November 27, 2014

Adrenal Fatigue: Fact or Fiction?

Fatigue by Flickr the melody censor

The medical community does not recognize adrenal fatigue as a real condition – but if you suffer from it, you may beg to differ.

Do you have trouble falling asleep?

Are you restless, stressed-out and reliant on caffeine to make it through the day?

If so, you could be suffering from a condition that most doctors won’t acknowledge.

That is because there are no tests to prove it, no scientific evidence of its existence and treatment can be costly because insurance companies probably won’t cover the costs – if your doctor could even come up with a remedy.

It is called adrenal fatigue and if you suffer from it, then you know how real it is.

Here are some of the symptoms:

  1. Feeling run-down
  2. Difficulty keeping up with everyday life
  3. Trouble sleeping
  4. Trouble waking
  5. An unusual craving for salty or sugary foods
  6. Body aches
  7. Loss of body hair
  8. Low blood pressure
  9. Unplanned weight loss
  10. Nervousness
  11. Problems with digestion

All that said, these symptoms are non-specific and could be attributed to any number of other ailments. In fact, adrenal fatigue could itself be a symptom of fibromyalgia or depression. If you experience any of these symptoms, then you should see your doctor.

Glands On The Run

More readily explained and easier to diagnose is a condition called adrenal insufficiency. This malady is caused by insufficient production of hormones, which are normally released in response to stress in order to lessen the impact of stress on your body. If you aren’t getting enough, stress will wear you down and cause physical illness. Simple blood tests and stimulation testing can reveal any decrease in the level of adrenal hormones.

Fight or Flight by Flickr Avery Carlton

See, your body operates on a fight-or-flight system that is governed by adrenal hormones. The theory behind adrenal fatigue is that it is a milder case of adrenal insufficiency. When you are constantly under stress, the adrenal glands simply can’t keep up with you in producing enough feel-good hormones to balance out the trauma. Standard blood tests cannot detect this mostly small decrease in hormone production – but your body detects it just fine!

You are not alone. Adrenal fatigue affects 80% of Americans just like you at some time in their lives – especially folks 40 years and older.

Two of the major hormones that help reduce stress and its impact on your body are adrenalin and epinephrine. They are responsible for elevated blood pressure and blood sugar to give you the energy you need in a fight-or-flight scenario. When your adrenal glands are on the run and resources deplete, you become unable to handle stress and everyday life in general.

Of course, it is natural for hormone production to decrease with age, but if you are under regular stress, it can decrease much faster than normal. One hormone in particular will be especially missed when its production declines…

Th-Th-That’s Cortisol, Folks…

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If your cortisol level is low, then you have fatigue, hypoglycemia, poor immune function, an increased tendency to allergies and environmental sensitivity, as well as an inability to deal with stress.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that keeps blood sugar levels normal and is a natural stress fighter. It also works closely with your pancreas to give your cells the energy they need to function properly and allow you to take control of your daily life. Plus, it is a super-strong anti-inflammatory element that is released when you get hurt.

Cortisol rushes to the area of trauma and helps keep swelling down to repair the injury. The more traumas you have, the more cortisol is released.

Unfortunately, when your adrenal glands slow down hormone production, cortisol goes with it.

The good news is we are here to help! In this article are some specific recipe ideas that can repair the adrenals and keep them running at tip-top shape so you can get back to your life and feel good again. These can give you peaceful, restful sleep, decrease your nervousness, reduce aches and pains and help fix any digestion issues you may be experiencing as a result of adrenal insufficiency.

First, here is some friendly advice on how to repair your adrenals. Then, we are on to the meals…

  • Cut Out The Big 3
    Caffeine, alcohol and sugar only serve to damage adrenal glands. You should avoid them if you want to rejuvenate your adrenals.
  • Add In The Big 6
    Be sure to add at least 6 organic vegetables to your diet and eat them every day. You can even juice them to help cleanse from the inside out. The darker and brighter the better.
  • Clean Up Your Liver
    A warm cup of water with the juice from half an organic lemon squeezed in is an easy and natural way to cleanse your liver.
  • No Pain, No Gain
    Exercise in moderation until you get tired. This will serve to keep things moving in your body and allow it to repair itself.
  • Mangia, Mangia
    Be sure to eat regularly, 3 good healthy meals a day, or better still: 5-6 smaller meals. Make sure to get plenty of healthy protein because it contains amino acids that restore adrenals.

Also, be sure you are supplementing properly for adrenal repair. To start, take 1000 to 5000 mg doses of vitamin C every day.  Try these other supplements just be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a regimen. For naturally treating adrenal fatigue, try:

  • One 400 IU gel-cap of vitamin E per day
  • 500 mgs or more of magnesium
  • 50 – 100 mgs of B complex twice a day
  • A healthy dose of antioxidants – get from teas or fruit juices
  • DHEA can also be beneficial – but please be sure to check with your doctor about taking DHEA just to be safe.
  • Probiotics – 2-3 times daily and digestive enzymes with each meal

Following these guidelines can mean the difference between the healthy promotion of adrenal gland processes or a very nasty bout with premature hormone deficiency.

Grand Eats For Gland Replete!        

Now for some meal ideas that will have your adrenal glands back to peak performance in no time. These are healthy comfort foods that bust depression in the jaw, help repair slowing hormone production and get you back on track.

They are simple to prepare and bursting with mouth-watering flavor. Try them and in one bite and you will instantly know what I am talking about. You will think you are back in mom’s kitchen when the aromas start to fill the air. Bon appetit!

Black Bean Soup*

Black Bean Soup for Banishing Adrenal Fatigue

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 cup rinsed black turtle beans
  • 1 dried red chili pepper
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • Veggie bouillon powder or cubes

What to do:

In a large pot, sauté cumin seeds in EVOO until golden brown.

Chop the garlic and onion and add it to the pot. Sauté until the onions become translucent. Add black turtle beans and plenty of water. Add the chili pepper. When the beans become somewhat tender, add turmeric powder and half the ginger. When they become totally tender, add your bouillon.

As the beans continue to cook, cool and drink the thickening liquid. Top off the water and throw in the rest of the ginger and more turmeric to taste. Eat several times a day to build stamina and drain fluids from your body.

Mom’s Meatloaf for Managing Adrenal Fatigue

Mom’s Meatloaf**

  • 1 lb lean hamburger
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • Big slush ketchup substituted with an herbed salsa
  • 1 cup corn flakes
  • Fine chopped onions & garlic
  • 1 cup of chopped zucchini
  • Fresh corn off the cob
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Top with a coat of ketchup topped with the salsa
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ

What to do:
Cook about 1 hour @ 350.

Serve over brown rice with a side of lightly sautéed, dark greens or brightly colored vegetables for a balanced, healthy meal your body will thank you for.

Perhaps, simplest of all…

Sauteed Spinach or Kale Delight***

This recipe has three delightful qualities.

One is how quickly it can be prepared – under five minutes!
Two is how energizing and healthful it is.
Three is how umm, umm, ahhh delicious it tastes – in all its variations.

Stress Free Sauteed Spinach for Adrenal Fatigue

Ingredients:

  • 3 handfuls of ready-to-go baby spinach
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pressed then finely chopped garlic clove (Crush garlic using your palm or kitchen knife. Let sit for fifteen minutes before chopping and sautéing.)
  • Handful of torn parsley
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Simply sauté everything together until the spinach wilts slightly. Eat pronto! (Serves one)

Variations: Substitute kale for spinach. Sprinkle in pine nuts or walnuts, dried cranberries, dried cherries, sun-dried tomatoes … you get the picture.

You may also choose to follow the Hauser Diet for adrenal fatigue. You can find it and learn more here: http://www.hauserdiet.com/.

Healthy Hormone Production For Life

You do not have to live with adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency. All you need to do is take greater care to repair your adrenal glands to live the healthy life you deserve. Regain lost energy, deal with stress and boost the feel-good hormones that allow you to wipe out depression and maintain your fight-or-flight system.

One more tip: drink licorice tea. It is excellent for repairing stubborn adrenal glands. Look for it at your local health-food store.

Your doctor may not recognize adrenal fatigue, but you and your body know the truth. Eat healthy, live well – knock out this debilitating condition and get on the path to balance.

How do you recharge your adrenals for lasting energy?  Comment below and inspire someone in need!

 

 

*Courtesy kitchendoctor.com
**Courtesy adrenalfatiguebegone.com
***Courtesy adrenalfatiguebegone.com

 

President John F. Kennedy vs. Addison

JFK with Addison's Disease by Flickr Ken's Aviation

The medical term for adrenal insufficiency is Addison’s Disease, which refers to the inadequate production of hormones from the adrenal glands due to an underlying disease.

President John F. Kennedy had Addison’s Disease, but the Annals of Internal Medicine have determined the underlying cause of JFK’s adrenal gland insufficiency as probably a rare autoimmune disease.

At first, abdominal pain was diagnosed in his youth as colitis, then back surgery caused chronic pain. Eventually, after many prescribed pain medications, sleeping pills, steroid and hormone injections, JFK was properly diagnosed with Addison’s Disease.

Addison’s disease is characterized by the withering of the adrenal glands, which make corticosteroids and other hormones that are used for salt metabolism, response to stress and response to inflammation. Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, muscle weakness, weight loss, difficulty standing up, nausea, sweating and changes in mood and personality.

Kennedy had to receive daily steroid injections to survive, to stimulate muscle growth and stimulate his appetite.  The steroids themselves have side effects, including susceptibility to infection: urinary, skin and respiratory infections came as a result.  Overall, JFK took a host of drugs during his presidency.

Kennedy worried about the effects on his appearance of the steroids he took as treatment for Addison Disease. The steroids made his face look puffy and made him look overweight.

Four days before his inauguration, Kennedy caught sight of himself in a mirror and declared, “My God, look at that fat face, if I don’t lose five pounds this week we might have to call off the Inauguration.”

Though during the JFK campaign in 1960, Kennedy denied he had Addison’s Disease. Classic Addison’s Disease has been caused by tuberculosis. Since John F. Kennedy never suffered from tuberculosis of any kind, he and his spokespersons maintained that he did not have Addison’s Disease, in the classic sense.

There was substantial secrecy surrounding his health during his years as president. Later, John F. Kennedy maintained that his adrenal insufficiency was a side effect of the malaria he contracted after the war. But after his death, those that examined his medical records have concluded that he had a secondary form of the disease, which was slow deterioration of the adrenal glands from the autoimmune disease hypothyroidism, rather than a rapid destruction.  Adrenal insufficiency, no matter how caused, is a serious matter.

Rather than adversely affecting him politically, John F. Kennedy’s physical ailments vitally contributed to the development of his character and to the formation of his political personality. He proved his worth and demonstrated his strength by rising above all others, even with Addison’s Disease.