Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome: Find Out Why It Drains Your Energy

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 adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys.
The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.


Endocrine Disruptors (Are the Products We Use Killing Us and Our Children?)

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…

Diabetes Has Multiple Causes but Persistent Organic Pollutants is the Main One

“How Can You Get Control Over Diabetes”

The Burden of Diabetes

Population projections are that people diagnosed with diabetes could increase to about 18 million persons by 2020. The financial burden on the health care system is enormous.

What causes type 2 diabetes is the most frequently asked question and there are few satisfactory answers. This question has stumped medical and scientific researchers for many years. But, despite all that’s not known, there is general agreement that type 2 diabetes is tightly associated with obesity.

Insulin resistance, defined as the limited ability of insulin to cause blood sugar uptake into cells, is a primary problem in Type 2 diabetes. Further, the pancreas, which releases insulin, breaks down in diabetes, releasing less insulin.

Today, most people rely on the advice and guidance of their medical doctor for diabetes treatment. Blood sugar control is the main treatment option. Recommendations to control bodyweight and to exercise are top on the list of priorities. Guidelines have existed for years and have been published by the American Diabetes Association.

Dietary recommendations follow those that have been popular for decades now: key dietary advice is to reduce fat intake to less than 30% of total daily calorie intake and to reduce saturated fat. There’s an emphasis on eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.

A Poorly Understood Cause

Everyone knows that diabetes is associated with obesity, probably because obesity causes diabetes. However, thin people also become diabetic. A clue to why is provided by the correlation between diabetes and what are called “persistent organic pollutants” (POPs). POPs are man-made organic compounds, usually pesticides, such as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans.

A 2006 study using NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2002) data found very strong associations between levels of these chemicals and diabetes. For example, a risk ratio of 30. These associations persisted even when the data was stratified in all sorts of ways. The scariest result came from people who had BMI greater than; 25. Looking only at such people, those above the 90th percentile for amount of POPs had 16 times the risk of diabetes as those below the 25th percentile. Here is something associated with thin people getting diabetes.

Does the association exist because POPs cause diabetes? You might argue that POP exposure is correlated with poverty (poor people are more exposed), poor people exercise less than rich people, and lack of exercise causes diabetes. However, Agent Orange exposure among soldiers is associated with diabetes. That is unlikely to be due to confounding with poverty or lack of exercise.

Everyone has these chemicals in their body, but almost no one knows how much. I don’t know if I’m in the 10th percentile or the 90th percentile. If I’m in the 90th percentile, what can I do about it? A good place for self-measurement and tracking.

Can you really control your diabetes by eating this type of diet? The facts are that the astounding increase in the rate of diabetes suggests that this dietary method will fail to control diabetes and a lifetime use of drugs and insulin injections is in front of you.

Environmental toxins; POPs

The most important cause of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome is environmental. Something bad was introduced during industrialization and is increasing in the environment. We know that it is noninfectious; the usual suspects are “POPs.” POPs are defined as “chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment” by the Stockholm Convention. It identified 12 POPs initially and subsequently added 9 more. (Diabetes Metab J 2011)

Cardiovascular diseases, eye disease, circulatory disease are all associated with the diabetic state. It’s clear that medical recommendations for controlling diabetes have failed.

There’s got to be a better way!

In simple words, what’s being used now is not working. I argue that it’s precisely the recommended diet that prevents people from controlling diabetes.

And since obesity and overweight are tied tightly to diabetes, then we have to find a better way to control weight and blood sugar.

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