Adrenal fatigue and your immune system are closely linked together, but sadly, little is known about adrenal fatigue, even within the medical community. Adrenal fatigue, also known as adrenal gland fatigue or adrenal exhaustion, is often misdiagnosed as the symptoms can be associated with numerous other types of ailments, unless the problems veer toward extreme dysfunction, as evidenced in Addison’s Disease or Cushing’s Disease.
Adrenal glands are triangular shaped glands the size of walnuts and sit atop each kidney. The inner section of the gland is responsible for producing adrenaline and noradrenaline, the all important substances that can eradicate pain, whereas the outer layer, known as the adrenal cortex, manufactures hormones such as cortisol, testosterone, DHEA, aldosterone or estrogen.
The adrenal glands follow a circadian rhythm, with hormone production actively surging early in the day then decreasing toward the evening.
Adrenal fatigue and your immune system. Symptoms :
* Muscle and joint pain
* Low energy level or low blood sugar level
* Extreme fatigue
* High susceptibility to infections, allergies or common colds
* Lower back pain
* Weakened immune system
* Sleep that is not restful
* Low sex drive
* Salt craving
* And many more…..
Since the adrenal glands control our response to stress by releasing the appropriate hormones to deal with seemingly threatening events, it is also important to note the different types of stress conditions that can lead to the glands to overreact.
* Emotional stress can be induced by external factors, such as traffic congestion, loss of unemployment, bereavement and countless of other reasons. Lack or insufficient sleep tends to weaken the immune system and is a major contributor to adrenal overwork.
* Inflammatory stress results from simple accidents such as a twisted ankle, to more elevated issues such as H. Pylori bacteria infections, intestinal candida infection or gut dysbiosis.
Cortisol is critical to the proper functioning of the immune system and inadequate production of cortisol by highly fatigued adrenal glands can lead to various auto-immune disorders, including alopecia areata, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, cardiomyopathy, crest syndrome, polyarteritis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, sclerodorma, ulcerative colitis, dermatomyositis, discoid lupus, anklosing spondylitis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cold agglutinin disease, just to name a few.
The hormone cortisol also converts fats and proteins into energy, balances electrolytes, along with regulating the calibration of heart beat and pressure. The antibody Secretory IgA responds to viruses and other pathogens that enter the nose and throat, or via the intestinal or urinary tracts, and abnormal cortisol production can seriously disrupt the IgA level necessary to fight off infections.
However, a sustained and excessive level of cortisol can have destructive consequences that can include the following :
* Destruction of healthy bone or muscle
* Serious impairment of the digestive and mental functions, along with metabolism
* Slowing down of the healing process
* Disruption of normal cell regeneration
* Weight gain
* Acne or hair loss
Interestingly, the adrenal glands contain the highest concentration of Vitamin C in your body. The glands utilize Vitamin C in the manufacturing of all different types of hormones, and when a stressful situation is encountered, Vitamin C can be rapidly used up. Lack of Vitamin C then throws the adrenal glands into a state of panic, inducing an even higher production level of cortisol, releasing a vicious cycle.
Adrenalin fatigue and your immune system. Testing :
A test of adrenal functions is available and is a very easy and painless procedure. This test aims at measuring the cortisol and DHEA levels in your saliva and consists of four samples taken at various times of the day to assess the fluctuation levels of such hormones.
Conventional medical practitioners would probably prescribe a blood test to be performed to assess these hormone levels; however, it has been pointed out that the stress of having a needle stuck into your body can deliver inaccurate readings, therefore, a saliva test is the preferred method.
Adrenal fatigue and your immune system. How to correct the imbalance :
* Lifestyle may potentially become the key as stress in its various forms is the determining factor. Avoiding stressful situations as much as possible and allowing yourself some down time can be a huge benefit.
* Get as much sleep as your body requires for normal functioning
* Reduce your sugar and stimulant intakes
* Follow a moderate exercise regime
* Yoga or meditation will put you into a more relaxed state
* Laughter has been shown to be especially helpful
* Health supplements
Unfortunately, conventional medical protocol still follows a disease based model, and adrenal fatigue is not medically considered a disease, thus do not be overly surprised if a medical practitioner gives you a blank stare when the condition is mentioned.