My Natural Health Blog

Support your Adrenals & Shrug off Fatigue

 

High levels or long-term stress can be detrimental to our health. People vary greatly in their ability to cope and respond to stress and although many of us may initially respond well to stressful situations; eventually the adrenal glands become depleted.

 During times of stress, a series of chemical reactions and physical responses take place. Stress stimulates the fight-or flight response, diverting nutrient rich blood and oxygen towards larger muscles in the heart and legs, in preparation to run as we would have historically from danger. Such hormones that regulate these body systems are released from our adrenal glands and their overproduction cause the adrenals to become fatigued, leaving us feeling overwhelmed. Sufferers may have low energy during the day, feel wired, tired, or be in a constant state of exhaustion which is not relieved through sleep.

 Melatonin is the hormone responsible for sending us to, and helping us stay asleep. It works synergistically with serotonin, our feel-good hormone and as one rises the other falls. As the sun goes down melatonin production increases, however this can be disrupted by cortisol, our stress hormone. Cortisol should be high in the morning however for people suffering with adrenal fatigue, it is common for cortisol to surge at night, especially if electronic devices have been used prior to sleep. The disrupted melatonin production can leave you lying awake in bed wondering why you are so tired but cannot sleep. Once the sun rises, melatonin decreases and serotonin and cortisol surge. However, if you did not have a restorative sleep, low serotonin and cortisol levels will have you reaching for a morning coffee.

 Traditional herbal medicine has long been used to support the body’s stress-response and nourish the adrenal glands. Ashwagandha and Cordyceps Mushroom are potent adaptogens which help to regulate the hormonal cascade that leads to adrenal fatigue, and can also help to ease the negative effects of chronic stress through anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic actions. As cortisol naturally decreases during the day, many herbs such as Holy basil, Siberian ginseng and Astraglagus specifically target daytime stress to improve endurance, reduce fatigue, and assist adaption to physical, emotional and chemical stresses. In the evening when Melatonin should increase, herbs such as hops and lemon balm help to reduce anxiety, reduce irritability, and induce a sense of calm and assist melatonin production to improve the quantity and quality of sleep.

 Any stressful situation can produce an imbalance in our body and no matter what the source; the body is not designed to cope with long-term stress. We may not be able to control the stressful situations in our lives however we can control our response to them. Supporting your adrenal glands is the key to maintaining good health, well being and enabling a restorative sleep that will leave you feeling energised for the day ahead.

 

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