Healthy Hormone Series Part #1: Adrenal Fatigue

This may be a silly question (I mean, you are a mom), but have you ever felt out of balance? I told you it was a silly question.

I'll be more specific: have you ever felt so ca-razy bitchy, exhausted, spacey, and puffy that even the sound of your children or a glance at yourself in the mirror landed you in a spiral of wine, chocolate, and a whole lotta tears?

No? Well, you can stop reading.

For the rest of us, this is a true problem.

My guess is you think you’re losing your mind. You know something is off, but you aren't sure what it is. Your doctor, friends, and maybe even your spouse rattle off some nonsense about "this is what motherhood is all about," and that "you do it to yourself. If you just slowed down, you would feel better."

So, you chalk it up to motherhood and live your days wanting to crawl into a cave and hide.

The good news is: you aren’t crazy

The better news is: you can fix it

My guess is, you have some form of adrenal fatigue. Yup ... fatigue. Even your GLANDS feel your pain. 

What is adrenal fatigue?

The adrenal glands sit atop your kidneys like little hats on a baby. These tiny glands have a HUGE job. They keep your body running smoothly by secreting the following hormones:

1. Epinephrine (Adrenaline) and Norepinephrine: these are your “Fight or Flight” hormones. Your savior when you are faced with a “near death” experience – near car crash, being chased be a tiger, or running out of chocolate…

2. Cortisol: your go-go juice. This gets you out of bed in the morning and gives you energy. It also is your buffer system against inflammation.

3. Aldosterone: regulates sodium, potassium, and fluid volume.

4. DHEA: a precursor to testosterone and helps with tissue repair.

5. Sex Hormones: progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and their precursors. Helps with libido, moods, and anti-aging.

Cortisol is the typical hormone we look at with adrenal fatigue, however, you can see how important our adrenals are to our entire physiology!

When adrenal glands get tired of trying to keep up with all that is going on in your world as a woman (yes, I believe we have more emotional "work" than men) and as a mother (need I say more?), they start to do wacky weird things like pump out too much or not enough cortisol and sex hormones.

When their exhaustion becomes more than they can handle, your adrenal glands go on vacation. They stop doing the job they were designed to do. The crippling fatigue is felt - by YOU.

Do any of these sound like you?

- You need a forklift to get you out of bed.
- Coffee and chocolate power your days and wine ends your night.
- You can’t remember anything and you constantly lose your keys.
- Sleep is restless since your mind won’t shut off.
- You are tired and wired and refuse to stop in fear that you may just pass out.
- You get dizzy often or are lightheaded.
- The day-to-day is becoming unbearable with your unstable emotions.
- Sugar and salt? Yes please!
- That cold you’ve had won’t go away and your paper cut still won’t heal.
- PMS has become a NIGHTMARE
- Sex drive?? Forget about it.

Are you nodding your head yes?

This isn't voodoo science ladies. This is a real condition. Unfortunately, at least in the US, most MD's don’t look at it as such, but a Naturopath, Integrative MD, or holistic nutritionist will.

This is where I ask you my friends - please listen to your intuition. If something is not right, then it’s not right. Don't let others tell you otherwise. Get an adrenal panel done and see what's going on "under the hood."

If you decide to ignore it, you are putting yourself in great jeopardy. Your blood sugar/insulin mechanism may already be compromised, putting you at risk for insulin resistance and inflammation. Your estrogen/progesterone ratio can be skewed, making you more estrogen dominant, increasing your risk of cancer. Your cortisol can stop working and prime you for autoimmunity and more inflammation. Your gut may become leaky, which will lead to numerous food sensitivities. Finally, your thyroid hormones will be affected; turning down your metabolism and helping you pack on the pounds.

What can we do about it?

Treatment depends on which level of adrenal fatigue you are currently living: 

Stage one - Intermittent spells of tiredness and perhaps sleep problems.

Stage two - Tired and wired. You go, go, go, and the minute you sit down – it’s all over! Coffee becomes a necessity.

Stage three - Tired, cranky, and low sex drive. Sex hormones are being sacrificed to keep cortisol pumping throughout the day.

Stage four - Bring on the forklift! Coping with daily life is torturous. Cortisol is "flat lined" and not working properly at all.

Please seek out a practitioner to help you with any testing, medications, and/or supplements that may be needed.

Don't worry, there are a few simple hard things you can do to help yourself now.

Okay, I said hard. It’s true. Don’t fret. Pick just ONE or TWO off the list and begin weaving it into your crazy life. Don’t worry mama, it takes time.

Bolster your diet with these:

- Greens and colorful veggies: minerals and nutrients + high levels of antioxidants. - Lean protein: grass-fed, pastured, or organic. - Good fat: coconut products, quality animal products, omega-3 oils, avocados, nuts and seeds.

My favorite tip: Always combine fat, fiber, and protein to each meal to ensure good blood sugar regulation and energy.

Reduce these from your diet:

- Caffeine: try herbal tea or coffee like Dandy blend. I also love my lemon water and ginger in the morning.
- Sugar: ACK! Take it slow. Start with processed sugar and move forward from there. This is where fruit becomes your best friend.
- Watch your food sensitivities: if you know you have a food sensitivity, but you are still eating those foods, you are surely lighting a fire in your immune system every.single.time.you.take.a.bite.
- Processed food: do I need to explain? This just isn’t real food.

Lifestyle tips:

- Go to bed earlier, sleep in, or nap. Heck, just close your eyes for three minutes and breathe! That helps too.
- Create some down time, even if it’s just 10 minutes to walk to the mailbox and back. Do it alone and take in the moment. My favorite is a bath with Epsom salts and lavender.
- Chamomile tea at bedtime helps your body relax.
- One minute meditation. Breathe in for a count of 8 (fill those lungs), hold your breath for a count of 4, and exhale slowly for a count of 8. Repeat 3 times.
- Essential oils like wild orange and lavender have been scientifically proven to reduce your perceived levels of stress after smelling them for just 5 minutes! Please always choose the best quality essential oils you can find, otherwise you're inhaling synthetic additives that are harming your health rather than helping it (click here to watch a webinar on which oils Ashley uses every single day for keeping her adrenals healthy and her moods stable).

Pick just one to bring your busy life into balance.

All the science aside, I am a true believer that one of the biggest factors in regaining your energy and sanity boils down to taking care of YOU. Louise Hay, author of “You can Heal Your Life,” says that adrenal fatigue has an emotional component: Defeatism, anxiety, and no longer caring for the self (AKA MOM).

She suggests this affirmation, “I love and approve of myself just as I am. It is safe for me to care for myself.”

Similarly, in my practice, I preach the mantra Love YOU More. Begin to create a cradle of healing for yourself. You are just one person with an enormous job that you are doing unperfectly (which is the new perfect). If you can Love YOU More a little every day, your healing will begin. 

What first step will you take on to regain your energy and sanity? I would love to hear!

Love You More, Selena

Selena

Selena Maestas Moffitt is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Counselor helping overwhelmed women curb their exhaustion, reclaim their sanity, and get back to kicking-ass at life. Her belief is, “It’s not just about the food.” Nourishment begins with radical self-care and the mantra: Love YOU More. You can find her at www.CoachSelena.com.

 Want to learn how to curb your exhaustion? You can watch Jumpstart Your Energy Engine for FREE by clicking here or download a shorter Video + FREE pdf by clicking here to help you figure out why you’re so exhausted: three pieces of your diet that you aren’t even considering.