by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
It is for most of us…
There is new cutting edge research that shows us that adrenal fatigue is not the issue for most people. Unfortunately this information will likely not become mainstream for about two decades and even your holistic practitioner may not catch this focus shift information soon enough for you.
But heck, that’s what you have me for.
I love finding the updated, cutting edge information and sharing this with you.
So back to the lie of adrenal fatigue.
Only a very small percentage of people truly experience adrenal fatigue. This would include those that suffer with Cushing’s syndrome, Addison’s disease and/or tumor growth on the adrenal glands specifically.
Thankfully, this percentage is very small.
So What About Everyone Else
Most everyone else is not dealing with adrenal fatigue, they are experiencing a much different problem. To understand this, let me provide a background for you here.
Not so long ago nobody was even looking at adrenal fatigue and was viewed as that mystery challenge for your health.
Then we started to recognize that your adrenal gland function plays a significant role in your holistic health. After all, your adrenal glands basically affect the whole of your body.
This is when we started to recognize issues that were determined to be adrenal fatigue. Sometimes this was referred to as adrenal insufficiency, adrenal exhaustion or adrenal burnout.
Thankfully, this was very helpful for so many people, understanding again that this impacted the whole of your body regardless of what this was called and referred to.
So is adrenal fatigue a lie?
In Name Only
While your adrenal glands play a role in producing many hormones, the one hormone we are looking at to get an accurate assessment is the hormone cortisol.
Understand that cortisol plays and important role during any type of stress, whether this is mental/emotional stress or the stress of inflammation caused by food sensitivity, infections, toxicity or any other type of stressor.
Not only does cortisol play a significant role in all these stress responses, it also plays a role in normal body function as seen in this picture below.
Click on the picture below to make this larger and easier to read.
So you can see that your cortisol levels are extremely important for you.
Understand though that unless you have some of the challenges mentioned earlier in this article such as Addison’s, Cushing’s or a tumor, your adrenal glands will manufacture cortisol on a consistent basis. This cortisol is then stored in your body and ready for use, whether this is needed for a stress response or for normal body function.
But what has to happen at this point is that your body has to convert this stored cortisol into free and active cortisol that your body can use.
So most people do not have an adrenal issue, they have a cortisol conversion issue.
Here’s The Truth on Adrenal Fatigue
I discuss what is known as the HPA axis with my clients and this stands for the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal axis. This HPA axis is the key point to what used to be known as adrenal fatigue and is rightfully referred to as HPA Axis Insufficiency.
To make something complicated as easy as possible, this is the response that your body has to any type of stress.
- You are exposed to some type of stressful event
- You produced epinephrine and/or norepinephrine in your brain
- This stimulates your hypothalamus to produce a hormone referred to as CR
- This stimulates your anterior pituitary to produce a hormone referred to as ACTH
- This then converts your stored cortisol into the free and active cortisol you need for your stress response and/or normal body function as shown above
So the truth is that adrenal fatigue is not real for most.
Most people that have been told that they have adrenal fatigue actually have the inability to convert stored cortisol.
Also note that some people may have some other hormone conversion issues based on other challenges as well such as deficiencies in vitamins or minerals, which is common. And some people simply have too many adrenal triggers that are simply overloading the system.
- Chronic mental/emotional stress
- Food sensitivity that is unknown
- Gut infections
- Heavy metal, chemical or environmental toxicity
- Chronic inflammation
- Or any other combination of stressors
If you are wondering how your stress hormone system is functioning, take this FREE assessment.
What Do You Do
It is still essential to test your adrenals for answers.
*Note for my current and past clients.
The updated testing with CAR will provide us deeper insight on your ability to manufacture ACTH from your pituitary gland to help convert your stored cortisol into free cortisol. I am very excited to share this new info with you!
You can understand that impact that your adrenals, or best described as your HPA axis, has on your health and your life by looking at a hormone saliva test. This will give you and assessment of your free and active cortisol and with the specific test that I use with my clients now, this will also provide you with information on your ability to convert your stored cortisol as well as hormone conversion issues based on vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Once you have this information you can begin to support your HPA axis and vitamin/mineral deficiencies as needed. At this point you would also focus on discovering the underlying causes of your HPA axis insufficiency as well. As example, is this due to mental/emotional stress, infection, inflammation, toxicity, food sensitivity and/or any other stressor in your life.
There Are Answers For You
And it all starts with testing your stress hormones with a comprehensive and quality saliva test kit.
My “go to” with my clients right now is a test from BioHealth called the #205AE w/CAR and SIgA. This test will review all the information below that is essential to you.
- Cortisol x 6 (Cortisol Awakening Response)
- Secretory IgA
You can get more information on this test kit and purchase here by clicking on this link now.
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