Yes you are a busy mum but that doesn’t mean you should be feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus every morning or that you “need” that glass of wine each night to relax!

Adrenal Fatigue or Adrenal Insufficiency has been around, especially in the naturopathic circles for many years however are these terms a true representation of what’s going on in the body and what does this all mean for you? These terms are rarely found in peer-reviewed literature and so to more accurately explain what is happening we are now starting to use the term “HPA axis dysregulation”. But what the heck?

Here’s the sciencey bit:

HPA stands for Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal which is basically the signaling system from your brain: Hypothalamus releases Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH) to the Anterior Pituitary secretes Andrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH) to your adrenals and they release Cortisol once there are higher levels of cortisol in the blood this signals to the Hypothalamus to stop secreting CRH (this is called a negative feedback loop) which has a very important role in your stress response.

Physical and mental stress cause the secretion of ACTH into the blood which in turn increases cortisol secretions from the adrenals. Note how I said mental stress too…as a busy mum I’m get it, we have a million things to do and our brains don’t stop whirring and worrying…but you need to!

Stressors could include:

  • Running late for school drop-off
  • Second coffee for the morning
  • No breakfast
  • Worrying about the work deadline due today
  • Worrying about that small argument you had

These are all “stressors” that can influence the secretion of these hormones and in turn have an effect on other hormones such as insulin (can’t shift that weight?) and estrogen (period problems, PMT).

When the body is constantly receiving stress input it can which means more cortisol floating around in the blood this can cause the HPA axis to “down-regulate” to protect the body from more excess cortisol. So rather that the adrenal glands “running out” of cortisol it’s a system dysregulation that happens over time of chronic stress and so we need to address and hence the terminology is changing to show a more accurate picture.

So it’s not a myth, you really can be suffering from overwhelming fatigue relating to your adrenals.

Some of your symptoms may be:

  • Bloating
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Sleeplessness
  • Poor immunity; always getting sick
  • Fear
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Salty food cravings
  • Achy joints
  • Weight gain
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Reliance on alcohol to unwind
  • Reliance on caffeine to get going
  • Thyroid problems
  • Low libido
  • PMS
  • Irritability
  • Period pain

Don’t forget like anything in the body there can be a scale or a continuum, so it’s not that you have it or you don’t but you could be on your way to have a dysregulation which means yay! You can do something about it now, which is always the better option.

What can you do?

  1. Reduce stress: This is crucial! Monitor your thoughts for negativity, create boundaries and stop saying yes to everything.
  2. Unlearn being busy: Can you hand-over managing the kids sports team? Can you not fill every space of time you have with projects? Stop multi-tasking!
  3. Plan things ahead of time: Meal planning is such a time saver in the long run and cuts down all that stress about what to have for dinner at 5pm! Download my free 3 Day Meal Plan for Busy Mums here
  4. Eat wholefood: Anti-inflammatory foods to nourish your body and your adrenals with veges and fruits such as darky leafy greens, citrus, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts and cabbage and good quality animal proteins (grass-fed & antibiotic-free where possible). Check out my blog on Top 5 Foods to Support your Adrenals
  5. Gentle movement practices: Walking…it’s so under-rated! Download a yoga app or pilates and get 20 minutes a day x 3 a week.
  6. Support your body with quality practitioner prescribed supplements and medicinal herbs We are often deplete of Vitamin C, magnesium and B vitamins and your adrenals need these to function well.
  7. Create space and pockets of stillness and breathe: Commit to 5 minutes 2 x a day…sometimes 10 minutes in a row seems to much (“I don’t have time!”) so I like to break it in to two and I believe you get more out of it this way. That’s twice a day you focus on your breathe which is on the way to creating less stress.
  8. Ask for help Book a Discovery Call with me and let’s chat about what’s happening for you!

Written by Naturopath and Gut Health Specialist - Jane McClurg

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