Fatigue – Unraveling the web of interconnectedness

by Integra Naturopathics on May 1, 2012

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Americano, double espresso, skim milk latte – or maybe green tea? The quest for the magic beverage carries on – in hopes of finding the perfect jolt of caffeine that will relieve us from the unrelenting fatigue that awaits us at the sound of our alarm.

In our practice, fatigue is what may persuade you to finally give this “naturopathic thing” a shot, but it’s typically not the focus of treatment. This is because fatigue is a mere symptom of a myriad of imbalances within the body. Our nervous system, hormones and immunity are so closely dependant on each other; deficiency in one will cause imbalance in another – leading to a cascade of inflammation -­‐ rearing its head in various forms, overwhelming and tiring the body in the process.

At the core of this interconnectedness is always poor adrenal health. The adrenal glands are situated in the abdomen, above the kidneys. They are responsible for the secretion of many hormones, and deeply involved in our stress response. The maturation of the adrenal glands takes place between the ages of three weeks old to 18 months – yes, this young! The foundation we lay in early childhood sets the stage for the functioning of our glands later in life. For optimal adrenal maturation a child needs rhythms and security above all else. A baby’s adaptation to its environment is fragile. Safety is paramount in to ensure the gland develops properly. Consider the ramifications of moms heading back to work very soon after the birth of her babe, or shunning co-­‐sleeping in favor of “crying it out.” Teaching a baby to “soothe” itself before 18 months old in fear of “spoiling” your baby is not only counter intuitive, but detrimental to the developing adrenal gland. Has our shift away from baby-­‐ centered rearing contributing to the endemic adrenal fatigue of modern day?

When we couple this predisposition to poor adrenal health with modern diets that preach low fat and highly processed eating habits -­‐ we have a perfect storm on our hands. Once our adrenal glands are no longer operating to our advantage, neither does our thyroid. Our immune system becomes overburdened and all of a sudden allergies emerge, as if from out of nowhere. If you’ve ever wondered why it’s harder to get out of bed in the morning or why your brain fog is unrelenting or why the heck you get sick on every holiday – yup, it’s your adrenals beckoning your attention.

Unraveling the web is much easier if you know where to start! You can’t go wrong if you start with your adrenals.

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