Adrenal Fatigue Diagnosis and Treatment

The term “Adrenal Fatigue” gets a bad rap from much of the traditional community as chronic diseases continue to be poorly managed in healthcare. The truth is that the concept of “adrenal fatigue” developed in the last several years as sustained toxicities and stressors on our body begin to wear our system down. In a healthy body, under acute stress, our adrenal glands release cortisol. This is a normal physiological response to stress and often described in science as the “fight or flight” response. This does several healthy things for our body when released at the appropriate times at the appropriate levels. Cortisol makes glucose readily available to the tissues, heightens our awareness and focus, and acts as an anti-inflammatory hormone. However, if cortisol remains elevated for too long, we might see symptoms like weight gain, blood pressure dysregulation, risk for osteoporosis, and mood swings. At the same time, our adrenal glands produce a “mother hormone” called DHEA. DHEA is referenced as a “mother hormone” because from DHEA, our bodies can make testosterone and estrogens. However, if our body is under a lot of stress, the precursor for DHEA, pregnenolone, can be shunted towards making more cortisol. As a result, hormonal imbalances can ensue. While testing markers like cortisol, DHEA, and male/female hormones can be helpful in the management of symptoms, it is important to note that these are short-term fixes. Remember, the body’s response to prolonged stressors is the root issue. For this reason, it is important for us to investigate further for chronic stressors like gut dysbiosis, heavy metal toxicities, emotional trauma or stress and nutritional deficiencies. Identifying and healing the body in these areas is what sets us apart from the traditional medical community and will bring lasting results.

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