Previously in this series:

Once I started digging into the root cause of adrenal fatigue I couldn’t help but be reminded that our body works as a whole and as such can not simply be “spot healed”. When we are talking about the adrenals we are talking about hormones. While we have different hormones that have different functions in the body, they are all weaved together and therefore must be looked at as interdependent.

All of my research has really given me a “lightbulb moment”. What first made me question my adrenals was having a low thyroid. What made me test my thyroid was a low milk supply. When my thyroid was medicated and I still wasn’t making enough milk I knew that something else had to be going on. So when I ran into my lactation consultant at the health food store and she mentioned getting my progesterone levels tested if I have another baby it started to click.

Perhaps all of my hormones (and the glands that secrete them) need balancing, not just my thyroid. Which brings me back to the adrenal glands and what has caused them to be fatigued in the first place.

Lifestyle

Too much stress. {rant warning}…This seems to be one of the primary factors in adrenal fatigue. One of the problems is the hectic modern lifestyle. The lust for more (stuff, promotions, entertainment). The desire to “succeed”. I’ve been indoctrinated with this “american dream” my whole life. You work as hard as you can to go to college, then to succeed in college, then to find the highest paying jobs so that you can live in the suburbs in a house big enough for four families. You “need” two cars and pay someone else to raise and educate your children so you very rarely see them. All so that they can go to college and start this whole hamster wheel all over again. We are always going, but never asking “what manner of persons ought ye to be?”

Not enough sleep. This is more a product of the lifestyle I just mentioned than anything. Amanda also made a good point in the comments about the high rate of adrenal fatigue among new moms and midwives. One thing that neither of them get is consistent, adequate sleep.

Environmental Toxins. There are many new man made foods, drugs and chemicals that can throw our hormones out of whack. Soy is one that we have been told is really good for us, even though it can cause estrogen dominance and is not very well suited for human consumption. Birth control pills and patches are another unnatural hormone we put into our bodies. Their is chlorine and fluoride in our water – both of which are toxic, and yet we are told that they are necessary. There are hormones added to conventionally raised meat and yes studies have shown that these hormones are then transferred to humans. All this to say their are many environmental reasons that our adrenals and overall hormonal balance have been thrown out of whack.

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Nutrition

Excessive carbohydrate intake. I seem to be on a ranting roll today so let’s just talk about the food pyramid. Thankfully it has been toned down a bit, but at one point they were recommending 6-11 servings of grains per day! Did you know that the pyramid was created by a mega-PR firm, Porter Novelli International. Their past clients include McDonald’s and the Snack Food Association. Hmmm… something tells me they aren’t really looking out for our health. Back to the adrenals…Carbohydrates produce excessive amounts of insulin, which the body reads as stress. This then forces the adrenal glands to release cortisol, even though there is no environmental stress to be seen. When this happens over and over again through out the days and weeks our adrenal glands become exhausted. (30 symptoms of adrenal fatigue)

Not enough cholesterol and saturated fat in the diet. Everyone says that saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for us, but did you know that dietary cholesterol is absolutely necessary for the production of hormones? And did you also know that studies have shown that infertility has been “cured” when women switch to full fat dairy instead of fat-free? Amazing, but common sense.

Caffeine. Too much caffeine can overstimulate us to the point where we are calling on our adrenals to deal with the stress of a caffeine buzz. I had a brief addiction to coffee last year and have since given it up, but it wasn’t until I quit drinking coffee and then have the occasional cup that I realized how poorly my body responds to it.

Zinc deficiency. Apparently the adrenal gland functioning is dependent on the levels of zinc in our body. There is something called a copper-zinc imbalance which you can read more about here. Zinc deficiency can be caused by many things, but it appears that improperly prepared grains and vegetarianism can be a problem. Consider using sprouted or soaked grains and eating clean, pastured meats.

Lack of Good Salt. Sodium levels are crucial to the functioning of the adrenal glands. But not all salts are created equal. After I had my last baby part of my recovery recommended by my osteopath was to drink salt water made from good sea salt. There are many other things, which I will probably cover next in my recovery plan. For now I will leave you with some really great articles that were part of the basis of my research.

Recommended Reading

Using the above information we can formulate a healing plan for our adrenals. Of course we should always seek out the advice of a health care professional and please do not construe my thoughts as medical advice.

Do you need to heal your adrenal glands?

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