Do you feel like you have low energy, chronic fatigue, insomnia and are overwhelmed? Do you have trouble remembering words and you feel a brain fog? Do you crave salty or sugary food and you need coffee to keep you alert? Have you been to several doctors and they can’t seem to find out what your problem is? You may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.
The kidney has two small glands on it called adrenals. The pituitary glands located at the base of the brain stimulates the adrenal gland to secrete hormones. They produce several hormones in the liver including adrenaline and cortisol which is a steroid hormone. Your survival instincts will tell you to run from danger when the body signals the adrenal gland to release adrenaline. We produce and release cortisol into the bloodstream when we are stressed. Prolonged stress drains the adrenal glands hence a low cortisol state. This causes:
- Brain fog.
- Depressive mood.
- Sweet and salt cravings.
- Low energy.
There are no formal criteria to diagnose adrenal fatigue. Replacing cortisol is dangerous even in small doses. This may lead to consequences like diabetes, weight gain, osteoporosis, and heart conditions. Adrenal fatigue and brain fog are mostly misdiagnosed as depression by most doctors.
Symptoms to look out for.
- Severe fatigue not relieved by sleep.
- Sleeping is a problem.
- Weight gain even though you exercise and diet well.
- Failure to recall common words.
- Difficulty in thinking clearly.
- Reduced body immunity to fight infection.
- Brain fog.
- Craving for salty or sweet drinks and food. Drinking coffee and other stimulants seems to keep you alert.
Some of the common signs that indicate brain fog includes:
- Misplacing things regularly and having trouble finding them.
- Forgetting things easily.
- Unable to concentrate on simple tasks.
- Short-term memory loss.
This is among the first symptoms you experience during adrenal fatigue. High cortisol levels associated with stress can kill brain cells leading to premature brain aging and reduced production of brain cells. It is characterized by mental clarity, lack of focus, being forgetful, and confusion.
- The flow of blood to the brain is reduced causing poor memory.
- Electromagnetic radiation from phones and computers.
- Lack of enough sleep and failure to exercise.
- Chemical substances, pollution, toxins, and insecticides.
- A diet that lacks amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Tips to balance cortisol level.
- Avoid stressing.
You should deal with the root cause of your stress to avoid constant cortisol production. Give yourself time to rest and think easy. You need to examine the things that are important to you and avoid having high expectations.
- Have enough sleep.
Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep. If you fail to have enough sleep, you will be grumpy and won’t think clearly.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
Reduce sugar, boost protein, use healthy fats and carbohydrates. Always ensure to take a balanced diet. Fats and proteins help the body get amino acids and fatty acids which are needed to produce chemicals the brain needs to function well.
- Do moderate exercise.
To combat insulin resistance, balance the hormones, and improve your sleep, you should have regular and moderate exercise. This will help keep your head clear and reduce fatigue.
- Use targeted supplements.
When stressed, omega-3 and multivitamin supplements keep the brain healthy and strong. Supplements formulated to support your adrenals are important to address stress and adrenal health.
Functions of cortisol.
- It regulates blood pressure.
- Helps the body to respond to stress.
- Regulates the immune system.
- Regulates blood sugar levels by balancing the effect of insulin.
Diagnosis of adrenal fatigue.
The doctor evaluates you thoroughly if you show symptoms of adrenal fatigue. There is no specific test conducted to determine if you have adrenal fatigue. To check the function of the adrenal glands, a 24-hour salivary adrenal test is done. Most doctors don’t find this as the most appropriate way of diagnosing this condition.
24-hour salivary adrenal test.
Saliva samples are taken four times during 24 hours, at 8 am 12 noon, 4 pm, and midnight. If the adrenal gland is not working well, the cortisol level will be highest in the early morning and reduced over time. Blood tests are conducted further to determine if any other condition like anemia, depression, or underactive thyroid glands is the cause of the symptoms.
To address these symptoms, natural healing is the best option. These are some of the home remedies that will help you heal. They include:
- Consuming adrenal fatigue diet.
A balanced diet that has high protein, vegetables, and whole grains. To properly regulate blood sugar, ensure proper timing of meals.
- Reduce stress by meditating, exercising, taking deep breathes, and avoid using electronic devices.
- Supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals.
Adrenal fatigue is associated with low energy and tiredness and is caused by prolonged exposure to stress. Brain fog is the first symptom you experience when you have adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue can cause long-term serious health problems. It is therefore important to get tested and start treatment in case any symptoms are experienced. Get a full diagnosis from your doctor in case you always feel exhausted, depressed, or weak.