By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
February 11, 2013
- 4 out of 5 people will experience this fatigue syndrome
- Is stress REALLY the culprit?
- Restore your energy and vitality with these tips
If you’re like many aging adults, you may be finding it harder and harder to muster the energy to get out of bed in the morning. You slog through the day feeling stressed out and worn down. And no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get your energy levels back up to par.
You may think this is just a normal part of growing older. I know a lot of my patients think so. And a lot of medical professionals I’m acquainted with also tend to pass low energy and fatigue off as part of the aging process.
But it may be something else entirely; a fatigue syndrome many doctors don’t understand, much less know how to diagnose. Some doctors don’t even recognize it as a real medical condition.
Yet it’s estimated a whopping 80 percent of people will experience this condition at some point in their lifetime. That’s four out of every five people!
One of the reasons this syndrome is so difficult to diagnose – and even harder to understand – is because of the number of unrelated symptoms associated with it. These may include…
• Memory problems and forgetfulness
• Difficulty concentrating
• Cravings for sugar, caffeine and other stimulants
• Decreased libido
• Trouble sleeping
• Dizziness upon standing
• Cravings for foods high in salt and fats
• Low blood sugar
• Moodiness and depression
• Recurring infections and trouble recovering from illness
• Muscle pain and weakness
And that’s just the short list. When you tack on things like headaches, hair loss, weight gain and so forth, it clouds the picture even further. Each and every one of these ailments alone can easily be passed off as age-related changes. You might even put it off to a “phase” you’re going through.
But when you put two, three, four or more of these symptoms together the picture gets much clearer…
The condition I’m talking about is adrenal fatigue syndrome. And if you’re one of the “four out of five” who have experienced it – or are experiencing it right now – you know exactly how bad it can get. You just can’t function right! (Or to quote one of my patients “I just feel so out-of-sorts these days!”)
The underlying cause of adrenal fatigue is typically linked to chronic stress. You see, your body goes into a “fight or flight” response every time you feel threatened. And it doesn’t even matter whether the threat is real or not.
You could have a car pulling out in front of you… or a co-worker cursing you out. One is a real threat. The other is perceived. Either way your body is going to have the same response. It will release large amounts of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
And you’ve got to admit. We have a lot of stressors in today’s world. Money is tight and jobs are hard to come by. We’re dealing with growing children, ailing parents, deadlines and disagreements. Our lives are filled with things like flat tires and leaky roofs. Death, illness and broken relationships also take their toll.
Altogether, there are thousands of these pressure points that attack you from all angles, every single day of your life.
And when you’re constantly bombarded by stress, the production of the two hormones cortisol and adrenalin (or DHEA) never has the chance to return to normal. This can lead to two problems…
- Excess production of cortisol: When you’re constantly under stress your adrenal glands work overtime to produce plenty of cortisol. And that’s a big problem. Continual generation of excess cortisol can affect your brain function, sleep, immune function, blood pressure and the accumulation of abdominal fat.
- Adrenal fatigue: When your adrenal glands can’t keep up with demand, they become fatigued and cortisol production diminishes. This can cause many different physical and mental problems to unfold, including muddied thinking, brain fog, depression, low thyroid function and inflammation.
In other words, stress is one of largest factors associated with this disorder. The more stress you have, the higher the drain on your adrenals. And once they’ve become fatigued, it seems like you’ll never have the energy to feel normal again. This, of course, adds even more stress to your life. It becomes a never-ending circle. And you just want out!
So the big question of the day is this. What can you do to reverse and prevent this condition… and regain control of your life, energy levels and mental function?
Adrenal fatigue doesn’t happen overnight. However there are numerous things you can do to address, prevent and even reverse this unsettling condition so you can reclaim your energy, concentration and a healthy life.
While I can’t address each and every one of them in a single newsletter issue, I can give you a few starter points. I’ll try and tackle more in a later issue, or maybe in a special report where I can really dig into the meat of this energy-sapping condition.
In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to get started in the right direction… Since the majority of our stressors come in the psychological/emotional variety and NOT the physical type as in days of old… even 150 years ago:
- Soothe your stress away – It’s easy to get caught up in the drama of life, but not so easy to reserve an hour or two to take care of your own self. Schedule a massage, sneak away for a long weekend or just soak in a hot tub on a Friday night every now and again.The key is to do something you find comforting and enjoyable, even if it’s just curling up with a good book and a hot cup of cocoa in front of the fire. Let the world – and the drama of life – disappear during your “alone time.” If you can’t find the time for any of these activities, then practice “mindfulness.” Spend a few minutes doing slow deep breathing… or enjoying your food visually before you eat it… It’s easy and it works – and it is something that allows your inner hamster to get off the wheel. Stopping to smell the roses counts too.
- Eat regular meals – Low blood sugar is closely associated with low adrenal function. It can also affect your mood, mental processing and energy levels. You can keep your blood sugar up by eating three solid meals a day with healthy snacks in between. Add plenty of proteins and veggies, and avoid processed foods that are laden with empty carbs that send you on a sugar high – followed by a sugar crash. You should look at energy drinks with sugar and caffeine as cheats that catch up with you eventually.
- Involve yourself in proven relaxation techniques – Many of my patients find activities like yoga, meditation and acupuncture can work wonders when it comes to soothing their stress. I especially like programs like yoga and tai chi that support “inner calmness” while providing stress-relieving physical exercises.
- Take supplements that support adrenal health – Vitamin C, all of the B vitamins (especially extra B5 and B6) and CoQ10 are especially important.
• Vitamin C is essential for adrenal metabolism and function. For adrenal fatigue, I recommend 3,000-6,000 mg. daily in divided doses.
• The B vitamins also support adrenal function, but they also help reduce your stress load. Look for a B-complex formula that has at least 100 mg of B5 and B6, along with 300 mcg of B12.
• CoQ10 is vital for supplying oxygen and energy to the cells of your adrenals. I prefer the ubiquinol form of CoQ10. It’s not only more absorbable, it’s also more powerful. Just 100 mg daily is all it takes.
These are small steps that can have big results when it comes to reducing stress and beginning the process of rebuilding your adrenal health.
Stay tuned for more information on this topic so you can fully regain all of that energy and vitality that you may be missing in your life