(Reprinted with permission from The Key West Citizen’s Health File, April 2010)
Are your adrenal glands overworked?
By Ashley Hoyt
Special to The Citizen
Do you often feel “wired and tired”? Do you drag yourself through the day, getting by on caffeine or soda, then find yourself unable to sleep at night? No energy to exercise, and yet no ability to fully rest?
If this describes your state, you could be suffering from adrenal fatigue. It affects up to 80 percent of adults at some point in their lives.
The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for our “fight or flight” response, pumping adrenalin into our system to deal with emergency situations. Physical and emotional stress, chronic illness and disease can activate this response as well. The result is overworked adrenal glands that cause the body to react as if it’s constantly under threat.
Other symptoms of adrenal fatigue can be decreased metabolism and weight gain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, poor concentration, lowered immune function leading to chronic infections, and inflammatory and arthritic conditions.
In Chinese medicine, the energy derived from adrenalin affects our “Jing” qi and many believe it determines an individual’s lifespan. According to the Chinese, it cannot be increased but only preserved through correct living. It’s like a retirement account, if expended to quickly or inappropriately, it will not support us in our latter years.
Adrenalin fatigue sounds all encompassing, overwhelming, and it feels that way to those who suffer from it. Correcting the problem, however, is within our ability. How do you fix it? Deep rest and exercise are important, along with some basic healthy dietary guidelines.
Start small. There are other ways to rest the mind and body besides sleep. Meditative types of activities can help the body begin to recoup its lost energy. Massage therapy, therapeutic body work, acupuncture, yoga, walks on the beach, or even a nice bath soak with candles and aromatherapy salts can give your body, mind and spirit a break. Do whatever helps deaden the mental chatter and the drain of everyday demands. If you’re worried about taking time out of a busy schedule to do these things, remember that it will make you more productive immediately and in the long run.
Exercise can help correct the chemical imbalance of your adrenals and that promotes deeper (and better) sleep. Walking can be a very affective form of exercise. Don’t burn out on the first day. Make 30 minutes a day your goal and work up to it. Even light exercise has crucial health benefits, especially if you’re suffering with chronic illness. Get your blood moving and try to sweat a little because exercise improves circulation and metabolism while boosting the immune system and decreasing depression and anxiety. When you’re ready, make a personal trainer happy by calling one and asking them design an individualized program. Recruit a friend or get your family involved.
Healthy food choices are also essential. It’s basic: eat fresh sources of meat, seafood, and vegetables, whole grains and drink clean water. Keep it high in protein, low in fat and carbohydrates. Because everyone has different needs based on health, age, and metabolism it is a good idea to consulting a health care practitioner to develop a personalized eating program.
The body functions at its optimum when balanced in the body, mind, and spirit. It’s the best health insurance available.
For more information about Ashley Hoyt and the Clinic of Alternative Medicine or to inquire about services, call 305-296-5358 or stop by 3420 Duck Avenue next to the Art Warehouse.