This is the 5th and final installment of my 5 (duh) part mini-series on Adrenal Fatigue. It addresses end stage adrenal exhaustion and describes a bundle of supplements that provides balanced, non-stimulating support of your worn-out stress system.
As your stressful life continues to bombard your adrenal glands, they falter faster, and you finally collapse into exhaustion. Your cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine are all low. In addition, even your dopamine – associated with pleasure, reward and motivation – has plummeted. You may find you develop a few new symptoms, while others improve; still others may seem to go away all together. Even though these could provide clues as to the true nature of your problems, many if not most doctors will miss them, because few have been educated about these tell-tale signs of adrenal burnout.
You have trouble dragging yourself out of bed, and once up, want to go right back to the sack. You might experience “leaden paralysis”, where your limbs feel so heavy that simple movement becomes overwhelming. When you force yourself to be active, the pain both during and after any exertion makes you wonder if the effort is really worth it. You avoid others, are increasingly sensitive to the scrutiny and rejection of others, and run a very serious risk of feeling and looking depressed.
A main point of this series of blogs is that in order to determine the health of your adrenal glands you need to have a blood, urine, or saliva test performed by a practitioner trained to treat adrenal fatigue. Most doctors are unfamiliar with this condition, for the simple reason that it is difficult to diagnose effectively by traditional blood tests. Conventional labs set their ranges to detect adrenal failure (Addison’s Disease), which is different from adrenal fatigue.
Cortisol levels may be checked throughout the day by a saliva test to determine if they are highest in the morning and lowest in the evening. Saliva testing is preferred as it measures the amount of free and circulating hormones instead of the binded hormone more commonly measured in blood tests. DHEA, epinephrine and norepinephrine are other indicators of adrenal function. The information provided by testing can help determine the most appropriate type of treatment.
Self-Screening Tests for Adrenal Dysfunction
Ragland’s sign (blood pressure test) — (Equipment required: Home blood pressure kit) Take your blood pressure while sitting down. Then, stand up and immediately take your blood pressure again. Your systolic (first) number should have raised 8 to 10 mm. If it dropped, you probably have adrenal fatigue.
Pupil dilation exam — (Equipment required: Flashlight and a mirror) Look into the mirror and shine the flashlight into the pupil of one eye. It should contract. If after 30 seconds, it stays the same or, even worse, dilates, you most likely have adrenal fatigue. You can find a list of more common symptoms of adrenal burnout below:
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
- Low body temperature
- Unexplained hair loss
- Feelings of frustration
- Mental depression
- Difficulty gaining weight
- Excessive hunger
- Difficulty building muscle
- Inability to concentrate
- Moments of confusion
- Poor memory
- Tendency towards inflammation
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Lack of energy
- Auto-immune diseases
- Palpitations (heart fluttering)
- Dizziness that occurs upon standing
- Low blood pressure
- Craving for sweets
- Dry and thin skin
- Scanty perspiration
- Alcohol intolerance
Adrenal fatigue treatment requires nutritional and adrenal-specific supplementation, as well as diet and lifestyle changes. It may take 6 months to 2 years for adrenal fatigue to resolve.
Our “Just Plain Tired” Bundle
The goal of treatment in this end stage of adrenal burnout is to start low and go slow. This bundle combines key adrenal vitamins, minerals and herbal adaptogens as well as amino acid building blocks to manufacture your depleted neurotransmitters. In addition, this bundle powerfully addresses your ongoing state of heightened inflammation and pain. Moreover, this bundle adds aggressive support for one additional neurotransmitter: dopamine.