Daily fatigue has become a common occurrence in the modern world. Some blame this on increased workplace stress, reduced sleep quality, or simply a part of life. Although these may contribute to fatigue it is more likely that the culprit is adrenal fatigue. It is estimated by health experts that up to 80% of the population is experiencing some degree of adrenal insufficiency. Unfortunately, it is common for this condition to be overlooked by physicians and it is frequently missed by standard blood tests. Being aware of this common condition and employing effective methods to resolve and treat it can help improve one’s quality of life.
Introducing the Adrenals
The adrenals are walnut-sized glands located above the kidneys. This small but powerful system produces impactful hormones including adrenaline, cortisol, DHEA, and many others that are critical for healthy bodily function. Because they produce so many important hormones, the adrenals influence nearly every part of the body. Some of the impactful adrenal functions include: converting macronutrients into useable energy, regulating the stress response, utilizing stored fat, balancing blood sugar, and anti-inflammatory action. With such important responsibilities, it is not surprising that as adrenal function declines so too does one’s overall health.
Adrenal Fatigue Overview
Adrenal fatigue is the result of prolonged, or chronic stress placed on the adrenal glands. This can be emotional, physical, or even imagined stress. As long as the adrenals are activated the source doesn’t matter. The primary factor in adrenal fatigue is cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. When the body is under stress or feels it’s in danger the adrenals release cortisol causing the body to enter “fight or flight” mode. This effectively shuts down all systems that are not necessary for survival at that specific moment. It is easy to see how a prolonged activation of this mode could cause significant damage. If cortisol remains high for too long and one remains in this heightened state, they may experience thyroid issues, poor blood sugar regulation, weight gain or loss, hormonal dysfunction, insomnia, and chronic fatigue.
Unfortunately, it is common for people to accrue stress over time. This is dangerous as it increases the likelihood of exhausting the adrenals. If one is already under significant adrenal stress, the following events may trigger an adrenal episode resulting in chronic fatigue:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia
- Hormonal imbalances
- Chronic bacterial or viral infections
- Significant life event such as a death in the family, divorce, and loss of employment
- Poor sleep quality or inadequate sleep
Because adrenal fatigue can happen gradually it may be difficult to identify that one is experiencing symptoms. Having some or all of the following symptoms may indicate adrenal fatigue.
- Poor response to stress
- Mood swings
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Newly developed food sensitivities
- Weight loss due to low appetite
- Chronic and worsening fatigue
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Swollen ankles
- Low libido
- Dizziness due to low blood pressure
Supporting the Adrenals Through Supplementation
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue can occur in varying degrees of severity and one may consider them livable. However, no one should settle for suboptimal health. There are multiple resources available that can help support adrenal function and resolution of adrenal fatigue.
Adaptogen herbs are widely recognized for their ability to normalize multiple bodily processes and relieve stress on various systems. Rhodiola rosea is one such herb whose primary benefit is reducing cortisol production. In addition to helping combat excess cortisol in one’s system, this herb may also prevent signs of aging and age-related health conditions. In a 2010 issue of “Phytomedicine,” a study was presented that found when individuals were treated with rhodiola extracts they showed improvement in the areas of neuroprotection, cardiovascular health, improved depression, less fatigue, and greater lifespan. Incorporating rhodiola into one’s treatment plan for adrenal fatigue can provide a significant boon to their wellness efforts.
Another adaptogen boasting improved energy, disease prevention, and stress relief is ashwagandha. This herb is primarily used to resolve adrenal fatigue while reducing associated symptoms. There have been multiple studies showing that treatment with ashwagandha aids in cortisol regulation and hormonal balance. In addition to improving cortisol balance, ashwagandha helps protect against complete cortisol exhaustion. To resolve adrenal fatigue, the adrenals must produce adequate levels of cortisol to keep the body functioning properly. If there is a cortisol deficit, one may experience intense, long-lasting fatigue that it not relieved with rest. To resolve this, the body must retain appropriate levels of cortisol to keep the body going. With the assistance of ashwagandha, the body can more easily accomplish this task.
Multiple benefits can be attained with the use of licorice root, including adrenal restoration. Triterpenoid glycyrrhizin is the compound that gives licorice its recognizable flavor. This chemical also acts as an anti-inflammatory, mild laxative, and expectorant or cough reliever. The journal of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology found that licorice supports the body by helping it better regulate cortisol. This allows for improved adrenal function and restoration.
Although licorice root is greatly beneficial for treating adrenal fatigue, it is important to supplement carefully with products containing glycyrrhizin. Because this chemical promotes cortisol production and deactivates the enzymes that regulate it glycyrrhizin should be taken with caution. However, for those who do have significant adrenal fatigue, licorice root with glycyrrhizin can provide significant positive results.
Putting the Pieces Together
Resolving adrenal fatigue can be a long process involving a seemingly impossible mountain of fatigue to overcome. Proper supplementation with the adaptogen resources mentioned above can help support adrenal activity. Acquiring a healthy combination of these herbs may seem difficult. Fortunately, Adrenal Repair produced by HoltraCeuticals is a combination of vitamins, adrenal concentrates, and herbs including rhodiola, ashwagandha, and licorice root that aid adrenal function. This powerful combination of elements is formulated to support the adrenals and help resolve exhaustion.
Proper supplementation with Adrenal Repair can improve treatment of adrenal fatigue and help those suffering from symptoms such as low blood pressure, poor stress response, chronic fatigue, and chronic infections. As with any supplement it is important to research one’s condition and treatment options fully prior to beginning treatment. Always speak with a trusted physician before starting a new supplement.