Adrenal fatigue is caused by a severe and prolonged burden on the adrenals to produce high amounts of cortisol in order to combat the effects of stress on the body.
When your body is under stress — physical stress from infection, illness, or disease and/or emotional stress — the adrenal glands respond by stepping up cortisol production. Cortisol helps your body deal with stress and curb inflammation. However, when the body is in a constant state of stress, the adrenals can become exhausted from the constant demand for more cortisol and stop producing adequate amounts.
Chronic recurrent infections can leave the immune system vulnerable to additional infections and repeated physical stress. Each additional stressor adds up to an even greater inability to meet the body’s cortisol needs — and the adrenals become weakened further.
In addition to a chronic underproduction of cortisol, adrenal fatigue syndrome can also be caused or aggravated by corticosteroids — synthetic hormones like prednisone that are often prescribed for many illnesses in dosages that far exceed the amount of cortisol the body requires.
This heightened level of cortisol can, in effect, shut the adrenal glands down, suppress the immune system, and in some cases bring on psychotic-type behaviors. In more serious illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, Hepatitis C, and especially HIV — where there appears to be a direct relationship between levels of cortisol in the body and death — reducing adrenal fatigue syndrome and improving adrenal function should be considered an extremely high priority.
While you will need to work with a good doctor to balance your hormone levels, you can help to lower your body’s demand for cortisol by strengthening your immune system in order to fight recurrent infections. And you can combat fatigue by supplementing your diet with nutrients that provide your body with more energy to fight your way out of this vicious cycle and help you feel better.x
Additional Information about Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
- Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome Overview
- Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue syndrome
- Natural and alternative treatments for adrenal fatigue syndrome
- Dietary and lifestyle recommendations that may help in the treatment of adrenal fatigue syndrome
- Conventional or prescription medications used in the treatment of adrenal fatigue syndrome
- Additional reading for adrenal fatigue syndrome