Symptoms of adrenal fatigue:
Morning fatigue — You don’t really seem to “wake up” until 10 a.m., even if you’ve been awake since 7 a.m.
Afternoon “low” (feelings of sleepiness or clouded thinking) from 2 to 4 p.m.
Burst of energy at 6 p.m. — You finally feel better from your afternoon lull.
Sleepiness at 9 to 10 p.m. — However, you resist going to sleep.
“Second wind” at 11 p.m. that lasts until about 1 a.m., when you finally go to sleep.
Cravings for foods high in salt and fat
Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
Lack of energy
Decreased ability to handle stress
Lightheadedness when getting up from a sitting or laying down position
Decreased sex drive
The adrenals are endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They are responsible for regulating stress response in the body by producing and delivering hormones. The adrenal hormones are directly related to metabolism, balance, energy levels, memory, circulation, blood pressure, sex drive, and immunity.
In modern day times, stress hormones build to excessive levels. Busy lives, bad diet, negative emotions, and limited physical exercise can lead to adrenal exhaustion, adrenal atrophy, and Addison’s disease. Adrenal glands are also weakened by refined carbohydrates, sugars, and stimulants including caffeine.
Adrenal glands can benefit from a low-salt diet that is rich in vitamins B, E, A, and C. Flax seed, bran, oatmeal, brewer’s yeast, wheat-germ, fruit, and vegetables should be eaten regularly. Adding zinc, selenium, potassium, manganese, germanium, and magnesium supplements may also be beneficial.
If adrenal exhaustion is suspected, royal jelly (from honeybees) and ginseng can help. Other remedies include daily consumption of evening primrose, hawthorn, or licorice tea.
Herbal extracts for adrenal health include Echinacea root, ginseng root, and milk thistle seed. Warm compresses applied to the lower back may bring relief to the adrenals. If adrenal exhaustion is diagnosed, licorice extract taken under the tongue twice a day is an option.
The main symptom of adrenal exhaustion is an inability to cope with stress. There may be other signs such as anorexia, unexplained weight loss, nausea, dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea, low blood-sugar, apathy, and development of black freckles on the head and shoulders. Sometimes abnormal dark brownish pigmentation appears on the skin, particularly on the knees, elbows, palms, nails, gums, and skin folds.
Other symptoms of adrenal exhaustion include lack of energy, dullness, anxiety, poor circulation, memory problems, low blood-pressure, moodiness, sugar dysfunctions, brittle nails, back pain, muscle spasms, insomnia, and sugar or salt cravings.
Blonde hair may darken, body hair may decrease, and the person may feel cold. In advanced cases there may be a sudden loss of strength, severe abdominal pain, and kidney failure.
If adrenal exhaustion becomes extreme, the adrenals may shrink. In some cases this leads to Addison’s disease which is associated with hypothyroidism.