Adrenal Fatigue: What You Should Know
Adrenal fatigue definitely sounds like a real diagnosis, and to some it is. While the medical community considers adrenal fatigue to be a made-up disease, alternative medicine practitioners see it as a very real problem that can be treated with a natural approach. While there’s no peer-reviewed research to support a medical diagnosis, many naturopathic patients firmly believe that their symptoms indicate a hormone imbalance that is affecting their quality of life and feel frustrated with modern medicine at their refusal to acknowledge the condition.
Whether you’re a disciple of traditional medicine or a believer in all things holistic, whichever theory you subscribe to is up to you. But we’ll tell you what you need to know about adrenal fatigue, it’s supposed symptoms, causes, treatments, and the controversy surrounding it so that you can make up your own mind about this contentious health issue.
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What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue has been defined by alternative medicine as a syndrome caused by over stimulated adrenal glands, two hormone secreting glands located above your kidneys that control your blood sugar, metabolism, blood pressure, illness and stress response, and a number of other functions.
Among the hormones it secretes are cortisol (controlling energy production, blood pressure, and parts of the reproductive system), aldosterone (regulating blood pressure and the absorption of sodium and water into the bloodstream), adrenaline (linked to the body’s fight-or-flight response in which it prepares for stress, activity, or pain), and androgens (a group of sex hormones that includes testosterone and androstenedione, and are also a precursor to estrogen).
Believers in the syndrome believe that prolonged stress can cause the adrenal glands to become underactive and produce fewer of these hormones, which would in turn have negative effects on the bodily functions they are meant to help regulate.
The alleged symptoms of adrenal fatigue are wide ranging, seemingly unrelated, and according to medical experts, common symptoms experienced by many people that can’t necessarily be attributed to an underactive gland.
Those who claim to have adrenal fatigue report symptoms that include everything from mental ones like brain fog, depression, and anxiety to metabolic symptoms like weight gain, insulin resistance, and a craving for sweet or salty snacks. Adrenal fatigue sufferers also say they have low libidos, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, experience skin problems like eczema, and even hair loss. People who believe they have an underactive adrenal gland report feeling tired or generally burnt out and often have to rely on caffeine to get them through their day.