The majority of my patients suffer from fatigue, insomnia, low libido, allergies, weight gain and mood swings. Does that sound like you? If so, your underlying problem may be adrenal fatigue, known in the medical field as chronic fatigue syndrome, (CFS.) Most patients I see with this constellation of symptoms are women. Every woman with these symptoms should have a blood chemistry panel done to rule out chronic viral infections, and also test the adrenal function using a simple in home saliva test to determine if their adrenal glands are experiencing functional exhaustion (chronic fatigue.)
The adrenal glands can be in one of seven distinct stages of fatigue depending on the severity, type, and chronicity of stress exposures.
The effects of chronic fatigue dysfunction can be profound.
These are the common symptoms associated with chronic fatigue:
- fatigue and weakness
- fibromyalgia pain
- suppression of the immune system
- hormonal imbalance
- moodiness or depression
- muscle and bone loss
- blood sugar imbalances
- low libido
- chronic viruses
- stubborn weight loss
- lack of concentration
- brain fog
Can these symptoms be reversed or controlled?
The good news is that chronic fatigue can be diagnosed and with great accuracy using the results of a specific blood chemistry exam and a salivary hormone test as guides. Choose an experienced healthcare professional in the natural healing arts as your first choice.
What does the adrenal gland do?
To understand how chronic fatigue develops, it is important to understand the function of the adrenal glands. These walnut sized glands are located on top of each kidney. They are important central centers for many of the body’s hormones. The outer layer of the gland called the adrenal cortex produces hormones that include cortisol, dhea, estrogen and testosterone. The center of the gland, called the medulla, produces adrenaline and related hormones.
One of the basic tasks of your adrenal glands is to quickly mobilize all your body’s resources in to a “fight or flight” mode by increasing production of adrenaline and other hormones. When healthy, your adrenals can instantly increase your heart rate and blood pressure, release your energy stores for immediate use, slow your digestion and sharpen your senses.
Healthy Stress Response
There are two important points that need to be emphasized about this healthy stress response.
- First, it takes priority over all other metabolic functions.
- Second, it was not designed to last very long…. just to handle emergencies.
However, unlike our ancestors, we live in constant stress. Instead of occasional, acute demands followed by rest, we are now constantly over worked, poorly nourished, exposed to environmental toxins, and live in various states of anxiety or fear, with no let up.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue?
Every challenge to the mind, emotions, and body creates a demand on the adrenal glands. And the list of challenges is endless:
- financial pressures,
- marital discord
- loss of income
- personality conflicts
- unresolved emotional or family issues
- illness or infection
- nutritional deficiencies
- changes to your work environment
As a result, the adrenal glands that are constantly on red alert and fatigued.
Cortisol, hormones and the stress response
When the adrenal glands are constantly stressed, the levels of cortisol can go too high and/or the levels of dhea too low. Cortisol helps us to meet the challenges of life by converting proteins into energy, releasing glycogen, and counteracting inflammation.
But at sustained high levels, cortisol can destroy healthy muscle and bone, slow down healing and normal cell regeneration, co-opt bio-chemicals needed to make other vital hormones, impair digestion, metabolism and mental function, weaken your immune system and make you put on weight that you can’t easily lose with dieting and/or exercise.
When the adrenals are chronically overworked, they lose the capacity to produce significant amounts of dhea, which is the precursor hormone to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Inadequate dhea contributes to fatigue, depression, aching joints, decreased sex drive, impaired immune function, loss of bone and muscle mass.
Can I resolve this without seeing a doctor?
To give your adrenal glands the support they need, it is my experience that patients with mild fatigue can see significant improvement by getting more rest, meditating, reducing obvious stressors, increasing exercise moderately and enriching nutrient intake while reducing carbohydrates and stimulants.
Patients with more severe symptoms or those who have reached complete adrenal exhaustion (stage 7), require greater intervention and will need personalized therapy by a qualified physician who has extensive knowledge of this disabling condition and its treatment.
What is needed to get the right help?
A program supporting healthy endocrine function with specialized organic nutrients and glandulars, in addition to dietary guidance and selected naturopathic and bioenergetic therapies is the best way to see a significant change in symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. My advice to a patient who believes they might have this condition is to see a natural doctor who has extensive knowledge of this condition asap before the situation gets worse!
What should I expect from an experienced healthcare professional
A physician who has the time to spend at least an hour to take a full history including physical and emotional stressors to the patient past and present.
A physician who uses Contact Reflex Analysis (CRA) so that a simple muscle test can be performed before paying for a lab test to find what stage you are in; that physician should also have access to the best labs and be able to understand the test results. Unfortunately most MD’s don’t have the training or experience and most will prescribe antidepressives and pain medications which can make the condition even worse.
A physician who can test for allergic reactions to foods, inhalants, chemicals, supplements, hormones etc. as taking a supplement that you are allergic to will only be seen as an invader and discarded by the body as a toxin, even though it is something the body needs.
If you are interested in discussing this further with Dr. Cushing, click here and fill out our contact form