If you wake up feeling lethargic, constantly lack motivation and are craving sweet or salty food every day, you may be suffering ‘adrenal fatigue’.
The term is used to describe a collection of symptoms including body aches, low blood pressure and digestive issues and is thought to be caused by the ‘burning out’ of the adrenal glands in response to stress.
‘It seems so many people these days are low in energy – probably because we live in such a face-paced, stressful world where our phones are always buzzing and we often forget to take some much needed time out,’ Australian nutritionist Jessica Sepel said.
‘It seems so many people these days are low in energy – probably because we live in such a face-paced, stressful world where our phones are always buzzing and we often forget to take some much needed time out,’ Jess Sepel (pictured) said
What is adrenal fatigue?
Your adrenal glands sit on top of each kidney. Their role is to produce hormones, including adrenaline and noradrenaline – both of which are used to prepare your body for fight or flight.
Supporters of the unproven theory of ‘adrenal fatigue’ claim it occurs when the adrenal glands are ‘burnt out’ from producing these hormones in response to stress.
Source: Health Direct
‘If we keep this up, being consistently tired for long periods of time, we can do our bodies some serious harm.
‘In fact, it can cause our adrenals to collapse – sending us into what’s called adrenal fatigue.’
Ms Sepel said some of the tell-tale signs of adrenal fatigue in addition to the above include struggling to get up in the morning, getting a second wave of energy at 11pm, feeling unmotivated and getting sick often.
For those who do suffer the above, Ms Sepel offered some simple daily steps to help ease symptoms naturally and help them boost their energy levels.
‘Every night, whenever you can. I truly believe if people consistently got eight hours of sleep, many health problems would be solved,’ she said
‘Get eight hours of sleep,’ Ms Sepel said.
‘Every night, whenever you can. I truly believe if people consistently got eight hours of sleep, many health problems would be solved.’
Ms Sepel also recommends getting into the ‘stress free zone’ daily by doing meditation or walking, giving up refined carbs and sugar and eating well and ‘more often’.
‘Have regular meals and snacks that are packed with nutrient-dense foods to keep your energy levels up,’ she said.
What are other ways to boost your energy levels naturally?
Physical exercise: As long as it’s not too high-intensity, too often, movement is great to fight fatigue
Spend time doing things that make you feel good: Love and passion are sure-fire ways of keeping yourself energised
Have something to look forward to: Plan a big adventure or a weekend trip, an art class or even a night out on the town with your partner
Get support: I am a believer in seeking professional support if you need it
‘Having some protein at each meal can also help stabilise blood sugars and avoid blood sugar drops,’ Ms Sepel said
‘Having some protein at each meal can also help stabilise blood sugars and avoid blood sugar drops. And, as always, eat more greens – they’re rich in iron and are so easy to add to smoothies or juices.’
Ms Sepel also advises those who think they may suffer from adrenal fatigue to get their levels tested and avoiding excess caffeine at all cost.
‘Limit yourself to one cup of coffee per day if you can. You may think coffee will give you more energy, but long term it can cause your adrenals more stress and exhaustion,’ she said.
‘If you can, replace coffee with herbal teas – a great way to increase your water intake (you should be drinking two litres a day!) while also nourishing your body.’
Ms Sepel also recommends getting into the ‘stress free zone’ daily by doing meditation or walking, giving up refined carbs and sugar and eating well and ‘more often’
While many naturopaths and nutritionists believe adrenal fatigue is a legitimate condition, others are skeptical.
‘It’s something made up by naturopathic doctors; endocrinologists don’t recognise it as a real condition,’ Theodore C. Friedman, an endocrinologist at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Saul Marcus, a naturopathic doctor from Connecticut, disagreed.
‘When it comes to adrenal fatigue, conventional medicine insists it doesn’t exist. However, adrenal fatigue is essentially a stress reaction, and stress is very well understood as a cause of illness,’ he told the publication.
If you have unexplained fatigue or exhaustion that persists, see your doctor. Treating an underlying issue, such as a low thyroid level, can help reverse fatigue.