Update (March 2010): See my Tips and Tricks section for Foods for Adrenal Fatigue
I was browsing around some message boards the other day and noticed a post about adrenal fatigue. I had never heard of this so I had a peek and saw that there was a questionnaire-style symptoms test. I decided to have a look just for fun… and ended up feeling like I was reading my very own personalized symptoms sheet. I had never in my life thought all the symptoms I have could be summed up in two words – adrenal fatigue.
I checked off the following:
-thin, can’t gain weight
-eyes, cheeks sunken
-sunken eyes, dark circles around
-paleness most noticeable around mouth
-hair thin and wispy
-smoothed out finger prints
-night blindness (not blind, but hate driving at night because things are a lot more blurry than the day)
-headaches, muscle pains
-Thermal chameleon (hot when it’s warm and cold when it’s cool)
-General Reactivity: Emotional, physiological, immune, etc. Hyper-reactive (over)
-Immune Function: Tendency to over-react results in allergies, sensitivities, autoimmune problems
-history of mononucleosis
-sensitivity to medications, supplements, usually needing small doses
-personality tendency towards serious, occasional humour
-panic attacks, worry, fear
-poor tolerance to change or stress
-tendency to insomnia, light sleeper, waking up at 2-4 am, unrefreshing sleep
-exercise causes fatigue, body temperature drops after exercise
-low blood pressure
-heart palpitations: feels like my heart was about to jump out of my chest
-bowel function: Tendency to be irritable, or hyperactive, transit time may be too fast (food exits stomach too fast causing poor [enzymatic] digestion)
-cravings for sweets and salts
-tendency to hypoglycemia
-problems with menses
My fatigue and bowel function was getting better with SCD, however my fatigue has returned with some higher levels of stress lately. Now I understand why. Yes I always knew stress was bad for you. But it’s one of the hardest things to regulate. It’s easy to change diet, exercise, even your job. But how do you change how you deal with stress?
Stress is one of the biggest factors that keeps people from recovering from adrenal fatigue so I have to work on that. I need to simplify things, learn to say no instead of stressing out trying to get things done.
How does food factor into adrenal fatigue?
-eat whole foods: check! SCD has made that extremely easy
-meat is good
-fruits and vegetables: here’s a weird one, some sources say to eat lots, some say to restrict it because of potassium levels. The goal is basically to balance potassium and sodium. People with adrenal fatigue have a tendency to low sodium. I believe in the reduce potassium and increase sodium path. This I have noticed from recent changes to my diet (less produce more salt).
-dairy is fine, but higher in potassium
-add sea salt to diet: good, I like salty foods
-eat protein and fat with carbohydrates: check!
-many individual nutrients are recommended like B vitamins, pantothenic acid, magnesium, calcium, etc etc. A lot of these are contained in organ meats. I will be eating liver more often!
Lifestyle changes to make:
-sleep in until 9pm everyday (no I’m not making this up! lol)
-lie down for a break in the morning and afternoon
-exercise gently to not cause more stress
-eat regularly and small portions
-reduce stress – gotta work on that one
Maybe I should look into laughter therapy.
PS: I don’t encourage people to seek self-diagnosis on the Internet. I just stumbled across this information and found it quite interesting at how well it fit me. I won’t be taking any Adrenal supplements or products. The advice on most sites for treating this naturally seem to be pretty straight forward. Eat healthy, live healthy.