What is it and how do I test for it?

Adrenal fatigue is becoming more and more common within our society. With more pressures and less downtime (and even when we do have downtime, we’re often looking at some sort of screen) and the constant need to be “on the go”, your adrenal glands may start to be affected. At Empowered Health one in two people we see have some sort of stress that relates to their presenting symptom. You are not alone. Many people describe it as not having the energy to get through their daily activities. Everything in their life slows down. Natural therapies may offer a safe and effective way for treating your adrenal glands*. So if you are thinking about trying a natural approach for your fatigue, then read on as we may be able to help you regain your energy and strength to do the things that you want to be doing.

*Disclaimer: Please know that the results are a typical and may vary from person to person


What Is Adrenal Fatigue?

The condition is also known as Hypoadrenia. “Hypo” meaning lower and “Adrenia” relating to the adrenals. Here we are not talking about Addison’s Disease, but instead, low cortisol, adrenalin and DHEA. Your adrenal glands are finely tuned to respond to physical, emotional or psychological stress. When these stresses happen long term, it can deplete the adrenals, causing a lowered output of these hormones, particularly cortisol. This can result in not being able to cope with stress as much as you used to.

How can I tell if I have Adrenal Fatigue?

Some of the symptoms that you may experience can include:

  • Tired all the time
  • Salt and/or Sugar cravings
  • Not waking refreshed in the mornings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Energy picks up at night, even though you’ve been tired all day
  • Using coffee and sugar as a “pick me up”
  • Difficulty handling stressful situations
  • Feeling down
  • Difficulty doing every day task

Always see your fully qualified healthcare professional if you are experiencing these symptoms.

How would I get Adrenal Fatigue?

Generally, it is caused by long term stress. Often we are ‘on the go’ all the time. If you’ve said, “there’s not enough hours in the day ” one too many times, then it’s time to start thinking about your adrenals. They are supporting you, but in long term they deplete the hormones that are released that help you to keep going, namely cortisol (and also DHEA-s). If we go back to caveman days, our adrenal glands were to be used in short-sharp bursts to run from the lion. In many situations we are “running” to get things done every day, not just when we see the lion, on occasion. Adrenal Fatigue is usually related to long – term stress; whether it’s physical, emotional, psychological, environmental, infectious illness or a combination of all of these.

Some of the experiences of long term stress can include:

  • Long work hours for extended periods of time
  • Lots of deadlines at work
  • Bullying at school or in the workplace
  • Being a long term carer for someone who’s ill
  • Not eating a diet high in vegetables, protein (plant or animal) and healthy grains (ie. Eating a lot of processed foods)
  • An emotional upset – death of a loved one, relationship break up, change in financial circumstance
  • Feeling like you have to be “on the go” all the time

Are you feeling overwhelmed? stressed? And not able to cope as well as you used to?

This condition can leave you with feelings of not being able to cope with even the simplest upset. Even if you can still work, it might take all your effort to get there and you can become teary or angry quite easily. Normally, you might be happy to listen to peoples problems or help solve work issues, but right now, you just want it all to go away.


How can Naturopathy help me if I have Adrenal Fatigue?

People who suffer from this condition often have had long term stress. That’s where working with a naturopath comes into it. We help you to nourish your adrenal glands through eating the right foods. We also help you to help get you back on track quicker by using specific supplements to support, rebuild and focus on your adrenal glands. Along with this, we work with you to help you establish new boundaries to help bring balance into your life so you can do the things that you want to be doing.


How does a Naturopath test for Adrenal Fatigue?

We also use Saliva Hormone Testing to help confirm what’s happening with your adrenals. We find this more accurate than a blood test for measuring your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone, which increases when you’re stressed. Many people who have a blood test can get stressed and this will increase cortisol levels and can give a false positive. Testing cortisol via saliva is less invasive and stressful and therefore gives a better picture of what your cortisol levels are doing.