Most people are familiar with the term Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue is the common term we use for HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal) axis dysregulation. HPA-D is typically due to our modern diet and high-stress culture. These modern stressors affect our HPA axis, which in turn affects nearly every organ & system of the body, including the gut, brain, thyroid, metabolism, catabolism & reproductive system.
There are 4 major triggers that lead to HPA axis Dysregulation
- Inflammation (food sensitivities, dysbiosis etc)
- Insulin resistance/poor blood sugar control
- Circadian rhythm disruption (not enough daylight, too much light at night)
- Chronic stress (real or perceived)
Our body’s protective response to chronic stress is complex. Some of those processes related to HPA-D are:
- It down regulates our HPA axis, therefore decreasing our ability to produce cortisol
- Cortisol resistance due to decreased sensitivity in cortisol receptors (a reaction to chronic excess)
- Decreased bio-availability of cortisol tissue
Other risk factors for HPA-D include: poor diet, stimulants (caffeine, sugar etc.), exhaustive exercise, physical injury, toxins, chronic infections (H.Pylori etc), & autoimmune conditions. Basically all variations of chronic stress on the body.
What can we do?
- Diet: Reduce caffeine, avoid sugar, grains and dairy (all 3 are inflammatory) as well as any foods you suspect you may be sensitive to. Optimize you digestion by reducing liquids at meal time, chewing thoroughly and focusing on your food.
- Liver Support: Our liver detoxes, produces hormones, regulates various processes, transforms and/or synthesizes nearly everything our body use. Eat cruciferous vegetables and drink lemon water daily,
- Immune Support: Licorice root to increase 1/2 life of cortisol (therefore cortisol takes longer to clear the blood). B-vitamins (esp-B5), vitamin C, omega 3 fats,
- Reduce Stress: Rest, make time for you and the things that restore & recharge you.
- Sleep: Ensure your bedroom is dark, remove electronics, and avoid electronics entirely 1-2 hours before bed. Make sure you get 8 hours sleep. If you don’t feel tired, make a tea, grab a book and go to bed anyway. Or meditate until you’re suddenly asleep (my personal favorite). You can also check out this post for other ideas!
If you suspect you might have adrenal fatigue, and not sure where to start, we can work together to get things turned around!