Adrenal fatigue is a term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. The term often shows up in popular health books and on alternative medicine websites, but it isn’t an accepted medical diagnosis.
The symptoms of adrenal fatigue are said to include:
- trouble getting to sleep and waking up.
- craving salt and sugar.
- unexplained weight loss.
- reliance on stimulants such as caffeine.
- nonspecific digestive problems.
Adrenal fatigue vs. adrenal insufficiency disorder
Adrenal insufficiency is a recognized disorder that occurs when adrenal glands don’t make enough of certain hormones. Many natural medicine professionals accept adrenal fatigue as a definition of a mild form of adrenal insufficiency, though adrenal fatigue symptoms are more nonspecific and do not match up.
Adrenal insufficiency symptoms:
- Extreme fatigue
- Weight loss and decreased appetite
- Darkening of your skin (hyperpigmentation)
- Low blood pressure (fainting)
- Salt craving
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle or joint pains
- Body hair loss or sexual dysfunction in women
What are adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands, which are tiny, crescent-shaped organs seated on top of your kidneys, are in charge of releasing several important hormones. Cortisol, aldosterone, DHEA, androgenic steroids, norepinephrine, and epinephrine all come from your adrenal glands. These hormones help regulate (2) your immune system, metabolism, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions.
For example, cortisol is one of your primary stress hormones and helps regulate your energy levels. The two most common ways these nickel-sized organs can cause health issues are by producing too little or too much of certain hormones. If you often wake up tired in the mornings and still feel like you need a nap in the afternoon and can’t sleep at night, you may be suffering from what many integrative experts now refer to as adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue isn’t an accepted medical diagnosis. It is a lay term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. Your adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones that are essential to life.
How do you manage adrenal fatigue?
The suggested treatments for healthy adrenal function are a diet low in sugar, caffeine, and junk food, and “targeted nutritional supplementation” that includes vitamins and minerals: Vitamins B5, B6, and B12. Vitamin C. Magnesium.
Is adrenal fatigue real?
Like many medical doctors, he says adrenal fatigue doesn’t exist: “It’s something made up by naturopathic doctors; endocrinologists don’t recognize it as a real condition.” … However, adrenal fatigue is essentially a stress reaction, and stress is very well understood as a cause of illness.”
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