Why You’re Tired: Adrenal Fatigue

Fatigue, cognitive decline, mood swings, delayed healing. Have you checked your adrenals lately?

Dr. John Dempster of The Dempster Clinic Center for Integrated Medicine in Toronto is a naturopathic doctor who specializes in individualized treatent that makes use of progressive diagnostics and therapies. He encounters adrenal fatigue in everyone from elite athletes to A-list actors, rock stars and Bay Street professionals.

The adrenals are almond-sized glands nestled on top of your kidneys. Adrenaline is a stress hormone that can increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels and spur that flight-or-fight response crucial to survival if you ever find yourself pursued by a hungry predator or angry spouse.

Compromised adrenal function can result in a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Though sub-optimal performance is not necessarily indicitative of disease, it is something that can be easily missed by ordinary GPs. More serious complications like adrenal gland tumors can cause a severe disorder known as  adrenal Cushing’s syndrome which can lead to weight gain, hypertension and insulin resistance.

For many of us, our daily routine has become an open invitation to adrenal fatigue. Things like skipping breakfast (or dashing off with a coffee and a bagel), eating processsed food, stimulant (coffee, black teas) consumption and lack of sleep all contribute to weakened adrenal function.

“Chronic use of stimulants will burn you out,” Dempster tells us as we’re putting away our umpteenth cup of coffee of the day.

Dr. Dempster can determine if your adrenals are causing fatigue through what he calls “functional medicine.” Not all based on symtomology, Dempster works with patients to manage stress, offer nutritional support and boost their bodies with treatments they can’t get anywhere else like intravenous vitamin therapy. All vitamins, including the vital B5, B12 and C vitamins critical to adrenal function are vastly more effective when absorbed intravenously (as we previously discovered).

Dempster has a few tips for anyone who enters his office complaining about fatigue. Sleep, of course, is imperative. Not only do you require seven to eight hours, but it needs to be quality sleep. That means in bed before midnight, ideally, before 11. If you’ve gotten into the habit of skipping breakfast, he’ll probably tell you to add more protein to your mornings and cut out the refined sugar. You may also benefit from botanicals like ashwagandha and rhodiola.

“To live to your best potential, you need your adrenals functioning optimally.” It doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete or an accountant, we can all benefit from better adrenal care.

Image by iStockphoto. 

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