Adrenal Fatigue & Numedica AdrenaMed
AdrenaMed by Numedica may be your adrenal glands’ new best friend. Are you struggling to find energy in your day? Are your cortisol levels unbalanced? AdrenaMed is Numedica’s adrenal support supplement and you may need exactly what it offers if you're experiencing adrenal fatigue.
First of all, no magic pill exists to give you (or me) endless energy. So instead of looking for an easy solution that does not exist, let us instead dissect the problem and highlight some of the available solutions.
Why are you tired?
The simple answer is that you don't have enough energy in your cells to match the demands you have put on your body. But why don’t you have the energy? That comes down to your endocrine system---in plain English, your hormones. Women and their bodies are subject to much more radical and frequent hormonal shifts. Plummeting progesterone levels are responsible for the moodiness and cramps that plague women with PMS. But, hormones are a subject for men and women equally. One hormone, in particular, deserves more attention than all the rest: Cortisol.
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is made by your adrenal glands. These are two thumb-sized organs that sit right on top of your kidneys. Your adrenal glands are involved in making over 50 hormones that control almost all of your bodily functions. Cortisol is known as your “stress hormone” because it is released when you are stressed. It is the hormone that is released when you feel the “fight or flight” response.
Your body should manufacture and release cortisol throughout the day. Cortisol production follows a diurnal rhythm which means it is highest in the morning and falls throughout the day. Cortisol levels should be low at night to support your sleep.
Your adrenal glands also manage glucocorticoids (blood sugar), mineralocorticoids (blood pressure), sex hormones, and adrenaline (epinephrine).
What happens when my adrenal glands get “fatigued”?
Adrenal glands may be temporarily fatigued during a serious illness. For example, when you have an acute illness, like pneumonia, you experience extreme fatigue because your body cannot produce enough cortisol to cope with the extreme amount of physical stress. Within weeks of conquering the infection, your adrenal glands will return to normal function and produce adequate cortisol for your daily needs. However, more and more, people are suffering from adrenal fatigue caused by the demands of their overly stressful lifestyle.
Keep in mind, adrenal fatigue is not the same condition as Cushing's or Addison's disease.
Stressful lifestyle habits that cause adrenal fatigue:
- High sugar and high carbohydrate diets
- Daily use/abuse of stimulants such as caffeine or guarana
- Over-exercising (especially aerobic exercise)
- Interrupted or lack of sleep
- Unresolved emotional stress
- Unbalanced amounts of work and relaxation (workaholics)
- Long-term infections such as Epstein Barr Virus and Lyme disease
Adrenal fatigue and a lack of cortisol production don’t just affect your energy levels, they also affect your other important hormones. Your adrenal glands are part of your body’s hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis. All three of these organs communicate with each other and regulate all of your hormones, including your thyroid hormones, sex hormones (estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone), and stress hormone (cortisol).
Women who suffer from PMS, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), cystic breasts, and fertility issues should investigate adrenal fatigue as a cause and solution for their issues.
Men who suffer from impotence, erectile dysfunction, low libido, and low muscle tone should consider adrenal fatigue as a cause or contributing factor.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
- Fatigue-especially in the early morning hours, and early afternoon
- More energy after 6 pm
- Slow recovery from mild illnesses such as a cold or flu
- Craving for sweet and salty foods or snacks
- Feeling overwhelmed very easily
- Brain fog or difficulty concentrating
How do I test for adrenal fatigue?
A standard blood test may reveal low DHEA, which is inextricably tied with adrenal fatigue. However, there is no definitive blood test for adrenal fatigue. Conventional medical doctors don’t recognize adrenal fatigue as a valid diagnosis or a treatable ailment. A blood test will only reveal if you have Addison's or Cushing's disease. It will not show the slight variations that may be causing your extreme fatigue.
The most accurate way to determine if your body is producing too much or too little cortisol is a salivary test. You can order these tests online by yourself or get them from your integrative practitioner.
Most of these tests require a saliva sample 3-7 times per day. The more samples the better, because it allows you to determine when and how much cortisol you're producing each day. The testing gives you, and your practitioner, a map for which supplements and lifestyle changes will help you recover quickly.
How do I rebuild adrenal function?
Your adrenal glands stop working optimally when they are depleted. In order to produce cortisol, your adrenal glands need fewer demands and more nutrients.
Your adrenal gland uses B vitamins to manufacture cortisol. It is imperative to eat foods high in B vitamins and take a quality supplement. Foods that include large amounts of B vitamins are beef liver, sardines, lamb, and salmon.
What diet do I follow to recover from adrenal fatigue? What is the Adrenal Fatigue Diet?
An adrenal fatigue diet is the same as a Paleo diet. If you want to recover from adrenal fatigue, you must give up sugar and processed carbs. For some people, the ketogenic diet is optimal for adrenal health.
A good rule of thumb is to stick with 25 grams or ½ cup of whole food carbohydrates per meal. If you want to have a treat, it should contain no more than 4 grams of added sugar. My favorite book for explaining the Paleo diet is Practical Paleo. You can also purchase a 1-hour consultation and planning session with me. During this consultation, we will identify foods to get rid of and foods to add to your diet to improve your adrenal health and energy.
What exercises will help with adrenal fatigue?
Many people experience adrenal fatigue because of too much aerobic exercise. Low-intensity exercise, or short bouts of high-intensity exercise (HIIT), are recommended for adrenal recovery. Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi are excellent low-intensity exercises that help move your body and reduce mental and physical stress. A simple practice of deep breathing or meditation has proven to lower stress hormone and balance brain waves.
What supplements are helpful?
Whether you have high or low cortisol, your adrenal glands are overworked and underpaid. Besides B vitamins, which are the raw materials needed for cortisol production, adaptogenic herbs are the best solution for both high and low cortisol.
Adaptogenic herbs offer support for both high and low cortisol. An adaptogen is an "herb that increases the body's ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning." In plain English, these herbs help your adrenal gland produce just the right amount of cortisol---not too much and not too little. Adaptogens are an interesting class of herbs that have been studied for decades.
Adaptogenic herbs allow your body to adapt to the stress, physical or emotional, that you experience. They support your adrenal gland in increasing or decreasing cortisol production as needed.
Ginseng has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It has been well studied and the results are consistently positive. American ginseng is an adaptogen that imbues a sense of calm and focus for those struggling with adrenal fatigue. It also helps to control and level blood sugars. This is extremely helpful because most people with adrenal fatigue also have insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. Because it is an adaptogen it is useful for both high and low cortisol states.
And what about that caterpillar fungus? You read that correctly. Cordyceps is a type of mushroom (fungus) that begins to form on the backs of tiny caterpillars. Eventually, the mushroom is big enough to be seen and harvested to be eaten or dried into a supplement powder. History books record that Cordyceps was used by the Sikkim people for various ailments as early as 5000 years ago. Modern science has discovered that cordyceps have many health promoting properties. Cordyceps has a potent anti-inflammatory compound that has been proven to enhance aerobic stamina, fight infections, and act as an adaptogen. Cordyceps can be taken in capsule form or in powdered tea.
AdrenaMed is a concentrated adaptogenic herbal and vitamin remedy featuring standardized extracts of cordyceps, rhodiola and ginseng – all designed to support the stress response. Additionally, it contains select B vitamins involved in adrenal hormone production to support adrenal stress.
Adrenal fatigue is a real problem for many people. In fact, in the 1950s, it was estimated that over 60% of the population was suffering from some sort of adrenal gland dysfunction. I can only imagine that more people are experiencing adrenal fatigue today due to our modern high-stress lifestyle.
If you are tired and ready to rebuild your vitality and energy, schedule a consultation with me.
Carly Neubert BA, NC
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