTrudy Cadoo - Logo

Trudy CadooTrudy Cadoo is a Senior Naturopath at Brisbane Livewell Clinic, Wavell Heights. She believes that health is more than the absence of disease. It is the balance of many factors including mental, emotional and physical well-being. Trudy uses a wide range of diagnostic tools to identify and treat presenting problems.  Trudy specialises in helping busy professional women gain more energy, increase their immune system and feel more vital and in control of their health.

Disclaimer: The information published in this column is the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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