Illustrated map by Ed Fairburn (artist)Adrenal fatigue Sally Pattison March 4, 2015 Well Body & Mind 1475 Adrenal fatigue has a huge affect on how beautiful you feel Excess weight around the abdominal region – those extra rolls have just appeared. How did they get there? Your clothes just don’t fit like they use to, the muffin top has started to appear. The extra tyre that lies above the waist band. Too tired to exercise, metabolism has slowed, feeling sluggish and exhausted? Ever heard of adrenal fatigue? Adrenals are small, but powerful organs that affect our hormones Our adrenals are small, but powerful organs that sit just above our kidneys. They control a lot of our hormones – from cortisol to adrenalin; they affect our pituitary to our thyroid, even our sex hormones. So if you can add low libido to the tiredness and abdominal weight gain – guess what you need to check – your adrenal health. Fight or flight – too much stress Remember the ‘fight or flight’ response our body has when confronted with a stressful situation? Our body automatically produces stress hormones that provide us with what we need to stay and fight or run for safety. What use to happen is the stress was dealt with – the fight occurred or we ran away from the perceived threat. However, in today’s fast paced, time driven world, the stress may be a deadline, running late for work….there is no physical fight or flight needed. Hormonal imbalance leads to excess glucose But, our adrenals have still manufactured those hormones in preparedness. Now if not used, these hormones can cause imbalances in our body. So the glucose released from storage to fuel the muscles for the fight or flight is circulating in our bodies, along with the adrenaline and cortisol. As we don’t actually need the glucose, insulin is released to deal with it. Now our bodies are clever enough to do this. But, if we continue to repeat this scenario several times a day, day after day in our high powered, high stress careers, our bodies stop responding as effectively. So then what? Well this excess glucose leads to excess abdominal weight! ‘Tired but wired’ at bed time The cells start to become insulin resistant thus lead to metabolic syndrome- more weight gain! Insulin resistance, Leptin resistance and cortisol resistance… Slippery slide. Our adrenals can’t continue to produce the necessary hormones like cortisol so we find it difficult to get up in the morning. By the time they do kick in we are meant to be going to sleep – so now we are ‘tired but wired’ at bed time. Thyroid out of balance – weight gain and low libido Our thyroid is also depleted as it attempts to bring balance and homeostasis back to the body. So now our metabolism is slowing – more weight gain and libido drops. And what about those sex hormones I mentioned? Well our oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone our now out of whack too and this can lead to increased PMS symptoms, lower libido, and compromised fertility or more extreme menopausal symptoms. Even your immune system is affected, the higher the stress exposure, the lower your immunity. High, long term stress is a main contributor to autoimmune conditions and chronic degenerative disease. Sleep deprivation alone will lead to increased weight, especially visceral fat (the dangerous type like that found in fatty liver disease – Which by the way is one of the fastest growing diseases in Australia) and insulin resistance. What can we do about this? The answer is multifactorial. We have to address it from many levels – firstly testing to find out just how the adrenals are feeling. Some simple home tests: Adrenals – check your blood pressure when lying and then when standing – if it drops instead of raising – suspect adrenals. Thyroid – basal temperature – monitor your morning temperature – if it is below 36.6 to 36.8C on 3 or more consecutive days – more testing is suggested. Functional pathology: Adrenals – preferred option is saliva (yes your read it correctly – a spit test) and at least 4 samples over the day as cortisol levels are meant to change throughout the day. Thyroid – just because your TSH is ‘in normal range’ is not definitive. It is but one factor and by no means the best one. There is also the T3, T4, rT3, free T3 and free T4 and the antibodies that may be hiding the answer to your clinical symptoms. Treatment You need to look at diet and lifestyle, possibly get some adrenal support and if necessary thyroid support too. Rest and allow your body to heal. Will the weight drop, energy lift and libido return? Yes. How long will it take? Now that is a more difficult one to answer – it is dependent on just how long they have been fatigued for and what state they are in, as well as how compliant you are with treatment options. Sally Pattison is a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and massage therapist. She’s passionate about helping women detox, energise, have healthy guts and empower people to be well. Related Tags: Body Image Dissatisfaction Like & share: Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Sign me up for the newsletter!