26 Jan What Your Body May Be Trying to Tell You Underneath “Your Busy Life”
Your health is crucial to your existence, and it’s easy to take it for granted when we’re feeling well.
So, what happens when you feel sluggish and have a hard time focusing? Maybe you can’t seem to get lean, even with healthy food, water, and exercise – yet everything checks out as clinically “ok”.
This was my story nearly ten years ago, with the demands of a growing career, family, and side businesses, my “burned-out” adrenal system was overworked, and my exhaustion was at its peak. I’ll share more about my story in previous and future articles.
I never want anyone to have to experience that kind of fatigue.
So, here I ask you to check your stress levels. No work is more important than your health, and I know from experience, it’s impossible to thrive on a less than a functional stress response.
For you “type A” personalities, busy CEOs, mothers, and students, not changing your lifestyle, will at some point, catch up with you.
Adrenal Burnout Is A Direct Response to Constant Stress
Do you have more going on in your life than you think? If you’re like me, you may not realize it if you’ve always “handled your stress well”, pushed through, or ignored your body when it’s tried to tell you that you are doing too much.
Overstimulation from the demands of a fast-paced culture, heavy workload—plus relationships, family and life’s commitments will catch up with you over time.
Lifestyle decisions like eating and even over-exercising may contribute to adrenal stress if you’re not doing what’s right for your body in the moment.
What Do Adrenals Do?
You may already know that your adrenal glands are at the heart of the system that controls your “fight or flight” response. These glands come to your rescue when your body is in a state of distress secreting many of your crucial hormones including adrenaline, cortisol, DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
It’s clear we’re living in a time of constant stimulation, and your adrenal system is at the center of that response. After pushing my own adrenal system so hard, I suffered the symptoms of sluggishness, exhaustion, and inability to focus let alone lose weight. I became concerned that I may not be able to restore my system back to health.
In my case, after going through nine physicians and using a balance of eastern and western medicine, I was able to heal and restore adrenal function. Yet, it took time.
There isn’t a single magic pill for adrenal stress, and the longer you wait to address your symptoms, the longer it may take to heal.
If your body is not allowed to have the rest it needs, it will over produce these hormones, potentially causing larger risks to longer-term illnesses.
Some physicians may feel that Adrenal Fatigue is “not the root cause of the condition” meaning that several of these symptoms are misdiagnosed or overlooked:
Sluggishness, sugar or salt cravings, dehydrated/thirsty, difficulty falling asleep, nervousness at night, waking up early or often, difficulty relaxing, anxious, or inability to calm down. Foggy thinking, feeling spacey, memory loss, lacking the will power to accomplish, feeling general exhaustion, hormone imbalances, low libido, weight gain, especially around the belly, loss of muscle tone, skin that becomes dry, yellow, or pale. Loss of appetite, weight loss, and blood sugar fluctuations. For a more comprehensive list of symptoms, check with your doctor.
Here’s what you can do:
- If you’ve talked to your doctor about stress, and you haven’t addressed adrenal issues, talk to your doctor about getting an ASI or Adrenal Stress Index saliva test. If your doctor doesn’t know about this test, find an endocrinologist or practitioner who does.
- Carve out time to reduce stress through meditation, mild exercise, yogad and focused breathing.
- Clean-up your diet. Even if you think you are eating “healthy”, your adrenal system may need the additional support of cutting out white flours, sugars, fried and processed foods. Eat whole, unprocessed foods. Balance your meals so that your protein intake is in line with healthy carbs, veggies and fibrous low-glycemic fruits.
- Increase your water intake, and cut out any sugar in your drinks.
- Create “down-time” and personal time to reconnect with your family and have intimate relationships with those you love.
The cost of adrenal fatigue on your life can be big.
Have you experienced any of these symptoms or recovered from a taxed adrenal system? Let me know if this article was helpful.
Look for my field note on How Your Emotions Impact Your Adrenal Health.
*Disclosure: This information is from my research and personal experience. This article supports my personal opinion and is not a prescription. I’m not an M.D. or medical professional, and I do not diagnose or prescribe pharmaceuticals through my personal practice.
- Dr. Diana Schwarzbein, The Schwarzbein Institute, Goleta, CA.
- Body Ecology.com “Tired, Sluggish, or Having a Hard Time Losing Weight? Here’s What Your Doctor Might Not Be Telling You”
- “Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison’s Disease).” Pituitary Network Association.
- Raber, J. Detrimental effects of chronic hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activation. From obesity to memory deficits. Gladstone Institute of Neurological Diseases. 1998.
- Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). “Exhaustion syndrome leaves measurable changes in the brain.” ScienceDaily.
- Elisabeth Conradt, Katheleen Hawes, Dylan Guerin, David A. Armstrong, Carmen J. Marsit, Edward Tronick, Barry M. Lester. The Contributions of Maternal Sensitivity and Maternal Depressive Symptoms to Epigenetic Processes and Neuroendocrine Functioning. Child Development, 2016; 87 (1): 73 DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12483.
- Mariya Balyura, Evgeny Gelfgat, Monika Ehrhart-Bornstein, Barbara Ludwig, Zohar Gendler, Uriel Barkai, Baruch Zimerman, Avi Rotem, Norman L. Block, Andrew V. Schally, Stefan R. Bornstein. Transplantation of bovine adrenocortical cells encapsulated in alginate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015; 201500242 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1500242112.
- Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Sep 30; 100(20): 11696–11701.
- D. B. McKim, A. Niraula, A. J. Tarr, E. S. Wohleb, J. F. Sheridan, J. P. Godbout. Neuroinflammatory Dynamics Underlie Memory Impairments after Repeated Social Defeat. Journal of Neuroscience, 2016; 36 (9): 2590 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2394-15.2016.