Have you ever had a traumatic incident that zapped you of your energy such as a death of a loved one, a physical injury, or an emotionally stressful situation like a job loss or divorce? These situations can cause your adrenals to burnout to the point of exhaustion and make it difficult to recover.
What triggers or starts adrenal burnout?
Trauma and stress. You may have noticed physical changes like your hair turning gray or a drop of energy that never returned. It occurs in people in any job field, full-time parents, and athletes. It can change a person’s personality or potential for their lifetime if they are unable to recover.
Even children in extreme physical or emotional stress can have adrenal burnout. Some are born with a compromised thyroid and adrenals which can be the result of heavy metal toxicity or emotional rejection. It can be seen in the failure to thrive. It may amplify with stress as children are very emotionally receptive.
True burnout can’t be corrected with more sleep and often causes frustration, low self-esteem, stress, and guilt from having low energy. Without a diagnosis or answer on how to correct it, most are left at a dead end. It can be overwhelming as one feels too exhausted to participate in their own lives as they push themselves to overcome it but only to move further into it.
I often see a sudden drop in sodium and potassium on a retest of hair analysis results. When one has fast oxidation or metabolism they can seem to crash but if they are in slow oxidation they can slide into adrenal burnout quickly. Each person handles stress until they are tapped out of resources but all can end depleted.
Some think they are having a hard day, old age, or they just slept badly. When the days keep happening they might think a vacation or psychological counseling will fix their fatigue.
How can you tell if you are in true adrenal fatigue?
You wake up exhausted. It isn’t just a 2-4 pm tiredness, it is how I described it “dragging your bones around”. Any surge of energy is temporary and the heaviness returns. It is mentally depressing that your mind has ambition but your body just can’t muster the energy to follow through. One may feel like they are slacking or weak mentally even though it is a physical issue. Furthering the negative feelings is that there is often no clear diagnosis to explain it without being labeled depression.
Your eating may become more erratic. You may have an insatiable appetite then have none for a few days. Caffeine, sugar, or carbs are like a drug to give you temporary energy but the crash is harsh. There may come a time when food, sexual intimacy, hobbies, and life no longer excites or interests you. Self-care may not feel important. Getting dressed, brushing your teeth, basic things like brushing your hair, and cleaning up after yourself seems too daunting. Procrastination is an underlying theme as you are hoping you have the energy to do tasks later.
Sexual desire drops off as it requires emotional and physical energy. The body has to sacrifice your production of sex hormones to produce hormones such as cortisone and cortical to reduce stress. When sex hormones are diminished, femininity and masculinity suffer.
You either don’t feel like putting forward the effort to speak in conversations or are almost driven to talk continuously to push the awake feeling. Once the conversation that is stimulating is over, the adrenal burnout individuals crash again. In fact, hyperactivity is a warning signal that one is in a process of agitating itself to create energy. Think of it as pushing yourself to walk through the desert to find water to survive. You are exhausted but you push to avoid the feeling of burnout.
Can sleep fix adrenal burnout?
No! Have you ever heard of tired and wired? Those with adrenal burnout don’t have the energy to heal in a deep sleep, drain further, and may be mineral deficient so they physically can’t rest correctly. When they wake they feel groggy, may have a headache or stuffy nose. Their adrenals slip further upon rising when the adrenaline kicks in after a long sleep because they were never able to heal. When you wake up, get up or you are sending mixed signals to the adrenals. If you can nap in short bouts during the day, it is better to recharge.
Do we fully recover from adrenal burnout?
Not always 100%. We have to rebuild our energy-producing systems as well as our cellular integrity. We have to start at the beginning, the cells. We may need to feed the body the right nutrients and minerals to rebuild the cell membrane, hormone receptors, gut bacteria, mitochondria, and much more. Each person is on their own timeline but dedication and consistency are key. Knowing the exact supplements needed to rebuild and the correct diet is as important as knowing how to detoxify the heavy metals to remove sources of toxicity!
How are our minerals involved?
When we are severely stressed or have many traumas, it depletes our zinc reservoirs severely. Zinc is an antagonizer of copper which pushes accumulation into tissues. Copper toxicity can depress the adrenals and thyroid function. Reestablishing the zinc and detoxifying the copper is necessary.
Calcium helps you fall asleep whereas magnesium keeps you there. When you are lacking both you will also struggle to calm yourself internally and externally.
How can adrenal burnout affect us emotionally?
When you are powerless you struggle to think or plan for the future. Your mind is comfortable in the past and unlikely to commit to activities. There is no energy to follow through so often invitations or even important events are avoided.
Emotional commitments can be too difficult or beyond the capacity of available energy. There is nothing to look forward to as the fatigue is overwhelming. They can’t commit to a relationship at times due to a lack of energy mentally, physically, and emotionally. For a while, they may try to cover their inability up or make excuses but we can’t pour from an empty cup.
A step down in job responsibility or hours may occur as they can’t sustain relationships due to the lack of energy. Avoiding interaction with people is a common trait. The withdrawal of exchanges allows them to survive another day in a coping mode.
What happens when you start correcting adrenal burnout?
Feelings of anger (iron) or extreme emotion (copper) can be present without explanation in burnout. Some will not discuss past trauma or face it to get past it. They may withdraw, be stubborn, or independent. One may seem unapproachable due to the protective walls they hide behind. They may be fearful of rejection, angry or defensive, negative, and blaming.
When correcting adrenal burnout, you may have memories or vivid dreams of past traumas. Just as our muscles have muscle memory to build and become stronger, our cells can hold trauma. We can then start to accumulate calcium to protect ourselves from our negative feelings. Once we detoxify the cells and release toxins or heavy metals, the trauma that was attached to them at the time they were deposited is released as well.
How do most cope with burnout fatigue?
Using stimulants is the most common crutch that makes one feel more propped up or energetic. Using coffee, tea, cigarettes, alcohol, sugars, and even carbohydrate that get converted to sugar is a temporary fix for the exhausted individual. It is a short-term fuel to help them in waking up to do a task or be present. Some may even jump in and out of intimate relationships to increase the feel-good hormones such as serotonin.
The occasional drink may lead to addiction or a need for a street drug. Some will turn to pharmaceutical abuse. These individuals can be very internally driven to perform, keep up the appearance of perfection, and not want to let others down by not achieving at all times. Not only do they now need to kick an addiction, but they are also even more exhausted in the underlying chemistry. The adrenals have been artificially stimulated to push out even more adrenalin and whipped near collapse.
What does natural energy look like?
If you wake up ready to tackle the day and maintain positive mental and physical energy until bedtime, you are naturally energetic. You can’t tolerate the feeling stimulants give as you are already fully charged like a battery. Stimulants would make you feel irritated, edgy, or want to escape your skin in a way. Typically a fast oxidizer/metabolizer will not be seeking stimulation as their body is in a natural high state.
An athlete typically doesn’t seek these crutches as it depletes performance. The slow oxidizer who is already exhausted will seek stimulants without regard for their health once they are burned out. Once the stimulant is removed they are even further down in health.
Does diet play a role in burnout?
YES! When one is depleted they often will try to change the diet in a counter-productive way. They will begin to lose their desire for the taste of meat, particularly beef which is high in iron. The meat does not provide energy immediately and takes energy to digest so they turn to starchy or sugary foods like fruit. They are satiating and can make you feel full quickly not to mention less work to chew.
With adrenal burnout, your sodium to potassium ratio can invert where you have much more sodium than potassium. This decreases your hydrochloric acid secretions that digests your meats. It can leave you bloated, gassy, and the feeling of the meat being stuck in the stomach. Now you have poor protein absorption that directly affects your adrenals and thyroid functions. The only things that feel good to eat are vegetables and fruits. Fats may cause diarrhea now that the stomach imbalance is present.
Fruits have a high copper ratio to zinc which stimulates the sodium level to boost adrenal output. Now the copper is also raising blood sugar levels but depressing glucocorticoid secretion that should be regulating blood sugar but is not available resulting in hypoglycemia. This low bottoming out of the sugar feels shaky and even more exhausting.
The second part of the vegetarian diet is the use of high copper foods such as nuts, avocados, chocolate, and beans which reduce potassium levels. This triggers the craving for greens or green drinks because they are high in potassium. Copper stimulates aldosterone, a pro-inflammatory hormone that pushes our mental energy. Potassium reflects glucocorticoid levels which regulates glucose or sugar metabolism, while sodium reflects mineralocorticoid levels which regulates salt and water balance.
Balance is key!
When we look at your hair analysis results, we can see these patterns and levels as a roadmap to correcting more than just the storage of minerals in your cells. It has a ripple effect internally once you have the RIGHT minerals or tools to give your body for healing.
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To read more on adrenal fatigue, go to https://hairanalysisnutrition.com/2020/06/feel-exhausted-all-day/
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