Fatigue: The Great Energy Bandit

Your adrenal glands secret hormones that are necessary for life. Cortisol, which is extremely important for keeping our body systems in balance, is one of these hormones.

The functions of cortisol:

  • controls the immune system and plays a role in preventing infections
  • maintains normal blood sugar
  • regulates blood pressure
  • a reliable indicator of the amount of stress in your life
What symptoms indicate a possibility of adrenal dysfunction (fatigue):
  • lack of energy
  • sugar imbalance – hypoglycemia
  • reduced body temperature
  • heart palpations
  • depression or anxiety
  • alternating diarrhea and constipation

When I see a patient with a chief complaint of fatigue, one of the first areas of investigation is the adrenal glands (small organs that sit atop the kidneys). I frequently order a comprehensive stress profile that measures cortisol in the saliva at four different times of the day. This test is a good indicator of one of the causes of fatigue.

What can you do to help adrenal fatigue?
  • manage stress
  • avoid stimulants, e.g. coffee and other caffeine products
  • reduce alcohol intake
  • develop healthy sleep habits: go to bed earlier and get up later. Your body desperately needs sleep in order to repair. For adults 8-9 hours and for children 10-12 hours depending on age.
  • don’t over exert in your exercise.
  • eat right: high protein, eat regularly with 2-3 snacks between meals
  • consider adrenal adaptogen supplementation

If you suspect you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue, call us for a free 10-minute phone consultation with our medical director, Wanda J. Bedinghaus, MD.