Adrenal Dysfunction and Low Energy
Do you feel tired all of the time?
Are you tired throughout the day, then in evening end up ‘wired’?
Experience fatigue in the afternoon that nothing seems to resolve?
Do you ever feel rested when you wake in the morning?
These are just some of the questions I ask patients who come to me experiencing Adrenal Dysfunction. In today’s society, we are overwhelmed with stressful experiences. Long-term stress results in an inadequate production of the hormone cortisol, which helps control your bodies response to stress. It is the hormone that is triggered in fight or flight responses, making it critical to our survival.
Symptoms of Adrenal Dysfunction:
Mood instability (e.g., Depression, Anxiety)
Excessive energy at inappropriate times (i.e., before bed)
Poor sleep quality, insomnia
Not feeling rested upon waking in the morning
Dealing with stressful events poorly
And many more…
Taking a thorough history and performing relevant physical exams typically is used to evaluate whether adrenal fatigue is the cause of your symptoms. In addition, testing is a part of evaluating fatigue, and ruling out all other potential causes of the fatigue is critical. This includes assessing any potential thyroid dysregulation (e.g., hashimoto’s hypothyroidism) or an iron deficiency anemia.
Occasionally, evaluating the actual production of cortisol becomes necessary. This is often done through acquiring 4 samples at various times throughout the day of either urine or saliva. Cortisol production should fluctuate appropriately throughout the day; rising in the morning to support you with energy to get out of bed, then slowly decreasing throughout the day and be at its lowest point before bed to allow sleep to come naturally.
Patients will often feel improvements in their energy when their underlying causes of fatigue have been treated. The basics include, improvements in nutrition and sleep quality. Acute symptom management such as experiencing heightened levels of anxiety or an inability to sleep (i.e., insomnia) will be treated, while working on the underlying cause.
Emphasis is placed on lifestyle interventions to decrease stress and make your body more resilient in dealing with stressful events. Having a counsellor or psychologist on your team at this point in time is helpful.
Apart from blood sugar regulation, nutrition optimization and stress management, there are various naturopathic treatments utilized. These often includes botanical herbs which work to support the production of cortisol and increase energy. Some herbals often utilized include:
Ashwagandha (Withania) -- increases energy, supports thyroid and sex hormones (e.g., estrogen, testosterone) production
Rhodiola -- improves the body's resistance to stress and increases physical stamina
Ginseng -- research shows that all 3 forms of ginseng increase energy, stamina, and reduce stress.
There are also specific nutrients that may be incorporated into the treatment as B Vitamins, Magnesium and Vitamin C are all crucial for the optimal health of the adrenal glands, which are responsible for the production of cortisol and sex hormones.
Vitamin IV’s or injections can be helpful in the short-term to give you an improvement in your energy while we are treating the underlying causes of your illness.
For more information on if Adrenal Dysfunction is affecting you, call to
book a complimentary 15-minute meet and greet session with Dr. Stephanie!