Updated: Mar 3
Many people in our society today don't realize how elevated their stress levels are on a regular basis. Living with a high degree of stress has unfortunately become the new normal.
Stress is a fact of life that nobody is immune to. It serves a purpose of getting us through difficult moments we face, but when experienced over a long period of time it can have detrimental effects on many of our organs and glands, especially the adrenal glands.
If you are like most people living today, your adrenals are probably working hard to deal with life's challenges. The adrenals are small glands located on top of each kidney. Their purpose is to produce vital hormones you can't live without. These hormones affect your entire body. Examples of these hormones are cortisol, which helps to deal with stress, and sex hormones such as DHEA, which convert to testosterone and estrogen in the body. With long term stress of any kind (physical, chemical, emotional) the adrenal glands can become exhausted from overwork.
The following is a list of the major signs and symptoms of adrenal weakness, according to Dr. James Wilson's book Adrenal Fatigue.
1. Difficulty getting up in the morning
2. Continuing fatigue not relieved by sleep
3. Craving for salt or salty foods
4. Lack of energy
5. Increased effort to do everyday tasks
6. Decreased sex drive
7. Decreased ability to handle stress
8. Increased time to recover from illness, injury, or trauma
9. Light headed when standing up quickly
10. Less enjoyment or happiness with life
11. Increased PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
12. Symptoms worsening if meals are skipped
13.Memory is less accurate
14. Feel "wiped out" at 3 or 4 pm
15. Thoughts are less focused
The allopathic medical community doesn't recognize adrenal fatigue as a problem unless the adrenals have become completely dysfunctional, such as in Addison's and Cushing's Disease. Fortunately, there are many things you can do holistically to improve and maintain good adrenal function, including the use of some very effective herbs and supplements. Examples of these are magnesium and the adaptogenic herbs, such as Ashwaganda, Holy Basil and Rhodiola. The best course of action to take is to visit a natural health practitioner for an assessment of your body in order to know what degree your adrenals are impaired and how much support they need.