Here’s a pretty informative article about Adrenal Fatigue and some treatment options… There are a few things a might add…
From: May 2006 – health natural medicine green living.
by Alexander Mostovoy, HD, DHMS
Have you recently experienced major stress in your life such as a death, divorce, or business failure? Do you feel that you have just not been the same since? This stress may have led to adrenal fatigue causing many problems including extreme fatigue and weakness.
Do you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning? Does it take a long time to get going? Do you start to feel awake by about noon only to experience another slump in your energy level after lunch? Do you feel better by the end of the day but feel as though you must go to bed as you tire easily? Once in bed, do you lie awake, exhausted but too wired to go to sleep? Once asleep, do you wake up after only a few hours and find this cycle continuing night after night? Are you lacking the stamina to exercise during the day, or feel totally drained after exercising?
Perhaps you pick up every infection going around and take a long time to recover. Despair and depression may even set in. For many people this fatigue and weakness are a constant part of daily life.
If the picture painted here sounds familiar, read on: you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue. It is estimated that up to 80% of people in the industrialized world suffer from adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives. For some, it may last a few days; for others, this debilitating condition can last decades. The problem is most common among women, and is often ignored or misdiagnosed because main symptoms mirror those of other conditions.
Adrenal fatigue affects people in many different ways and for many different reasons. Although adrenal fatigue has different causes, regardless of the cause the symptoms are very similar. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands function on a sub-optimal level. The adrenals are responsible for secreting 50 different hormones in an exact and very precise manner depending on the body’s requirements. Adrenal glands become the major source of hormone production in a menopausal woman and will secrete hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and adrenaline.
Adrenal glands are very responsive to changes in physical, emotional and psychological stressors, and many factors may interfere with this amazingly intricate balance. Stress, for example, will put your body into a “fight or flight” response; however, your adrenals cannot differentiate between various types of stressors such as being attacked by a tiger or having a heated argument with your boss. The adrenal gland responds by producing cortisol — the major hormone responsible for helping the body deal with stress. Unfortunately, in today’s modern society, most of us are under constant stress — be it physical stress from infection or illness, or emotional stress such as from a divorce or the death of a loved one. The adrenal gland will adjust to this constant and prolonged stress but may eventually become unable to meet the demand and dysfunction either by not producing enough cortisol, or by releasing too much cortisol. The extremes of adrenal dysfunction are Addison’s disease (no cortisol produced) and Cushing’s Syndrome (excessive cortisol released).
SYMPTOMS OF ADRENAL FATIGUE
With adrenal fatigue, you may notice subtle changes at first: salt and sugar cravings may give you occasional relief. You may constantly need a caffeine fix via coffee or cola, become absentminded, have weak muscles, low sex drive, feel that you cannot get enough sleep; you also may have constipation alternating with diarrhea. Eventually, you will feel inclined to reduce activity and may try to avoid stressful situations because you feel overwhelmed. You will likely start to isolate.
Unless your situation is addressed properly, you may develop adult onset diabetes, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia (in fact most people suffering from hypoglycemia have low adrenal function) and even fibromyalgia. Many people will suffer from anxiety and depression, have problems with concentration, periods of confusion, searching for words, making mistakes with names and simple math. Most women with sub-optimal adrenals will complain of PMS, terrible menopausal symptoms and a decrease in immune function.
Adrenal gland function is so important to your well-being but is often overlooked as the cause of these symptoms. Adrenal function can be assessed with a simple saliva test taken to measure cortisol levels. The test is easy and can be done at home. Many private labs offer saliva cortisol tests such as Great Smokies, BioHealth, Metametrix just to name a few. Generally these tests are available through health care providers and compounding pharmacies.*
An adrenal care program can be very successful in restoring adrenal function. Any program chosen should include finding the underlying cause and making the necessary changes to your lifestyle, diet and supplement approach; it may also include herbal and homeopathic remedies.
Herbs, Homeopathics, Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes include getting plenty of rest, reducing stressors (such as watching the news on TV while in bed), eliminating caffeine, taking time to relax, pray, and meditate. Diet changes should include reducing your consumption of refined carbohydrates (white bread and sugar) and increasing consumption of vegetables and whole grains.
The body needs vitamins and minerals to make adrenal hormones. The best way to get vitamins and minerals is from your diet; however this would only apply to healthy individuals. Most people suffering from this or other types of disorders are nutritionally deficient with sub-optimal diets requiring supplementation and support. Supplements necessary would include vitamin C 2000-4000 mg per day sustained release, a good multivitamin, vitamin B-complex 50 mg twice daily, niacin (as inositol hexaniacinate) 125-150 mg per day, pantothenic acid 1200-1500 mg per day, and magnesium citrate 400-1200 mg per day. Also include liquid trace minerals (chromium, molybdenum, manganese, selenium, copper, iodine) for their calming effect. If depression is present add SAM-e 200 mg twice daily.
Many herbs are useful in the treatment of adrenal issues. Some function as adaptogens; that is, they assist the body in adapting to stress. Adaptogenic herbs help to lower or raise cortisol levels depending on your need at that specific time. One of my favourite adaptogens is Siberian ginseng (not to be confused with regular ginseng), which is undoubtedly the most researched botanical and has been used safely for many years. Some other examples of adaptogenic herbals include: rhodeola rosea, withenia somnifera (ashwagandha), and schisandra chinensis. Please note: different herbal products commercially available will vary in strength and quality and will require different dosages. Please consult an experienced natural health practitioner for professional advice.
Under the supervision of a competent physician, hormone supplementation with DHEA, pregnenolone and progesterone may yield some amazing results. Avoid synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Natural bio-identical hormones are fine, but synthetic HRT increases the risk of breast cancer.
Homeopathic treatment and medications have been very useful to many in my practice. Although homeopathic medicines are prescribed on an individual basis specifically tailored to specific symptoms presented by the patient, there are several medicines that come up more frequently than others, such as:
• Phosphoric acid will be suitable for a patient presenting with extreme physical exhaustion, inertia, apathy, and sexual weakness. These people often complain about loss of hair and even change in visual acuity. Their whole pathology arises from hypo-function of the endocrine system — particularly of the adrenals.
• Argentum nitricum will suit most weak and trembling patients. There is going to be periodical weakness; one day they will be well, but then, they will be overtaken by weakness. Sometimes their fatigue may become very pervasive to the point that they cannot dress themselves or even lift a book. This weakness may come with exact periodicity or more at irregular intervals. They will become irritable with a lot of anxiety, to the point that they will start crying because they feel nothing can be done to help them. This state of debility is caused by adrenal insufficiency.
• Kalium phosphoricum personality is nervous, oversensitive and excitable. Everything is too much for them and when they get tired they get irritable. They have a feeling that something bad will happen to them; they startle easily. They have difficulty with concentration, and they are forgetful of words and names. There is a profound state of mental and physical exhaustion.
• Gelsemium patients will present with slow pulse, tired feeling and mental apathy. Usually there will be muscular weakness, drowsiness and even dizziness. They are sensitive to falling barometric pressure, with many symptoms aggravated by cold and damp weather. They are lethargic, dull, and apathetic to their own complaints. They want to be left alone because any excitement, even good news, will make them feel worse physically.
You don’t need to suffer from the debilitating exhaustion and other issues caused by adrenal fatigue. This is by no means a comprehensive list of supplements and solutions. Talk to your health care professional, have your adrenal gland function tested, develop a customized program that will help resolve this condition, and relax.Alexander Mostovoy is a homeopathic doctor and a board certified clinical thermographer specializing in women’s health issues. He is widely regarded as one of Canada’s leading authorities on homeopathic medicine and clinical thermography. He is the clinic director of the North York Medical Thermography Centre, which is one of only a few such clinics in the country bringing medical infrared thermography to Canadian women. You can reach him at (416) 638-7555 or www.drmostovoy.com