Adrenal Burnout – A Poisoning Problem
Are you tired in the morning, more tired in the afternoon, can’t hardly stay awake, feel tired but still can’t fall asleep at night, easily agitated, can’t calm down after an argument, incessantly worrying, etc.? These are all signs of adrenal fatigue. I see it every day, patients come into the office after seeing multiple other practitioners wondering why they just can’t seem to feel better and have more energy.
I know the feelings all too well. Adrenal fatigue is something that plagued me for years. I had to take naps between patients and go to bed by 8pm in order to have enough energy to even go to work.
It is all too common in my natural practice to see a new patient that has already seen another chiropractor, naturopath or other natural practitioner and comes in on an extensive adrenal regimen only to tell me that even though they are taking 5-10 adrenal supplements, they don’t feel any better.
Usually they have a cabinet full of supplements, but nothing is fixing the fatigue…Is this you? Keep reading!
I am going to share with you the secret to my practice success. This is the one simple reason why I feel I get good results in difficult cases. The secret is to effectively remove the “poison”.
You see the key to any health condition is to realize that the body is meant to function properly. So if the body could work properly it would work properly, the question I ask is what keeps holding it back?
What holds most people back from achieving their desired results in restoring health is that they are not effectively removing the poison. This is exactly why drugs never cure a condition and they only reduce symptoms.
If you are ingesting or being exposed to poison each day, natural herbal products or adrenal adaptogens will not be enough to restore your energy and vibrance. The key is to stop drinking the poison and then take the adrenal support (vitamins, herbs, etc.) to restore what had been lost due to the chronic exposure to poison. In that order! This can be said for almost every condition, but adrenals are one of the best examples.
I define a “poison” as something, really anything that puts stress on the body. For some people the poison can be too much exercise while for others it’s the standard American diet filled with trans-fats and highly processed and refined carbohydrates.
You likely have a different “poison” than your neighbor and although you both might be fatigued. As humans we often like to think that everyone has the same condition that we have, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The key to functional medicine or being a great doctor is personalizing the approach to the individual. For example you could suffer fatigue due to increased toxin exposure, digestive problems, liver problems, hormone imbalances, poor diet, nutrient deficiencies or all of the above.
The idea I want to get across is that if you as a patient walk in through the door with fatigue, it isn’t just one pill that will fix the problem, but rather a possibility of multiple treatments, any number of poisons that need to be eliminated and the possibility of a variety of nutritional supplementation that can be required.
MAJOR ADRENAL POISONS
The adrenal glands most potent chemical stimulator is histamine. I tell my patients this over and over and they are always surprised. Long-term exposure of high levels of histamine to the adrenals causes them to fatigue or better put it causes them to not react to stimuli as much. It is much like the boy who cried wolf. If every day your adrenals are exposed to a large amount of histamine, then over time they will slowly decrease their response. This leads to things like afternoon fatigue, dizziness upon standing, the inability to stay awake at night, waking up in the morning and being tired still, etc.
Food allergies create large amounts of histamine. This is one reason why when people begin a healthy diet they feel better. Often times the new diet avoids a food like dairy or wheat that they may be sensitive to. The load on the adrenals is decreased and they can begin to heal. Many people chronically take an anti-histamine for their seasonal allergies. One of the known side effects of antihistamines is drowsiness. This is because if you have had elevated histamine levels for a long time and you decrease them, then your adrenals don’t have the constant stimulation that they used to have.
SIDE NOTE: Autoimmune disease is inevitably going to have an allergic component and almost always has a histaminic response. Essentially the immune system is over active and is attacking and creating inflammation and histamine in more tissues and cells than it should. Thus, autoimmune disease will cause fatigue both directly and indirectly.
The adrenals play a large role in regulating blood sugar. When you eat a highly refined, high carbohydrate, high sugar, highly processed diet your blood sugar spikes. When the blood sugar spikes the pancreas releases a large surge of insulin. This insulin is a stressor on the adrenal glands. What makes it worse is that as the insulin drops the blood sugar down low, you get on what is known as the blood sugar roller coaster. It spikes, then drops, then spikes, then drops. When it is too low the adrenals also have to work hard to release cortisol. When it releases cortisol – a stress hormone – then the body releases glycogen stores to raise your blood sugar. This is why in the morning your cortisol is so high because you haven’t eaten in a long time.
Most people think they aren’t exposed to environmental toxins throughout the day, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. For example, hair stylists are exposed to hundreds of chemicals a day, weed killers and pesticides are sprayed every day at local parks and common areas, tap water is filled with chemicals including fluoride, most furniture releases toxins into the air and that new car smell you love so much is also a pollutant to your lung. The biggest concern I believe in this section is personal care products. They are what we rub on our skin and put on faces. Most make-up contains multiple toxins and even synthetic hormones that can be problematic for many.
Caffeine (aka coffee, energy drinks, green tea, soda) is highly detrimental to the adrenal system. I know this may go against many Paleo beliefs and will definitely not make those of you that are “biohacking” with butter in your coffee happy, but the truth is most people can’t handle it. If you only work about 20 hours a week, have a large retirement account, sleep 8 hours without waking up, don’t have any difficult relations at work or home, eat a perfect diet and train the perfect amount, then you probably can drink your organic coffee. But, the truth is that the world has become so busy and toxic that most of us don’t need another stressor in our lives and caffeine just pushes things over the top.
If you are wondering if you have adrenal fatigue you should not be doing high intensity workouts. This means chronic cardio, group exercise, CrossFit, etc. High intensity training is a lot of hard work and hard work taxes the adrenals. If you are in any stage of adrenal fatigue you need to reduce your training. This means you need to consider taking days off, taking naps and sleeping in. Many people will say that is impossible, and it might be for a period of time, but making a plan to get to where you can start getting adequate rest is the first step.
Eliminate the Poison
The simple message of this article is to eliminate any poisons from your life. Whether its one of the above mentioned items or some other toxic behavior or relationship, give your adrenals a rest by avoiding the poison.
When it comes to adrenal health or health of any other part of your body, removing the poison is the most important part. After that in many cases your health will resolve itself, in other cases you will still require nutritional support.
If you are looking to recover from adrenal fatigue:
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