Most people have depleted energy reserves and describe their day as running on empty. Having enough energy to lead a happy and productive life is missing for most people.
Every physical action and both emotional and mental actions expend energy. When energy is used, it must be replenished. The stress of living drains our energy resources.
The adrenal gland is the final leg of the body’s stress response system. This system is the HPA axis or the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. This system was designed to deal with stresses that we experience each day. It should turn on, then turn off.
The Stress Response System Must Turn-On, Then Turn-Off
Unfortunately, for many people, it rarely turns off so it has no chance to recover and heal. The adrenal gland has two parts: the medulla which secretes adrenaline. This is the well-known fight-or-flight hormone. Quick acting, it prepares us to fight or flee from imminent danger.
The adrenal cortex secretes cortisol which acts more slowly and is the primary hormone involved in dealing with chronic stress, such as war. Medical studies of the chronic and extreme fatigue syndromes have implicated the HPA axis as being involved.
The idea that deficient cortisol output led to fatigue developed in the late 1800’s. There is, however, little consensus among the medical people about the level of involvement of adrenal fatigue syndrome as a causative factor in chronic fatigue.
The primary reason for the lack of a definitive answer about adrenal fatigue syndrome is due to the wide range of variations in measuring adrenal output. People with adrenal insufficiency are at risk for adrenal crisis, usually caused by a major stress, such as severe infection or surgery.
Most People Suffer From Sub-Clinical (No Diagnosis) Fatigue
Few people are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), but a large percent of the population suffers from undiagnosable chronic and extreme fatigue. Because medical work-ups cannot find any specific dysfunction, this does not make the fatigue any less weakening to the individual.
Recent studies have shown that the HPA axis is likely involved and that, in particular, there is a diminished contribution from the adrenal gland via its production of cortisol. Recent studies have shown that adrenal gland size is reduced by 50% in those diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.
This surely suggests that adrenal fatigue syndrome due to shrinking of the adrenal gland is likely involved in all chronic and extreme fatigue individuals. Unfortunately,
these studies have not led to the development of any effective medical therapies.
In the field of alternative medicine, however, nutritional supplementation plans, such as the use of DHEA, and more complex programs involving exercise, diet, vitamin/mineral complexes, and the judicious use of specific herbal formulations suggest that adrenal fatigue syndrome can be dealt with effectively.
This, of course, occurs outside of mainstream medicine, and without its approval. This creates a difficult environment for individuals who most often rely on their doctor’s guidance and are unwilling to take health care into their own hands.
Yet, surveys show that many people are now turning to alternative medicine because their doctors offer no effective strategies for dealing with the ever-increasing epidemic of fatigue in our modern times.
The Newest Player in Adrenal and Endocrine Fatigue is Persistent Organic Pollutants
These bad news chemicals came onto the scene after WWII and studies began seriously in the early 1990s. Quickly, it was realized that these toxic substances were messing with the whole endocrine system and they were called endocrine disruptors.
Informative commentary on the Endocrine System and how it is being disrupted by the house hold chemicals and food that we consume on a daily bases. Death, De…