How does long-term ‘stress’ affect the body? Whether it be work stress, physiological stress from certain foods, relationship struggles, financial pressures, self-esteem challenges, stress directly affects the Adrenal glands.
Do you suffer from chronic tiredness, trouble getting out of bed in the morning, feeling overwhelmed, sleeping difficulties, lowered sex drive, less ability to cope with stress, inability to lose weight – especially around the stomach, sugar or salt cravings, lowered body temperature, depression, anxiety, exhaustion. If you have these symptoms you may have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.
This is a common condition affecting 80% of the western adult population and it goes mostly undetected. So, why is Adrenal Fatigue is so prevalent? This is because mainstream medicine does not acknowledge the pre-stage condition – Adrenal exhaustion, to the more severe Addisons disease.
Chronic mental states of stress and chronic physiological stress – i.e.toxic nutritional load etc, stimulates the adrenals eventually to the point of their exhaustion and the sympathetic nervous system consequently becomes overstimulated. The symptoms of nervousness, anxiety and depression tend to get worse and the over-stimulated sympathetic nervous system reduces its production of digestive juices leading to digestive and gut problems – a common symptom of adrenal fatigue.
Patients with this condition tend to suffer from low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) , allergies, arthritic pain and weakened immune function overall. Women tend to show symptoms of imbalanced hormones – PMT, menopausal symptoms etc.
Cortisol and DHEA are the two main hormones the Adrenal glands release in response to stress.
Cortisol has many important functions – controls normal blood sugar levels, is anti-inflammatory, helps to convert stored fat and protein to energy, it dictates behaviour of blood cells that are involved in the immune and inflammatory response, affects blood vessels & blood pressure, affects the central nervous system – controlling mood and behavior.
When under stress, the release of cortisol can increase one hundred times its normal levels. When in the high level phase – the likelihood of obesity increases, it causes insulin resistance, increases the likelihood of osteoporosis, it alters brain chemistry causing depression and anxiety, heightens blood pressure. In the end phase where exhaustion takes place the cortisol levels drop away to below required normal physiological functioning.
DHEA declines during periods of stress. The main function of DHEA is its direct conversion into powerful hormones such as estrogen and testosterone and its effect on strengthening the normal immune response. If the normal levels are not restored it will produce an entire chain of effects with lowered levels of sex hormones – side effects of these imbalances include PMS, hypothyroidism, andropause, menopause.
The adrenal and thyroid glands work together via their hormones controlling metabolism and therefore energy levels. The thyroid compensates for the overworked under producing adrenal glands by producing more thyroid hormone which leads to the common marker of adrenal dysfunction – feeling tired but wired. Eventually, the thyroid becomes exhausted and hypothyroidism develops.
Diet is critical in re-vitalising the body and getting it back into a state of health and wellbeing. Low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high healthy fats, quality cholesterol diet and as un-refined as possible is essentially the foundation to build upon. Supplements alone generally will not make long-term permanent change unless these macro-factors in the diet are addressed as well and the core inner digestive health of the patient is fully strengthened. So many ailments and diseases of the body, started physiologically in the gut and can usually be fully resolved.
If these symptoms for this condition sound familiar to you, I can assist you on a specific programme to fully restore the body to optimal health, so you can feel alive again – full of energy and vitality. Let yourself thrive!