Adrenal Fatigue
Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Melissa Gonella | Neuro-Training | Kinesiology | Natural Fertility Education

Adrenal fatigue (hypoadrenia) is a common condition which affects the adrenal glands, it’s not as serious as Addison’s disease, and yet the symptoms of insufficient adrenals may interfere with the life quality and the functioning of the entire hormonal system.

Whilst investigating this personally I realised that this level of fatigue is something that I’ve experienced for most of my life.  Whilst I was younger my body was able to compensate, but over time I was no longer able to adapt.  First of all, it affected my sex hormone balance and I experienced irregular menstrual cycles, followed by the strain of multiple pregnancies, breast feeding, parenting and returning to work, my resources were further depleted.  Chronic tiredness became the everyday norm and after my third pregnancy I developed a thyroid auto-immune disease (hashimotos).  Yet another symptom of a compromised endocrine (hormonal) system. In fact, most people who have thyroid problems will have an adrenal insufficiency problem as well.  Read more about adrenal function in my blog post here.

For many years, I masked my fatigue symptoms and continued to burn the candle at both ends, maintaining the status quo with an obsession for coffee and sugary things. 

I did my best to educated myself about the food I was eating and I successfully lifted my energy levels.  However, this was always short lived, I found the fad diets were so restrictive and I was never able to maintain them long term.  Quite quickly, I would return back into feeling fatigued which indicated to me that I wasn't actually properly getting better anyway. 

My kinesiology and Neuro-Training practitioner discovered I experiencing 3rd Stage Adrenal Fatigue.  I'd now finally found the tools to support my adrenals to fully recover and for the first time in my life I experienced appropriate levels of energy - consistently.  I no longer feel the need to drink caffeine or each sugary things, although, I really do enjoy the taste of coffee, so I admit that I still drink a lovely decaffeinated blend once a day.

The other big noticeable change post hypoadrena fatigue was my ability to be with, and process stress.  Unlike adrenal recovery (which I'd attempted) achieved only through dietary changes, kinesiology and Neuro-Training actually altered the way in which I processed stress.  Rewardingly, I found a massive improvement in my parenting, because I just don't loose my cool with them like I used to!  Yippy

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Some of the symptoms can include;

  • Tiredness, waking up unrefreshed, difficulty getting up in the mornings, fatigue not relieved by sleep, overwhelming tiredness in afternoon/early evening.
  • Chronic fatigue (which lasts more than a couple of weeks)
  • Lack of energy, lethargy or too much effort required to do everyday tasks, muscle weakness.
  • Sleeping problems or insomnia
  • Sometimes presents with body aches and muscle tension
  • Poor concentration, memory loss and confusion
  • Racing thoughts
  • Headaches

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  • Irritability, less tolerance or feelings of being overwhelmed and a decreased ability to handle stress.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
  • General hormone imbalances, an increase in PMS symptom, missed or irregular periods and/or an increase in menopausal symptoms
  • Mild depression
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Cravings for sweet and/or salty foods
  • Symptoms can be worse if meals are skipped or inadequate

Today’s fast paced lifestyle is the major contributing factor, as are high levels of stress, exposure to environmental toxins, poor diet and chronic lack of sleep.  It is not unusual to have compromised adrenal function and fortunately it usually only takes one or two sessions to resolve. 

Most people will experience adrenal fatigue to varying degrees at some stage during their lives, but when it doesn’t resolve it becomes a big problem.

Three Stages of Adrenal Fatigue

First Stage Adrenal Fatigue

This stage is normal and usually occurs due to an acute stressful situation.  The adrenals ‘fight/flight’ response pumps out adrenalin and noradrenalin and locks down nonessential functions, giving the body more energy to deal with the stress (ie. to fight or run away, hence why its commonly called the fight/flight response).  When the stress is over, the adrenals should recover on their own.  However sometimes a person can get locked into the stress response with some trigger memory continually reminding the body of the original event… this sends the body straight back into ‘fight/flight’ even though there is no longer a threat.  Overtime this will lead to second stage.

Second Stage

This is when a person is under stress for extended periods of time and naturally happens say during an extended periods of stress.  Many things can cause this.  Significant long term stresses such as separations, divorce, single parenting, parents juggling full time work/study, changing jobs/careers or relationship difficulties can all be attributed to causing second stage adrenal fatigue.

Third Stage

Third stage adrenal fatigue will send the person into all kinds of over reactions also known as reverse adrenal syndrome.  It is at this stage that the endocrine system really starts to be affected and can commonly be the underlying cause of a long list of possible symptoms including menstrual and menopausal symptoms, PMS, insomnia, chronic fatigue, thyroid problems and autoimmune reactions.  At this point the person's health is really becoming affected, in seemingly unrelated ways. 

Unfortunately, I come across this stage far to often in the people I see, but using kinesiology and Neuro-Training quickly and effectively breaks up the stress patterns so the person can get better.

Dietary Supportive Solutions

When recuperating from adrenal fatigue it is helpful (but not always essential) to refrain from the following foods; 

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar, honey, sweeteners
  • Sweet fruits such as mangos, pears, pineapple, peaches, grapes, kiwi fruit and strawberries.
  • Any dried fruit because the sugar is concentrated
  • Alcohol (yes it is a simulant)
  • Fast acting carbohydrates, like white breads, rice, pasta and potatoes

Note: read the ingredient list in processed foods and look at the nutritional information chart on the packet because it will reveal high sugar in some items even when it’s not been added.
Forms of sugar include; dextrose, sucrose, glusose, malt, corn syrup, maple syrup and fructose.

Foods that support healthy adrenal function;

  • Protein foods such as meat, dairy, fish, legumes, nuts, eggs, tofu.
  • Salads (but check your dressings are ok)
  • Vegetables (eat veg that includes lots of variety and colours if you can).
  • Some fruit in the morning, but only accompanied by other foods especially protein, like yogurt or nuts.
  • Avocado is amazing.
  • Complex carbohydrate foods, such as whole grains but not after dinner. 

In fact it is preferable to eat protein and vegetables for dinner rather than carbohydrates.

There are also supplements available that can support adrenal repair, supplement(s) will be indicated during your treatment if they are of added benefit to your recovery process. 

Source Information;, John Wilson Adrenal Fatigue; the 21st Century Stress Syndrome

Originally published - 31st December, 2016

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