Adrenal Fatigue

A year ago I started to get overly tired and couldn’t figure out what it was. After talking to a bunch of people I narrowed it down to adrenal fatigue. It’s basically where you feel tired all day long even after sleeping for 8-10 hours. Doctors won’t recognize it for some reason. I know this because I had blood work done in January, brought it to a general physician who was said to be amazing and he told me there was nothing wrong. Then I asked some people who deal with holistic medicine and others who have had adrenal fatigue and they assured me that it was very real.

I’ve been doing my best to battle it by quitting drinking, eating paleo, and now cutting out caffeine because I was told that’s a big part of it. I will do anything at this point to get this shit out of my system because it’s crippling.

A few weeks back I found out that a friend of mine, Sarah Moore, battled with it for quite some time and over came it. I asked her if she could explain how she did this because I need some motivation to know there’s a light at the end of this fucking tunnel.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue is essentially when your adrenal system can’t function adequately anymore. It’s often a symptom of ongoing stress, nutritional abuse and not enough rest. It puts your blood sugar, blood pressure, immunity and weight into chaos and messes with you badly. There’s probably a far more scientific answer but that is essentially what happened to me.

When did you start noticing signs that you had it?

I knew something was wrong when I started feeling nauseous everyday, sweating a lot (out of season – so gross) and not being able to sleep well at night unless it was SUPER late. I also put on a little bit of weight – not much to someone else but enough for me to notice because I’m pretty small in size. Although to be fair I did put that down to going from a fairly physical job to an office job. Personally I think it was both. I was also getting sick a lot. I’m not really a ‘sick’ person but I was getting colds and flus a couple of times a year. That’s probably  because my Vitamin C stores were next to nothing due to my adrenal system using it all up.

At the time I was having about 2 cups of coffee and 2 cans of V (energy drink) a day and sometimes I would have a can of coke as well and even alcohol. Such a bad concoction. I would also work for 12 hours straight and stay up until 2am or thereabouts. Then I’d be up at 6 to catch the train to work. So I was burning the candle at both ends and my body was never having down time or rest. I was also fairly depressed in my job because I was getting bored. I was always trying to escape because I was unhappy as well which put pressure on my relationships with friends and loved ones. I was miserable which was adding to my stress.

Did you know what it was?

I didn’t really know what I was up against until years later – pretty much once I’d moved through it.

Did you go to Doctors to see if you had it?

Nope. I spoke to my mum. She helped me move through it mostly because she had had a stress breakdown years before when I was around 13 years old. Also she was studying nutrition at the time. She really helped me to see what was going on.

What did they tell you?

She told me to take magnesium to help me sleep better and calm me down and also Vitamin C to support my adrenals. When your body is in a stressful situation the adrenal glands use a lot of vitamin C to produce cortisol and other stress-related hormones and because my body was constantly releasing and producing cortisol (because I was always highly stressed even though I didn’t know it), I needed to support that part of my body with extra Vitamin C. Every day.

How did you battle it?

I stopped drinking caffeine, energy drinks and alcohol. I removed sugar and gluten from my diet and I started drinking chamomile tea everyday. I took vitamin C and magnesium (but I wasn’t diligent) I also changed jobs in that time because my I attributed my unhappiness to my job situation.

Did you get rid of it?

I got rid of it to the point where I can sleep and I don’t ever feel nauseous but I think my personality is such that I teeter on the edge of going into overwhelm easily. I have my own business that I’m growing and so some days there is more pressure than others.

Has it come back?

No, not in the way i had it originally. However I’m so sensitive to it now (Because of hindsight, research and speaking with a nutritionist/naturopath) that I recognise very early symptoms. The problem with stress is that it’s something we learn to live with and then we no longer feel the impact of it on our bodies. Our threshold for stress seemingly increases and we don’t notice the immense pressure on our bodies and the way in which it is coping (or trying to cope).

Advice to anyone who has it? (ie, quit coffee, alcohol, sleeping techniques, professionals to seek,etc)

If you suspect you have AF or are in that neighborhood, eliminate caffeine, sugary drinks and alcohol. Start meditating/yoga/pilates to release the adrenalin in a healthy way and definitely see a nutritionist and/or a naturopath. The reason I say both is because AF is often the result of abuse on a holistic level. Your nutrition is probably rubbish, your sleep is screwed, you are telling yourself bad things and your relationships are probably struggling. So all of a sudden your body, mind + soul are all being bombarded with stress and you need to address them all. A naturopath will be able to give you herbs that help you sleep while a nutritionist can help fix your diet. I’d suggest incorporating exercise and deep breathing too. Goodness knows we need to breathe more.

You can follow Sarah Moore on Twitter – https://twitter.com/The_Sarah_Moore