Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Adrenal Fatigue: The STRESS Connection

How does stress contribute to adrenal fatigue?

Basically, an ongoing high level of stress overstimulates the adrenal glands to the point that they just can't handle any more. Our bodies are designed to handle a certain amount of short-term stress: for example, an injury, an argument, a surprise encounter with a wild animal. However, today's society provides ongoing stress from all different sources: the daily news, long work weeks, heavy traffic, lack of sleep, malalignment of the spine, food- and/or environmental allergies, highly processed foods including white flour and white sugar, caffeine, toxic chemicals added to our food and water, building materials, polluted air, electromagnetic pollution, the list goes on and on. Add the death of a loved one, problems at work or school, problems at home, problems at church... and you have a recipe for disaster. Although you may not consider all of these things to be "stress" per se, they are all hard on the body.

College alone can do it for some people. In fact, that is what got me interested in this whole topic. When I first returned home after graduating from college, I had an overwhelming sense of fatigue along with aches and pains. I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. Later on, after I'd started dealing with ulcerative colitis (inflammation and ulceration of the colon), it was discovered that I had low adrenal function, and that that was likely the primary problem. For me, this was probably caused by a combination of the following: a Type A personality, spinal issues, lack of sleep, processed [read: cafeteria] food, parasite "souvenirs" from trips to China and Brazil, taking too many credits and trying to accomplish too many things... you name it. I'm sure no one else has ever had any of these things going on? ;)

So, when the body is under tremendous stress, it keeps producing the stress hormones epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenalin), cortisol, and a couple of others. Cortisol also just happens to be the body's most powerful anti-inflammatory hormone. After a while, the adrenal glands are just plain worn out, and can't keep up with the demands that continued stress places on the body.
When that happens, the body cries out for help via a number of different, seemingly unrelated, symptoms.
Stay tuned for a full list of symptoms...


  1. Wow Betsy, great site! I love the organic look! I may be sending people your way now and then to see if you have any natural ideas to help them with their various issues. I hope you don't mind! And you still found blackberries?? Awesome! Hopefully when you go on your foraging trip you can tell the rest of us about more "locally grown" goodies!

  2. Thanks-I would love it! Yes, we found even more blackberries! I can't wait to learn more about foraging. I need some more ideas for salads besides lamb's quarter and chickweed! :)