Adrenal Fatigue and Stress

Adrenal Fatigue and Stress

We live in incredibly stressful times. The economy is horrible. Jobs are hard to come by. The middle class hasn’t had a raise in 30 years. The cost of food, water, gas, and electricity all continue to rise. We are eating an unprecedented level of processed foods. To deal with this stress, your adrenal glands release specific hormones that allow us to survive stressful situations. The problem is that our adrenal glands are designed to sprint, but we expect them to run a marathon. Because we are increasingly under prolonged stress, our adrenal glands become fatigued and worn out. This has unfortunate side effects, which include exhaustion, weight gain, and loss of sex drive. The greatest stress our ancestors would have undergone was famine. We don’t think about this today because we live with such abundance, but to this day, the greatest stressor on our bodies is arguably hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). You have to understand that we have amazing genes that have allowed us to survive ice ages. Stress is not something new to the human species. So, when your boss is yelling at you and you’re paying the bills late, your body interprets this as starvation. That’s right, when your body is under stress, it thinks it is going to starve to death because that is what happened to our ancestors. This is important because certain hormones, especially cortisol (I am sure everyone has heard about the cortisol belly), are triggered while under stress that keep your blood glucose levels up, make your body store for winter (put on fat), and retain critical minerals. When you think about stress this way, it makes perfect sense that stress may cause you to gain weight and make it hard to shed it. Stress lowers your sex drive. This happens because it would be foolish to reproduce when there is a shortage of food. When under stress a hormone called androstenidione displaces testosterone on cell receptor sites. Displaced testosterone means low sex drive! There is a great logic to the way the body operates. So what can we do about this? Personally, I have found meditation and yoga to be helpful in dealing with psychological stress. There are several places here in North County that teach yoga. I personally use a DVD at home produced by “The Biggest Loser” called Weight Loss Yoga. It is nice because it is set up to take you through 3 levels of increasing difficulty at your pace. If you want to learn to meditate you can get a free lesson at http://zmm.mro.org/teachings/meditation-instructions/. Obviously, this is Zen-based, but the lesson is secular. If you want to get personal training in meditation, I got my training...

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