Adrenal Fatigue: Updated
PART I: Searching for answers
For years I have been searching for answers to my health concerns and those of many others who have crossed my path. My journey involved years of not feeling well, an illness that surfaced, over three years to realize the emotional core of all illness including mine, and over a decade of trial and error regimens that eventually led me to uncover some amazing facts. I always felt there had to be one core issue that contributed to, if not caused, the decline of health and the surfacing of disease. Many doctors and health practitioners had ideas and protocol, much of which I followed, but it never produced vibrant health for me. I felt I was a yoyo — up and down — going nowhere. So I continued my search.
Providentially, I came upon information that resonated with my thoughts — that a single core imbalance was a significant factor in many illnesses. My continued research uncovered the significance of the endocrine system and how the glands within this system basically run the body. Many doctors addressed the sex hormones, blaming those hormones, which are often involved, as the culprit for my significant imbalances and symptoms. Others said, “Well, you’re getting older so you have to expect some of these things.” Others said it was simply stress. I didn’t buy their answers so looked further.
Through my studies I had realized the thyroid imbalance prevalent in many individuals as well as myself, so began working with this gland. Although taking a natural thyroid prescription did help somewhat with symptoms — cold hands and feet, fatigue, constipation, insomnia — it never really allowed me to feel great. So there had to be more, and as I devoured every article and book I could on hormones, I uncovered the significant role of the adrenal glands in the body. Then it hit me — this must be the missing piece of the puzzle for which I was seeking. And like a tire that goes flat on a car inhibits the entire vehicle from performing well, so would an imbalance with one gland affect the performance of the other glands within the endocrine system, and thus affect the entire body’s performance.
I previously wrote an article entitled “Adrenal Fatigue: How it Affects Your Life – How to Heal It.” But since I have a deep desire to uncover other aspects of this primary gland and its hormonal impact, I keep discovering new information that can be beneficial for those suffering with adrenal fatigue. However, please read that article first as it lays the foundation for this article and the information I am sharing.
What are the hormones?
When I reference hormones that must be balanced, I am referring to these: T3 and T4 in the thyroid gland, Cortisol and DHEA in the adrenal glands, Progesterone, Estrogen and Testosterone in the sex glands, Melatonin that aids sleep, HGH in the pituitary gland, and Pregnenalone the King of all hormones, all of which are aided by other smaller but relevant steroid hormones. DHEA is the most abundant hormone in your body and is beneficial for your immune system, anti-aging and keeping muscles strong and flexible. Like all other hormones, they begin declining around age 40, sometimes even sooner. If your body is stressed, then they decline at a faster pace.
Although the decline of hormones is a natural process, our present day diet and lifestyle wreck havoc on our health and contribute immensely to the greater decline we see today. Changing your diet, exercising, and reframing beliefs and mental attitudes can go a long way into helping to create vibrant health. But why not restore some of the necessary hormones so life can be more enjoyable and fulfilling? Here again, it is important to do some research and use only products that nourish the body and give it high level energy so it can create vibrant health, not just supply it with a ‚Äòfix” to alleviate symptoms. Go for the cure of the core!
The hormonal chain
EFA’s, commonly known as essential fatty acids, are necessary for the conversion of all steroid hormones. They create the good cholesterol required to begin this process. Without sufficient EFA’s your body cannot convert the hormones into functional use. EFA’s are found in foods like wild caught cold water fish, raw organic nuts and seeds — almonds, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds — organic coconut oil and organic olive oil.
The cholesterol first converts into pregnenolone which is considered to be the King in the hormone chain because it has the ability to essentially convert into all other steroid hormones. It converts into progesterone on one hand and DHEA on the other. The progesterone converts into cortisol and aldosterone while the DHEA converts into androstenedione, which in turn converts into the estrogens ( estrone, estradiol, and estriol) and testosterone. The following chart should help you understand the conversion process.
Sometimes it is advantageous to utilize pregnenolone in a supplemental program, but using a blend can be even better. PR Labs has a cream with a small percentage of pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA that can enhance your hormone balance. Use on your face and it helps to tighten the skin and improve the skin’s texture, therefore giving a more youthful, renewed appearance while assisting hormonal balance — multiple benefits.
Since it is necessary to address all hormones — thyroid, adrenals and sex hormones — when you seek harmony and healing, we need to talk about the sex hormones. Often this is the place doctors start with treatments, and they frequently prescribe synthetic hormones in an effort to restore balance. Synthetic hormones are NOT like your body in any way, and although they may sometimes seem to reduce or eliminate symptoms, they pose a high risk of creating serious side effects that are capable of even ending your life. Some medical practitioners offer bio-identical hormones as a solution to the unbalance. These may be a better choice and certainly are promoted as closer to what your body produces, but are not always a solution.
What I have discovered over and over again, is the importance of using natural progesterone cream since it not only supports the adrenals and thyroid, but also helps reduce the estrogen overload we are experiencing today. This overload is causing men to have breast growth as well as breast cancer, girls to begin menstruation way too early, many disorders to appear such as endometriosis, along with cancer of the breast, uterus, prostate, and much more. The imbalance of this estrogen overload is contributing to a greater imbalance of progesterone and testosterone in both women and men.
I believe that most women and probably most men, especially over 50, need to use a natural progesterone cream to help restore the balance between estrogen and progesterone. In addition, most men probably need a boost for their testosterone, and often women do too. The best way to do this I feel is to use a synergistic blend of plants that help your body produce the proper harmonious hormone balance. The most common complaints associated with a sex hormone imbalance at mid-life is weight gain, reduced libido (sex drive), energy reduction, thinning hair, and muscle weakness or pain. Sound familiar? You’re right — these same symptoms are found with adrenal fatigue and thyroid imbalance. So can you see how the hormones are so intrically woven together and why addressing all of them is essential when you are seeking harmony and vibrant health?
This gland, found in your brain, is considered to be the master gland — the director if you will. It sends the messages to the other glands to perform their jobs. In this gland we find HGH, commonly known as human growth hormone. This supports cell growth and enables a child to grow taller and stronger each year. Lack of enough HGH contributes to those who experience stunted growth.
The pituitary gland also produces testosterone and estrogen. Like all other hormones, HGH declines as we age. This hormone peaks somewhere between 22-30, so by the time you reach 45 or 50 you’ve lost approximately two thirds of this hormone. There are many approaches to assisting this hormones production, but beware. Although you may see positive results for anti-aging, there are risks and possible dangerous side effects as well. Again, I always promote using precursors to help your body produce what it needs rather than giving it a supplement that may inhibit your own hormones from producing what they need. There are some natural supplements that enhance your body’s production of HGH.
Traditional medicine versus holistic approaches
First understand this: Most medical professionals do not recognize the adrenals as part of the problem, yet it is the most common hormonal imbalance. Astonishing, isn’t it? I believe that anyone who has an illness has an adrenal problem, and that without giving nutrient support to the adrenals, it is harder to heal the illness, if not impossible. In addition, although doctors perform traditional thyroid blood tests, these often do not show a thyroid imbalance unless it is severe. It requires a holistic health practitioner or doctor to perform an expanded thyroid panel to show other aspects of how the thyroid hormones function, which are not shown in a traditional test. This happened to me. My thyroid produced plenty of its hormones, so with the traditional test it appeared I was fine. I did this test several times with the same results over a period of five years. However, with continued symptoms that indicated thyroid dysfunction, I sought a holistic doctor and had the expanded test performed. I hadn’t known of this expanded test until my research revealed it. The test report indicated that I did indeed produce adequate thyroid hormones, but I was not converting it into useable hormones within my body — an aha moment! So I began natural thyroid treatment.
However, that didn’t turn out to be the complete answer, and after more research I altered my course to address the adrenals. An ASI test proved my intuition was correct — my adrenals were indeed fatigued. My cortisol was high in the late afternoon and evening when it should be lower, and was low in the morning when it should be the highest. My body was in a reverse action mode. So I turned my attention to the adrenals and began a diligent program of supplements and stress reduction to alleviate the issue with my adrenals. But it still wasn’t enough. Then I got it! It is often necessary to work on all of the endocrine system at once, giving nutrients for the adrenals, thyroid and sex hormones altogether. Many times the adrenal depletion affects the thyroid and we refer to that as sub-clinical hypothyroidism, or under the main cause. Better results can often be achieved when addressing all the hormones at once.
The more I have studied this rather puzzling dilemma, the more I see how intricate the body is – how everything is connected and intertwined. So in addition to addressing the entire endocrine system, it is imperative to work on emotional issues, mental beliefs, and spiritual connections as well. We are so much more than our physical body, so balancing these other areas plays a significant role in healing. A person can take dozens of supplements for the adrenals and thyroid, but if their belief system includes mountains of daily stress, and that stress feeds into their heart so that they feel the stress, then a vicious cycle is created and healing the adrenals or achieving hormonal balance will be impossible.
Role of adrenals
Do you know the key role of the adrenals? It is threefold. Its first role is to maintain the fluid balance within the body. It is imperative to have enough moisture in the intestines for elimination as well as joint and connective tissue flexibility. Symptoms that often accompany adrenal fatigue are constipation, dry skin and hair, and both muscle pain and weakness. The second role the adrenals play is in helping to settle inflammation in the body when it is needed. Thus individuals with joint problems — arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy — most likely need to heal the adrenals in order to heal their other health concern. The third role of the adrenals is to provide sufficient energy to get through each day. This is why fatigue, lethargy, impaired concentration, and sleep issues are part of the adrenal fatigue picture.
Something I have discovered in recent months is the importance of detoxing the kidneys when healing the adrenals. Remember that the adrenals are located right above the kidneys, so it makes sense to cleanse the kidneys of stagnant debris that has accumulated there. Of course the intestines and liver will probably need cleansing at some point since they, along with the kidneys, are the filter organs in our body. But when the adrenals are drained and not functioning optimally, to detox heavily can plummet the adrenals into deeper fatigue. What I have learned is that the best course of action in the beginning, especially if you are a sensitive person as I am, is to sit in a FAR infrared sauna or begin juicing veggie juices in a juicer. Both of these programs allow for gentle detox so that the adrenals are not further impaired.
Let’s quickly review the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. They are often:
- Wedight gain, especially around the waist and abdomen
- Mild depression
- Morning sluggishness
- Dry skin and hair
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Low body temperature
- Reduced sex drive
- Numerous other symptoms
Funny thing is that most of these symptoms mimic the symptoms of low thyroid function, known as hypothyroidism, making it a little tricky to finde the underlying cause for many professionals. But again, I reiterate how all hormones inter-relate and often must be addressed simultaneously.
Part II: Healing the adrenals
Healing the adrenals can be a daunting task, or at least it may seem that way. Understand that healing the adrenals, or balancing any hormones, can take time; it is not a quick fix. After all, it took you some time to unbalance them, so you’ll have to hang in there with some trial and error to rebalance them. Again I must stress the importance of working in all realms — the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual to experience a complete rebalancing of anything in your body. We are multidimensional beings who require work in every dimension. This means your lifestyle will probably need to change.
But what is necessary for healing the physical body? Often a vicious cycle is created with the adrenal situation. If the adrenals are tired they don’t allow other systems in the body to work well, like digestion. If digestion is impaired, then constipation, lack of assimilation of nutrients, and weight gain can ensue. The weight gain can occur due to the lack of digestion which causes undigested food particles to enter the blood stream and deposit in undesirable places in the body. (those unwanted pounds!) Or, if digestion is not working efficiently, that very thing can weaken the adrenals and become a stressor for them. So you can see how easy it is to set up a vicious cycle that is hard to break. Digestive enzymes are in order as part of the adrenal restoration process.
Salt is vital for restoring adrenals to proper function. Now I’m not talking about table salt, which is simply sodium chloride, a chemical, which can cause high blood pressure among other things and offers nothing good for your body. You might think I’m referring to sea salt, but that isn’t the case either. Sea salt, taken from our polluted oceans, is still processed and does not include the necessary nutrients. But Himalayan salt, sometimes referred to as pink salt, includes all 84 nutrients that your body needs every day. It is taken directly from the Himalayan salt mines and is the purest salt in the world. A ¬Ω to 1 teaspoon every day is recommended to help keep your fluid levels balanced and provide you with the nutrients and minerals your body needs. Some individuals crave salt when the adrenals are significantly depleted. For some, when their adrenals are very low functioning, taking ¬Ω to 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt in lukewarm water in the morning before eating anything can help raise their cortisol levels. Remember, cortisol needs to be at its highest level in the morning so you have energy throughout the day.
The B vitamins are an absolute if you wish to repair your adrenals. B’s are anti-stress for one thing, and are required for all healing, digestion, energy and restoration anywhere in the body. The B vitamins are best ingested in a liquid form since digestion is impaired with adrenal fatigue. Also note that tablets seldom break down enough to be utilized by the body, and many capsules have fillers and binders that can actually inhibit absorption into the body. Make sure you include liquid B’s in your daily healing protocol.
Sleep is a necessity for repair of the adrenals, and anything in the body for that matter, for during sleep the repair process takes place. So without sufficient sleep restoration is halted. Many individuals complain about fitful sleep or waking up throughout the night, leaving them tired and sluggish for the day. Five consecutive hours of sleep are what is required every night for adrenal repair, and if you are not able to do this, natural measures should be taken to help you sleep. Relaxant herbal combinations may be helpful. Some find benefit from 5HTP. The cycle of insomnia that is often created when hormones are out of balance can usually be eliminated once hormones become balanced, but using some aids such as mentioned above are certainly in order to help achieve sleep faster. Sleep is vital for repair.
One of the main factors in adrenal fatigue is stress, so changing your response to stressors is a must if healing is to occur. Reducing and eventually eliminating stress will help the insomnia issue as well. You might think this is impossible since everyone experiences stressors in their life, but I can assure you it is possible because I have accomplished this. Here are the facts. Of course you will experience stressful situations in your life through health challenges, financial issues, relationships, work situations, and many other happenings. In addition there is your diet to consider, structural issues, your beliefs and attitudes, and what you think about constantly. Don’t go there! I know what you’re thinking — that this is too hard and you’ll probably never be able to get well, right? Like I said, don’t go there. It is possible to heal with the right and perfect tools because I have accomplished this!
The secret to overcoming stress is in how you respond to the stressors. If you allow them to take over your life and focus on them continually, worrying, becoming anxious or angry, you create an environment for adrenal burnout because these responses are negative. If, on the other hand, you understand that everything that comes your way is there for a reason and has merit in your life, perhaps as a learning tool, then it becomes a positive experience at some point and is not a stressor. If you want to learn more about living without stress in your life, go to www.drcarolynporter.com, sign up for my free monthly E-newsletter, and receive my free E-book called Stress Free Living. It really does work!
Using adrenal and/or thyroid nutrient boosters can be quite beneficial in supporting the restoration of these glands and their hormones. But beware, for many health practitioners recommend animal glandulars or supplements with chemical constituents. You are a high vibrational being. Animals and chemicals resonate at a lower vibration. Therefore, if you consume products from these sources they can never raise you to vibrant health because the vibrations cannot match yours. Doesn’t it make sense to put only products into your body that can resonate on the same vibrational level as you, and therefore promote and sustain hormone balance and great health? I have found that the products from PR Labs have this high vibration. Only pure plants are used in synergistic blends, and their hormone supplements are precursors to help your body produce what is needed rather than simply giving the body a supplemental hormone or product. Helping your body produce what it needs is always the best way to go for restoration whenever possible.
Take it slow
In my previous article on adrenal fatigue I mentioned some suggested supplements and lifestyle changes that have been noted as important for adrenal restoration. Understand that when adrenals are worn out, it is not advantageous to ingest large quantities of supplements. Earlier I referenced the digestion impairment when adrenals are dysfunctional, so taking large quantities of supplements only adds more toxic buildup to your body. Instead, opt for a few high energy supplements that your body can benefit from. Better yet, have a health practitioner test your body with the suggested products through applied kinesiology, or muscle testing. Although not a 100% accurate, it is many times better than simply guessing.
Each of us are individuals, unique in our own way. There are multiple paths to healing, and what works for one may not hold true for the next person. You can read many articles or books on hormone balance and receive various protocols to follow. Listen to your body. Go with what feels right, and have someone test you with kinesiology or similar methods. Do your own research as well and become educated with beneficial information. Many people do not want to take the time to investigate their health issues, but would rather allow someone else to control what goes into their body and tell them what to do. To me, health is a top priority and therefore requires due diligence of my time to keep my body functioning optimally with vibrancy. Although what I’ve shared in this article has proven good for many people, some of it may not work for you. So go into your healing process with an open mind and willing heart to listen, learn and then act when it feels right.
Other important supplements that may be beneficial to use
- In my first article on adrenal fatigue, I mentioned a few supplements that seem to be important for most people to implement according to leading health practitioners. They include:
- Vitamin C
- Extra B5 in addition to the B complex
- Natural prgesterone cream
- Vitamin E
All of these supplements appeared on lists from holistic doctors who specialize in the endocrine system and adrenal issues as needed for healing since these support and nourish the glands, particularly the adrenals. Again, go with what works for you, but this is a good starting place. Be sure to include the items mentioned in this article as well.
Exercise is vital if you want health and vitality. Exercise allows blood to flow and be oxygenated, releases toxins from the body as you sweat, keeps your joints moving and flexible, strengthens your bones and joints (particularly when using weights), energizes your body, improves your mood, clears the cobwebs out of your brain, and above all, helps you lose those unwanted love handles. But caution! When the adrenals are fatigued, be careful not to overdo exercising. Too much further depletes the adrenals. Rule of thumb — if after exercising you are exhausted you are doing too much. Do less next time so that you feel good afterwards. If you have symptoms of hormonal imbalance, here’s another guideline. If you are exhausted after routine exercise, then you probably are experiencing significant adrenal problems. If however you feel energized after exercising, you are probably experiencing more of a thyroid deficiency. It is known that thyroid function is boosted after exercise. Simple walking is usually beneficial for everyone. So get moving!
With rare exception, exercise is highly beneficial for everyone! You might try yoga too!
Every human being is multidimensional and requires repair in all “bodies” for vibrant health. I’m going to briefly mention some emotional issues that contribute to hormonal imbalance. When the pituitary gland is unbalanced, the emotional issues may be a control problem since the pituitary is the control center. With adrenal issues we may find anxiety, a feeling of being defeated, or overwhelm. Thyroid dysfunction has a core in “When is it my turn” or “I can’t do what I want.” With sex hormone imbalance we often see low self-worth, parent issues, guilt, or old unhealthy programming. These issues must be addressed in order to resolve and heal the physical imbalance.
Much information is now becoming available for this huge problem of adrenal burnout that so many people are experiencing. Some say it affects as much as 80% of our population at varying levels. Sadly, many do not know it is affecting their health. What I can see after years of researching for answers in regard to finding the core of health challenges, is that any illness will have the adrenals involved. In order to effectively create healing, the adrenals will need to be nourished and supported to achieve healing. But I also came to realize that complete healing will never occur without addressing the spiritual, emotional and mental realms. After several years of attempting to heal my body in the physical realm years ago, when I began working on releasing old beliefs about hurt, anger, guilt and shame, I then began healing very rapidly.
In the physical realm, anyone who is stressed needs help with their adrenals. Things like worry; financial problems; eating foods that aren’t good for you; no exercise or too much exercise; lack of 5 hours consecutive sleep; too much sugar, alcohol or caffeine (proven to be totally detrimental to adrenal function); chronic infections; toxicity; old beliefs that don’t serve your highest good; spinal misalignment; anger; resentment; jealousy — all of these things contribute to adrenal fatigue because they wear down your body. The adrenals are your stress indicator, and if they become worn out, other systems are affected. This creates an unfavorable environment for a healthy body. Refer to the section on adrenal roles if you’ve forgotten what they do.
So it is a combination of nourishment through supplements and diet, release of old beliefs and programming, reprogramming your thoughts and behavior, repairing the damage and changing your lifestyle that enables your body to really heal. Does this seem like too much to do? Anything worth anything takes time, effort and oftentimes money to implement. In the end, it is more than worth it. You become a stronger and more balanced individual with a whole new outlook on life. Stress is removed and enjoyment replaces it. You feel better, life looks good, your relationships improve, and your heart opens. When you enjoy life, you are living as you are meant to live. And every stressor becomes a gift for you to grow beyond. You are simply investing in your health — a top priority investment!
I’ve shared with you in this article what I believe is necessary to heal your body from adrenal fatigue or any hormonal imbalance. Since the endocrine system, home of your primary hormones, runs every system within your body, it only makes sense to pay attention to your hormones. Health advocates might say that toxins are the primary cause of illness. They certainly are a significant factor in any illness, but often toxic overload is due to too much or too little of one or more hormones that create other unfavorable situations within the body. Too much estrogen can cause cell proliferation leading to cancer. Improper digestion due to any imbalance of hormones can lead to toxins pouring into the blood and depositing anywhere in the body. This can lead to weight gain, colon issues and cancer, among other things. Low DHEA affects the immune system allowing for free radicals to take over and create illness. Any stressors that lower the function of the adrenals contribute to the creation of many diseases.
To sum it all up—
Balance your hormones—
Release old beliefs and patterns that are hurting you—
Heal your relationships — forgiveness heals you and the other person—
Replace old programming with positive thoughts and attitudes—
Reduce stress by changing how you respond to your stressors—
Exercise — whatever you like to do — just do it—
Reduce or eliminate sugar, alcohol and caffeine—
Enjoy life. Focus on the good in your life—
Do your own research — educate yourself—
Work on bettering your diet—
Eliminate chronic infections and toxicity.
Starting protocol for adrenal repair—
B Vitamins — liquid—
Adrenal support through synergistic blend of plants—
Thyroid nutrients that include iodine—
Natural progesterone cream—
Melatonin, 5HTP or herbs to help you sleep—
Reduce stress — learn how to respond differently to your stressors—
Heal your emotional core issues—
Learn positive ways to view life — use a coach, take classes, read books on this.
As a person who has traveled the path of undesirable symptoms, illness, many stressors and hormonal imbalances, I have learned, through my personal experiences, what works and what does not work for me. Although I feel what I have shared is an effective way to balance your hormones and create vibrant health, other things may need to be factored into your equation that I have not addressed. Each of you are unique with your own individual qualities and beliefs, and your lifestyle may look totally different from mine, so all of this must be taken into consideration. However, there is a basic format that must be implemented to begin the healing process, even though additional supplementation, detoxification or lifestyle shifts may be needed.
My personal passion is to use my knowledge gained through research and personal experiences to assist individuals who are suffering in life and want to heal. If I can be of service to you, I invite you to contact me. Life is meant to be enjoyed and fulfilling, and my greatest joy comes from helping someone step into their own power and begin moving into a place of vibrant health and wholeness in all dimensions. As I stated earlier, I believe healing is possible if you embrace the right and perfect tools to accomplish it. You can reach me by visiting www.drcarolynporter.com, www.wheremiracleshappen.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Note: I have referenced a product line in this article that I feel has a superior quality and reaps superior benefits, PR Labs. (Premier Research Labs) They are cell-resonant supplements that are excipient free, created with a high vibration technology that matches that of the human body. They are only available through holistic doctors and practitioners.
They are available at our healing center, Where Miracles Happen, and you may contact us if they are of interest to you. In the near future they will be available through our website.
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