Stress-Based Adrenal Fatigue is on the Rise
Adrenal fatigue is described as a decrease in the function of the adrenal glands that characteristically manifests as a reduced output or alteration in the diurnal pattern of the adrenal gland hormone secretion, including cortisol. People suffering from decreased adrenal function commonly complain of fatigue, but may also experience sleep disruptions, weight changes, salt and/or sugar cravings, allergies, anxiousness, nervousness, low blood pressure and numerous other symptoms.
Saliva testing reveals adrenal fatigue is widespread in the United States. Functional medicine clinics have observed that more than 80 percent of patients experience some level of adrenal dysfunction or adrenal fatigue in men and women at any age. Many individuals in their early 20s today are already experiencing adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue may begin abruptly or because of prolonged, repeated stress. Sources include recurrent disease and illness; physical stress (injury, diet, surgery, tobacco, alcohol addiction, etc.); emotional stress (marriage, divorce, death of a loved one, strenuous work relationships, a new baby, financial insecurity, etc.); and environmental stress (chemical pollution of air, water, food, etc.).
Successful support and treatment protocols for people with decreased adrenal function include lifestyle modification to include exercise, healthy sleep patterns with ideal sleeping hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., balanced diet high in vegetables, including healthy fats and proteins, frequent laughter, and deep breathing exercises; and avoidance of food allergies/sensitivities, caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars.
Individualized treatment plans may include the following depending upon saliva testing results (phase I, phase II or phase III): supplementation of dietary cofactors necessary for adrenal function including vitamins C, B5, B6 and E; physiologic cortisol supplementation; and phosphorylated serine (elevated cortisol levels only).
It is important to note that the different stages of adrenal fatigue may all present with the same symptoms, yet treatment protocols can be significantly different, based on the diurnal pattern and volume of cortisol production for each individual patient. Testing adrenal function is a critical first step in devising the correct treatment plan.
Kenneth Haas, DC, CCSP, is the founder of Haas Wellness Center, located at 3315 Springbank Ln., Ste. 102, in Charlotte. For more information or to set up a no-charge consultation, call 704-837-2420, email [email protected]HaasWellnessCenters.com or visit www.HaasWellnessCenters.com.