A Unique Modern Epidemic; Adrenal Exhaustion

Among the most common modern-day afflictions, both diagnosed by holistic practitioners and undiagnosed is what is known as adrenal exhaustion.

This is brought about by;

  • chronic or severe stress;
  • chronic exposure to foods that trigger sensitivity reactions;
  • exposure to electromagnetic frequency (EMF) pollution from cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, and other electronic sources;
  • and especially excess dietary carbohydrates and blood sugar

Adrenal stress, dysregulation, and exhaustion can leave you feeling completely worn out and depleted and can greatly interfere with normal sleep patterns.

The symptoms of low adrenal function are varied, depending upon severity and individual factors.

Commonly, they may include:

trouble staying asleep

being a “slow starter” in the morning and afternoon fatigue

feeling run down or overwhelmed by cravings for salt and sweets

experiencing dizziness when standing up too quickly afternoon headaches or headaches with stress or exertion

Adrenal dysregulation can also include adrenal “hyperfunction” (not to be confused with Cushing’s disease), which can eventually also lead to some stage of adrenal exhaustion.

Among common symptoms of adrenal hyperfunction are:

  • feeling constantly stressed-out
  • trouble falling asleep
  • irritability and anxiety
  • high blood sugar levels
  • tending toward weight gain under stress
  • excess perspiration or perspiring, even while inactive (in normal temperatures)
  • waking up tired, seemingly no matter what

Adrenaline is the hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla, and it is associated with acute states of the fight-or-flight mode.

Once released, it mobilizes blood sugar to fuel the emergency, dilates pupils, shuts down digestion and other nonessential or nonsurvival-oriented bodily functions, constricts blood vessels raises the blood pressure, and increases the heart rate.

Cortisol, secreted by the adrenal cortex, is produced in response to more chronic stress states and as a blood sugar–management hormone.

Individuals with chronic stress or dysglycemia may exhaust the adrenal cortex’s ability to produce adequate amounts of cortisol which results in what can be termed adrenal exhaustion.

Because leptin rules the endocrine roost, as it were, and insulin stands firmly second in command, the adrenal hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, are next in the line of authority over your moods, energy, and well-being.

The health of your thyroid depends upon the health of your adrenals.

No thyroid issue can ever fully resolve or significantly improve without the restoration of adrenal health.

Women must depend on healthy adrenals to ease the transition of menopause.

Exhausted adrenals are unable to take the “baton” from the ovaries, as they are supposed to at this time, to continue producing needed hormones.

If your adrenals are shot, that transition called menopause can be pure hell.

Women with healthy adrenals at menopause barely even notice anything has happened, which is how it is supposed to be.

Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms are not remotely normal simply because they are commonplace.

Your adrenals are often the first obvious casualty of blood sugar dysregulation.

Stymied adrenal function can lead to chronic feelings of stress or being overwhelmed, fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, mood disorders or instability, headaches or migraines, and eventually thyroid problems.

Problems with sex hormones can develop, too, via an endocrine metabolic phenomenon known as the pregnenolone steal.

You will never correct a problem with your thyroid or sex hormones without first correcting the adrenal imbalance.

To correct that, of course, you must determine and address your main adrenal stressors and address issues around insulin and leptin.

Common adrenal stressors can include;

  • blood sugar dysregulation (the big one),
  • chronic use of stimulants,
  • chronic high levels of EMF exposure,
  • chronic infections,
  • food-sensitivity issues,
  • prolonged life stress or chronic trauma,
  • chronic lack of adequate sleep,
  • and excessive exercise.

Apart from excess dietary carbohydrates and lifestyle issues, the next most common cause of adrenal problems is easy food sensitivities.

Consuming food substances to which you are sensitive will automatically generate a stress response in the body that involves both cortisol and insulin.

Even if your diet is low carbohydrate or low caloric, it is possible to gain undesirable weight and generate systemic inflammation if you are chronically eating foods to which you are sensitive.

According to research, several vicious cycles can be commonly generated from adrenal dysregulation, which are difficult to correct.

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis can become dysregulated, leading to many other hormonal problems.

The hippocampus of the brain (found at the temporal lobes, just above the ears), which is needed for; emotional and neurological stability, short-term memory, and memory consolidation, among other things, can begin degenerating due to excess cortisol saturation and excitatory activity, which can be from chronic stress, EMF pollution, insufficient sleep, excess dietary carbohydrates, and food sensitivities.

Also, the gastrointestinal tract can develop impaired regenerative capacity and mucosal erosion as the result of either insufficient or excess cortisol levels, which can lead to leaky gut syndrome, allergies, immune system vulnerabilities, and food sensitivities, among other things.

The popular use of progesterone creams can also easily create or exacerbate cortisol excesses.

Excess leptin and insulin surges generated by chronic carbohydrate consumption can get this problematic adrenal ball rolling in no small way and create a self-perpetuating nightmare.

These vicious cycles can unravel anyone.

  • Cortisol levels shift throughout the day naturally and follow a predictable daily rhythmic pattern that can become dysregulated by stress.
  • These pattern disruptions can be readily managed by the use of adaptogens, which are stress-mitigating herbs that can help reset these erratic patterns on a brain-communication level and help restore healthy cortisol rhythms.
  • Efforts to support adrenal recovery may be entirely futile with individuals who are anemic.
  • The presence of anemia must first be ruled out or properly addressed when seeking to support adrenal issues


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