(Natural News) There’s nothing like a good old adrenaline rush to keep us going during stressful situations. Of course, an adrenaline rush can’t last forever. After expending large amounts of energy, eventually, the creeping sense of exhaustion makes itself known. We feel burnt out and our once-rapid momentum slows to a crawl. This is perfectly normal for the body to undergo every once in a while, but if you start to experience working on these two alternating energy modes on a regular basis with little middle ground, you just might be suffering from adrenal fatigue. Fortunately, adrenal fatigue can be treated with the help of natural remedies.
What is Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is also known as HPA Axis Dysfunction and is caused by chronic stress. In ideal conditions, our bodies would exist in homeostasis or proper physiological balance. This balance includes our hormones and neurotransmitters. A healthy person’s body is constantly trying to maintain homeostasis. However, chronic stress can regularly trigger our fight-or-flight responses, producing a flood of hormones and neurotransmitters that throw our body systems out of balance. Our HPA axis is a complex set of feedback mechanisms that deals with our physical and mental health and helps us respond to stress. When faced with stressful situations, our HPA axis becomes stimulated, resulting in a temporary loss of homeostasis.
Your adrenal glands play an important role in regulating the hormones in your body. They produce cortisol in response to stress. Healthy, functioning adrenal glands produce normal amounts of cortisol as well as other hormones such as adrenaline and norepinephrine. To avoid burning out your stress response system, your body has a built-in mechanism to ensure that you don’t produce too much cortisol. Once the cause of stress is gone, your hippocampus reels your HPA axis back in control and returns your body to homeostasis. The more imbalanced your cortisol levels are, the more severe your adrenal fatigue will be.
Adrenal fatigue comes in three stages, with each stage associated with a growing severity of cortisol imbalance. The first stage is the “Wired and tired” stage, which includes symptoms of insomnia due to high cortisol levels during nighttime. Other symptoms include abdominal weight gain and insulin resistance. Stage one sufferers tend to still feel energized but in a “wired” sense. The second stage is “Stressed and tired” phase, wherein sufferers wake up in the early morning and find themselves unable to sleep. Their cortisol levels peak too early, which then fall back only to rise again in the midday or early evening. The third stage is the “Burnout” stage, which is characterized by relentless exhaustion regardless of how many hours the sufferer has slept. This stage is very dangerous because it is linked to an increased risk of autoimmune disease. (Related: Adrenal Fatigue – Symptoms and Natural Remedies.)
Natural remedies for adrenal fatigue
Here are a few remedies that can help treat adrenal fatigue:
- Use adaptogenic herbs. Ashwagandha has anti-stress properties and can be used to treat stress-related weakness, insomnia, and nervous exhaustion. Arctic root and ginseng both contain anti-inflammatory properties. During stressful events, ginseng can additionally be used to calm down the functions of your HPA axis. Siberian ginseng, on the other hand, has anti-fatigue, anti-stress and antioxidant properties. It can also improve the behavior of people who are suffering from sleep deprivation.
- Take vitamin supplements. Achieve optimal adrenal function with a healthy dose of B vitamins, especially B5, B6 and B12. Vitamins C and D are also helpful supplements, along with folate, selenium, magnesium and zinc.
- Follow a proper adrenal diet. Avoid foods that cause inflammation. Instead, consume brightly colored vegetables, lean proteins, whole grain gluten-free carbs and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Sleep early. It is important for adrenal fatigue sufferers to be in bed by 11 p.m. as cortisol often surges past that time, resulting in disrupted sleep patterns.
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