Adrenal Fatigue is a concept discussed frequently in functional medicine. People who suffer this disorder have very low energy and difficulty balancing their blood sugars and their blood pressures. Sub clinical hypothyroidism frequently occurs simultaneously making treatment options complicated.
I recently heard one of my favorite teachers, Dr. Andrew Heyman, lecture on the topic at an American Academy of Anti-Aging conference. Dr. Heyman suggested that Adrenal Fatigue, like everything in the human body, is a manifestation of feedback mechanisms. When we are under prolonged stress, our body, particularly a certain area of the brain called the hippocampus, is being overwhelmed with stress hormones like cortisol. These stress hormones are toxic to the hippocampus and can cause the hippocampus to shrink. The hippocampus is a very important area of the brain, especially with memory. Our elegant body therefore has a feedback system to “turn down” the production of the stress hormones to protect the brain. Thus what we are calling “adrenal fatigue” is our body protecting itself!
When treating Adrenal Fatigue we need adaptogenic herbs, improved nutrition, improved sleep, hormone balance, mild relaxing exercise, and more fun and interesting things to do. Prayer, meditation, laughter, hugs, massage, acupuncture, music, art, reading, cooking, etc can help. Being outside in nature and speaking up for yourself help as well. Stress reduction treatments such as neurofeedback, neuro-emotional technique (N.E.T), and Ondamed (pulsed electromagnetic field or P.E.M.F. therapy) are useful treatments for adrenal fatigue offered at The Center for Optimal Health.
Written by Dr. Christine Blakeney of The Center for Optimal Health in East Lansing, MI
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