Did you know that there are three major causes of fatigue? Many people try to just avoid the problem by using caffeine, sugar and energy drinks, until that no longer works and they know they are in trouble. A good health practitioner will look to address each and correct the imbalance. Here they are:
1. Cortisol Imbalance, 2. Mitochondrial Dysfunction 3. Neurotransmitter Imbalance
Common symptoms are: muscle and joint aches and pains, exhaustion, depression, memory loss, concentration loss, anxiety, fatigue, digestive problems, immune dysfunction, poor sleep, weight gain.
Let me explain a bit about each for you, as ALL three can accumulate.
Cortisol Imbalance is created when our stress is increased above our comfortable level for any extended period of time. The three top causes of stress are:
1. Emotional and mental stress (which can include financial)
2. Dietary stress (from poor diet and toxins)
3. Pain and Hidden Inflammation (including from medications).
As the stress hormones increase, our immune system decreases, and so does our metabolic resources, or energy, to provide for all of our regular daily body functions. Digestion can become a chronic problem as well as blood sugar regulation. Pathogens can build in the G.I. tract creating food intolerances and leaky gut. Excess stomach acid can be produced to try to correct the imbalance. Antacids will only exacerbate the problem! Our detox system can become overwhelmed as we are not eliminating toxins efficiently. Microbial overload, such as parasites and fungus, can become a problem.
Since the adrenal glands produce cortisol, they often start with a ‘hyper’ (over-active) excretion and can end up becoming ‘hypo’ (under-active) in their ability to produce the proper hormone balance. The hypothalamus and pituitary communication breaks down, as well as thyroid function decreases. (It is important to see your health care provider for support with this instead of self-medicating). Blood sugar becomes a problem and the adrenals can respond well to blood sugar balancing with the proper nutrient and dietary support.
Mitochondrial Dysfunction creates poor cellular function with low ATP production. (ATP is short for adenosinetriphosphate, which is the energy that is produced in our cells.) STRESS creates high free-radical damage and more oxidative damage of the mitochondria! The mitochondria then cannot make enough ATP for energy, and in fact can have a LOSS of ATP creating exhaustion. This can easily be corrected with the proper base protocol of nutritional support with antioxidants.
Neurotransmitters can become imbalanced as stress can block the re-uptake transporters. For example, tryptophan creates 5HTP which is turned into serotonin. Stress will block this process. Low dopamine plus inflammatory factors can make things worse. The adrenal medulla makes the dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline). The adrenal cortex produces cortisol. So both the adrenals AND the brain play an important role in healthy neurotransmitter production, keeping us balanced and happy. Specific nutrients can support the brain to rebalance neurotransmitters, relieving depression and fatigue.
So, make sure your health care provider understands all three aspects of this process when working to restore balance. You may also consult with me, in person or over the phone, to additional support with this process to get yourself on the best protocols and dietary support to bring your body back into homeostasis, and restore energy and vitality, naturally!
Jane Smolnik is a Naturopathic Doctor and Iridologist with a practice in Asheville, NC. She also works with clients long distance by phone. Her specialty is adrenal stress and fatigue, as well as cardiovascular health. Please visit her websites at: www.adrenalmasters.com and www.ultimatehealing.com for more info, or to contact her.
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