Candida & Adrenal Fatigue
The adrenal glands are small organs located at the top of the kidneys that manufacture hormones and are linked to both you digestive system and immune system.
Under certain circumstances the adrenal glands can fail to function optimally and lead to adrenal fatigue, also know as adrenal exhaustion. Prolonged physical or emotionally stressful situations can place heavy demands upon the adrenal organs, causing over stimulation and failure to meet the bodies requirements. The immune system relies upon the adrenal glands and weak adrenal glands are often symptomatic of Candida overgrowth – a weakened immune system lowers you tolerance to Candida.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
Tell-tail signs that you are experiencing adrenal fatigue are:
- Excessive fatigue and exhaustion, chronic fatigue
- Non-refreshing sleep
- Sleep disturbance, insomnia
- Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
- Craving salty and/or sweet foods
- Sensitivity to light
- Low stamina and slow to recover from exercise
- Slow to recover from injury or illness
- Difficulty concentrating, brain fog
- Poor digestion
However, the adrenal glands respond well to the correct treatment and can rapidly recover allowing you to overcome a Candida overgrowth.
What is adrenal exhaustion?
The adrenal organs are small in size but provide crucial functions that allow your body to operate. They are approximately the size of a walnut and produce three different types of hormones at a rate of about a litre a day. One class is stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol also called hydrocortisone. Another class of adrenal hormones affect mineral metabolism especially the sodium/potassium (salts) balance, metabolism of carbohydrates and fats
Prolonged periods of physical and emotional stress can leave your adrenal glands exhausted from the high demands placed upon them for these stress hormones. In order to cope sufferers often turn to stimulants such as coffee that force the secretion of the hormones, however, this can exacerbate the symptoms. A ‘vicious circle’ of behaviour can develop as they are unable to cope without the stimulant as the adrenals are burnt out.
Like Candida, Adrenal exhaustion is hard to diagnose because of it’s wide variety of symptoms. The majority of confirmed sufferers feel generaly unwell and perpetually tired, with stimulants such as coffee having a limited effect. If you consume several caffeinated drinks throughout the day just to feel ‘normal’, there is a good chance that you are experiencing adrenal exhaustion.
What causes adrenal fatigue?
As previously mentioned, adrenal fatigue is caused by prolonged stress placed upon the organ to produce large quantities of hormones. This does not necessarily mean just physical and emotional stress but also includes anything that demands more of the bodies internal organs and systems. Alcohol, drugs, stimulates such as coffee or energy drinks will all cause the adrenal glands to secrete hormones in high volumes.
Caffeine is the most common cause of adrenal fatigue because coffee, tea and other stimulating drinks are so widely used. Having a cup coffee in the morning to ‘wake you up’ is in fact forcing the adrenal organs to produce adrenaline which gives you that buzz. This a temporary energy rush and cannot be sustained naturally. Regular users of any stimulants find that they need larger and more frequent does to get the same ‘hit’.
Any other lifestyle stresses that might keep you up at night, depriving your body and its organs form their restorative processes will contribute to adrenal fatigue.
How can you tell if your adrenal glands are fatigued?
Unfortunately as with Candida, not all doctors recognise adrenal fatigue, and the symptoms are often treated rather than the root cause investigated. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- You struggle to get up in the mornings.
- You feel more awake after 6pm in the evening.
- You find yourself drinking more coffees and caffeinated soft drinks than those around you.
- You have cravings for snacks.
- You experience feelings of being overwhelmed and run down.
It is worth noting that some adrenal fatigue suffers don’t use caffeine to get that feeling of energy, instead they are compelled to visit the gym a train excessively. While regular exercise is healthy and should be encouraged, compulsive workouts place a tremendous strain on the adrenal glands and could lead to fatigue.
How to treat adrenal fatigue
Adjusting your lifestyle and becoming aware of the strains that you place upon you adrenal system will allow you to make a full recovery and prevent future adrenal exhaustion.
CUT OUT THE CAFFEINE
With our modern lifestyle caffeine is the single largest contributing factor to adrenal fatigue. To makes things worse, as a culture when we feel tired or run down it is normal to turn to coffee or other stimulants to get us through the day.
Like any habitual routine, changing it is difficult. Some stimulants such as caffeine may cause you to have withdrawal symptoms. You may experience, anxiety, headaches, irritability, tiredness and trouble sleeping. To reduce the possibility of experiencing these symptoms, try to wean yourself off gradually. Replace stimulant containing drinks with non-stimulant drinks such as herbal teas so that you don’t have to form new daily routines. Another beverage option to substitute for coffee is chicory. It has a similar flavour and has the additional benefit of containing natural probiotics which will help keep your gut flora healthy.
De-Stress and rest
Physical and emotional stress places demands upon your adrenal system and if the stress is prolonged it could cause fatigue. Try to remove the elements in you life that are the sources of your stress. Go on holiday and take a break, treat yourself to a massage or try meditation. Make enough time in you lifestyle for proper sleep. It is recommended that you get 8 hours sleep a night.
Calming your system will give your adrenal glands time to recover.
Ensure that you are not vitamin deffecient as lacking essential viatmins and minerals can make you less able to cope with stress. Vitamin C supports the adrenal system and is a stress buster along with vitamins A, E and pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5). When taking vitamins in supplement form be aware of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) and make sure that you do not accidentally exceed it.
Ensure that you diet is rich in fresh vegetables and is well balanced in general.
Doing light exercise can help you recover from adrenal fatigue but be aware of the amount and intensity of the exercise that you do. Excessive exercise can cause adrenal fatigue or make and existing condition worse.
Saunas can reduce the stress upon certain organs and the immune system is one of them. The sauna allows your body to sweat and in doing so expels toxins and pathogens at a higher rate than your body would normally would. Additionally, the sauna helps stimulate you circulation and aids you liver in processing. Both of these help to give you adrenal glands a rest and allow them to recover.