Adrenal Fatigue Test

Posted by Fruit Of Spirit on

Adrenal Fatigue Test

Healthy adrenal glands are crucial to life. Balanced adrenal glands are a vital key for the body's homeostasis. The adrenals are responsible for the production and regulation of the hormone cortisol. This hormone is the body’s built-in alarm system for stress and is bound to respond to stress. When adrenals are healthy, you become resilient, and you can accept each challenge gracefully. But your adrenals can also be exhausted by a great deal of stress for long periods, and your adrenals get worn out from incessantly releasing cortisol; this is adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue is a term that you can usually hear being coined by naturopath or individuals who are immersed in the study of alternative medicine using natural and non-invasive treatment and methods against different diseases. This is a syndrome that results from suboptimal functioning of the adrenal glands caused by chronic stress. This can be caused by emotional, physical, or mental stress, ailment, or an unbalanced lifestyle, and diet. Adrenal fatigue can be diagnosed by doing adrenal fatigue tests comprised of blood tests and unique stimulation and suppression tests that show hormonal imbalance.

Causes

Adrenal fatigue is a consequence of chronic stress. Our body has two small adrenal glands that sit on the top of our kidneys. The adrenals work hand in hand with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands to form the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) axis. This HPA axis is the body’s fundamental stress response system. It is also responsible for regulating our digestion, mood, immune system, metabolism, and energy levels.  If a threat or stressor does not disappear for a long time, this stressor causes an imbalance on the HPA axis, and the adrenal glands will malfunction; hormones are disrupted. This is where the health issue arises. Too much stress can cause the adrenals to release excessive amounts of cortisol and adrenaline. Adrenals get overworked to the extent that they become incapable of secreting sufficient quantities of cortisol for optimal function.

People who are considered to be susceptible to adrenal fatigue are those who usually work under shifting schedules, single parents, and even people with problems with alcohol and drug dependency. In general, individuals with stressful work have a high probability to acquire this condition as well as anyone who underwent traumatic episodes in their life.

Other causes of adrenal fatigue are:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Overworking
  • Psychological and emotional trauma
  • Over-exercising

Symptoms

The sub-optimal functioning of adrenals and deficiency of cortisol causes inflammation, weakening of muscles and bones, weak immune system function, and impaired mood regulation. The condition will manifest itself with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Excessive fatigue cannot be relieved by sleep
  • Sleep problems
  • Brain fog or lack of mental clarity
  • Muscle pain and aches
  • Lack of energy
  • Allergies
  • Depressed mood
  • Unexplained weightloss
  • Cravings for either salty or sweet
  • A constant need for caffeine to improve energy

This set of signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue manifests to many people, but the diagnosis is controversial. The term and the medical condition “adrenal fatigue” is still not officially acknowledged by the endocrinology society. There is still insufficient scientific evidence proving that fatigue is a result of adrenal exhaustion. Endocrinologists, however, recognize that stress on the body causes hormonal disruption and that the effects of stress on the body manifest as bodily symptoms. The abnormal amounts of hormone can be detected by doing an adrenal fatigue test, which includes blood tests and cortisol stimulation or suppression tests.

Adrenal Fatigue Test

The hallmark of adrenal tatigue is the abnormal levels of cortisol. As aforementioned, the adrenals work with the pituitary gland; hence, this gland and the hormones released and made by it that also interact with cortisol need to be tested as well. The thyroid hormones are often tested during adrenal fatigue test.

Adrenal fatigue tests includes tests measuring the levels of cortisol and other hormones interacting with it to come up with a definite diagnosis, whether you have an imbalanced hormone level. Tests include:

  • Hematology (full blood count or CBC to rule out anemia).
  • Blood sugar testing to rule out diabetes mellitus.
  • Urine testing is done to rule out infection or kidney damage.
  • Blood/ saliva/ urine test to know the cortisol levels.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test. TSH test is a blood test to measure TSH levels. TSH is ahormone produced by the pituitary gland that regulates weight, muscle strength, metabolism, mood, and body temperature. Abnormal TSH levels indicate an abnormal pituitary gland.

  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) Test: This is probably the most specific test to diagnose hormonal imbalance in the adrenal gland. The pituitary gland makes ACTH. This hormone regulates cortisol levels, and ACTH is used to measure cortisol levels in the blood. Abnormal results would give clues about adrenalgland and pituitary
  • DHEA-sulfate serum test: Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is another hormone by the adrenal glands. Low levels of DHEA are linked to poor mood and decreased sex drive.

The symptoms of adrenal fatigue should be taken seriously. Though adrenal fatigue is not an official medical condition, its set of signs and symptoms can manifest as an undiagnosed adrenal and endocrine disorder, autoimmune disorder, depression, or other health problems. There is a medical diagnosis of a life-threatening disease called Addison's disease or what is commonly known as adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal and the pituitary gland are secreting deficient levels of hormones. Its symptoms are similar to adrenal fatigue, and the difference is that Addison's is not caused by stress but an autoimmune disease.

Other known cause of adrenal insufficiency is due to damage in adrenal glands which makes this gland produce insufficient or not all of its hormones like cortisol. It is possible also that adrenal insufficiency is caused by adrenal hemorrhage which happens in individuals with bleeding diathesis or if they are taking any anticoagulant medications. Adrenal insufficiency occurs also because of high radiation exposure to the brain or the pituitary gland, due to brain tumors, and due to sudden withdrawal from being dependent on exogenous steroids for a long time. There also some incidents that show proof that adrenal insufficiency can be a congenital problem or may be caused by other genetic conditions.

Adrenal fatigue testing is still essential, so doctors will further understand what is and are not causing your symptoms. Prolonged tiredness is a common symptom linked with so many medical conditions, and it is crucial to identify if there is any serious medical condition causing the fatigue. 

More so, proper treatment for adrenal fatigue and recommendations can only be made by your doctor after he or she has done all the necessary adrenal fatigue tests and has made a definite medical diagnosis. So, get yourself checked if you are suffering from the signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Though your doctor will likely not make an adrenal fatigue diagnosis, he can still help identify your fatigue's root cause.

Note, however, that carrying out adrenal fatigue testing at home is not recommended. Licensed medical practitioners shall administer stimulation or suppression tests.

Prevention and Treatment: The Importance of a Balanced Lifestyle

Few key ways to restore your balance and bounce back from chronic stress are to remove the things that stress you and pay attention to nourishing your body and improving your emotional well-being. You can enhance your lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, having adequate sleep, following a regular exercise routine, meditation, and giving up your vices (smoking, alcohol, drugs, etc). These are simple strategies, but their compounding effect is beneficial in getting that balance back and regaining that full-of-energy life. These will also help your body manage and recover from stressful and challenging situations.

A well-balanced diet is one of the best ways to avoid and to treat adrenal fatigue. Studies show that blood sugar levels get unbalanced when cortisol levels are abnormal. So, focus on consuming healthy food that supports blood sugar balance, such as vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and quality protein. Increase your intake of vitamin-rich food, especially those laden with Vitamin C, B, and magnesium. Make sure that you are well-hydrated because dehydration influences stress levels, but stay away from energy drinks or coffee. Be wary of your caffeine-intake. Caffeine spikes cortisol and will negatively contribute to adrenal fatigue. Herbal supplements can also be included in your daily meals such as Siberian Ginseng, Maca root, and licorice root.

If you want to avoid or treat adrenal fatigue, you have to learn effective stress management.

Find out different efficient ways to manage your stress. Identify which things stress you out and find ways to minimize it. Enlist help if applicable; the source of your anxiety may be a large part of your life, and addressing it on your own might not be practical. You can shore up your social support system. Turn to your friends, your family and loved ones, and your psychologist. Also, changing your outlook can help with stress management. Stressful situations are not immediately changeable. You must accept and work with the reality of the case, perhaps by waiting for an opportunity to take action or by looking for the good in the bad.

Ease your mind. You can practice yoga regularly or practice deep breathing and meditation. You can also use journals to write your thoughts if it helps. Developing spiritual wellness can also be a coping mechanism.

Even if only for a few minutes, find a time to rest your mind and break from stress by "leaving it at the river."

Control the stress in your life instead of allowing it to control you.

The Best Supplements for Adrenal Fatigue

Taking the right anti-stress and adrenal fatigue supplements can positively impact your adrenal fatigue by improving your stress response. The adrenal fatigue test results of those who claim to suffer from the syndrome show a lack of essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, B, and magnesium.

  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that acts on the  Stress accelerates oxidation, and Vitamin C neutralizes the free radicals that can damage your adrenals. Vitamin C is essential in maintaining proper functioning of the adrenalsand its stress response. Without it, the adrenals cannot manufacture cortisol and can halt the whole HPA axis.
  • Vitamin B is also an important vitamin. All of the eight B vitaminsthat constitute the complex are required to produce hormones in the adrenals. The vitamin also helps in other processes such as sleep and mood regulation and energy production. The three dominant B vitamins that are important in maintaining optimal adrenals function are vitamins B3, B5, and B6. They are present in larger quantities as compared to other B vitamins, but they all help the adrenal function properly.
  • Magnesium is the adrenal glands' spark plug. It is a mineral that essentially helps generate the energy needed for the adrenals to manufacture hormones required by the body. Magnesium deficiency causes a slow stress response,leading to annoyance and frustration.

Vitamin C, B, and Magnesium are the best vitamins and minerals for anti-stress and anti-adrenal fatigue. Some other supplements are:

  • Coenzyme Q10: CoQ10 keeps the adrenal metabolism properly functioning, ensuring high energy levels.
  • Adaptogens: Adaptogens are herbal supplements claiming that they can increase the ability of an individual to adapt to sudden environmental changes or stress with boosted mental performance and increased energy levels. They assist inthe regulation of hormone production. Note, however, that further research is still needed to prove this claim. Some powerful adaptogens are Eleuthero Root, Rhodiola Rosea or Golden root, Ashwagandha, Siberian Ginseng, Tulsi or holy basil, licorice root, and Maca root.
  • L- theanine: This is often found in green and black teas. This can be used to alleviate symptoms of adrenal fatigue, asL-theanine increases the release of serotonin and dopamine, two hormones that are responsible for relaxation, reducing stress, and setting up a “good mood”.

  • Fish Oil: Low omega-3 disruptsbrain and adrenal functioning, worsening stress and adrenal fatigue. Taking fish oil and foods rich in Omega 3 can be beneficial in preventing and treating adrenal fatigue

One of the most common supplements that also given to patients with adrenal fatigue is adrenal hormone supplement to augment the production of hormones of the adrenal glands. But be cautious when taking these supplements especially if you are not so sure if you actually need taking them. There is a great chance that it can damage your adrenal gland in the process and may lead to a complete shutdown of this gland; thus making it unable to release hormones when you need them most. This will happen if you are taking supplements without proper guidance from your physician. Sudden cessation of taking adrenal hormone supplements may also cause adrenal crisis, which is among the life-threatening conditions involving your adrenal glands.

If you’re someone who has confidence in supplements for the energy boost, taking these supplements alongside a healthy lifestyle can improve your general well-being. The supplements enumerated are what many naturopathic doctors endorse for preventing and treating adrenal fatigue. It is always best to have your adrenal fatigue test done first to know what is causing it, and then consult your doctor before starting to take new medicines or supplement.

The case is similar to starting a vehicle with a drained battery, which might ensue when you forget to turn off the lights of your car. It is a minor issue, but it can entirely disable your vehicle. Our bodies are reliant on vital actions to “start” and continue “running.”  A battery provides a car with the electrical charge to get going.  Vitamins and minerals create an energetic spark which our bodies need to perform essential functions. 

Once you get your doctor's thumbs-up, you can get adrenal fatigue supplements to alleviate your symptoms and soothe your mind synergistically. Provide nourishment to your adrenal glands, bring balance to your hormones, and revitalize your life.

Final Thoughts on Adrenal Fatigue

The best thing to do when you seem to be showing adrenal fatigue symptoms is to keep in constant communication with your doctors to help you identify what truly causes your fatigue. Avoid doing self-diagnosis using the internet. Fatigue is a real deal, but knowing the reason behind it will be critical to know the safest and correct treatment to resolve it. Always take extra precautions whenever you are taking medical advice from someone, especially if they have no particular medical background. As a rule of thumb, when you are sick, always ask your trusted doctor before embarking into some treatments you came across the internet.

 

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