I suffer from adrenal fatigue....what now?
Hey Hey Diva Friends!
Hey all! Thank you so much for taking the survey recently - if you haven't had a chance yet please take 2 minutes to answer few questions below so I can provide more information and fun content that YOU want...
I was reviewing your answers and one question stuck out to me and I got really excited to answer it!
"I suffer from adrenal fatigue like many women.
How can gut health, diet, or exercise help?"
I LOVE THIS QUESTIONS because I too have struggled with adrenal fatigue. In fact being aware of adrenal fatigue and the importance of hormones was what prompted to seek natural healing paths and ultimately led me to FDN!
Gut health, diet, and exercise are CRUCIAL components in the healing process so let's talk about each one...But before I jump into that, what IS adrenal fatigue? HPA axis dysfunction is the sciency-term for what we commonly call adrenal fatigue. There's a lot of huffing and puffing going on about the name of it because the more we learn about what it actually is, the more we realize it's not that your adrenals are tired but it's actually a breakdown in your stress regulation system.
Your hypothalamus receives signals from your environment (mental, emotional, or external) that communicate stress. Your hypothalamus then translates that information to your pituitary gland and your pituitary gland tells your adrenals what hormones to pump out. When we are in an acute stress state your adrenals are pumping out adrenaline, cortisol, and other fight or flight hormones.
Typically, this stress goes away shortly and there is a feed back loop where your adrenals communicate back to your brain effectively shutting everything back down and your body returns to homeostasis. Adrenal fatigue is when this hypothalmus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has been activated so long, that the wires get crossed and the feedback loop is no longer effective. When this happens certain hormones become imbalanced and your body cannot regulate them in the appropriate ratios anymore.
This is when people begin to feel symptoms of fatigue, exhaustion, inability to cope with stress, blood sugar irregulation, anxiety and more.
There are many reasons that this can happen. Severe acute stress or trauma can induce adrenal fatigue, but more commonly in our society it's brought on by chronic stress. Chronic stress can be environmental (think mold or chemical overload), nutritional, mental/emotional, or physical. So let's talk about gut health, diet and exercise and they can help or hinder your healing process.
Your gut is commonly called the "second brain" but some experts wish it was more accurately called the first brain. Your gut sends more signals to your brain than your brain does to your gut. That's right....your gut essentially controls your brain. All those little microbiota in there are crucial for brain health... 2 parts of the HPA axis are in....the BRAIN!
You can get really in depth and talk about the science of how neurotransmitters and hormones are regulated in the gut, or you can go the woo-woo route and talk about how you manifest stress in the gut. It doesn't matter which angle you come from, the health of the gut is incredibly important for regulating your hormones AND your brain.
What helps your gut health the most but diet? Anything from inflammation in the gut, to hyper permability (leaky gut), to gut dysbiosis (parasites or bacterial imbalances etc...) can be influenced in a positive or negative way from your diet.
- Foods can cause inflammation or they can calm it.
- Foods can cause the tight junctions to open up in your gut lining or food can protect and soothe your gut lining.
- Certain foods can regulate hormones
- Food and fiber and regulate hormones, increase gut motility, and eliminate toxins (buildup of which can cause brain and hormone imbalances)
Thankfully, this is one aspect of our lives we have complete control over. When we commit to a pesticide free, chemical free, whole food approach to our diets, we lay the foundation for other changes to be more effective.
While exercise is a helpful acute stress for healthy people, if you are in the exhaustive stage of adrenal fatigue (low cortisol, depleted hormones, tired often, inconsistent sleep and diurnal rhythms...) then exercise becomes another stressor that actually DEPLETES your body of the few resources it has left.
When trying to heal from adrenal fatigue calming exercise like walking and yoga are the best options. As your body heals you can increase the amount of exercise but since chronic exercise and over exercise can damage the gut, that's just another reason to take it easy until you've made lots of headway in the right direction!
Stress relief, the right nutrition, targeted healing for the gut, and health promoting movement are all steps you can take to reverse your adrenal fatigue, balance your hormones, calm anxiety and get back to your best life! I know because I've been there and this year, 2018, I feel better than ever! I'm not done healing and I have more to work on, but I have seen amazing sleep, more libido, and tons more energy just to name a few improvements!
Interested in digging deep to find the root cause of your hormone imbalances? Click the link below to schedule a free call to find if working together is right for you!
Do you or have you struggled from adrenal fatigue? I'd love to hear your experience...share in the comments below!