Our adrenal glands, found on top of both kidneys, are endocrine glands producing hormones. These hormones specifically regulate blood pressure, electrolyte balance, glycogen, lipid metabolism and immune system suppression. Adrenal glands are comprised of an outer and inner part. The outer part, known as the Adrenal Cortex, produces cortisol and aldosterone. These are known as necessary hormones as they regulate stress, metabolism and blood pressure. The inner part, known as the Adrenal Medulla, produces adrenaline, in response to stress.
These hormones collectively influence all of the major physiological processes in our bodies. They closely affect the use of carbohydrates and fats, the conversion of fats and proteins into energy, the distribution of stored fat (waist), normal blood sugar regulation and proper cardiovascular and gastrointestinal function. They also provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to help minimize negative and allergic reactions to alcohol, drugs, foods and environmental allergens. During menopause, the adrenal glands slowly become the major source of sex hormones circulating in the body. These hormones affect energy, mood, libido, weight and metabolism.
Patients, in increasing numbers, have steadily complained about feeling constantly tired without explanation, overwhelmed by stress, lacking strength, motivation, desire, vitality, difficult getting out of bed in the morning and most importantly trouble maintaining energy throughout the day. Often individuals will complain of energy highs and lows, feeling worse in the morning and better after 6PM.
Adrenal Fatigue is a stress-related condition that occurs when your adrenal glands, hypothalamus and pituitary gland (together – the HPA axis) are functioning below their optimal level. When over stimulated for a long period of time, they begin to weaken.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue:
Factors that lead to adrenal fatigue include:
- Life Issues:
- Financial pressures
- Death of a loved one
- Marital stress
- Emotional stress
- Fear, negative attitudes and beliefs
- Body Issues:
- Infections (acute & chronic)
- Prescription drugs
- Poor wound healing
- Lack of sleep
- Over exertion
- Lack of or excessive exercise
- Lack of relaxation
- Poor eating habits
- Lack of good food
- White flour products
When evaluating for adrenal fatigue, we need to ensure it is measured during the day (upon rising, before lunch, before supper and before sleep). HC (hydrocortisone) will suppress your ACTH (which is the hormone that tells the adrenals to make cortisol) which in turn will suppress your own cortisol production. Normally cortisol is secreted with a distinctive daily pattern called a circadian rhythm. Cortisol levels peak in the morning (usually between 7 and 8 AM) and decrease to substantially lower levels late at night.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue and cortisol disruption include:
- Poor immune function
- Muscle aches/tenderness
- Worsening of thyroid symptoms
- Emotional hypersensitivity
- Feeling better AFTER 6PM
- Weight gain
- Inability to handle stress
- Fluid retention
- Feeling tired after sleeping
- Craving salt and sugar
- Loss of libido
- Rage or sudden angry outbursts
- Tired but wired
Saliva testing tells you the level of cortisol that is free and available (unbound) for your body to use. A blood cortisol level tells you what is bound and unbound. It is the unbound cortisol that we need to know about. Tests may show: changes in potassium, low blood pressure, low cortisol, low serum sodium but normal sex hormone levels. If cortisol is extremely high or low it can affect the outcome of various tests including:
- Urine cortisol
- Cortrosyn stimulation test
- Potassium test
Homeopathic treatment plans for Adrenal Fatigue
In clinical practice we have seen varying degrees of adrenal fatigue and insufficiency. Some are tired and wired others flat and burnt out while many are up and down like a yo-yo with their energy in a given day. The best success we have had in treating these cases have come from accurate case taking and history along with proper diagnostic measures (blood & saliva results) prior to preparing a treatment plan. Many patients typically ignore or neglect key symptoms that help accurately determine the most beneficial remedy or remedies for treatment. Proper administration of the treatment plan, nutritional, and lifestyle advice and patient compliance pay dividends in healing. These are the key remedies in treating Adrenal Fatigue that we have implemented successfully:
- The common acid “debility” is very marked in this remedy, producing a nervous exhaustion. Mental debility first; later physical. A congenial soil for the action of Phos acid is found in young people who grow rapidly, and who are overtaxed, mentally or physically. Whenever the system has been exposed to the ravages of acute disease, excesses, grief, loss of vital fluids, we obtain conditions calling for it.
- Impaired memory (Anac). Apathetic, indifferent. Cannot collect his thoughts or find the right word. Difficult comprehension. Effects of grief and mental shock. Delirium, with great stupefaction. Settled despair.
- Heavy; confused. Pain as if temples were crushed together. Worse, shaking or noise. Crushing headache. Pressure on top.
- Craves juicy things.
- Pulse irregular, intermittent.
- Tearing pains in joints, bones, and periosteum. Cramps in upper arms and wrists.
- Profuse sweat during night and morning.
- Weak and tired. Especially adapted to the young. Marked disturbance of the sympathetic nervous system. Conditions arising from want of nerve power, neurasthenia, mental and physical depression, are wonderfully improved by this remedy. The causes are usually excitement, overwork and worry.
- —Anxiety, nervous dread, lethargy. Indisposition to meet people. Extreme lassitude and depression. Very nervous, starts easily, irritable. Brain-fag; hysteria; night terrors. Somnambulance. Loss of memory. Slightest labor seems a heavy task.
- Subnormal temperature
- Worse, excitement, worry, mental and physical exertion; eating, cold, early morning. Better, warmth, rest, nourishment.
- Unable to decide. Want of disposition to work. Fidgety while sitting at work.
- Stout, of fair complexion, with tendency to skin affections and constipation, fat, chilly, and costive, with delayed menstrual history, take cold easily.
- Sexual debility, with increased desire
- Stimulates adrenal cortex and adrenal gland
- Chronic fatigue
- Auto-immune diseases
- Effects of grief and worry
- Stressed, anxious, overwhelmed
- Changeable mood; introspective; silently brooding. Melancholic, sad, tearful. Not communicative.
- Chill, with thirst; not relieved by external heat.
- Great nervous agitation and restlessness.
- Neuralgia in various parts; always with great nervous excitability and intolerance of pain, driving to despair. Unusual activity of mind and body.
- Gaiety, easy comprehension, irritability, excited; senses acute. Impressionable, especially to pleasurable impressions. Full of ideas, quick to act. Tossing about in anguish
- Wakeful; on a constant move. Sleeps till 3 am, after which only dozing. Wakes with a start. Sleep disturbed by dreams. Sleepless, on account of mental activity; flow of ideas, with nervous excitability. Disturbed by itching of anus.
- Dizziness, drowsiness, dullness, and trembling. Slow pulse, tired feeling, mental apathy.
- Desire to be quiet, to be left alone. Dullness, languor, listless. “Discernings are lethargied. ” Apathy regarding his illness. Absolute lack of fear. Delirious on falling to sleep. Emotional excitement, fear, etc, lead to bodily ailments.
- Vertigo, spreading from occiput. Heaviness of head
- Cannot get fully to sleep. Delirious on falling asleep. Insomnia from exhaustion; from uncontrollable thinking; tobacco. Yawning. Sleepless from nervous irritation
- Slow pulse
** All remedy notes were used from Homeopathic Materia Medica by William Boericke MD presented by Medi – T. **