How to Reverse Adrenal Fatigue through Functional Medicine
For eight out of ten Americans, weekly stress is a part of life. For one out of seven people, however, stress is a daily factor in their lives. The emotional and physical implications of stress affect each person differently, but if left unaddressed, stress can have lasting effects on anyone. Welcome to the world of adrenal fatigue, a physical state of illness brought on by perpetual stress. In a landscape of constant worry, knowing what this condition is and how to reverse adrenal fatigue is the first step in healing.
The Basics of Stress
Stress is feeling overwhelmed, worried, and helpless during a challenging situation. Your body naturally combats stress through its “fight or flight” response. Your heart and breathing rate increase, your senses sharpen, and your blood pressure rises to increase stamina and speed. Your body is ready to flee danger or face it head-on.
In small doses stress is healthy for us. There is “good stress” that allows us to meet a challenging deadline or deliver a public speech. Good stress is short-term stress that increases alertness, productivity, and motivation.
Chronic stress occurs when you cannot disengage from feeling anxious and worried. Chronic stressors can be multiple issues or a single ongoing challenge. These are the ones that cause emotional distress, including anxiety or depression, as well as physical illness, such as adrenal fatigue.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Your adrenal glands produce anti-stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. In times of stress, your body releases these hormones for the fight-or-flight response. In times of minimal or normal stress levels, the body can easily keep up with demand, and you maintain a healthy balance.
However, if your stress continues over an extended period, your body can no longer keep up with producing these hormones, and you experience adrenal fatigue. Functional medicine doctors are experienced in recognizing the early stages of this condition and understand how to reverse adrenal fatigue.
Stages of Adrenal Fatigue
Your body can respond to everyday stress and, under normal circumstances, knows how to reverse adrenal fatigue on its own. As the condition progresses, however, it gets harder to fight the physical and emotional implications of chronic stress.
Think of your car’s battery. When you turn the key, you expect the battery to power your ignition. Over time, however, the battery’s energy level fades. One day, you try to start the car, and nothing happens. Your battery is depleted, and you’re stranded.
You leave the lights on in your car briefly. Your vehicle still starts on demand despite the battery’s power drain. The battery is quickly replenished, and there are no lasting effects.
During stage 1 your body is still responding appropriately to stress. It releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and returns to its normal balance when the pressure ends. You may feel tired, but overall you are productive and focused.
Your car starts as your battery’s charge levels drop, but you notice it takes longer for the engine to turn over.
At this stage, your body begins to experience imbalances. You notice a marked increase in fatigue, lowered immune system, increased blood pressure, and sleep disruption. These physical symptoms appear alongside emotional ones, including anxiety, irritability, and depression. It’s crucial to seek guidance from someone who understands how to reverse adrenal fatigue to stop the process from progressing.
Your car’s battery has now reached a critical stage. You may need to jumpstart your car on occasion. Your battery’s levels are nearly depleted, and there’s no doubt that you need to address the issue immediately.
If left unchecked, the adrenal fatigue advances to stage 3. Your physical symptoms are impossible to ignore, including GI issues, blood pressure fluctuations, and chronic fatigue. Emotionally, you can no longer deny your depression and anxiety. You can no longer maintain productivity, and if you don’t seek intervention, adrenal fatigue becomes adrenal failure.
Your car’s battery is completely depleted. It can no longer produce any spark, and you are stranded.
Stage 4, adrenal failure, is a life-threatening condition. It can result in cardiovascular complications such as heart attacks or strokes, and your symptoms may include fainting, chronic pain and sleep disorders, debilitating fatigue, and severe GI implications.
How to Reverse Adrenal Fatigue
Understanding that your body is a complex network of interconnected systems is fundamental to knowing how to reverse adrenal fatigue. Something that seems unrelated, such as thyroid dysfunction or neurological disorders, frequently plays a significant role in your body’s inability to fight stress.
How to Reverse Adrenal Fatigue Naturally
There are many ways to help restore balance during times of stress. These include adjustments to your diet and lifestyle.
Dietary adjustments include staying hydrated, cutting back on processed foods, and eliminating caffeine. You will also want to increase your vitamin and mineral intake by increasing your fruits and vegetables and your protein through lean meats. Consider a vitamin supplement that includes B12 and B vitamins along with magnesium.
Eat within an hour of waking up, and make sure you continue to eat regular meals.
Get outside during times of stress, and increase your low-impact exercises such as pilates, yoga, and cardio. Make sleep a priority, and practice mindfulness and meditation techniques. A warm bath in Epsom salts increases your magnesium levels and helps the body to relax.
How to Reverse Adrenal Fatigue with Functional Medicine
It’s never too early to seek guidance on how to reverse adrenal fatigue. You can visit a functional medicine doctor at any time, whether you’re anticipating a high-stress event such as a wedding or a move or experiencing increased stress, including job-related or financial issues.
Functional medicine doctors use cutting-edge medical testing to evaluate your body’s response to stress. They can recommend IV therapy, wellness plans, supplements, and other interventions to restore your body’s natural stress-coping abilities.
In Colorado True Life Medicine provides specialized diagnostics and therapies to treat the negative impact of stress and is uniquely qualified to know how to reverse adrenal fatigue. Stress is unavoidable, but you can improve your mood, sleep better, and stop the physical implications it has on your life.
Let True Life Medicine show you how to reverse adrenal fatigue and restore balance. Your journey to a better, healthier you starts here.