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Stress and Adrenal Fatigue


We all experience stress (physical, emotional, mental) on a daily basis.  Most of us have found ways to cope with it. However, when the stress becomes too much, our bodies can no longer handle it and the adrenal glands become taxed.

The adrenal glands sit atop your kidneys and are responsible for stress management, the production of primary sex hormones, blood sugar regulation, immune response and fluid regulation.  Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands become depleted.  Usually, adrenal fatigue is not noticed until the patient shows symptoms of two possible adrenal diseases; one being Addison’s disease and the other being Cushing’s syndrome.  Adrenal fatigue can be treated well before these diseases become present, if recognized at an earlier time.

Some symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue are difficulty getting up on the morning, fatigue not relieved by sleep, poor memory, cravings for salt or salty foods, lack of energy, decreased ability to handle stress and/or increased recovery time from illness, injury or trauma.  The adrenal glands are stress glands and are involved in the recovery of most chronic diseases.

Some tips to restore the adrenals back to a healthy state are eating a protein-rich breakfast before 10 a.m., significantly reduce or remove caffeine from your diet, get regular chiropractic adjustments to optimize nervous system function, be in bed before 10 p.m. and sleep in until 9 a.m. whenever you can, and get regular exercise to reduce excess weight and normalize blood sugar.
There are three phases of Adrenal fatigue.  The first being the Alarm phase which is indicated by high cortisol and DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) levels.  This response is that of healthy adrenal glands in response to a physical or emotional stressor. Cortisol and DHEA are released in high quantities in response to stress signals. But, if this response is prolonged, it begins to deplete DHEA and cortisol.

The second phase is determined by high levels of cortisol and low levels of DHEA.  The Resistance Phase is the response of the body for extra cortisol to handle the stress.  The body then diverts to making more cortisol, leaving no precursors to synthesize DHEA. For this reason, the DHEA is usually low.

The third and final phase, or the Exhaustion Phase, is when both cortisol and DHEA levels are low.  The precursors to both cortisol and DHEA are exhausted and both the DHEA and cortisol levels are diminished.  The adrenals are no longer able to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for cortisol production needed to overcome the stress. Cortisol output starts to decline and this usually happens gradually. If the stressors are severe, an adrenal crash may occur, to be followed by a longer than usual recovery.

Think your adrenal glands are overworked? We can help. Schedule a consult today! 847-259-6605