How Do I Know If I Have Adrenal Fatigue? (+ Start Healing From Adrenal Fatigue) Rebelle Nutrition

  Want to skip right to the FREE 5 Day Adrenal Fatigue Detox Challenge?  Go HERE!

Want to skip right to the FREE 5 Day Adrenal Fatigue Detox Challenge? Go HERE!

If you're like most of us, you're tired, addicted to caffeine and sugar, and have a hard time falling asleep at night. 

But maybe you’re not 100% sure if it's actually adrenal fatigue, and what the term "adrenal fatigue" actually MEANS, so i’ll start by explaining that.

Adrenal fatigue is the term used to describe a variety of symptoms related to hormonal dis-regulation - specifically the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is most well known as being a "fat storage" hormone, but it also has very important roles in sleep regulation, immune function, inflammation and a whole lot more. Cortisol levels can become disrupted due to ANY and EVERY type of stress we face on a daily basis.

Of course, our bodies are designed to handle stress in small amounts (think: occasional adrenaline rush from a workout, or avoiding a car crash...acute situations things like those) but problems start occurring when our lives get so out of control that we are facing multiple chronic stressors, day in and day out, for years at a time.

What are chronic stressors?

Chronic stressors are things like food sensitivities, caffeine addiction, sugar consumption, digestive problems like leaky gut, a standard american diet (aka consuming foods your body doesn't recognize as FOOD), a stressful job, lack of sleep, always putting yourself last, being too hard on yourself/perfectionistic mentality, long-term prescription drug use, alcohol, unhealthy relationships, etc. etc. etc.

All of these stressors begin to dis-regulate our cortisol rhythms, and it’s not a matter of IF you will get adrenal fatigue, but WHEN. 

Side note: I will say that certain people are definitely more susceptible to adrenal fatigue than others: particularly type A women who are very empathetic, feel stressed out easily, and have perfectionistic/regimented mentalities around everything from their work to their family to their diet (the reason I know this is because i’m basically the poster child for this - and why I often refer to myself as a 'delicate flower' who must closely monitor my sleep, food, exercise, stress levels, etc. in order to NOT fall back into adrenal fatigue).

So if you're thinking you might have adrenal fatigue but aren't 100% convinced, here are some ways to know for sure that your cortisol is F***ed. 

1. Fatigue - Duh

If you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus in the morning, but get a second wind and feel super wired around 9/10 pm and can’t fall asleep, this is not normal.  A normal cortisol rhythm would have you feeling your most awake in the morning (when cortisol is highest) and drop off slowly the rest of the day (allowing for melatonin production to take over before you fall asleep)

The good news about having this symptom though, is that it means you are in the beginning stages of adrenal fatigue because cortisol is still being produced (just at the wrong times). Once you are in the later stages of adrenal fatigue, you will feel extremely tired at all times (with NO energy spikes) because cortisol levels will have nearly flatlined.

2. Low blood pressure/ Low blood sugar

If you get dizzy or see spots or even black out when you stand up - this is a big indicator that your blood pressure is very low - a common symptom of adrenal fatigue, because cortisol is responsible for monitoring blood pressure. Also, electrolyte/mineral balance is one of the functions of healthy adrenals, so when they are working improperly, it can effect your blood pressure (and cravings for salt). 

Another symptom that goes hand in hand with this one is intense cravings for salt and sugar - your body is smart and your adrenal glands thrive off of the minerals in salt - plus it knows that salt will help raise your blood pressure.  In addition, your body craves sugar as a way to temporarily increase blood sugar since hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is viewed as a "danger" to the body (and yet another result of disrupted cortisol).

Video more your thing? Watch my video about how to know if you have adrenal fatigue below!

 

3. increased cravings

Speaking of hypoglycemia - cortisol is needed to free up stored glucose from the liver and raise blood sugar - so when cortisol production is low (in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue) combined with high amounts of insulin from stress, your cells are unable to get the sufficient amount of glucose and nutrients that they require for energy production.

THIS MEANS THAT YOUR CELLS ARE LITERALLY STARVING FOR NUTRIENTS - which can lead to increased cravings, very little satiety from the foods you eat, and inevitably, weight gain.

4. weight gain (but it's not because you're eating too much)

Ohhh weight gain - this is another symptom of adrenal fatigue for the reason I just described, but ALSO because most people who are susceptible to adrenal fatigue have been fueling their bodies improperly for many years. On the one end this could be due to a standard american diet with tons of processed foods, trans fats, and sugar for many years, but much more commonly...

Adrenal fatigue occurs for reasons on the complete other end of the spectrum - and this looks like years of low-fat or low-calorie diets, past disordered eating patterns, over-exercise, or even constant stress about what your body looks like (mental stress IS STILL STRESS).

Listen, I know this is counterintuitive- and against the mainstream advice of "eating less and exercising more" in order to lose weight. If this theory actually worked, WAY fewer women would be struggling with their weight.

But the body is more than a math equation- and your metabolism is not as simple as calories in vs calories out. 

Say you eat 1200-1500 calories a day (as recommended by many fitness/diet magazines) and workout intensely for 1 hour a day. Your basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn just to be alive and lay in bed all day) is roughly 1200 calories depending on your build. Subtract around 400 calories from that for your workout, and you are already in a deficit. 

This COULD mean initial weight loss, but what generally happens is that after a few weeks or months your body will rebelle (he,he) and say WTF! THIS IS STRESSFUL! I'M IN A FAMINE!

...and then, because the body is incredible and is trying to save your life, it will down-regulate your metabolism and hold onto nearly every calorie you eat out of fear that you will starve. Not to mention, hormones are created from the nutrients that we eat. So that means a deficit of nutrients/calories means a deficit, or even lack of production of adrenal hormones like cortisol - but also of sex hormones like progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, etc. 

As you can imagine, this is where hormonal problems like missing periods, infertility, hot flashes, brutal menopause, and even hormonal acne come into play- and are yet another symptom of adrenal fatigue.

If any of the things I just talked about resonated with you, first and foremost -

DON'T PUT YOURSELF FURTHER INTO ADRENAL FATIGUE BY STRESSING OUT ABOUT IT!

 

Want more adrenal fatigue resources? Grab the cheatsheet on healing adrenal fatigue!

 

 

XO,

Amie

Questions? Comments? Leave them below!

8 Signs Adrenal Fatigue is Causing Your Allergies, Anxiety, and Acid Reflux

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The main function of the adrenal glands is to help you deal with and adapt to stressors, which could be anything from financial and relationship stress to a poor diet or underlying infection. They do so by releasing a variety of hormones that signal to the rest of your body that an “attack” is taking place. This function is vitally important to keeping us alive, for example, in primitive situations like running from a predator, our “fight or flight” response is what gave us the rush of adrenaline to be able to run, fight, or survive. 

These days, the “fight or flight” response is no longer a once-and-awhile occurrence. Today, most of us are under a nearly constant stream of stress, ranging from environmental toxins, to 60 hour workweeks, to underlying infections and poor diet, to debt and finances. 

Constant activation of the adrenal glands (the main producers of KEY hormones in the body such as cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone) means that their essential function becomes disrupted, leading to hormones being produced at the wrong times, in the wrong amounts, or a near failure to produce them whatsoever. 

HORMONES RUN THE SHOW. 

In case you didn’t know, your hormones are in control of everything from your weight, your mood, your hunger/fullness signals, to your energy, your sleep and more. 

The hormones produced by the adrenal glands have a HUGE impact on how every tissue, cell, and organ system in the body functions - and if they aren’t functioning up to par… a whole lot can go wrong. 

For more on what adrenal fatigue is, go here:

Here’s how your low adrenal function is contributing to a variety of symptoms such as allergies, insomnia, and anxiety.

 

1. Allergies

 Cortisol is a hormone that often gets a bad rap for driving fat storage, but it has many very important roles in the body. Cortisol has strong anti-inflammatory properties, and is one of the primary hormones released by the adrenal glands. The amount of cortisol in our bloodstream at any given time is responsible for monitoring and controlling the body’s inflammatory response - which means that the function of the adrenals is KEY in moderating our histamine response (i.e. allergic reaction) to different foods, dander, plants, etc.   People suffering from adrenal fatigue may notice an increased amount of allergies, or existing allergies may seem to worsen, due to the inability of the adrenals to produce enough cortisol to counteract allergic responses. A vicious cycle occurs here, because increased histamine production means the adrenals have to work even harder to produce enough cortisol. 

2. Insomnia

Adrenal fatigue has profound effects on our circadian rhythm (aka our sleep/wake cycle). This is because our circadian rhythm is controlled by our 24 hour cortisol rhythm (established by the adrenal glands). In an ideal rhythm, cortisol should peak in the morning (helping us wake up) and be lowest in the evening, allowing melatonin (the sleep hormone) to take over and allow us to fall asleep. The stress from adrenal fatigue causes a disruption in hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, producing them in higher quantities as night (causing us to feel wide awake at 9pm despite being exhausted all day). If this is you, avoid exercise late in the day, incorporate relaxing activities at night, and remove caffeine (I know, I know).

Pssst: are you passionate about nutrition and wellness? Learn how to turn your passion into a business below!

Another source of nighttime disruption caused by Adrenal Fatigue? low blood sugar. Waking around 3 am often indicates low blood sugar, low adrenal function, and low cortisol. 

3. Hypoglycemia & weight gain

 In the more advanced stages of AF, many people suffer from low cortisol levels - meaning an increased difficulty sustaining proper blood sugar levels. The result of low adrenal hormones like cortisol (which help to free up stored glucose in the liver in order to raise blood sugar) PLUS high amounts of insulin from stress, means that cells are unable to get the amount of glucose and nutrients they require. This leads to feelings of shakiness, tiredness, weakness, irritability, and have crazy sugar and carb cravings. So, the symptoms of classic hypoglycemia, such as irritability or nervousness when extended periods without food - are often the result of high stress levels and adrenal fatigue (preventing nutrients from getting into your cells), rather than hypoglycemia itself. 

Many sufferers respond to this feeling of low blood sugar by consuming sugar and simple carbs in high amounts (to get the quick hit of energy). This causes blood sugar levels to spike (and become completely erratic) yet another stressor on the adrenals. This can result in unwanted weight gain, because insulin (fat storage hormone) transports all of that extra glucose (in the form of sugar and simple carbs you just ate) into fat cells.  This is an evolutionary response that serves an incredible purpose - after a period of famine (low blood sugar) we are designed to overeat, while extra calories are available.

For this reason, hypoglycemics have a tendency to gain weight easily if they do not monitor their blood sugar levels closely.  If this sounds like you, avoid low blood sugar dips by eating more fat with meals, eating more frequently,  reducing stress, and healing the adrenals.

4. Anxiety/depression

Did you know that adrenal hormones are intimately involved in your cognitive function and mood? Stress and high cortisol (in the beginning stages of Adrenal Fatigue)  have been linked to anxiety and depression. Conversely, low cortisol has been linked to brain fog, depression and impaired memory. Adrenal Fatigue sufferers also often report feeling more frustrated and less tolerant, with an inability to handle everyday stressors. Do you ever go off the handle from something insignificant, like one too many dishes in the sink, or pieces of mail on the counter (me!!!)? This is a red flag. If you’re feeling unusually anxious or blue, your adrenals may need some lovin’.

Side note: did you know that caffeine actually helps increase levels of serotonin and dopamine? This means coffee = happiness. Literally. I only learned this a few weeks ago when I decided to cut out caffeine completely, and started feeling unusually sad and helpless for no reason whatsoever. Although it sucked, this is yet another reason to give up coffee and observe the TRUE under-functioning of your adrenals. 

5. Joint pain

As you now know, cortisol is responsible for decreasing inflammatory responses within the body. When the adrenals are underfunctioning (as seen in Adrenal Fatigue) cortisol levels are often unable to keep levels on inflammation in check. This is why AF sufferers often report increased levels of joint pain, arthritis pain, or fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, conventional medicine often treats symptoms of arthritis and joint pain with corticosteroids (synthetic cortisol) which, although effective in the short term, halts the bodies natural production of cortisol, meaning that adrenal fatigue can become even worse. 

6. Brutal menopause

The adrenal glands become the primary producer source of sex hormones in women, as soon as they hit the mid-life point (menopause) and their ovaries are no longer making estrogen and progesterone. This means, if the adrenal glands are under-functioning once you start menopause, the likelihood of proper sex-hormone production is slim to none. Inefficient (or imbalanced) levels of estrogen and progesterone is what leads to things like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, hormone imbalance and more. If you are in the peri-menopause stage or are already suffering from intense menopausal symptoms, look into supporting the underlying causes of your symptoms, aka supporting adrenal function.

7. Hypothyroidism

Another negative consequence of adrenal fatigue is decreased production of thyroid stimulating hormone. Thyroid hormone is responsible for many different processed in the body including metabolism, body temperature, energy levels, hair, skin, and more. This could be a key component of why so many people diagnosed with hypothyroidism DON’T respond to thyroid medication - because the root of the issue is not the thyroid, but the health of the adrenals. If you have been tested for hypothyroidism but are unresponsive to thyroid medication - it is  highly likely that your adrenals are to blame, not your thyroid. 

8. Bloating and acid reflux

One of the consequences of adrenal fatigue is a constant state of sympathetic stress (fight or flight). This means that during mealtimes, your energetic resources are being shuttled to things like increased heart rate, blood pressure, etc…NOT digestion. As I explain in this post, we must be in a parasympathetic state in order for our brains to signal for the proper breakdown of foods in the mouth, followed by  the production of HCL and pancreatic enzymes further down south. So what happens when these functions are not signaled? A whole host of digestive problems ranging from burping to bloating to acid reflux, to diarrhea and constipation. All disease begins in the gut, but the gut can’t do it’s job if your nervous system is in a constant state of sensing danger

Ready to start healing your adrenals? Download the cheatsheet below!

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Tell me: what has been your experience with adrenal fatigue? What do you still struggle with?

4 'Healthy' Habits That Caused My Adrenal Fatigue - Rebelle Nutrition

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If you read my last post, you are probably well aware of the different types of stressors that can cause adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal Fatigue: as described by Dr. James Wilson:

"Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress...
You may look and act relatively normal with adrenal fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet you live with a general sense of unwellness, tiredness or “gray” feelings. People experiencing adrenal fatigue often have to use coffee, colas and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.
Adrenal fatigue can wreak havoc with your life. In the more serious cases, the activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that you may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day. With each increment of reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body is more profoundly affected."

 

In today’s post, i’m going to talk about 4 of the so-called “healthy” habits that contributed to my adrenal fatigue. 

 

First things first:

How did I know that I was suffering from AF?

The main symptoms I noticed in myself that were a huge red flag: extreme difficulty waking up in the morning -then feeling “wired” at night, inability to handle everyday stressors without a meltdown, feeling easily overwhelmed, craving salt like a mofo (I would literally put salt on EVERYTHING - this one also led to severe water retention) and getting dizzy overtime I went from seated to standing (a classic symptom of low blood pressure).

Symptoms can vary from person to person - check out this post for more info.

In today’s world we are constantly bombarded with tips and tricks about how to “hack” our bodies, our diet, and our health. I’m clearly a fan of this type of information (it's part of my job!) and find it fascinating - but it does allow us to become disconnected from our own bodies in lieu of "trying out" whatever the new health trend is this week. 

When I finally accepted the fact that I was not immune from the wrath of adrenal fatigue, I took a close look at my daily habits, dietary intake, and stress levels in order to begin my own healing. 

Here are the 4 “healthy” habits that caused my adrenal fatigue:

 

1. Drinking coffee:

Okay, so maybe this one isn’t considered universally healthy, but I personally don’t think everyone needs to avoid it, either. Especially when you add some good collagen and healthy fats to it - yum! My problem with coffee (caffeine, specifically) is that I personally have a tendency to abuse it (#teamnomoderation).

For example, at the height of my adrenal fatigue I was probably drinking around 12-20 ounces in the morning, followed by 12 or so ounces after lunch in order to make it through the afternoon. Unfortunately, the more of it I drank, the less it actually worked. I decided it was time for an intervention and cut out caffeine cold turkey, which was a terrible decision (think flu-like symptoms, horrible headaches, and waves of hopelessness and depression - WTF coffee) - but it taught me something very important: caffeine had been masking the true state of my adrenal health for the past few years (which I now knew was completely tanked).

I’ve now been in the process of backing off of coffee for the past few months, and am down to about 2 oz in the morning, mixed with dandy blend (my favorite coffee substitute). I plan to cut it out completely in the next few weeks...someone hold my hand?

Are you in the same boat? Here's what you can do:

Adrenal Fatigue RX: Cut out coffee completely OR back off slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms. This is a great way to witness the true state of your adrenals and might just be the motivation you need to begin a healing protocol. 

2. Eating low-carb:

I now know from experience that eating too low-carb for my body ( which is anything less than 150g a day) is STRESSFUL AF. To be honest, I never actually intended to be eating a low-carb diet, but once I transitioned to eating a paleo-ish diet that removed most sources of grains (and thus, carbs), I naturally began eating more veggies, meats and fat. At first I felt amazing, but after a few months I noticed my energy tanking, an inability to complete my workouts, and a more difficult time sleeping. 

Carbs are extremely important in the body, specifically their role in signaling to the hypothalamus (the main hormone-signaler in the body) that you are in a fed, relaxed state. When we under-eat carbs (or food, period) this is seen as a stressor to the body: calling on the adrenals to produce the stress hormone cortisol. Constant output of cortisol from the adrenals leads to the disruption of every other hormone, leading to things like fatigue, PMS, cravings, and weight gain. 

Adrenal Fatigue RX: Aim to eat nutrient dense carbs at every meal: fruit, starchy veggies, potatoes, even gluten free grains if you tolerate them. If you suspect adrenal fatigue is an issue for you, never dip below 100g of carbs per day - but experiment with different amounts and see how you feel. Some of my clients have needed to increase carb intake to 250g per day in order to start feel healing.  

 

3. Eating eggs

Important note: I think eggs are one of the most perfect, nutrient dense foods out there! But, ANYTHING can be harmful to your body if you’ve developed a sensitivity to it. When I first started eating real food, it was not uncommon for me to eat 2-3 eggs for breakfast, followed by some sort of paleo baked good in the afternoon (that also contained eggs). Although this was extremely delicious, I began wondering why I was starting to struggle with fatigue and breakouts again, after the initial euphoria of paleo wore off.

When we continue to eat the exact same foods, every single day, without rotating them or changing things up, our bodies can start to create antibodies against these foods. When we have an antibody response to a specific food, the immune system is activated- putting us back into a state of sympathetic stress (aka "fight or flight” mode) that calls upon the adrenals once again - when they really shouldn't be involved in the first place.

Adrenal Fatigue RX: Rotate your meals. If you are stuck in a food rut (i.e. eating the exact same things every single day) start mixing it up! Try out some new veggies or cuts of meat that you've never tried before. Look for local, in season fruits and veggies. Also, If you suspect a food sensitivity, try pulse testing it!

 

How to pulse test: take your pulse for 1 full minute. Place suspecting food in your mouth and chew it (without swallowing) for 15 seconds. Take your pulse for another full minute (with the food still in your mouth) and assess: Did your pulse stay the same? Did your pulse increase? If your pulse increases over 6+ bpm, remove that food for at least 2 weeks before bringing it back in and repeating the test.

 

4. Working out

We all know that working out is good for you. Duh. But when you are an extremist like myself, “good” things often get taken too far. For example, for years I ran 5-6 miles per day without many rest days. Then, I decided to train for a half marathon, and incorporate hot yoga, and become a personal trainer so I could basically live in the gym…you get the idea. I think this one is pretty self explanatory, but years of what MY BODY perceived as over-exercise (this threshold is different for everyone) were the icing on my adrenal fatigue cake.

However, it wasn’t like one day I just crashed…I had months, maybe years, of signals from my body that I needed to take it down a notch (no period, hair falling out, extreme fatigue, reliance on caffeine to workout) but I didn’t listen. So as a result, I am in a constant state of rebuilding and repairing my adrenals, which includes avoiding any type of intense workouts.

These days, I stick with walking, yoga, and bodyweight only workouts. I am definitely still a work in progress, and the effects of just one too-intense workout will still leave me fatigued for days afterward. 

Adrenal Fatigue RX: Try incorporating mind-body movement, walking, things you love that do not leave you feeling depleted. Give yourself permission to NAP! Especially if you feel like you’ve hit a weight loss plateau despite eating well and exercising hard - what you might need is more REST. Add more rest days into your schedule and you just might be surprised how much your inflammation goes down.

Clearly, just because something is considered "healthy" for one person, doesn't mean it's necessarily healthy for YOUR body. For more information about healing adrenal fatigue, download my free guide below!

 

XO, Amie

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Adrenal Fatigue and Hypothyroidism: What Most Doctors Miss Might Hurt You (Rebelle Nutrition)

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Everyone knows someone with a slow thyroid, am I right? (Or maybe that person is you...)

Symptoms like a slowed metabolism, brain fog, digestive issues, crippling fatigue, hair loss, and cold hands and feet are increasingly more and more common. 

But did you know that hypothyroidism is often the easily diagnosable-disguise that hides an underlying illness - missed by even most functional medicine doctors?

This is because the symptoms of hypothyroidism are nearly identical to those of...

Adrenal fatigue. 

Adrenal fatigue is the syndrome that describes a number of unwanted symptoms that occur to improper hormonal output from the adrenal glands. 

These are things like trouble waking up in the morning, slowed metabolism, feeling cold often, decreased immunity, brain-fog, depression/anxiety, infertility, PMS, lack of a period and more. 

Adrenal fatigue sufferers are most commonly women who have been chronic dieters, over-exercisers, stress-addicts, perfectionists, workaholics, people who have hard time saying 'no' and those who have a history of disordered eating or body obsession. 

Adrenal fatigue occurs in varying stages, starting as mild fatigue and evolving into full blown hormonal problems like infertility, insomnia, chronic acid reflux, weight gain/loss and more. 

Why does adrenal fatigue occur?

Stressors of any kind - physical, mental, emotional, and financial stressors can all lead to adrenal fatigue. Plus, the near-constant exposure to these stressors, year after year, never allows for the proper downtime the adrenals need to heal and repair. 

Here are some examples:

Physical stress from working out too much, consuming foods you are sensitive to, working 40+ hours a week, sugar/caffeine addiction, or chronic digestive problems. Mental/emotional stress from a sick relative, financial problems, or a job you hate. 

Adrenal fatigue is very dependent on YOUR BODY'S threshold for stress; meaning that someone who works 40 hours a week, exercises for 2 hours a day, and eats a mediocre diet may not experience any symptoms, whereas you could only be working a part time job and doing yoga daily, but still experience intense cravings, dizziness upon standing, and fatigue. 

I call this delicate-flower syndrome ;) . Some of us are just delicate flowers (me!) and easily effected by any type of stress - whether physical, mental or emotional. 

How does Adrenal Fatigue get confused with Hypothyroidism?

Adrenal Fatigue is often the cause of under-active thyroid, or hypothyroidism. This is because stress causes the pituitary gland (the hormone signaler in the brain) to down-regulate production of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). This leads to less energy production, meaning fatigue and weight gain, among other things.

Stress also causes the liver to have a difficult time converting T4 to T3 (the active form of thyroid hormone that we want), which can drastically reduce energy levels and lead to a cascade of other hormonal effects. If you have tested positive for low thyroid, there is a good chance that it’s your adrenals that need healing first and foremost.

Where doctors get it wrong

Taking these symptoms to your family doctor (and even most naturopaths) will result in the ordering of a blood test for TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone). If your results fall outside of the “normal” range, the Doctor will likely prescribe Levothyroxin/ Synthroid (pharmaceutical route) or Naturethroid/ Armour (holistic/ natural route). If you fall within the normal range, you will likely be prescribed an antidepressant and told to eat less and exercise more. (<<< this will usually make things WORSE if your problem is stemming from adrenal fatigue)

It is no surprise that the symptoms adrenal fatigue often result in a misdiagnosis of hypothyroidism; especially since they look SO similar - plus we (unfortunately) live in a culture where overwork, over-stressing, and “clean eating" is still widely praised. 

So, if you are someone who is experiencing the symptoms of hypothyroidism, but you know that you have a history of perfectionistic, do-it-all mentality, over-exercise, chronic dieting or reliance on sugar and stimulants, here are a few things you can do to determine whether your problem is truly hypothyroid in nature, or if you simply need to change your diet, relax, and rest:

Make sure to be eating enough (real) food 

If you’ve ever been a fitness magazine junkie (like myself) you’ll know how commonplace it is to be recommended a diet of 1200-1500 calories if you are a woman wanting to lose weight.

Get ready for something that is about to blow your mind:

According to the National Institute of Health:

1200 calories is the recommended daily intake for a 3 year old.  A 3 YEAR OLD. NOT a moderately active woman

Obviously, if you have been following this advice for years, there is a VERY good chance your lack of nutrients has led you into the land of adrenal fatigue, but don’t worry! If this is the case - the fix is relatively simple. Focus on steadily increasing your intake of nutrient dense carbs, fats and proteins and see assess how you feel. 

Are you eating enough for your body?

 

Important note on carbs:

Carbohydrate are needed for the production of T3 (the active thyroid hormone responsible for things like energy, metabolism, etc.) Focus on incorporating paleo sources of carbs  like fruit, sweet potatoes, starchy veggies, and white rice and beans/legumes if you tolerate them.

Assess your stress 

Are you stressed about your job, your kids, the weather, your health? The onset of stress releases a hormone (CRH) that tells the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol and CRH both suppress thyroid hormone levels, as well as impair the conversion of thyroid hormones into the active form we need for things like metabolism, energy, hormone production, healthy hair and skin.

Do the at-home adrenal fatigue test

Lay flat on your back for one minute, and once the minute is up, stand up quickly. Do you feel light headed, dizzy, or see spots? This is a huge indicator of adrenal fatigue - due to cortisols blood pressure regulating capabilities. In the late stages of AF, cortisol stops being produced in sufficient amounts, leading to dizziness upon standing. 

Exercise 

Do you feel addicted to exercise? Do you feel the need to work out in the morning in order to feel alert? Or do your workouts leave you feeling exhausted and in need of a nap? These are all signs that you are pushing your body too hard, and further stressing your adrenal glands which will only exacerbate your hypothyroid-like symptoms. 

Are you constantly saying yes to shit you hate? 

Driving someone else’s kids to their playdate because you can’t say no? a date with that guy you don’t even like? Going out for drinks on Friday when you really want to stay in and rest?

If you said yes to any of these, there is a very good chance that adrenal fatigue is actually the culprit of your vague, hypothyroid-like, i-want-to-sleep-all-day symptoms.

And just in case you aren't totally convinced, here are a few other quick questions to ask yourself:

1. Do you NEED coffee to get going in the morning?
2. Do you have a difficult time waking up in the morning?
3. Do you frequently feel “puffy” or retain water especially after eating salty foods?
4. Do you crave salty foods like crazy?
5. Do you easily gain weight around your midsection?
6. Do you catch every cold/flu that goes around?
7. Do you get dizzy upon standing?
8. Do you feel most tired in the mornings, and then at 3-5PM?
9. Do you get a second wind around 9/10pm and find it difficult to sleep?
10. Do you have decreased sex drive?
11. Brutal PMS, menopause or mood swings

If you said yes to at least 3 of these questions, you’re got some healing to do! Grab the full guide to healing adrenal fatigue below, eat some carbs, and get yo’ nap on girl. 

Updated May 2018: Full disclosure you guys, I have done a total 180 with the direction of my business. I actually no longer talk about Nutrition in the same way I did when I wrote this blog post. These days, I help other people who are passionate about nutrition and wellness, turn their passion into a business online (just like mine!) if this sounds like you and you are ready for a life of freedom and travel, be sure to sign up for my training below :)

 

XO, Amie