Adrenal Fatigue – A Medical Intuitive View
Many of my clients speak of having fatigue, sleeping problems, weight gain and depression. They say that their mind feels 100 years ahead of their body. Sound familiar?
Many of these clients have what is known as Adrenal Fatigue or in extreme cases Adrenal Exhaustion.
Your adrenals are small Brazil nut size glands which sit on top of the kidneys. They are actually two different glands in one. The center of the gland makes adrenaline (epinephrine) and is under the control of the autonomic nervous system. Although it is known that this part of the nervous system is also on the fritz in chronic fatigue patients–contributing to such symptoms as hotand cold sweats, cold sweaty hands, neurally mediated hypotension, and panic attacks.
The outer part of the adrenal gland, the cortex, also makes many important hormones. These include:
* Cortisol. The adrenal glands increase their production of cortisol in response to stress. Cortisol raises the blood sugar and blood pressure levels and moderates immune function, in addition to playing numerous other roles. If the cortisol level is low, the person has fatigue, low blood pressure, hypoglycemia, poor immune function, an increased tendency to allergies and
environmental sensitivity and an inability to deal with stress.
* Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S). Although its mechanism of action is not clear, DHEA is the most abundant hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. If it is low, patients will feel poorly. Patients often feel dramatically better when their DHEA-S levels are brought to the mid-normal range for a twenty-nine-year-old. DHEA-S levels normally decline with age, and appear to drop prematurely in chronic fatigue patients.
* Aldosterone. This hormone helps to keep salt and water balanced in the body.
* Estrogen and Testosterone. These hormones are produced in small but significant amounts by the adrenals as well as by the ovaries and testicles. Half of a woman’s testosterone is produced in the adrenals.
The basic task of your adrenals is to rush all your body’s resources into “fight or flight” mode when needed. When your adrenals are healthy they will instantly increase your heart rate and blood pressure, release your stored energy, slow your digestion, and sharpen all your senses. All in the blink of an eye. This takes priority over all other body functions, and it does not last very long, as long as the body is healthy.
Now we live with constant stress. Instead of occasional demands followed by rest, we’re constantly over-worked, under-nourished, exposed to environmental toxins, worrying about others, feeling their feelings, all with no respite. Every challenge to the mind/body creates a demand on the adrenal glands.
The destructive side of cortisol:
In its normal function, cortisol helps us meet these challenges by converting proteins into energy, releasing glycogen and counteracting inflammation. For a short time, that’s OK. But at sustained high levels, cortisol gradually tears your body down. Sustained high cortisol destroys healthy muscle and bone; slows down healing and normal cell replacement; co-ops biochemical
needed to make other vital hormones; impairs digestion, metabolism and mental function; interferes with healthy endocrine function, and weakens your immune system.
Adrenal dysfunction may be a factor in many related conditions, including fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, premature menopause and others. It may also produce a host of other unpleasant symptoms, from acne to hair loss. In my medical intuitive work, the energy pattern that I see with a person who has adrenal fatigue is that of survival, one who is not truly connected with their physical life on the Earth. The person is reacting as if they are under attack and are leaving their physical body behind. With intention and focused effort, the adrenals can be restored to health.
How can I heal this?
In my consultations, I personalize the recommendations to each client’s symptoms. Each client is individual and unique. I do not recommend self-prescribing any substance, as they may have adverse health effects. Sometimes simple lab tests are helpful.
In my experience, people with mild to moderate cases of adrenal fatigue can see significant improvement through these steps:
• Dietary changes to enrich your nutrition and reduce carbohydrates and stimulants. Also recommended is the addition of high-quality nutritional supplements, including essential fatty acids from pharmaceutical grade fish oils.
• Stress reduction, including moderate exercise and taking more time for your self. (It’s helpful to make a list of your stressors, especially those that are constant.)
• Focused energy practice such as Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong is very helpful.
Persons with more severe symptoms, or who have reached complete adrenal exhaustion, usually need greater intervention. However they may alsoheal from this condition. It starts with a consultation.