When our ancestors noticed a tiger sitting in a tree, ready to pounce upon them, their bodies knew exactly what to do. The body instantly passed through its freeze response and initiated its self defense mechanisms for fight or flight. Dedicated aspects of their neurology very quickly calculated whether they had better odds running away or standing their ground. Stress hormones quickly altered the body chemistry, pushing it into overdrive. Heart rate, breathing, blood circulation the senses and many other attributes linked to protective responses responded to cues. All of this happened within a couple of seconds, without any conscious engagement.
Stress responses are designed for short term engagement. From an evolutionary perspective, there were no long term stressors that the body could respond to. In other words, you either got away from the tiger, or the tiger ate you. Industrialized societies are different. We encounter many stressors on a continuing basis, so of which may never get resolved. Therefore it is very common to find that many of us suffer from stress overload, which is commonly referred to as Adrenal Fatigue.
Here is an excellent comprehensive article on Adrenal Fatigue. It can be heavy lifting, but if you fit this profile, wading through this is worth the effort.
From the article:
Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
- Tendency to gain weight and unable to lose it, especially around the waist.
- High frequency of getting the flu and other respiratory diseases and these symptoms tend to last longer than usual.
- Tendency to tremble when under pressure.
- Reduced sex drive.
- Lightheaded when rising from a horizontal position.
- Unable to remember things.
- Lack of energy in the mornings and in the afternoon between 3 to 5 pm.
- Feel better suddenly for a brief period after a meal.
- Often feel tired from 9 – 10 pm, but resist going to bed.
- Need coffee or stimulants to get going in the morning.
- Cravings for salty, fatty, and high protein food such as meat and cheese.
- Increased symptoms of PMS for women; periods are heavy and then stop, or are almost stopped on the 4th day, only to start flow again on the 5th or 6th day.
- Pain in the upper back or neck with no apparent reason.
- Feels better when stress is relieved, such as on a vacation.
- Difficulties in getting up in the morning.
- Mild depression
- Food and or inhalant allergies
- Lethargy and lack of energy
- Increased effort to perform daily tasks
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Dry and thin skin
- Low body temperature
- Unexplained hair loss
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
Any one or a few of these symptoms do not indicate Adrenal Fatigue, but if you have many of these symptoms, you should look closely at this article.
An interesting point made in the article is that it is important to be careful with nutritional supplements when experiencing Adrenal Fatigue. Once your body has adopted unbalanced biochemistry, many vitamins and minerals can actually re-inforce the imbalance. This is why I always recommend Hair Trace Mineral Analysis (HTMA) as a foundation for discussing nutrition in general and especially when there is a suspicion of Adrenal Fatigue.