You’ve spent the entire day chasing after the kids or answering to the boss at work and by the end of the day, you are exhausted. You gladly drop into bed, hoping this time you will sleep through the night. You wake up tired and even if you’re lucky enough to have a relatively relaxing day ahead of you, you know it won’t matter, because you’ll still be tired. In addition, you have a hard time concentrating, muscle pain, anxiety and maybe even depression. It’s been like this for over 6 months and you’re beginning to think it’s your new state of life and a miserable one at that. But it’s not just life or old age, chances are it’s chronic fatigue and too many of us are suffering from it without even realizing it.
Stress is often the main contributor – sourced from our jobs, kids, financial pressures or relationship turmoil. Poor nutrition (too much caffeine and carbohydrates) and over-exercising also lead our bodies down this destructive path. In this case, it is likely to be adrenal fatigue or adrenal dysfunction. Your adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol to manage stress, low blood sugar, excitement and exercise. The problem is that our adrenal glands aren’t meant to work so hard, so often and eventually, they can’t keep up with the cortisol demand.
This inability to produce the cortisol our bodies need, sends a chain reaction to all our other hormones. Progesterone (which is created from cholesterol) is used to produce cortisol and DHEA (a hormone necessary to maintain other hormonal imbalances). In the case of adrenal fatigue, DHEA production decreases and other hormones follow suit, causing further hormonal imbalance and symptoms.
Chronic fatigue can also be caused by a hormone imbalance. In women, low estrogen and progesterone associated with menopause leads to insomnia and other symptoms that can cause fatigue. In men, low testosterone found in andropause reduces energy production and also frequently leads to insomnia and fatigue.
Chronic fatigue or adrenal fatigue can seem hard to avoid but there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Avoid hydrogenated fats (like margarine), caffeine, alcohol, sugar and refined carbohydrates (like white rice or pasta made with white flour). Maintain healthy levels of the B vitamins which help progesterone production and hence cortisol and DHEA production. Vitamin C and magnesium also help adrenal function. And of course, since stress can be a main cause, take time to find ways to manage stress in your life, like reading, yoga, meditation or others to relax yourself.
If you try these suggestions and find little to no improvement, consider hormone testing with a bioidentical hormone expert physician, like those found at BodyLogicMD, to treat the problem at its core.
Make chronic fatigue a thing of the past and get your life back!