Don't Let Adrenal Fatigue Happen To You By Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com
You may not have even heard of it but Adrenal Fatigue is a health disorder that can affect anyone-even bodybuilders. It is a condition that is marked by persistent or deep fatigue, loss of strength and a decline in endurance. It can also be a contributing factor in a variety of health conditions ranging from allergies to obesity. Adrenal fatigue is not adrenal insufficiency, which is a condition that can result in Addison's disease-the worst degree of adrenal insufficiency that can lead to serious illness or even death.
Adrenal fatigue is thought to be the result of a decline in the function of the adrenal glands, which play a vital role in our bodies' management of stress-physical, emotional and psychological. The adrenal glands secrete a complex array of hormones including cortisol, testosterone and estrogen that regulate a broad range of functions in our bodies. Adrenal fatigue sets in when the adrenal glands become weakened and in turn, their response to stress becomes insufficient.
Adrenal fatigue can be debilitating and can lead to serious health problems. People suffering adrenal fatigue usually find that they have trouble being active. Weight training becomes difficult, they tire more easily and find that recovery from the exertion takes a lot longer than usual. Besides just not "feeling well," some suffers of adrenal fatigue also experience mild joint and muscle pains, reduced sex drive, bursts of energy in the evening (but tired the rest of the time), an unexplained craving for salt, as well as other symptoms.
It's thought that adrenal fatigue is brought on by chronic, persistent stress of any kind. Some experts also say that it can be brought on by persistent overdosing of stimulants found in energy drinks, fat burners and even coffee. They say that the stimulant overexposure exacerbates the weakening function of the adrenal glands.
Diagnosing adrenal fatigue isn't an exact science but there are several lab tests that can be done that can provide an indication of how well the adrenal glands are functioning. Blood pressure tracking, pupil contraction testing and temperature tracking are some of the other methods used that might indicate the presence of adrenal fatigue.
Besides cutting out the stimulants and eliminating the stress in your life (easier said than done, I know), adrenal fatigue treatments include hormone replacement therapy, a regimen of specific supplements and a healthy diet.
Diets that include refined sugars and processed carbs are not just hell on your body in general, but they're particularly stressful on the adrenal glands. A proper diet with the right balance of proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats can help prevent adrenal fatigue and can help you recover from it too. Eat frequent small meals (five to six a day) and avoid prolonged hunger.
Here are some of the supplements that have shown some promise in being effective in preventing and treating adrenal fatigue:
Pantothenic Acid (PA): Also known as vitamin B5, PA plays a major role in the production of adrenal hormones, especially during high stress situations;
Ascorbic Acid: This is a sugar acid that has strong antioxidant properties. It is found in the highest concentrations in the cortex and the medulla of the adrenal gland. It is widely believed that a deficiency in ascorbic acid results in reduced adrenal activity;
Vitamin C: The adrenal gland has one of the organs that has the highest concentrations of vitamin C;
Vitamin E: The adrenal gland also has very high concentrations of vitamin E. In the adrenal gland, vitamin E plays an important role in steroidogenesis;
Vitamin A: Another important cofactor in steroidogenesis;
Vitamin B6: Pyridoxal phosphate (P5P) is the active form of vitamin B6. It helps stimulate release of adrenal catecholamines. P5P also alters cell receptor response to steroid hormones.
Hormone replacement therapy is the third option for treating adrenal fatigue. Specifically, treatment for adrenal fatigue calls for bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). This differs from general hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that BHRT involves supplemental doses of steroid hormones (hydrocortisone and aldosterone) that have a chemical structure identical to human hormones produced by the human body. HRT uses animal or synthetic hormones that have structures similar or identical to those produced by the human body.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue can vary from very mild to downright debilitating. Your best defense against it is to maintain a healthy diet, cut the stimulants, limit your caffeine and make sure that your supplement regimen includes the vitamins and compounds listed above.
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