In the 21st century, with our lives complicated, more and more people suffer from stress. The negative effects of stress can have an impact on many health areas. The adrenal glands in particular can be seriously affected.
The adrenal glands are close to the kidneys and produce the necessary hormones for our body to function properly. Stress affects these glands negatively, because the glands begin to produce more hormones to help the body cope when the body is under severe stress (the classic answer is “fight or flee”). Cortisol is the main hormone that regulates metabolism and responds to stress.
Of course, a response to stress is required in some circumstances. However, when stress occurs for a long time, these glands weaken our body and cause adrenal fatigue. What are adrenal fatigue symptoms?
5 adrenal fatigue symptoms
1. Excessive tiredness, unexplained.
Adrenal fatigue makes someone very tired. This is because hormone levels are high in stressful situations, making it difficult to sleep. The body’s cortisol levels are affected over time, making the body almost permanently alert. All of this can affect the ability of a person to sleep or sleep well in the evening. A person might think he sleeps enough (recommended 8 to 10 hours), but he can still wake up feeling tired.
2. Salty or sugar food cravings.
Adrenal fatigue affects the human body by reducing levels of blood sugar. When this happens, energy food cravings increase and a person feels like eating sugarier foods. Sugar-rich foods are also comfort foods and stress can increase the intake of high sugar foods. Adrenal fatigue may also cause salty food cravings. This is because the adrenal glands influence how mineral fluctuations are regulated by the kidneys. The body releases more minerals into the urine when we suffer from fatigue. This in turn can make salty snacks more desirable.
3. Increased afternoon energy.
A person with adrenal fatigue may find that he is tired all day, but then he experiences an increase in energy at night. At the end of the morning, cortisol usually reaches a peak and then reduces during the day.
4. Difficulty in stress management.
The normal response of the body to stress is to release specific hormones in order to manage stress effectively. The three specific hormones are cortisol, adrenaline, norepinephrine and the knowledge of how they affect the body helps us understand the stress relationship.
It gives the body extra energy to deal with stress, increases the function of the memory and reduces pain sensitivity. However, after the release of cortisol in a stress-related situation, the body needs a rest period. If a person suffers, adrenal fatigue rarely has the “rest period” with time to produce less and less cortisol.
Adrenaline is probably the most famous hormone for stress response. Adrenaline provides us with the initial energy burst needed to respond to stress. Once again, the amount of this hormone is affected by adrenal fatigue and the response to stress is reduced.
This hormone helps the brain focus on stress. The stress response could be described as lethargic without this active hormone.
5. There are more infections. Cortisol helps to regulate the body’s immune system and acts as an anti – inflammatory agent. Too much cortisol hinders the immune system’s response for a prolonged period of time and causes more infections. On the other hand, if the adrenal glands are so weakened that they produce too little cortisol, the body’s response to infections that cause certain autoimmune disorders is overreacting.