Adrenal Fatigue – Or in plain English, Dog Tired!
If you go to your doctor and complain of being tired, he or she might tell you just to go away and take things easy – as simple as that sounds, sometimes we can suffer the kind of tiredness that is not solved straight away just by resting. Indeed, sometimes we can have the kind of tiredness and lack of energy that is even worse if you take a holiday. Strange.
Not so strange to us as Nutritional therapists – in our more involved work (obviously at the top level we are involved in changing people’s diets) but on a deeper level we are trying to get to the bottom of why someone might be feeling a lack of energy. A more accurate term to describe what a nutritional therapist does is, that we are involved in the area of functional medicine. We certainly do not pretend to do the very important job a doctor does, but the doctor can only diagnose a condition when someone has already dipped in to “disease state” ie pathology. The Nutritional therapist is trying to stop someone going in to disease so it is all about prevention rather than fire-fighting once that condition has got hold.
A point in case is when someone one does feel tired. We do a test called an adrenal stress index (we are measuring cortisol (fight and flight hormone) and we are measuring DHEA (another hormone involved in recovery). The doctor will does not recognise a lack of cortisol, or non optimal cortisol – he recognises a serious and rare condition until called Addison’s disease. But low cortisol should not be confused with this condition at all. The Adrenal stress index is only measuring the function of the adrenal glands (where stress hormones come from). If these hormones are low – you can feel any number of symptoms from lack of energy, depression, anxiety, foggy headed-ness – it can manifest in the type of tiredness that even an apparently good night’s sleep does not refresh.
A Nutrition Therapist seek to redress this less than optimal cortisol by paying attention to the diet (or course), lifestyle (or stress hormones were designed to deal with sabre tooth tigers not email traffic and mobile phones! 90% of the adrenal gland is designed to handling chronic stress and only 10% acute stress and we don’t have adrenal glands the size of footballs to cope with the kinds of stresses we have on an on going basis. In the old days, people would have had some really horrible things happen to them – think about living in Norman days (they were really tough those Normans and would chop of heads willy-nilly!) but if you were an ordinary person, the daily fear would not be there on a constant basis. I am not saying it would be a walk in the park – life was nasty, brutal and short but the adrenals were designed for this kind of life. A sudden sharp life threatening shock is the kind of stress the adrenals were evolved to deal with.
Taking care of your adrenals, I believe is the single most important thing you can do for your health! Come and see us and consider getting your adrenal glands tested (we use a saliva test) and see where you are at our London Clinic or in Scotland!