March 26, 2015
311 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue [23 March 2015]
Feel stressed, worn out, or exhausted? Can’t drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Everyday tasks require a huge effort? Rely on coffee to keep you going throughout the day? Absentminded, can’t concentrate? Can’t handle stress (“I have one nerve left and you’re getting on it!”)? People seem more irritating (you have a lower tolerance for idiots)? You may be suffering from adrenal fatigue (AF). In the foreword to Dr. James L. Wilson’s 2001 book “Adrenal Fatigue the 21st Century Stress Syndrome” Dr. Jonathan Wright claims that adrenal fatigue “is one of our most prevalent yet rarely diagnosed conditions”.
In a February 2015 article for MindBodyGreen.com called “9 Steps to Heal Adrenal Fatigue Naturally”, Dr. Robin Berzin, MD defines AF as “a disruption of your adrenal glands’ ability to make cortisol (adrenaline) in the right amounts at the right times…” Normally cortisol starts high on waking and slowly drops throughout the day to a low at night. Berzin then describes the three stages of AF and their corresponding cortisol curve.
1. Wired and Tired – high cortisol levels day and night so can’t sleep; feel jittery and can’t relax. May experience insulin resistance and abdominal fat gain.
2. Stressed & Tired – cortisol peaks early (sometimes the middle of the night so can’t get back to sleep) then drops quickly so have no energy during the day; may have a slight late afternoon or evening rise; rely on coffee to keep going.
3. Burned Out – cortisol level is low day and night; feel exhausted all the time even after sleeping; thyroid and other endocrine hormones may also be low.
Naturopathic doctors use a saliva hormone test to verify adrenal fatigue and identify the stage their patients are in. People often progress over time from Stage 1 through 2 to Stage 3. But Berzin encouragingly claims that with the right lifestyle and diet changes and the right supplements, they can work their way back through the stages to normal again.
Next week we’ll look at the 9 step protocol Berzin developed to help her patients overcome adrenal fatigue.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.