The most common form of adrenal imbalance is overuse of the adrenal glands, resulting in adrenal exhaustion. This condition is often associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and it is implicated in a number of maladies, including hormone imbalances, poor metabolism and digestion, blood sugar imbalances, and heart disease.
Stress, excess use of stimulants (including caffeine), and viruses (including herpes virus 6 and Epstein Barr virus) can all cause adrenal exhaustion. When you have to drink more and more caffeine and artificial stimulants to get the same effects, you are on the path toward adrenal exhaustion. At first, you may experience an accelerated energy that is often “speedy” or “wired.” This is a sign of excess cortisol and other hormones activated by the adrenal glands pumping adrenaline into your system. You may lose your appetite and have trouble concentrating. Later, when your adrenal glands are exhausted, cortisol is absent and symptoms may include:
- Constant fatigue, no matter how much sleep you get
- Difficulty mustering energy for normal functions
- Tenderness of the lymph nodes
- Light headedness
- Mental cloudiness
- Back pain
- Low blood sugar
- Reduced libido
You may also experience disturbed sleep patterns, mood swings, headache, and loss of appetite.
What Causes Adrenal Imbalances?
Adrenal imbalance is, by definition, a hormone imbalance. The adrenal glands produce several hormones essential to our energy levels and our “fight or flight” reactions in case of emergency. The most important of these is cortisol, the hormone that helps us deal with stress and fear. These hormones affect other chemicals in the body, including blood sugar, sodium, potassium, and magnesium, creating a chain reaction within the body. So what causes this imbalance to begin with?
- Chronic stress
- Excess caffeine and other artificial stimulants
- Excess adrenal cortex supplementation
- Digestive problems
- Food allergies, including wheat and gluten sensitivities
- Lack of proper sleep
Treating Adrenal Imbalance
The most important thing you can do for adrenal exhaustion is to change your lifestyle choices that are causing the condition, and create healthier lifestyle habits. Here are the essential treatment choices:
- Reduce the amount of caffeine you consume through coffee, sodas, and artificial stimulants.
- Reduce stress through relaxation of the mind and body and through lifestyle changes, bodywork, and meditation.
- Take pure organic maca root from a super food supplement. Maca is an incredible super food from the mountains of Peru, where it’s been used for 10,000 years for adrenal, thyroid and hormonal support.
- Add a DHEA supplement (approximately 200 mg daily).
- See the Stress entry later in this book.
- Avoid saturated fats, trans- fats and other food toxins. Reduce sugars and carbohydrates. Increase protein consumption.
- Supplement your body chemistry with magnesium; potassium; vitamins B, C and E; and Pantothenic Acid.