What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
What is adrenal fatigue and what are some
symptoms that you look for? Okay, first let me explain what the adrenals
are. So the anatomy of the adrenals: The adrenals sit on the north pole of the
kidneys, in the back, and they release cortisol for long-term stress and epinephrine, or adrenaline,
for short-term stress. When the adrenal glands are producing a lot
of cortisol, it’s a sensation of being “wired” and irritable and having insomnia.
And then what happens is with the adrenal glands, they get tired, so we then feel like
it’s hard to concentrate on our work or our everyday tasks, and we want to sleep a lot
more. A lot of times, patients come in with a diagnosis
of chronic fatigue syndrome, ADD, and fibromyalgia. So these are symptoms given, but the root
cause, we find a lot of times, is from the adrenals, from these symptoms that we just
mentioned. I’m going to give an example of the adrenal
glands releasing a lot of cortisol and then going into a state of being fatigued.
So, when I was in medical school, at the beginning of medical school I was releasing a lot of
cortisol–staying up long hours studying–what most medical students do. In the middle of
medical school–so my cortisol levels were real high–in the middle of medical school,
I was still studying but my adrenal glands were starting to decrease the amount of cortisol
and I was getting fatigued. And at the end of medical school the cortisol levels were
low most of the time when we took it, because I was then in a full state of adrenal fatigue.
All it is is an imbalance, you know? It’s the adrenals being pushed to the limits and
then they get tired. Like burnout?
Like burnout. That’s how most people know it…
Exactly. I guess where people get confused sometimes
is they say, “Well, my adrenals are fatigued–why is my cortisol so high?”
But that’s how you get to the adrenal fatigue phase, and they can be happening both at once,
where you’re releasing a lot of cortisol and you’re wired and irritable, and insomnia,
and then you go into a place of being tired. You know, the adrenals decrease their amount
of cortisol production.