Your Adrenals are Important
I never knew how important. After months of exercise and healthy eating, I was not getting any better, in fact, I was feeling miserable and gaining weight. In two weeks, I gained six pounds. I couldn’t get rid of my cold and cough (since December). Finally, I decided to go to the doctor (ggrr, not my fave). I was diagnosed with pneumonia and she addressed my other concerns as well. After all was said and done, I learned the value and importance of my adrenals and thyroid.
Adrenals sit on top of the kidneys and produce hormones that control blood sugar, regulate blood pressure, react to stress and illness in an effort to alleviate the stress, and burn protein and fat. When you put your body under significant stress, your immune system is compromised (I was sick all the time) and your adrenals can become very tired of trying to alleviate your stress and illness.
Adrenal fatigue is when your adrenals have very little activity because they cannot keep up with your body’s stress since your body is going through chronic, long-term stress.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
- Extreme fatigue and exhaustion, especially in the afternoon. I was passing out at around 2:00PM and could barely get out of bed to pick up my daughter from school. I struggle to find any kind of energy throughout the day.
- Inability to handle any stress. Since my adrenals are not pushing out hormones in response to stress, I am not able to focus and find my strength to handle any type of stress. Instead, I feel overwhelmed, depressed, and anxious. Therefore, the more stress that comes my way, the more it piles up, the more cortisol builds up in my body (that nasty hormone that holds onto fat for emergencies and my body thinks it is in a constant state of emergency). It is a vicious cycle.
- Unexplained weight gain.
- Mental fogginess, forgetfulness.
- Severe PMS including high and lows, intense cravings for salt and fried foods.
- Extremely low to non-existent libido.
- To add to the fun for me; also included is dizziness, panic attacks, numbness and tingling in my hands and/or feet, very cold feet and/or hands, shakes from low blood sugar, headaches, and a complete lack of desire to do anything except sleep.
There is hope. My doctor gave me some great advice on how to lessen the symptoms and improve my overall health. My body needs to reduce inflammation, build up my immune system, and take better care of my body through food and mild exercise.
- Strengthen your immune system and gut. Take a daily probiotic and eat yogurt daily.
- Do not over-exert yourself; including exercise. A daily walk is enough to boost your hormones and improve the fatigue. Also, being outside helps decrease the mood swings and depression.
- Eat every two hours and NEVER skip breakfast.
- Eat a LOT of fruits and vegetables.
- Eat a LOT of lean protein (chicken, fish).
- Eat the Superfoods for Adrenals: salmon, avocados, coconuts, olives, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, kelp, seaweed.
- Eat one avocado per day.
- Drink water (and only water) like a fish. I am still drinking green tea and my digestive health green tea (3-4 cups per day).
- Avoid sugar and (at least for a bit) avoid white bread, white flour, etc.
- Avoid fried foods and processed foods.
- Stick to a low(er) sodium diet.
- Be in bed no later than 10:00PM and get at least 8-10 hours per night.
For more information, here is a great infographic on healing adrenal fatigue including herbal supplements, vitamins, and minerals.
I am hopeful (although it can take up to 24 months to heal my adrenals) and at least I know what is wrong with me and how I can fix this issue. If you have (or had) adrenal fatigue and you have any advice/suggestions/information please feel free to comment.