Fatigue Links

Introduction To Fatigue

Adrenal Weakness

Thyroid Problems

Sugar Disease

Toxic Gut & Food Allergies

Environmental Toxins

Sleep Disorders

Exercise Is Required

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Adrenal Weakness

The adrenal glands are located just on top of the kidneys. The adrenals are an integral part of the endocrine system. They are responsible for producing several important hormones and are critical to the stress response. They have two parts: the cortex, and the medulla. The cortex is the outer wrapping of the gland. It produces cortisol which is a powerful anti-inflammatory hormone. Cortisol controls inflammation. The level of Cortisol in the body affects allergies, wound healing, asthma, arthritis, and lupus, just to name a few.

The medulla, which is the inner part, pours out epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine. These hormones speed up the body's metabolism in order to help us to cope with stress. These are the two most important hormones in the body. They govern the fight or flight response (alarm reaction), and are almost a direct extension of the nervous system.

How the Adrenal Gland Can Impact Energy

The adrenal glands produce their array of hormones in a complex symphony that is orchestrated by two structures in the brain called the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. When stress and poor nutrition lead to altered hormone levels, imbalance in endocrine function can lead to substantial adrenal fatigue. The kinds of stressors that tax the adrenal glands include:
Physical trauma Chemical toxins Poor diet
Excess exercise Lack of sleep Infections
Emotional trauma Anxiety, depression Prescription drugs

Most people have had the experience where they have felt extremely tired and exhausted and then all of a sudden a new surge of energy comes to their aid. Likewise, when we experience fear and our heart starts racing the adrenal gland is secreting adrenaline and other stress related hormones to come to the rescue and give us the extra boost of energy that we need to get through the emotional stress. When the brain interprets an event as threatening (stressful) the adrenals begin to work. They signal the nervous system to prepare to fight or flee. This signal mobilizes the respiratory and circulatory systems of the body for emergency action. Reserve energy in the body is called upon, and functions are diverted away from normal, homeostatic body function including those of the immune system. Even though the fight or flight response may be over, the resistance reaction allows the body to continue fighting the stressor long after the effects of our alarm system have gone off. When this state of emergency is maintained for unrelieved periods of time, the body's reserves become depleted and the immune system is weakened due to adrenal fatigue. Long term over-activation of these hormones can deplete the kidneys and adrenals, severely impairing the ability of the immune system to function.

When adrenal function is impaired or weak, a person may suffer from low blood sugar, low blood pressure, low body temperature, and a total feeling of exhaustion. When stress is prolonged the organs begin to weaken and other health related problems can set in such as hypoglycemia.

Some of the common causes that contribute to adrenal exhaustion are continued stress, poor diet, over-consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, overuse of caffeine, alcohol, drugs, nicotine, and vitamin B and C deficiencies. Unfortunately, the body reacts the same way to both real and imagined threats. For instance, unrelieved worrying about losing your job can cause the same over-taxing of the adrenals and the resultant suppression of the immune system as actually losing your job.

If a person succumbs easily to allergies and infections, feels constantly drained and exhausted, suffers from low blood sugar and blood pressure, then the culprit may well be weak adrenals. For instance, most of the asthma sprays contain adrenal-like hormones that mimic cortisol in the body. One of the most prominent signs of adrenal gland insufficiency is chronic fatigue. In some fatigued patients, thyroid problems overlap adrenal problems. In these cases, the status of the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland must be assessed. The appropriate treatment should be undertaken only after this determination is made.

Signs and Symptoms

Fatigue, Weakness
Premenstrual tension
Scanty perspiration
Inability to concentrate
Sweet cravings

Treatment for Adrenal Insufficiency

There are many methods that one can use to strengthen the adrenals. Acupuncture, herbs, meditation and relaxation techniques, exercise, and nutrient saturation through diet and supplementation can all help promote the healing process. Adrenal problems that are not serious or life-threatening are often treated with a combination of low doses of cortisol, DHEA, various herbs, and nutrients. Each of these is used under very specific circumstances determined by laboratory tests. When problems of adrenal insufficiency are identified and corrected, the result of treatment can be very rewarding. The positive effect on energy, stamina, and vitality can be substantial.

Acupuncture and acupressure can sometimes give the adrenals a good boost. Chiropractic adjustments can also be helpful. The adrenal glands are richly fed by nerves that connect to the spine, and by releasing blockages through these simple and effective techniques, the glands can be stimulated and strengthened. In Chinese Medicine the kidney meridian often relates in western terms to the adrenals. Those who are susceptible to infections or allergies are often told that they have weak kidney energy, so the acupuncture points along that meridian can stimulate the healing process.

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Recommended Supplements:

  • Adaptogens to help with stress. Adrenal Pro provides a synergistic blend of 9 herbal adaptogens that provide Nutritional and Adaptogenic Support.
  • Extra Vitamin C with bioflavonoids for stress.
  • Vitamin E to get oxygen to the cells.
  • Multi-minerals (chelated or liquid marine minerals for better assimilation). Vita Balance 2000 is a properly balanced, vitamin and chelated mineral complex. It includes all the trace minerals and a herbal base of related micronutrients.
  • Calcium Complex provides calcium and magnesium, along with complementary Manganese, Chondrotin, Chromium, and more, zinc, and more.
  • Licorice root to stimulate the adrenals. (Not for people with high blood pressure).
  • Flax oil, 1-2 teaspoons a day.
  • Omega 3's (Marine Lipids). New Life 1000 provides essential fatty acids from cold water salmon oil.
  • Co Enzyme Q10. 120 mgs per day as an antioxidant. Coenzyme Q10 with Cinamon contains the most potent Co-Q10 available.
  • Multi-vitamin with extra B6, B12, and Pantothenic Acid (promotes energy).
  • Green Superfood blends are good for their high concentrations of minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and micronutrients. Green Magic has a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, & micronutrients that provide the basic building blocks for rejuvenation at the cellular level.
  • Lecithin for the nerves and for quick energy to the brain. Premium De-Oiled Lecithin
  • Proanthocyanidins (grape seed extract) helps reduce the effects of stress. Mega Pro Plus contains concentrated Proanthocyanidins: possibly the World’s Most Powerful Antioxidant.
  • Lower Bowel Cleaner or ground flax seed. This will help to assimilate nutrients better. Nutri Cleanse is an all natural colon cleanser.
  • A good digestive enzyme with each meal. When the body is fatigued the digestion usually is impaired. Phyto Opti-Zymes contains a complex mixture of enzymes to give you extra digestive support.
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Whole Foods Diet is Recommended

Buy organically grown produce as much as possible. Avoid consumption of sugar. Refined carbohydrate, caffeine (adrenal stimulants), and alcohol should be avoided. Fasting and detoxification should not be used at the beginning of adrenal strengthening. The diet should be a building and strengthening diet. Eat plenty of fresh and lightly steamed vegetables and their juices as they contain minerals to prevent fatigue.

In restoration of the adrenal gland function, typically one should include potassium rich foods and avoid foods that are too high in sodium. This will help to keep the sodium/potassium balance in the body. In the standard American diet, people generally consume too much sodium, which can elevate blood pressure. If your body is too high in potassium then decrease the amount you are consuming and add a little sea salt to your diet. Do not add salt to your diet if your blood pressure is above 120/80.

It is also good to add calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and magnesium rich foods to your diet. These foods help calm the nerves during stress.

Calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C rich foods Include: Carrots, broccoli, kale, parsley, turnip greens, collard greens, Swiss chard, egg yolk, oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cherries, red and green peppers, and tomatoes.

Magnesium Rich foods include: Blackstrap molasses, sunflower seeds, whole grains, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, oats, brown rice, millet, white and red beans, wild rice, beet greens, lentils, lima beans and peaches.

12 Natural Foods that help Adrenal Function

Potassium Content of Selected Foods

Milligrams (mg) per 100 grams edible portion (100 grams = 3.5 ounces)

Dulse8,060 Cauliflower295
Kelp5,273 Watercress282
Sunflower seeds920 Asparagus278
Wheat germ827 Red cabbage268
Almonds773 Lettuce264
Raisins763 Cantaloupe251
Parsley727 Lentils, cooked249
Brazil nuts715 Tomato244
Peanuts674 Sweet potatoes243
Dates648 Papayas234
Figs, dried640 Eggplant214
Avocados604 Green peppers213
Pecans603 Beets208
Yams600 Peaches202
Swiss chard550 Summer squash202
Soybeans, cooked540 Oranges200
Garlic529 Raspberries199
Spinach470 Cherries191
English walnuts450 Strawberries164
Millet430 Grapefruit juice162
Beans, cooked416 Cucumbers160
Mushrooms414 Grapes158
Potato with skin407 Onions157
Broccoli382 Pineapple146
Kale378 Milk, whole144
Bananas370 Lemon juice141-
Meats370 "35%"130
Winter squash369 Eggs129
Chicken366 Apples110
Carrots341 Watermelon100
Celery341 Brown rice, cooked70

Source: "Nutritive Value of American Foods in Common Units," U.S.D.A. Agriculture Handbook No. 456

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It is recommended that a person eat small, instead of large meals. According to the Oriental philosophy, foods which nurture deficient kidney energy are as follows:
millet barly tofustring bean
black beanblack soybean mung bean mung sprouts
kidney beanblackberry mulberryblueberry
melonswheat germpotato seaweeds
spirulinachlorellablack sesame seed water chestnut
crabclamsardine eggs

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Vitamin/Mineral Therapy

Nutrients important in adrenal gland function include: pantothenic acid, vitamin C, Vitamin B 6, Zinc, and Magnesium. Particularly important is pantothenic acid (100 milligrams a day), as a deficiency may result in adrenal atrophy. Foods rich in pantothenic acid include: whole grains, legumes, cauliflower, broccoli, salmon, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

Adrenal extracts made from beef have been used in medicine since the 1930's. The proper procedure is to start with a dosage lower than what is recommended on the label of most adrenal extract supplements (1/3 of the normal dosage), and then slowly increasing the dosage every two days until one notices the stimulatory effect. Once that effect is noticed then simply reduce the dosage to a level just below the level that will produce stimulation. As the adrenals rebuild, keep reducing the dosage until there comes a time when you no longer need the support.

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Herbal Therapy

Botanicals can be used to help restore adrenal function. Teas made from Licorice Root, Hawthorne, and Gotukola are good. However, Licorice Root is not good for people with high blood pressure as it causes the body to retain sodium. Effective extracts include Echinacea Root, Astragalus Root, and Milk Thistle Seed.

Wild Yam which is known for it's progesterone activity is excellent. Wild Yam containing diogenim may provide actual DHEA activity. Natural Balance Wild Yam Creme provides a new approach to balancing hormonal levels, relieving symptoms of PMS and Menopause, and helping to reverse Osteoporosis.

Several varieties of Ginseng are good to use as a tonic as they have revitalizing and energy enhancing properties. Ginseng is not only an energy booster but it helps restore energy reserves by increasing carbohydrate metabolism and glycogen storage. Siberian Ginseng possesses a significant ability to increase nonspecific body resistance to stress, fatigue, and disease. It may actually inhibit the fight or flee reaction. This effect is thought to prevent much of the suppression of the immune system. Taking 2 to 4 grams a day for periods of up to 60 days is usually well tolerated. Panax Gingseng is also known for it's revitalizing and energy-enhancing properties. Panax has been shown to enhance many immune functions. The best preparations are those from the main root of the plant.

Schizandra improves oxygen utilization and restores energy reserves.

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Exercise Therapy

The following movements help us revitalize our kidneys and adrenals through mental and physical relaxation. They are specifically designed to restore vitality to our endocrine system through the cleansing of toxins and the release of tension.

Kidney Pat-and -Hum

kidney exercise Heat and energy from the hands
and vibration from the voice
can revitalize the kidneys and adrenals,
reducing the negative effects of stress.

Visualization and Positive Suggestion: "I am toning and revitalizing my kidneys, adrenals, and my immune strength."

Shoulder Release

shoulder release Releases tension from pressure building points on the upper part of the shoulders. Tones, expands, and stimulates the thymus.

Visualization and Positive Suggestion:
"I am squeezing out tension and building a strong defense against disease."

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Walking, trampoline exercise, martial arts for strengthening the various organs of the body, meditation and visualization, yoga and stress management all will have a complementary beneficial effect for adrenal rejuvenation.

Rebound exercise on the mini-trampoline stimulates the lymph flow better than any other form of exercise.

Case histories show that people have experienced relief from years of aches and pains after just a few hours, days, weeks, or months of jumping regularly. Exercising on a trampoline actually helps one to gain endurance. Without a strong circulation of the lymph, waste can build up within the body leading to the accumulation of toxins. This form of exercise is a very powerful rejuvenator.
Increased oxygenation that comes with all forms of exercise, and aerobics in particular, more fully feeds the oxygen-starved and sleepy brain cells. The exerciser feels more fully and pleasurable awake, alert, and aware. It is important to note not to over-exercise because that will in turn exhaust your adrenals.

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Take time to smell the flowers. Put a smile on your face. Enjoy each moment. Cultivate a positive mental attitude. Negative thinking has a very profound detrimental effect on the body. Any type of stress can lead to exhaustion whether or not you have a strong or a weak constitution. Stress will eventually catch up to the most robust constitution. Last but not least --- SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE as much as possible.