What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is a common stress disorder linked to circulating cortisol levels in the body. The condition has existed in medical literature for over 100 years but it still lacks recognition from many medical professionals and organizations.
Cortisol is essential for wellbeing but when cortisol levels drop, symptoms of adrenal fatigue can appear. The disorder is characterised by fatigue, irritability, reduced libido and more.
6 common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue comes with a range of different symptoms and issues. Here are 6 common symptoms to look out for.
You’re tired in the morning - even after you slept well
Tiredness is one of the most common symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Sufferers often report feeling groggy, lacking in energy and not feeling fully awake until mid-morning or noon, even after a full night's sleep.
You get a boost of energy around 6pm
If you feel tired throughout most of the day but get more awake after 6pm, you might have adrenal fatigue. Patients with adrenal fatigue often get a ‘second wind’ of energy later in the day that can last until 1am or later.
You need caffeine to get you going
If you turn to caffeine to give you an energy boost in the morning and get you through the day, this is also a sign that something is off in your body. You might also opt for sugary, fatty foods along with the caffeine to try and pick up your energy levels. Not only is this a habit that’s playing havoc with your blood sugar, it could also be a sign of adrenal fatigue.
You take longer than other people to get over stress and illness
Adrenal fatigue tends to reduce your body’s ability to combat illness and recover from stress. You might notice that people around you tend to bounce back quicker after illness while you’re left feeling exhausted and drained.
You constantly crave salty foods
An unusual symptom of adrenal fatigue is craving salt or salty foods. Cortisol has a role in regulating sodium levels in the body so when your cortisol levels are low your body needs more salt - and you get cravings as a result.
You feel fuzzy-headed and confused
With adrenal fatigue, it’s common to experience neurological symptoms like confusion, irritability, difficulty concentrating and problems with your focus, knowledge retention and memory.
How to avoid Adrenal Fatigue
To reduce the risk of Adrenal Fatigue, it’s important to make lifestyle changes to combat the disorder. Experts report success for 80-90% of patients suffering from adrenal fatigue after treatment with lifestyle and dietary changes.
Try these 8 changes to help you combat adrenal fatigue:
- Look for ways to actively reduce your stress load
- Make space for at least 2 hours of free time each day
- Sleep in longer whenever possible
- Try daily moderate exercise
- Have 5-6 servings of vegetables every day
- Eat meals at regular times during the day
- Avoid junk food and sugar
- Increase your intake of B vitamins and vitamin C
If you’re concerned about adrenal fatigue, it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional about your symptoms. You might find it helpful to seek advice from a functional medicine doctor or adrenal specialist.