Stress and Adrenal Fatigue
We often think that stress is simply a state of mind, think again. The Physiological effects of stress and anxiety on our bodies certainly can 'leave a mark'.
Many of our symptoms could be the result of over working our body and mind than we can physically cope with. A lot of us may not even feel stressed but visible symptoms could show otherwise.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal Fatigue describes a whole host of symptoms, (e.g. Fatigue, Dark Circles, Trouble Sleeping)
Stress triggers biological responses: the release of stress hormones Adrenaline and Cortisol from the adrenal glands (small glands that sit above your kidneys)
When our body has an increase in blood sugar; the flexing of the muscle; shallow breathing; raise in blood pressure and rapid heart rate,
All these responses are designed to help meet physical challenges that threaten survival - known as fight or flight.
The problem here is that most modern day stresses are not resolved by action. Instead we sit and seethe whilst our stress responses are still on red alert, to the point of exhaustion. Heard of the term
You've burnt yourself out?
Overtime our adrenal glands become overworked, in turn the reaction to our stress levels means they have difficulty to produce these hormones in the right amount. This is known as Adrenal Fatigue.
Long Term Effects?
Elevated Adrenaline and Cortisol levels trigger the release of excess Testosterone. This could drive the body towards Insulin resistance
(a precursor to diabetes) and weight gain.
The Digestive System could also struggle to absorb nutrients correctly, it may also impair the immune system, increasing your susceptibility to illness. A continued state of stress can suppress serotonin, which in turn increases anxiety and appetite, trigger mood disorders such as depression,
High levels of cortisol have been identified as a risk factor of Cardiovascular disease.
How to get it sorted!
Head to bed :
Good quality sleep, aim for 8 hours uninterrupted
This is when the body is able to repair and regenerate and a time when we naturally allow our stress levels to fall.
Never skip meals, blood cortisol levels work closely with blood sugar levels. Avoid snacks containing refined carbohydrates and sugars that will spike your blood sugar. Instead opt for complex carbohydrates found in gluten free grains e.g. Buckwheat, Quinoa, Millet, Brown Rice, Nuts and Seeds.
Maca is a root vegetable but commonly sold as powder, it can help you adapt to stress, rich in B vitamins and minerals to help bring your body back into balance, increase strength and endurance in helping to manage stress. Always combine protein and carbohydrates alongside your veggies in every meal for a steadier release of glucose into the blood.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol which play havoc on your hormones and will only make you feel worse!
Resolve the underlying issue:
The most important and vital step is to address the underlying cause of the stress and adrenal fatigue, and where possible to remove this trigger.
Prioritize to see your GP/Healthcare Professional, they will investigate your symptoms and advise the best treatment alongside your healthy diet and lifestyle. Seeing your GP is absolutely vital for a proper diagnosis.
Information referenced from PLENISH by Kara M.L. Rosen