Stress and adrenal fatigue
Stress can lead to adrenal fatigue and can cause unwanted symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, indigestion, weight gain, reduced tolerance to stress and irregular sleep cycles. Learn about the function of your adrenal glands and how to combat undesirable symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
What do your adrenal glands do?
The adrenal glands produce hormones that help maintain the balance of many body functions during stress. The adrenal glands are absolutely vital in the production and function of all hormones produced by the body. If the adrenal glands are not functioning properly, all other hormones are affected.
Stress and the adrenal glands
When you experience stress, the brain sends signals stimulating the release of hormones to prepare and handle the stress (fight or flight response). Long-term exposure to excessive stress (emotional or physical, bad or good) can cause the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol (the main stress hormone). Over time, the adrenal glands can become exhausted and will no longer produce adequate cortisol.
Reduced or inappropriate cortisol outputs can lead to physiological changes, and can cause unwanted symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, indigestion, weight gain, reduced tolerance to stress and irregular sleep cycles.
Adrenal fatigue occurs when the body experiences too much physical or emotional stress and therefore depletes the adrenal glands of important hormones, particularly cortisol (your stress hormone). It is a prevalent condition that is rarely diagnosed or treated correctly leaving people reeling for answers. Initially the adrenals will secrete higher amounts of cortisol but after extended periods of stress they are no longer able to keep up with the demands and adrenal fatigue sets in.
The adrenals are the size of a walnut and one sets on top of each kidney. The hormones that the adrenals secrete have an effect on all physiologic functions in your body such as carbohydrate metabolism, weight, cardiovascular function and the regulation of blood sugar levels. After a woman has gone through menopause the adrenals become the main source of the sex hormones.
Signs of adrenal fatigue include:
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Craving for salt or salty foods
- Decreased libido
- Compulsive eating
- Slower recovery from illness
- Increased bloating, cramping and craving chocolate during menstruation
- Cravings for snacks, colas or coffee to get through the day
- Attention issues
- Brain fog
Stress is a specific response by the body to a stimulus, whether good or bad, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium. High stress can activate the mechanisms and pathways through which the body’s hormonal response to stress alters immune system function and influences susceptibility, onset and exacerbation of mental and physical diseases, including atherosclerotic heart disease, depression, infectious diseases, and autoimmune diseases.
Cortisol—the stress hormone
When you experience stress, the brain sends signals which stimulate the release of hormones to prepare and handle the stress. The main stress hormone, cortisol, is released from the adrenal glands. Cortisol should be highest first thing in the morning, in response to the stress of overnight fasting and to get the body ready for the day’s activities. This is the physiological reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Cortisol should gradually decline throughout the day, being lowest at bedtime in preparation for rest and recovery.
When the body properly responds to stress, the release of hormones and the feedback to the brain to stop the stress response at the right time leads to balance and control. When the body is faced with long-term exposure to excessive stress (emotional or physical, bad or good) can cause the adrenal glands to be pressured to produce too much cortisol. The glands will become exhausted and will no longer produce adequate cortisol. This leads to improper response to stress and the body will begin to feel the effects of this disrupted response to stress.
Low levels of cortisol
As the stressed adrenals start to have reduced or inappropriate cortisol output this leads to physiological changes that can cause unwanted symptoms. Low levels of cortisol will lead to variations in blood glucose (hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia), excessive fatigue, and dampened immune response. When the body is pushed to produce more cortisol, it does so at the expense of all other hormones. When the production of other hormones is affected, the end results can be unwanted physical symptoms.
Increased levels of cortisol
Constant emotional, physical or mental stress, and a poor diet high in sugars and refined carbohydrates can lead to insulin resistance, which in turn can increase levels of cortisol. This can create symptoms of high blood pressure, joint pain throughout the body, insomnia, restless legs, aging rapidly, loss of muscle tone, and weight gain through the middle of the body. Eventually, these symptoms can cause the body to spiral downward into a severe energy crisis, hormonal imbalance and systemic inflammation.
What can you do?
Of course adopting healthy lifestyle habits like good sleep hygiene, eating a diet of nutrient dense foods and getting regular exercise. Some people may experience issues that are caused by hormone imbalances, which can be address with a medical professional.
For more information about Trim® Adrenal Repair, download our Free Supplement Guide. Deciding what supplements to incorporate into your daily routine can be mind boggling. The Trim® Nutrition Supplement Guide provides an overview of various supplement types including: vitamins, minerals, nutraceuticals, herbs, fat burners, probiotics and energy supplements.
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