Today I was adding a checklist of symptoms of early adrenal fatigue to our ‘Tired and Wired’ Nutritional Therapy for Adrenal Fatigue Program and I thought, ‘Hey you may like this checklist too’! So I thought I better give it to you as there may be some things you can do right now to nourish your body, mind and soul to avoid burning out – and that is after all why we exist as a group! I mentioned this in my post a couple of weeks ago the importance of reaching you before this crisis point, if you missed it you can read it here.
Your adrenal glands release hormones in response to stress, two more commonly known hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline tends to be your short term stress response and cortisol your hormone response to long term stress. Adrenal fatigue is these glands working too hard over time and burning out. There are different stages that your body goes through getting progressively worse if the causes are not addressed.
Initially you may just notice you get stressed your heart rate might increase, you might crash or feel tired after maybe crave sugar, carbohydrates or coffee. This is a reasonable response from your body. Adrenaline increases to ‘get you out of danger’ (aka stressor), heart rate increases, blood goes to your arms and legs so you can run, (digestive and reproductive systems are not crucial so they shut down – IBS and PMS anyone?) your body turns your glycogen (stored carbs and sugar) into glucose and dumps it into your blood for quick energy for fight or flight. Sugar levels spike, insulin kicks in, balances your blood sugar, (also stores unused glucose as fat) the drop in blood sugar leads to your cravings. You may find it hard to get to sleep if these stress hormone levels haven’t dropped as they prevent melatonin your sleep hormone kicking in. Melatonin works like a seesaw with seretonin your happy hormone so if melatonin is not functioning well irritability in the evening can also be a symptom.
If your stress continues your blood continues to be diverted to your periphery so you can run or fight, so you digestive system and reproductive system aren’t getting attention, cortisol also impairs progesterone which is antagonist to estrogen the consequence being estrogen dominance, this combination can lead common conditions such as PMS, PCOS, Infertility. Cortisol means your body thinks its starving so your metabolism slows and your muscles start to be broken down, symptoms can look like weight gain (particularly around your vital organs) despite exercise, loss of muscle and increase in fat – (side note dieting will reaffirm you are starving, store fat and slow your metabolism further). As the adrenals tire cortisol levels drop so instead of feeling wired in the evening, exhaustion sets in. Cortisol is a natural anti-inflammatory so if cortisol does not kick in optimally in the morning, joint pain can be experienced.
These symptoms continue to get worse, I have started with the earlier symptoms as for some reason we don’t do anything about it, except maybe have sugar and coffee to keep up. The later symptoms you will likely already be seeking assistance. You can get your checklist here to see how you measure up.
Can you relate to any of these symptoms?