Have you ever dealt with a stressful situation in life? The moment that someone reaches adulthood, they begin to juggle everyday responsibilities in both their personal and professional lives. For many, sometimes these responsibilities can grow into high pressure situations and cause stress. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the feeling of stress is “a normal reaction to everyday pressures, but can become unhealthy when it upsets one’s day-to-day functioning”¹. The moment that stress becomes unhealthy is when someone feels themselves dealing with it on a daily basis.
The body handles stress with two small organs within the endocrine system called the adrenal glands. These walnut-shaped glands are located on top of the kidneys and produce hormones that regulate metabolism, blood pressure, immunity and, most importantly, stress response. They are composed of two parts: the cortex and the medulla which are responsible for creating a certain amount of different hormones. Therefore, those that deal with constant stress are putting their adrenal glands into overdrive, causing them to wear out. Once they become worn out, the amount of hormones that they create in the body decreases by a large margin and causes an individual to feel weak, tired, or endure hormonal imbalances. This condition is called adrenal fatigue, and it is a lot more common than most people think. Unfortunately, most traditional medical practices don’t recognize adrenal fatigue as a real illness due to its symptoms sharing similarities with other chronic conditions such as adrenal insufficiency (which is a different type of condition). Thankfully, LifeWorks Wellness Center understands this illness and provides the right treatment methods to help each patient depending on their symptoms. Below are a few natural treatment methods for those with adrenal fatigue.
Hydrocortisone is a prescribed steroid to treat adrenocortical deficiencies, inflammation, swelling and/or the immune system. This substance (known as cortisol in the system) is naturally produced by the adrenal glands when they are functioning normally. However, someone with unhealthy adrenal glands will need to replenish their body with cortisol hormones. Along with cortisol, the brain produces the Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) that sends signals to the adrenal glands to release hormones into the bloodstream. If the amount created is too low, the ACTH will continuously signal the adrenals to make more, which will result in a hormonal imbalance throughout the day. While it can be administered as a topical, tablet or injection depending on the symptom/condition being treated, LifeWorks only prescribes hydrocortisone as an oral capsule to help regulate cortisol levels and should be taken as instructed by one’s practitioner.
Regardless of the condition, most patients that visit LifeWorks are often placed on a new diet plan during their treatment program. Two common diets that we recommend for patients are the paleo diet and the ketogenic diet. The paleo diet focuses on consuming foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have eaten during the Paleolithic Era. Meanwhile, the ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet that forces the body to burn natural fats rather than carbs. Both are widely different in terms of how they should be followed, yet similar on their health benefits for the body. Patients with adrenal fatigue may be ordered one of them depending on the symptoms that they are experiencing. Additionally, both diets can provide an energy boost and positively impact how the adrenals handle stressors. Certain foods in particular may contain special anti-inflammatory properties such as fatty fish (that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids), avocados (which contain healthy fats) and olive oil (that helps manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels).
For many patients with adrenal fatigue, sometimes their condition is induced by nutritional deficiencies and protein malnourishment. Since hydrocortisone will be the main prescribed treatment, it’s important for patients to stabilize the immune system in order to protect it from side effects such as a weakened immunity. One supplement that LifeWorks recommends to patients is BodyHealth’s PerfectAmino which contains essential amino acids to supply the body with proteins that the system may not be receiving from natural resources. Others may include BodyHealth’s Omega 3 Health, Body Detox, or Glandular Organ Complex. Additionally, the peptides may or may not be included depending on the severity of symptoms. For example, those who may be experiencing low energy and severe weight loss may be prescribed Peptide MK-677 to stimulate the pituitary gland, prevent weight loss and enhance sleep quality.
Return to a Normal Life
Sadly, tiredness has become so common that people can’t tell the difference between the constant feeling of fatigue and a small period of exhaustion. Moreover, adrenal fatigue is caused due to chronic stress that one may believe to be a part of normal life. While stress is a common occurrence to handle as an adult, it’s not normal to continuously deal with it. This misunderstanding leads many to develop adrenal fatigue, thus causing the onset of weakness and hormonal imbalances. Patients that eventually recognize these symptoms and seek medical help often feel frustrated when conventional doctors can’t diagnose them.
However, at LifeWorks, patients will initially consult a practitioner to discuss the symptoms that they’re experiencing prior to undergoing tests to measure their cortisol levels. If results show that they are low, they may be officially diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and follow a treatment plan that their practitioner will construct for them. This may involve the three methods listed above along with other therapies depending on symptoms or other conditions.
If you or someone that you know are currently suffering from adrenal fatigue, an adrenal deficiency or another chronic illness, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners at 727-466-6789.