Is adrenal fatigue real? It’s hard to believe we’re still hearing this question about the insidious 21st Century Syndrome.
It’s as real as our daily struggle to manage family and relationship stress, to figure out how to handle stress at work, stress in politics, insomnia stress, dietary stress, and the incessant Facebook-Twitter-Snapchat assault on our attention.
It’s as real as those thumb-sized adrenal glands above your kidneys struggling to produce just enough cortisol hormone to control your metabolism, and allow you to get through the day.
It’s as real as the patients who leave our office relieved of it, ecstatic about their revived energy. Their before-and-after hormone levels are measurable, manageable, and meaningful.
If you’re chronically stressed and asking yourself, “Why am I always tired and have no energy? Why can’t I remember simple things?”, it’s time to schedule an appointment at Vibrant Health.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms and Their Root Causes
We diagnose adrenal fatigue when we observe that prolonged stress has disrupted the signals your brain and your adrenal glands send to one another. Sometimes, that means your “parent hormones” can no longer create all your other endocrine system hormones.
How do you get to this point?
It could be a sudden life-altering event like death, divorce, or surgery. It may be the incremental build-up of emotional, dietary, and sleep deficiencies, caffeine and sugar reliance, or environmental toxin build-up. It may even be stimulated by rheumatoid arthritis.
Whatever the cause, adrenal fatigue can have you struggling for months, or even years, with:
- extreme fatigue
- brain fog
- weight gain
- sweet and salty food cravings
- hormone imbalance
- insulin resistance
- autoimmune dysfunctions
- weakened stress response
- muscle or bone loss
- skin ailments
- sleep disturbances
- decreased libido
- depression & anxiety
Diagnosing Adrenal Fatigue
First, you’ll talk, and we’ll listen. Then, we’ll analyze your history and do a 24-hour salivary panel to determine your cortisol patterns and evaluate other adrenal hormones that may be affected to fully understand your stress response. Based on your history, we may also suggest screening you for any underlying contributors such as toxins, chronic infections, and autoimmune dysfunction – which can be treated with a customized plan designed specifically to meet your needs. This may include herbs, diet, supplements, acupuncture, PEMF, bioidentical adrenal hormone, IV Therapy, or other treatments proven to deliver results quickly, and without complicated side-effects.
Since adrenal disorders may also contribute to thyroid dysfunction on a cellular level, we may also test your thyroid functions via: TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), free T3 (FT3), total thyroxine (TT4), and Reverse T3 testing. If the cause still eludes us, we’ll try neurotransmitter testing.
Adrenal Fatigue Treatments
Before diving into any treatment, we’ll help you make these crucial lifestyle changes:
- setting a regular sleep schedule to manage your cortisol cycle
- eating and resting regularly to balance your hormone levels
- increasing sunlight exposure to help your brain’s pineal gland reset your stress response
- adopting a relaxation technique– whether it’s meditation, massage, acupuncture, or after-dinner walks in the park
Then, we’ll gradually prescribe and monitor a custom protocol consisting of the following:
Medical Nutrition Therapies
Regular, small meals that keep your blood sugar low, feature anti-inflammatory foods like nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, omega-3 rich wild fish, orange sweet potatoes, as well as scrumptious polyphenol-rich purple and red berries. You’ll learn to avoid: inflammatory processed food and sugar, omega-6, refined safflower, corn, and soy oils, as well as oatmeal.
Because it’s difficult to address all of your nutrient deficiencies with diet alone, we may also prescribe supplements like: phosphatidylserine, theanine, and zinc, as well as vitamins like vitamin B5, vitamin C, and vitamin D to balance your adrenals. These can be delivered either orally, intramuscularly (IM), or via IV Therapy depending on your unique needs.
Research shows that adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, schisandra, siberian ginseng, magnolia, and holy basil may help to balance cortisol levels and mediate stress responses to different degrees in different people. Based on the adrenal patterns discovered through testing, and the patient’s symptoms, our doctors will make recommendations to restore balance quickly and with little chance of side-effects.
Cordyceps extracts provide immuno-modulating beta-glucans that may correct adrenal depletion and immune dysfunction as a result of chronic stress. Licorice root may increase circulating cortisol levels for patients that are extremely depleted, however, this herb should always be used under medical supervision due to its ability to raise blood pressure.
Because all herbs may have contraindications and can cause side effects, it’s important that patients approach this under medical supervision from an experienced practitioner, like our doctors at Vibrant Health.
If your thyroid proves to be dramatically out of balance, we may optimize it with Thyroid Treatment that may include Armour®, Nature-Throid®, Westhroid® or WP Thyroid® medication.
If your inconsistent cortisol levels have negatively impacted your estrogen, progesterone, or androgen sex hormone levels, you may be a candidate for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). Derived from organic plants like soybeans and yams, these hormones can be delivered via creams, capsules, troches, injections, and other unique delivery systems that offer convenient and safer ways of administration.
LDN has been found to have a balancing effect on auto-immunity (including adrenal autoimmunity), may be protective to your nerve pathways, while increasing dopamine and endorphin levels to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and lift your mood.