The health of your adrenals is linked to both your immune system and your digestive system. Weak adrenals often indicate a Candida overgrowth, because unhealthy adrenals weaken your defenses against Candida.
If you experience feelings of tiredness and exhaustion, and you struggle to get up in the mornings, you could be suffering from adrenal fatigue. The good news is that a few simple steps can quickly start to build up your adrenal glands. Restoring these organs to health is a crucial part of beating your Candida overgrowth.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands function below their optimal level. These important organs release three different types of hormones that control large parts of the way your body operates. This includes the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, your cardiovascular system and even maintaining the correct balance of salt and water.
Your adrenals can become fatigued after prolonged periods of stress, among other things. Stress causes the adrenals to produce adrenalin, the body’s ‘emergency’ hormone. If this is repeated over and over again (for example regular cups of coffee), the adrenals eventually become depleted and the body becomes unable to cope with stress.
Adrenal fatigue is notoriously difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so hard to pin down. The most common symptom is tiredness and a general feeling of being unwell. Sufferers report that they struggle to wake up and that even coffee only has a limited effect. If you see someone drinking several cups of coffee or sodas each day, they could well be suffering from adrenal fatigue.
What causes adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is caused by prolonged stress, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the kind of work-related or physical stress that we are familiar with. Anything that places your body or internal systems under stress can also cause adrenal fatigue. This includes coffee or any other stimulants.
Caffeine is a major cause of adrenal fatigue, because of the stress that it places on your adrenal glands. Your morning cup of coffee might pick you up and give you energy, but it does so by triggering the release of adrenalin from your adrenal glands. This is the ‘wrong kind’ of energy, because it is unsustainable in the long run. Regular coffee drinkers find that they need to drink stronger and stronger cups to get the same buzz, each time placing their adrenals under greater stress.
Emotional or physical stress is a factor too. An unhappy relationship, a high-pressured job or a newborn baby that keep you up during the night – these can all be contributing factors to weakened adrenal glands.
How can you tell if your adrenals are fatigued?
The most common symptom of adrenal fatigue is a general feeling of tiredness and lack of enthusiasm. Sufferers resort to ever-larger doses of caffeine or other stimulants to feel awake and energetic, but in the long run these are counter-productive.
Unfortunately adrenal fatigue is recognized by only a handful of doctors, and the tendency is to treat the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. Here are a few tell-tale signs to watch out for.
- You struggle to get up in the mornings.
- You feel more awake after 6pm in the evening.
- You find yourself drinking more coffees and caffeinated sodas than those around you.
- You have cravings for snacks.
- You experience feelings of being overwhelmed and run down.
Some sufferers of adrenal fatigue actually go to the gym regularly, because they love the feeling of energy and vitality that they experience after their workout. However ultimately this is still putting more stress on your adrenals.
How can you treat adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is not something that you can cure overnight, but the good news is that you can start taking a few easy steps immediately.
Cut out the caffeine
Caffeine is probably the biggest cause of adrenal fatigue in our society. Not only does it cause your adrenal fatigue, but its also the first thing that you turn to when you start feeling run down.
Its not easy to quit coffee, so take a few weeks to wean yourself off. Start by cutting out your afternoon coffee, then gradually reduce the weakness of your morning cup too. You can try chicory coffee as an alternative - it tastes similar, contains prebiotics to promote the rebalancing of your gut flora, and stimulates the production of healthy digestive enzymes.
Physical and emotional stress is a major cause of adrenal fatigue, so you need to find a way to cut some of the stress out of your life. Take a week or two off work and go on a relaxing holiday if you can. Don’t just think in the short term either – if you can reduce your stress levels long term that’s even better.
Take Some Supplements
You can try some herbal remedies to reduce stress too – ashwagandha and licorice root are good examples. Ashwagandha in particular is a remarkable herb that has stress-relieving properties as potent as some medicinal drugs. Remember to check with your doctor before you start a herbal treatment program.
One of the most important things you can do for your adrenals is take a good rest. If you can’t get away on holiday, at least make sure that you go to sleep reasonably early. Staying up late is actually quite stressful on your body, so do your adrenals a favor and make sure you get your 8 hours of sleep.
Some light exercise will improve your circulation and support your adrenals. Don’t overdo it though – a strenuous workout will place your body under stress and weaken your adrenals further.
Sauna is a way to increase the elimination of toxins from your body and take some pressure off your immune system. This works in a couple of different ways. Firstly, remember that your skin is the largest organ in your body, and is responsible for up to 15% of all toxin elimination. An effective sauna opens your pores and allows a larger quantity of toxins to be expelled. Secondly, it improves your circulation and helps your liver to remove toxins and pathogens from your blood.
Would you like to learn more about the interaction between your immune system, adrenal function and Candida? For more information, take a look at my Ultimate Candida Diet treatment plan.