Most of the time people will say how fatigued and tired they feel or how much they can’t keep working. But when do you know that it is not about being tired and that you need to seek medical attention? Could it be that you are suffering from Adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is a condition which is related to stress that causes the person to feel extreme exhaustion and many other symptoms which are non-specific in most cases. Its onset is insidious and slow. It happens when the HPA axis and the adrenal gland get depleted due to an extended period of emotional stress or when suffering from a chronic disease such as flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
This condition leads to lower levels of hormones and neurotransmitters which is the main reason for the different signs and symptoms. They tend to affect most parts of the body. The body’s immune system tends to respond to stress by slowing down its processes. The adrenal glands also react to the pressure by releasing the cortisol hormones which regulate the blood pressure and the working of the heart. In case the stress is prolonged, the adrenal glands cannot keep up and produce the extra cortisol hormones that are needed by the body. This is the time when the adrenal fatigue sets in.
It is hard to be diagnosed with this disease by the mainstream doctors, and in most cases, you will have to see a naturopathic or a non-mainstream doctor who focuses on the holistic, proactive prevention and the diagnosis and treatment that is comprehensive. The traditional doctors think that it is not real and that is why it might be hard to predict it. Do not confuse this disorder with the Addison disease which has the adrenal glands up to their standards. Addison disease is caused by an auto-immune dysfunction while stress-related factors cause adrenal fatigue syndrome.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
The most prevalent symptoms of this condition is a feeling of exhaustion and tiredness that does not go away even after sleeping for long. Here are some of the other signs and symptoms associated with the condition.
- Facing difficulty waking up in the morning even after sleeping for a long time – At the first stages of the condition, the cortisol and adrenaline levels are quite high due to the stress which interrupts the natural 24-hour cycle of the levels of cortisol. It causes alertness in the evening leasing to insufficient sleep. At the later stages, the levels are low causing the tiredness even after a long sleep
- Low energy levels and extreme fatigue- Some chronic stress mostly contributes this. It is where the body continuously demands some stimulants. This is because the adrenals are depleted and produce low levels of hormones. The levels of cortisol and neurotransmitters are low making the patient not to be able to maintain the reasonable energy needed by the body.
- Craving for foods with a lot of salt- The cortex which is responsible for producing aldosterone is a part of the adrenal glands. It is what works to regulate the fluid and mineral excretion in the kidneys. In case the adrenals are depleted, less aldosterone is produced causing more massive amounts of minerals to be excreted together with the urine. Since the adrenal fatigue patients have a low ability to balance the levels of potassium, sodium, and magnesium, that is why they crave the salt to replace the sodium loss.
- There is a tendency for the patient to shake or tremble when under any pressure- This is where the patient is not able to handle stress and quickly feel overwhelmed. Usually, the body secretes hormones like norepinephrine, adrenaline and the cortisol to counter the pressure. Since these hormones are low, the patient will report a lack of interest, empathy, lack of enthusiasm and high anxiety.
- Overuse of stimulants- Most people who are always finding the next shot of caffeine could be victims of this condition. They have to rely on some stimulants such as coffee to be able to function when they are tired. The stress affects the endocrine system which is why the effect of the stimulant gets depleted faster. Caffeine also prevents a sound sleep. It becomes a vicious cycle which leads to extreme exhaustion and deregulation of hormones.
- High energy levels in the late hours- A healthy person will have the highest level of cortisol in the morning which reduces gradually throughout the day. The adrenal fatigue sufferers will have the upper levels of the hormone in the late afternoon which is the reason for Insomnia. Due to this, they are active at night and tired during the day.
- A weaker immune system- One of the hormones with an anti-inflammatory effect and which regulates the immune system is the Cortisol hormone. A balanced level of this hormone is essential to ensure the impact of inflammation does not get out of control. When the levels are too high due to stress, the immune system to be weakened. When the levels get low, the immune system will overact to the pathogens causing extreme inflammation. It is the reason for some chronic respiratory and auto-immune diseases.
- Inability to remember things. The fatigue causes the patient to tend to forget some details
- Tendency to gain weight especially around the waist area and difficulty losing it
- A feeling of lightheadedness especially when rising from a horizontal position and palpitation before the body stabilizes.
- Dry and thin skin and a case of hair loss that you cannot explain.
- Increased symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome for the women. The periods tend to be heavy and may stop prematurely and then start over again on the 5th and 6th
- Pain in the upper back and the neck area for no apparent reason
- Mild depression
- Constipation and diarrhea which tend to alternate in their occurrence.
Essential Oils for Adrenal fatigue
There are many ways in which you can treat adrenal fatigue. One of the first steps is finding a way to reduce the stress that causes the adrenal fatigue. Essential oils come in by trying to calm down the body and getting the body systems to work as they are supposed to work. They help to repair and support the adrenal glands and once used consistently; they can reverse the adrenal fatigue or burnout and restore their functionality.
This essential oil strengthens the endocrine system, the nervous system and balances the levels of blood sugar. It is also outstanding in amplifying how other essential oils work such as the copaiba essential oil. This oil also helps to increase the physical energy that the person has and it stimulates the immunity of the body. It is also easier to release the negative energy that comes with depression when you use this essential oil.
How to Use
Dilute the cinnamon bark essential oil. Apply it to the adrenal vita flex points which are located on the feet. Apply most of it on the inner arch of the feet. [source]
Sleeping disorders are some of the causes of the adrenal dysfunction. Lavender aids in problems of sleeping as well as other stressful issues. Lavender has a soothing effect which helps to control the reaction of the adrenals. They do not spring into action needlessly as what happens during the adrenal fatigue. This oils also help with short-term memory loss, anxiety, nervousness and restlessness. It is known as the “universal oil” to help relax.
How to use
Apply a few drops of the oil on the palms of your hands and inhale deeply. You can also apply a few drops on your temples. Use lavender in a diffuser, a room spray, or you can apply its roll-on on your chest. [source]
Lime or Lemon Balm
Lime essential oil is used to relieve the anxiety or nervousness feelings. The smell of the oil refreshes mental tiredness and stimulates some positive energy. This oil can dissipate the negative thinking associated with fatigue and depression. It also works very well when it is used together with the clove as a parasympathetic blend.
How to use
Dilute it lightly and apply it behind your ears and along the jawbone for best results. You can also get the lemon balm and rub it on the hands to smell the aroma. [source]
Chamomile tea is taken as a calming drink to help the people relax. Chamomile comes in two types, and all have different purposes. German chamomile is used for soothing the skin while the Roman chamomile is used as a calming essential oil. It is good for people with paranoia, anxiety, and hostility. It has a sweet apple scent which is quite pleasant.
How to use
Apply a few drops of the oil on the palm and inhale deeply to take in the sweet smell.
You can put a few drops of the roman chamomile oil in the bath water and soak for a few minutes to take in the smell [source]
It is an essential oil that has a very favorite smell which is also very uplifting. This essential oil is quite expensive, but the impact is immediate. This oil is an antiseptic, antidepressant and an aphrodisiac. The depression and stress associated with adrenal fatigue can be controlled using this oil. It also boosts the person’s confidence. It can reduce nervousness and restore a balance of some of the body systems.
How to use
Mix a few drops with a carrier oil or vegetable oil and apply directly to the skin in a place where you can quickly inhale.
Add a few drops in the bath water and inhale it as your soak in. [source]
Frankincense has been used for medical reasons for thousands of years. It can work as a sedative and has a very comforting aroma. This essential oil works well to calm the respiratory system and make calm breathing conditions. Due to the lousy state of mind that comes about from depression, this oil enhances insight and introspection.
How to use
You can apply it directly on your skin or breathe it in [source]
Geranium is known to balance hormones and uplifting and regulation of moods. The immune system improves by minimizing inflammation that occurs due to low levels of some adrenal hormones. It has a strong rose smell which is particularly pleasant to the women. This essential oil when taken in, it increases the circulation of blood which helps to boost up the physical energy.
How to use
It works best if you breathe it in. You can apply on your skin or add it in bath water and soak in.[source]
Rosemary has a delightful strong smell that can reduce the cortisol levels instantly by just smelling it. Stress is the primary cause of adrenal fatigue, and rosemary is known to alleviate and control it very well. The relaxation helps to lessen the burden put on the adrenals and restoration becomes easier. Anytime one feels stressed this is a useful anti-depressant.
How to use
Take two to three deep breaths direct from the bottle and relax. You can add it in some pillow sprays or the diffuser. [source]
The smell of some warm vanilla has a friendly and relaxed feeling. It is thought to be so since this is the smell that is most close to the smell of breast milk. It is said to invoke some childhood memories subconsciously. Studies show that breathing in some vanilla-scented air leads to less anxiety and nervousness.
How to use
Add a few drops of the vanilla in your bath water and take a long soak. You can also make a blend using scentless vegetable oil and apply on the skin.[source]
Strategies to use aromatherapy to calm yourself from stress
- Add two drops of calming essential oil in a tissue and take deep breathes when visualizing some positive scenarios. Best during the day.
- Start of the day in the morning by massaging the center of the back where the kidneys are located with a warm cloth. Add two drops of rosemary and spruce oils and massage.
- After a shower, massage the same area with some relaxing essential oils such as lemon, clove, and vanilla.
- In the evening after a busy day, add a few drops of calming essential oils in the bath water such as Ylang-Ylang, Rose, Frankincense, and Lavender. Soak in the bath as you meditate. If you prefer a shower, Put the essential oils in the washcloth and let the hot water hit the washcloth. Inhale the stream and unwind.
Other Natural Home Remedies to Treat Adrenal Fatigue
The primary cause of adrenal fatigue is stress and activities that overstretch the capability of the body. There are drugs which are prescribed by doctors such as anti-depressants which are meant to calm the body, but if the person does not change their lifestyle, then this condition may become chronic. There are some things that you can do from home which are going to play a huge role in treating this disorder and reducing its signs and symptoms.
- Do the mind-body exercises
These exercises include yoga and meditation which has been used by practitioners for centuries now. The entire process is meant to relieve anxiety and stress. When done on a regular basis, it helps the person to be able to respond well to stress. When the person is in a meditative state, the negative thought can pass them without stressing them up. Meditation uses the diaphragm to allow for full oxygen exchange in the lungs. The body deactivates the fight or flight response since there is no threat faced. The brain can relax, and neurotransmitters and hormones are activated which cause rest and digest. The production of cortisol stops and you feel calmness and peace
- Improve way in which you eat food
A person with adrenal fatigue has depleted nutrients due to stress which takes a toll on the body cells. It is good to be aware of the food sensitivity and if there are any intolerants which also bring about the fatigue. Ensure you eat food at the right time and taking small and regular portions. Keeping up the sugar levels is necessary. You can also snack to manage the dip of the cortisol that takes place in the late afternoons. Take food with proteins, low glycemic index, and healthy fats. Ensure your body is kept hydrated at all times.
- Reduce the intake of coffee and other stimulants
Most people who suffer from fatigue take in coffee to boost up their energies. However, this makes the body to be sleep deprived and work for long hours. The coffee enables the person to work long hours and stress their bodies at night instead of resting. Those who have become addicted can try to replace it with some tea brewed from herbs such as the rosemary herbs which helps to calm the body.
- Take vitamin B-Complex
This vitamin is essential for the cell metabolism and to keep the physical energy high. The B5 helps in cellular respiration, B6 helps to create the adrenal hormones while the B12 ensures the repairing of cells, energy production, and maintenance of red blood cells responsible for moving oxygen in the body. You can find these vitamins in grains, cereals, beans, and milk.
- Take the Licorice root
This herb can regulate the levels of the cortisol hormone. It is one of the best adaptogen herbs. This root contains glycyrrhizic acid which helps to stop the breaking down of the cortisol. It restores it to its normal levels. This herb helps to boost up the standards of the stress-fighting hormone, DHEA. Take one teaspoon of the licorice powder in a cup of water and cover, wait for 10 minutes and sieve out the dust. Take it two or three times a day for one week. Do not overuse it though since it tends to raise the blood pressure. [source]
- Take some Magnesium-rich food
Magnesium plays the role of breaking down glucose taken in through diet into energy. With adrenal fatigue, there is deficient energy which needs restoration. This mineral is essential to maintain the adrenal health. Low magnesium levels can affect the stamina which leads to depression. This mineral is found in leafy greens, nuts, fish, soya beans, dark chocolate and in bananas. For a saturated solution, take one hot glass of milk and add one tbsp of blackstrap molasses and mix. Take this mixture once daily.
- Diaphragmatic breathing
It is a breathing technique that prevents the adrenal glands from releasing a lot of hormones. Continually practicing this procedure helps to boost the energy levels and fight stress which is the leading cause of adrenal fatigue syndrome.
Lie flat on a comfortable surface. You can place a pillow under your heads if it makes you more comfortable. Put your hands on the abdomen. Breath in through the nose for two seconds and hold the air in for two seconds and then slowly breath it out through the mouth for about four minutes. Repeat this process for 10 minutes until you feel relaxed. Do this two times daily to calm the body down.
Adrenal fatigue syndrome is a widespread condition which is associated with stress. It is mostly not diagnosed by the mainstream doctors, and it is easy to be confused with the Addison disease. The main sign of the condition is some extreme exhaustion that does not wear off after a long rest and a sign of low levels of energy. However, there are some essential oils and natural remedies that you can incorporate into your daily life that can control this problem.