Adrenal fatigue is a condition in which chronic stress causes the adrenal glands to overwork, depleting the levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that allows a person to better respond to danger by elevating blood sugar and blood pressure. However, when the cortisol level stays elevated for too long, it can throw the endocrine system out of balance and produce burnout, brain fog, anxiety, insomnia and other symptoms. The primary cause of adrenal fatigue is emotional stress, especially over major life events, but diet and lifestyle can play a role as well.
- When the adrenal glands are overworked it leads to low cortisol levels and poorly balanced hormone levels, which creates extreme fatigue.
- In rare instances, very high or very low cortisol levels can come about due to Cushing’s or Addison’s disease.
- Unfortunately, adrenal fatigue is not a disease in the conventional sense, nor is it acknowledged as such, meaning there are no pharmaceutical agents to treat it.
“Adrenal fatigue isn’t the fault of the adrenals per se; it’s a dysfunction between the brain and adrenal glands.”
“When your adrenals begin to falter, you may notice
- weight gain
- digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea
- sugar and/or salt cravings
- the “3pm crash”
- brain fog
- increased susceptibility to illness
- decreased ability to handle stress, feeling frazzled
- insomnia or waking around 4am, unable to get to sleep
- PMS/hot flashes associated with menopause
- inability to focus
- low sex drive”