July 26, 2013

Is Adrenal Fatigue the New Scapegoat? ~ Tova Payne

Have you found in life that when you start to hear about something, you start to hear about it everywhere?

Well, recently I have been hearing a lot about adrenal fatigue. It’s not a particularly new syndrome; however it seems to be this new trend going around.

But in case you have not heard about it, I will give you a little background.

Your adrenals are small kidney shaped endocrine glands that live in your body just above your kidneys, in your lower back area. These powerful glands are what secrete cortisol, our stress hormone, which helps us fight under danger or pressure, and epinephrine and norepinephrine which are the hormones that give us a splash of energy.

You see, our body has a natural rhythm where every day certain amounts of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine are naturally being released, which to a certain extent give us that juice to energize us. Although I’ll have to save this for another article, not all stress is bad. Stress can have its benefits, such as keeping us focused and on track to the task at hand.

The problem occurs when stress gets out of control; we do things that cause excessive release of this stress hormone by our adrenals.

What kind of things? To be overly reactive to other people’s demands, to be prone to anger, judgement, and criticism, as well as drinking a bucket of coffee or caffeine-filled energy drinks. All of these things, including over-exercising can put a toll on our lovely adrenal glands.

When this happens—like anything in life, the harder you are on something the faster you wear it out.

Basically if you do too many things to make your adrenals work excessively (engaging in stressful activities and drinking excessive amounts of caffeine,) your adrenals get tired.

What I want to bring into awareness, is that the catch-phrase-excuse of exhaustion, is often “I have adrenal fatigue,” as if that is the syndrome that befell you, that you are powerless  and your only choice is to buy a herbal bottle of Adrenal Savers full of Vitamins B, C, Maca and yes, even adrenal hormones from animals. These pills exist.

But these pills are not the answer.

The same way conventional medicine is focused on fixing problems by giving a remedy, without looking at the underlying cause; the unfortunate reality today is that natural medicine is often moving in this same direction. Instead of looking at the underlying cause, you may find yourself walking away from your naturopath with more bottles of herbal medicine than your physician would have never given you!

So instead of blaming your state on some condition that is outside of your control, and seeking out a remedy outside yourself, what I propose is something a little more natural and possibly slightly radical.

I advocate for the possibility of slowing down.

Imagine not pouring a pot of coffee down your throat at 5 pm, in an attempt to pull an 18-hour day.

Perhaps it is quitting those caffeine filled energy drinks and using techniques such as exercise, deep breathing and mindfulness practices to calm your nervous system, which is at the heart of taking care of our adrenals.

When we are faced with immense stress we can look for a short-cut and look for some herbal remedy to fix the problem (which I have found, does not even work all that well) or we can go deep to the root of the issue.

Maybe we just need a time out. Maybe we need to take 10 deep breaths; sounds simple, but most people won’t even pause to do it.

The message is: don’t give up your power when it comes to your health. You can always find a way to blame your energy levels on something outside of you, such as “adrenal fatigue” or you can actively take your power back. See the exhaustion, as a message from your intelligent body to slow down.

Take a 5 minute time out to focus on your breath. Take a walk around the block. Take a long Savasana (yogic-resting time out, where we learn to cultivate an ability to let go, and surrender).

It will do your adrenals, mind and spirit, a lot of good and save you a lot of money off that bottle of Adrenal-Fix.

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Assistant Ed: Gabriela Magana/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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