“Why am I always tired?”
80% of North Americans have Adrenal Fatigue –
The Other 20% are in Denial
Marita Schauch, BSc, ND
Every day in practice I see patients who complain of unrelenting fatigue. They wake up unrefreshed, drag themselves through each day, and if given the opportunity could nap in the afternoon. Some patients sleep through their alarm every morning only to hit snooze a half a dozen times and then nurse themselves with coffee all day so that they can function and feel “normal”.
These patients feel unmotivated and irritable. Activities that once gave them pleasure do not anymore and most feel inundated with the slightest amount of stress. It is as if their body’s coping mechanisms are completely exhausted. These patients also have an incredibly hard time losing weight. Even though they may exercise vigorously and eat healthy, they just can’t seem to shed a pound!
Do these symptoms sound familiar? If so, you might have what’s called Adrenal Fatigue.
The adrenal glands are two small glands that sit on top of each kidney and are the body’s main stress responders. The body typically responds to physical and emotional stress by producing adrenal hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol as a coping mechanism. These hormones are then released into the blood and prepare the body for combating perceived dangers by increasing blood pressure, heart rate and by making more energy available for fuel. This is known as the “fight or flight” response. The body then turns the response inward, affecting organ systems such as digestive, nervous, or circulatory just to name a few. When this happens, conditions such as ulcers, headaches, weight gain, atherosclerosis, allergies, asthma, fatigue and insomnia can develop.
The stress response is obviously essential to life because it allows us to handle life’s challenges. However, when we trigger the stress response too often, problems arise as the stress hormones are continuously pumped out and the body becomes depleted and exhausted.
The good news is that there are steps that you can take to optimize your adrenal function to prevent the deteriorating affects of adrenal fatigue including exercise, relaxation techniques, restoring sleep and reducing refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods. Also look for AdrenaSense®, an adrenal gland supporting formula with Rhodiola, Suma, Siberian ginseng, Schisandra and Ashwagandha to help reduce stress, improve energy and promote restful sleep.