The holidays can be a stressful time for many reasons, but stress can be harmful to our bodies and especially to our adrenal glands. This post explains what adrenal stress and fatigue are and how you can minimize adrenal stress and fatigue during the holidays.
What is adrenal stress?
When you’re under emotional, physical, psychological, or environmental stress, your adrenal gland, which sits on top of your kidneys, produces a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is partially responsible for your body’s fight-or-flight response to stress.
When cortisol levels are high, it blocks the effects of important hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid hormones. As a result, you may have symptoms of low estrogen, low testosterone, or low thyroid, even though those hormone levels may be normal.
When cortisol levels remain chronically high over an extended period of time, it’s known as adrenal stress.
What is adrenal fatigue?
If high-stress sticks around, the adrenal gland gets tired out and can’t maintain the high cortisol levels anymore. This drop in cortisol is known as adrenal fatigue.
In adrenal fatigue, cortisol levels are lower than they should be. With low cortisol levels, hormone receptors don’t work as well and many of them are destroyed. This means that the effects of important hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid are reduced.
What are the symptoms of adrenal stress and fatigue?
Symptoms of chronically high cortisol (adrenal stress) include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight gain, especially around the waist
- Mood changes, including irritability, anxiety, or depression
- Hair loss
- Loss of muscle
- Hot flashes
- Aches and pains
Symptoms of low cortisol (adrenal fatigue) are:
- All-day fatigue
- Weight gain, especially on the hips
- Chemical sensitivities
How can I improve adrenal health during the holidays?
- Attempt to reduce stress as much as possible. This may involve spending time alone to take care of yourself or spending time with low-stress family members.
- Get enough sleep. Try not to stay up too late preparing meals or catching up with friends. Getting enough sleep is important in order to replenish hormone levels.
- Eat healthy. Food can be a big trigger during the holiday season. Try eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding too many carbohydrates/sugars and too much caffeine.
- Exercise. Grab a friend and catch up during a walk. Exercise naturally boosts energy levels and helps burn off some of the extra calories you may put on from food.
- Call The Compounding Center. Our knowledgeable pharmacists work with Jim Paoletti, an expert in adrenal support. Call The Compounding Center to find out how Jim can perform an adrenal health evaluation and get you started with an adrenal support program.
Ready to get rid of adrenal stress and fatigue?
Schedule an appointment with Jim Paoletti.