Updated: Jul 1, 2019
Fatigue is one of the symptoms I hear most often when patients come to my office. Most of these patients have had chronic conditions or symptoms that have lasted for months or even years.
As a result of this biochemical strain on their body, their adrenal glands no longer can keep up with the demand of stress chemicals, and they begin to suffer from the effects of adrenal fatigue.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue happens when the adrenal glands are unable to keep up with the body's demand for adrenaline and cortisol.
We use these hormones every day to adapt to environmental stressors like physical exertion, illnesses, nutrient deficiencies, incoming bacteria, and workplace stress.
Long term stress (physical, or emotional) causes a biochemical strain that affects the entire body, but particularly the adrenal glands.
It is important to confirm via testing whether you are suffering from adrenal fatigue. General fatigue can be caused by a bacterial infection, a food sensitivity, a viral infection, or an undiagnosed autoimmune condition, just to name a few possibilities.
Getting a proper diagnosis is crucial - A few key markers can diagnose adrenal fatigue.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
the feeling as if your body never fully 'recharges'
sleep never feels restful
activities that you used to do easily now leave you exhausted
low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
feeling dizzy, irritable, sick or shaky between meals
persistent thirst (always thirsty but water never seems enough)
photosensitivity (light that was tolerable before now seems too bright)
For optimal adrenal gland function, three things are of particular importance - glucose, electrolytes, and B vitamins.
When possible, nutrients from whole foods are always best.
Rather than taking a 'green' powder, a drink that has vitamin c added and a supplement capsule full of antioxidants - consume leafy green vegetables with your meals, incorporate a smoothie during your day with frozen berries and make an effort to add at least one serving of vegetables to each meal you have.
Your body needs sugar to function. While your body is recovering from adrenal fatigue you need to eat regularly through the day (fasting will make adrenal fatigue worse).
Eating every 2-3 hours is usually necessary for those in adrenal fatigue. Make sure that each meal or snack contains at least some protein, fat and carbohydrate.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a common result of adrenal fatigue, normalizing your blood sugar levels will be one of the first priorities in a treatment plan to help you heal quickly.
Consuming a moderate amount of unrefined carbohydrates with each meal is needed to avoid dips in blood sugar.
A serving of sweet potatoes with your eggs in the morning is an example of the carbohydrates needed to give you blood sugar stabilizing fiber and sugars that are necessary for your adrenal glands to function and begin to heal.
As long as your body is fighting against the strain of hypoglycemia with weakened adrenal glands, it cannot heal.
Drinking water throughout the day is important, but large quantities of water without adequate levels of electrolytes will cause your adrenal glands to be strained.
16 oz of celery juice spread throughout the day (freshly made, before each meal) is very effective in delivering key minerals and electrolytes.
Celery juice is also fantastic for priming the stomach for food, making absorbing nutrients easier.
You can add berries, lemon juice or cut cucumber to your pitcher or water bottle to infuse your water during the day.
3. B Vitamins
B vitamin deficiency (and specifically B12 deficiency) is correlated with fatigue. In a functional medicine appointment, your levels can be tested and your optimal dosage assessed.
Taking large doses of vitamins by matching your symptoms to deficiency symptoms online is a money wasting and potentially dangerous game.
There are many conditions that cause deficiencies (Crohn's disease is correlated with B12 deficiency) and taking a vitamin does not solve the underlying problem.
With targeted diagnostic testing, a functional medicine practitioner can assess what nutrients you truly need and determine if you have any underlying toxicity, latent infections or conditions that need attention.
B vitamins are vital for the body to metabolize your food into usable energy. When B vitamin levels become too low your energy levels will drop.
Functional Medicine and Adrenal Fatigue
Above all, if you are struggling with adrenal fatigue then significant factors have coordinated to drain you of your energy reserves - some of these factors could be infection, anxiety, or an undiagnosed condition.
Functional medicine is designed to address the health of the whole person, by finding underlying factors that cause symptoms and conditions.
While nutritional support is vital in recovering from adrenal fatigue - finding the reason you got there in the first place is the key in making sure you can restore your health, immune system and energy levels permanently.
If you would like to speak to me to ask questions about functional medicine, chronic illness or how I can help you, please schedule a Free 15 Minute Consultation or call or text my office at 913-728-5291.
If you think that you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information. Nor should you ever delay seeking medical advice or treatment due to the information contained on this Website.