As a Naturopathic Doctor I recognize this collection of symptoms as part of the syndrome indicating the adrenal glands are in need of support. There are in house physical exam tests that NDs use to confirm this as well as hormone tests to see how the adrenals function throughout the day and at what stage of the stress response the body is in.
What are the adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands are tiny pyramid shaped glands that sit on top of your kidneys. Ad=next to Renal=kidneys. They are like the shock absorbers in your car. Healthy shock absorbers make the bumps you encounter while driving your car less impactful. Worn out shocks .... well not so enjoyable - you feel bumps you may have sailed over before. Same thing with worn out adrenal glands; you feel the stresses (bumps) in your day a lot more. The most common comment I get from clients is that they notice that they are reacting (overreacting they observe in retrospect) to things that would have just rolled off their back in the past. They feel more irritated, less patient and sometimes a bit wired but tired. Parents and entrepreneurs seem to be the most common adrenally spent individuals in my practice and I find folks in transition also benefit from extra adrenally focussed support.
How can I tell if my adrenals are needing some love?
If you regularly notice one or more of the symptoms below/in the header it may be time to get some specific support so you can better care for your adrenal glands. The sooner you catch this and address this the better and easier to bring your body back into balance.
1. You feel tired for no reason - especially you feel your energy dip in the afternoon (1-3pm).
2. You need coffee or sugar to keep you going. 3. You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.
4. You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
5. You crave salty and sweet snacks.
6. You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day. 7. Weight gain around middle.
What can I do?
"Rest. Routine. Rhythm." is the adrenal gland daily mantra as this creates a sense of calm and stability for the whole system. I would throw in "breathe" as well as there is no simpler way to stop stress in its tracks. Working with lifestyle and habits is key when adrenal issues are present to rewire the draining brain patterns of worry, overwhelm and B-U-S-Y to calm. It's not enough to give the herbs and nutritional supplements without addressing the underlying internal/external stresses - doing both in conjunction however yields excellent long term results for you in terms of calmness and energy and feeling like you've got a full reserve tank. Identifying the brain's pattern of reaction in stress and then rewiring is more important to think in reversing adrenal dysfunction. There are many ways to address those underlying internal mental stresses - REBA testing is one that we offer at the clinic that identifies and clears unhealthy thought and emotion patterns based on the past.
The stage of adrenal imbalance you are in will determine the most beneficial supplement support. Herbs and vitamins and minerals (i.e. Magnesium, Vit C, bit B5) are helpful supportive measures as you move toward an adrenal friendly life.
The herb Ashwaganda is a favourite, gentle restorative herb - not stimulating, more nourishing. Glandulars are great especially for type Os when things are really in the pits. Often clients with stressed adrenal glands have some anxiety as well and when this is the case staying away from the more energizing adrenal herbs like Panax Ginseng and even Licorice is key. Bowen therapy, Acupuncture, Yoga nidra, time in Nature are great at bringing the adrenals home to rest too.