Originally published October 1 2008
How a Stressful State Leads to Chronic Fatigue (Part 2)
by Teya Skae
(NaturalNews) As discussed in Stress and Chronic Fatigue Part 1, stress is a major culprit that leads to Chronic Fatigue because stress over works your adrenal glands, the glands that specifically deal with all survival responses in relation to any form of stress. Prolonged stress leads to adrenal exhaustion technically called Chronic Fatigue.
Let's Recap Briefly About What Chronic Fatigue Is
Constant tiredness with multiple debilitating symptoms that can leave sufferers of this condition struggling with not having enough energy to just get through their day without feeling exhausted or meet the demands of their daily life; put simply, not being able to cope with life! This is because Chronic Fatigue is a condition where there is just not enough available energy in the body to get through the day or enough energy for the body to function properly such as digest food, build muscle tissue, synthesise hormones, think coherently, perform tasks, be productive at work, or even enjoy play. Energy is the currency of life and if we do not have enough energy, we just don't turn up for our life.
So, in balancing Chronic Fatigue you really need to balance energy, by firstly increasing available energy in your physical body. Secondly, preventing further energy drains (Chronic Fatigue is what I would describe as a constant 'energy drain'). Your energy might leak so fast that it just can't be replenished enough to make up for this ongoing energy drain.
What are some major causes of 'energy drain'?
One of the most obvious ones is unresolved emotional/mental stress that lingers on, causing a huge 'energy drain' in your mind/body. As approximately 95% of your mind operates in an 'unconscious' mode, where the programs that run your mind/body system literally run themselves 24/7, and your conscious mind is not even aware of these programs running and chances are that we might not eve be aware of our deeper underlying stresses.
What are the typical causes 'energy drains' underneath Chronic Fatigue?
* Overwork, physical or mental strain
* Excessive exercise
* Sleep deprivation
* Going to sleep late
* Chronic pain
* Toxic exposure
* Hypoglycemia Low Blood Sugar (Biochemical Imbalance)
* Nutritional Deficiencies
* Relationship issues
* Emotional trauma
* Transitions, moving house, emigrating to another country
* Over thinking, study exams.
As a clinical kinesiologist, Chronic Fatigue and constant tiredness is a condition most commonly found in people who are suffering multiple symptoms and some of them are chronic. In balancing the Chronic Fatigue condition, two things are most important to address:
1. Balancing and supporting the physical body with the right nutrition. Appropriate nutrition becomes a strong biochemical foundation for your mind/body system to cope better with stress.
2. Simultaneously acknowledging and neurologically balancing the underlying emotional/mental issues along with patterns of behaviour that are obviously draining to the mind/body system is the next crucial step.
If only one or the other is employed in the recovery of Chronic Fatigue, then the condition persists. Yet, when appropriate nutrition is implemented along with emotional resolution in balancing Chronic Fatigue, people recover much quicker -- a couple of weeks instead of months or years.
From the physical energy building perspective, it is imperative to eat meals that result in balanced Blood Sugar Levels instead of the high/low blood sugar levels that also create adrenal fatigue.
To maintain proper adrenal function it is imperative to maintain balanced blood sugar levels throughout the day and the following guidelines will help you do that:
1. Eat within the first hour upon awakening. It is important to have high protein meals for breakfast along with some carbs and good fats. Free-range eggs, poultry, even meat and omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and sardines are more appropriate options than toast and butter alone or any cereal.
Choose all your meat to be free-range of course, as the added hormones/antibiotics in meats will create toxicity, not a good outcome for an existing adrenal fatigue condition. For vegetarians or vegans, a good source of rice protein powder with some coconut milk/cream is much better than any wheat-free organic muesli for breakfast as it sets the tone for more energy for the day.
2. Eat before becoming very hungry. If extremely hungry, you have allowed low blood sugar/ hypoglycemia to set in, which places additional stress on the adrenal glands.
3. Avoid having an excessive ratio of carbohydrates to protein, as excess carbohydrates cause over secretion of insulin, which often leads to intervals of hypoglycemia. The body, in an attempt to normalize blood sugar levels, initiates a counter-regulatory process during which the adrenals are stimulated to secrete increased levels of cortisol and adrenalin. Excessive intake of carbohydrates also leads to excessive secretion of cortisol. This contributes to chronic cortisol depletion and consequently, adrenal exhaustion. Avoid this negative biofeedback loop which is commonly promoted in our society as an ideal breakfast.
In order to stabilize blood sugar levels, it is important for you to maintain a balance between two hormones, glucagon and insulin, which are produced by the pancreas and released by the pancreas every time you eat. Protein in the diet induces the production of some insulin and more glucagon whereas carbohydrates in the diet induce the production of lots of insulin and no glucagon.
Insulin promotes fat storage. Glucagon burns fat for energy.
Protein initiates thermogenesis (energy production through heat) in your body. The ideal protein to have during Chronic Fatigue is the one that the body can readily assimilate and use and the more bioavailable the better. As more bioavailable energy is needed for preventing the loss of muscle tissue as well as synthesizing hormones during this stressful period on the body.
What does bioavailable protein means?
Answer: Protein with a complete amino acids profile that allows your body to utilize it efficiently.
Here are some examples of bioavailable proteins:
* Eggs = 100% bioavailable
* Fish = 70 – 75%
* Meat = 70%
* Poultry = 60%
* Beans/Soy/ Nuts = 40 - 45%
* Dairy = 40 – 50%
So it makes sense to have more free-range eggs daily for breakfast as they are full of nutrients for adrenals and are considered a perfect protein. As long as they are not overcooked, soft boiled or poached is the best, otherwise people experience gas and difficulty digesting eggs.
Another reason it is so important to have more protein is that when insulin is high and glucagon is low, the adrenals are called upon to produce excess cortisol as a back-up response to help raise blood sugar levels in the absence of adequate glucagon. This occurs at the expense of the adrenal glands, contributing to adrenal exhaustion further, remember that the body is craving energy and adrenals are the glands that deal with energy production, so the aim is to give support to the adrenals and not to exhaust them further. Hence excess carbs create more stress and anxiety in people who are already under duress.
Choosing Enough Adequate Fats
When balancing Chronic Fatigue, the right fats in the diet are very important and some people need between 15 – 30% fat at every meal. Some might need up to 30% of fat at this time. The best fats are the ones found in egg yolks, omega-3's in fatty fish and fish oil, organic butter, avocados and organic coconut butter. For vegetarians it is better to have coconut fat, a healthy fat that promotes energy in the body. Why is fat important? Fat should be part of every meal -- when added to carbs and starches it lowers the insulin surges in the bloodstream from carbohydrates.
What to avoid and replace with better alternatives
The most difficult thing for most people to give up is coffee, black tea and sugar or energy drinks (containing guarana) in times when they are craving energy. Did you know 1 cup of coffee can keep your cortisol levels high for up to 18 hours in your system? Basically coffee just adds to the stress on your central nervous system because coffee activates the fight/flight sympathetic nervous system (SNS) response; and constant SNS over stimulation is what creates Chronic Fatigue in the first place.
SNS stimulation needs to be toned down as to allow the body to experience more balance naturally and activate at the same time the parasympathetic nervous system stimulation (PNS) -- rest,relaxation, rejuvenation, recovery state.
What to enjoy instead while still gaining energy
Instead of coffee, enjoy organic green tea with stevia throughout the day or organic cacao and stevia. Both drinks are very high in antioxidants and help to raise the energy in the body without over stimulating. Avoid sugar, jam, malts, and fruit juice as they all raise blood sugar levels very quickly and exacerbate adrenal gland problems further. Generally the analogy of the effects of caffeine and sugar on the adrenal glands is that of flogging a dead horse, even though in the short term it may be pleasurable. The only way to stop this is a diet much higher in protein/fat and no sugar. That will naturally raise the energy.
How to Address Emotional/Mental Stresses
In balancing the underlying emotional/mental stresses it is important to create some down-time, simple pleasure fun time in order to fully activate the PNS system. Whether it is finding short solace in a place of quieting the mind, or making a point of being in nature, or even just enjoying simple meditation, this is far more important than trying to cope while relying on too many supplements.
Most people take large amounts of ginseng and adrenal support formulas with the aim to keep up with the existing state. This leads to their adrenals crashing even quicker. Ginseng is helpful but can only be taken for 6 weeks to a maximum of 3 months at a time, then the body needs rest from the over stimulation of the ginseng.
A little daily rest here and there, even 5-10 minutes is the best remedy for Chronic Fatigue as it is the quickest way to shift the mind into PNS, rest and relaxation, which is what the body is craving in order to regain some more energy.
A 20 minute meditation practice whereby your breathing is slowed down, simple yoga where the mind is comfortable not agitated trying to do too much, allows the body to repair itself naturally. This form of relaxation shifts the mind/body system from a SNS state to a PNS state, where self recovery and self-rejuvenation takes place effortlessly. The importance of facilitating this on an ongoing basis is what stops the constant energy drain.
In dealing with emotions it is important to just accept them without the need to over analyze, control or fix them, as this creates more tension which adds to more stress. It also creates inner struggle with what one is experiencing, this need to control our feelings and over analyze them is what can create Chronic Fatigue in many people who are not comfortable with their own powerful emotions. Understanding Emotional Intelligence is important -- this allows us to feel the emotions.
On a physical level, emotions don't happen in your head, they are actually felt throughout your body as molecules called neuropeptides attach themselves onto cellular receptors that are located in every body part. When the emotion is felt, but not expressed, it's as if these molecules of emotion get stuck in your system looking for a way out. All that is needed is expression of the emotion and ownership of the experience. No fixing, doing, psychoanalyzing, justifying and certainly no blaming.
In conclusion, complete recovery of Chronic Fatigue requires a twofold approach applied simultaneously. Firstly, balancing the energy drain with appropriate nutrition to support the adrenal glands and build energy in the body. Secondly, acknowledging and neurologically balancing the emotions of fear/anxiety/anger which are causing the biggest energy drains in the body.
By accessing the stress programs you have, you can gently access the unconscious mind as that is where the stress programs and survival patterns are most active. Energy/Meridian/Brain Integration based modalities may help people get in touch with their subconscious and unconscious mind in a more direct manner. Emotional Freedom Technique, Holistic Kinesiology, BSFF and Spiritual Acupuncture are all examples of this approach.
It is also helpful to remember that according to Quantum Physics, a problem and a solution exist on the same time/space continuum that is the same level of existence. That is like 2 sides of a coin and it depends on which one you flip. So accessing the subconscious mind not only presents the opportunity to balance the stress patterns but the solutions to the stress patterns as well.
This approach facilitates more available energy on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level, the whole lesson of Chronic Fatigue, as Chronic Fatigue is about the energy drain, so its gift is how to increase your energy for life by preventing energy drains in your body from stress.
Better Health Channel 2007, Chronic fatigue syndrome, State Government of Victoria, Melbourne, viewed 30 March 2007,
MDA Internet 2005, Reed Group Ltd, Colorado, viewed 27 April 2007, (http://www.mdainternet.com) (secure site).
M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Society of Victoria Inc. 2006, What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Society of Victoria Inc, Melbourne, viewed 27 April 2007.
About the authorTeya Skae M.A. ATMS
Corporate Wellness Presenter/Researcher and Author
As the founder of Empowered Living Teya has developed a results based I.D.E.A.L Solutions for increasing your energy, focus and personal Success!
Teya is also a QUIT smoking specialist with proven results in one session guaranteed.
For Tangible Results and Solutions to Fat Loss, Physical, Emotional and Mental Fitness visit
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