Adrenal fatigue: Warning signs you’re running on stress and why it leads to health issues

Adrenal fatigue: Warning signs you’re running on stress and why it leads to health issues

There’s no denying it, mortgage pressures, rental price hikes and pandemic provocations have all contributed to increasing stress levels in recent years. And for some, we are more stressed than ever before.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as many as one in five Aussies between the ages of 16 and 34 experience chronic stress, and alarmingly, this number continues to rise.

More and more patients who seek assistance through Happy Healthy You come to me with stress, tiredness, weight gain around the abdomen, body aches, poor sleep, chronic fatigue, digestive problems, and a decrease in libido.

These are all symptoms of a condition called adrenal fatigue.

What is adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is often ignored despite how debilitating it can be. Its causes are many, but mostly it is fuelled by chronic emotional, physical, and/or mental stressors.

If you’re suffering from the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, chances are that there’s a communication breakdown somewhere in your central stress response system.

When the adrenals are activated as a result of prolonged stress, the reproductive system automatically begins to shut down (this is called metabolic adaptation), which leads to these symptoms.

Our symptoms are a signal to us that things are off balance and an opportunity to step in and make changes to support ourselves.

What are the warning signs of adrenal fatigue?

So, how do you pinpoint the cause?

Adrenal fatigue affects individuals who push themselves to the limit in everything they do.

In most cases, these people overwork, overtrain, and overthink. They’re also the biggest critics of their own lives, constantly striving for perfection and success or prioritising everyone else instead of themselves.

While there are many warning signs leading to adrenal fatigue, the main contributing factor can be summed up in two words: chronic stress.

Additional warning signs to look out for:

  • Hypothyroidism. This will slow your adrenal function right down.
  • Thyroid medication overuse. This is likened to pushing the gas down on the adrenal glands which just shoots up your adrenaline and wreaks more havoc.
  • Inflammation. Can be triggered by using toxic products, eating processed foods and high stress which impacts digestion. Certain types of inflammation can rob the body of its ability to produce cortisol, which is recognised as the body’s top anti-inflammatory agent. As a result, chronic inflammation can lead to adrenal issues.
  • Corticosteroid medications. (Things like inhalers, allergy medications, creams, etc). The longer they’re used, the more suppressive they are to your adrenals – in some cases, it can take longer than six months to recover.
  • Poor kidney and liver function. The kidneys and liver convert and process all our hormones including our stress hormones. When we are very stressed out, our adrenals make more cortisone than cortisol which forces us to slow down and rest but unfortunately, very few of us ever listen to our bodies. A repeat of this process also puts extra strain on these organs.

That’s why the most effective way to begin healing your symptoms and preventing a reoccurrence is with stress management practices.

How to support adrenal fatigue

For healing to occur, we tell our Happy Healthy You patients the importance of putting a stop to ignoring the signals your body is sending.

One of the best ways to manage stress outside of good sleep habits, holistic nutrition, avoiding caffeine and implementing mindfulness and yoga, is supporting the adrenals through providing minerals like magnesium.

Magnesium is a co-factor in more than 300 reactions in your body and is one of the minerals that is swiftly ‘used up’ when the body is under stress. Magnesium supplementation and mineral support can alleviate a lot of stress symptoms.

One of Happy Healthy You’s key products MSP (Magnesium, Sleep and Pain) is formulated with copper for optimal absorption and is worth considering to support this.

Another simple tip is to include an adrenal cocktail in your daily routine. This provides the body with adrenal nourishing minerals which are otherwise depleted during high stress responses.

Try this recipe:

  • Half a cup of coconut water
  • Half a cup of cold pressed fresh orange juice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar.

However, adrenal fatigue can be a complex condition that requires an experienced practitioner to assist you with the symptoms.

Please reach out to our Happy Health You practitioner team – we’re always happy to help you in understanding what’s going on with your body.

For further information or advice, connect with me via the Happy Healthy You Community groups or listen in to the Happy Healthy You Podcast.

Tahlia Thomas

This article was written by Tahlia Thomas, an Integrative Nutritionist with a BHSc in Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine who specialises in GIT function and women’s health.

She is a women’s health coach and nutritionist for Happy Healthy You, an Australian-based health and lifestyle company, established by Olympian Lisa Curry and Naturopath, Women’s Hormonal Specialist and Author Jeff Butterworth, to provide women with information, products, and natural alternatives to hormonal imbalance.

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