For many individuals, unusual weight gain, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and depressive disorders tend to be connected with a thyroid condition. While I am a functional medicine practitioner that specializes in thyroid health, I happen to equally see a countless number of patients who believe their thyroid may be the culprit when they are actually experiencing adrenal issues.
The adrenals are often associated with weight gain, which is not a thing that is mentioned practically enough. The fat gain is typically right exactly where we don’t want it — right in our waistline!
Normally, this is connected to a cortisol imbalance, which is a stress hormone created by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is unveiled from those glands while we are experiencing stress. Along with excessive cortisol loading on the weight right where the majority of us are planning to lose it, cortisol imbalance and adrenal dysfunction can also be the cause of many other unwanted symptoms, such as fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Stress and Adrenal Fatigue
Facing continuous stress, our adrenal glands shift to overdrive so that they can generate plenty of cortisol to deal with the “threats.” While our system is well-equipped to take care of temporary triggers, long lasting exposure inhibits the body’s normal stress response – incorporating those of the adrenal glands. More specifically, an essential “shut down” mechanism of the adrenal glands (initiated by the brain) is reduced. This can result in a state known as Adrenal Fatigue.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
– Mild depression or anxiety
– Lethargy and lack of energy
– More effort needed to complete tasks
– Less ability to handle stress
– Dry or thinning skin
– New or worsening allergy symptoms
– Sugar or salt cravings
– Cognition problems (such as “brain fog”)
– Decreased libido
Adrenal Fatigue and Weight Gain
(Make sure you do not disregard the significance of the abovementioned information – as we consider it essential to understanding the mechanisms of stress-related weight gain.)
Alright, now it’s time to explore the real concern at hand: is adrenal fatigue causing you to gain weight? Here are some indications that the disorder is present and is generating added pounds:
1. You have been facing high stress levels for a long time.
Earlier we mentioned chronic stress may stimulate an impulse that impairs adrenal gland function. To speculate whether or not any weight gain is a side product of Adrenal Gland Fatigue, must identify if you have Adrenal Gland Fatigue. The first step is to measure the level and duration of your exposure to stress.
2. You frequently crave sugar or salty foods.
“Stress eating” generally entails the intake of sugar or salt-laden foods. Sugar pangs are the direct result of a blood sugar imbalance, which is the outcome of unexpected blood sugar crashes. The distinguishing symptoms of a blood sugar crash are coexisting feelings of hunger and irritability. Salt cravings are the result of the inadequate delivery of sodium to the adrenal glands.
3. Fat is erratically stored in the midsection.
Simply because the caloric intake of sugary and fatty food goes up, an individual with Adrenal Gland Fatigue will notice a disproportionately pudgier abdomen. This is because belly fat hastens the breakdown of fatty acids, which can be brought to the liver quicker than other areas of the body.
4. There’s a family history of Metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a therapeutic expression used to describe a set of specific circumstances. Among these conditions are “increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels – that happen collectively, upping your likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Metabolic syndrome is associated with cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. MetS “has a significant genetic component,” and is linked to Adrenal Fatigue.
5. You have a thyroid condition
Enhanced cortisol levels over a prolonged time may lead to thyroid gland disorders. A thyroid disorder may range from a goiter to cancer. The most frequent thyroid trouble is hyperthyroidism (excessive generation of thyroid hormones) and hypothyroidism (underproduction of thyroid hormones). An association has been found out between thyroid conditions and Adrenal Fatigue.
How to check weight gain by normalizing adrenal function?
1. Support Blood Sugar Levels
The most significant points you need to work on happens to be blood sugar support. This is essential no matter what sort of hormone discrepancy you may be struggling with. Blood sugar balance is so crucial because when our blood sugar levels drop, we are more vulnerable to going through anxiety, and our systems often go into this fight-or-flight response.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can also be a risk element by itself for high cortisol levels and any other body hormone imbalance. This is the absolute final thing we desire when we making the effort to bring back regular cortisol function.
Assisting blood sugar levels with diet is one of the first actions you can take. Make an effort in getting rid of processed and sugary foods and beverages from your diet, and stay with anti-inflammatory food products with lots of fiber and healthy fat.
Also steer clear of eating any carbohydrates alone. We suggest eating carbs with some protein and healthy fat to avoid a spike in blood sugar.
2. Support a Healthy Circadian Rhythm
Having enough sleep is a crucial step in assisting adrenal health and managing cortisol levels. With a healthy and balanced circadian rhythm, cortisol levels will be higher in the morning hours, after that gradually decrease during the day and drop when it is time to sleep.
When you are coping with chronic levels of stress and your cortisol levels are out of whack, you will probably find it hard to sleep at night, and then once you do get to bed, you may feel worn out when you wake up.
By minimizing stress, consuming a far more balanced diet, and applying some of the steps below, you need to be able to help bring back a more regular circadian rhythm to help you get a better night’s sleep.
3. Avoid Blue Light at Night
Blue light is the light that arises from items like our cell phones, TVs, and computers, and often, we are subjected to these resources of blue light all day. Receiving an excessive amount of contact with blue light at night can cause our circadian rhythm to be tossed off harmony. These lights may well trick our system into thinking it is still daytime rather than night, continuing to keep our cortisol levels too high to let us to go to sleep. Our systems will generate more cortisol rather than melatonin. To prevent this, stay away from all sources of blue light at nighttime. If you have to use your phone or computer at night, there are some blue light reduction apps to minimize your exposure.
4. Get Enough Sunlight During the Day
There is certainly something special in being outside which makes us feel a lot better! Nobody desires to be stuck up inside or behind a desk at work. Get outdoors for at least 15 to 20 minutes on a daily basis to get some fresh air and sunlight. Sunshine allows you enhance your vitamin D levels, that may be vital for mood and hormone balance, but you might also observe that good quality old fresh air assists in cutting your overall stress levels. You would be amazed how getting outside for even half of your lunch break will have you feeling revitalized when it comes time to get back to work.
5. Try Mindfulness Training
Mindfulness techniques are a terrific way to help educate you to ultimately just be in the present moment without objective viewpoint and thinking. This can assist in ignoring any unneeded stress and just aid you in recombine a bit to take on whatsoever is ahead of you for the rest of the day. To rehearse mindfulness, just sit in a comfy location and just be present with the thoughts. If any judgment sets in, just let it go. Simply by exercising mindfulness daily, you can actually help yourself be a little more mindful in other areas of your life as well, which can be often very helpful when it comes to stress lowering. You may also carry out some deep breathing daily, which can be superb for overall relaxation and helps to kick in the parasympathetic nervous system, which can help naturally relax the body.
6. Try Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogenic herbs are awesome because they help the body restore balance. They can be utilized for either high or low cortisol, as they reply to whatever the situation demands in the body and make it possible for stability and balance to take place when it comes to the hormones. They can especially lower inflammation, which are both equally key to evening out cortisol levels. Good adaptogenic herb options include ashwagandha, astragalus, and holy basil. Read more on these in this article.
There are several wonderful natural steps to assist in supporting ideal adrenal health. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to do proper testing to see if you are addressing either high or low cortisol, as both can be an issue.
There are so many great tests available today that will tell you exactly what is going on with your cortisol levels.
This will help in supporting your hormones and adrenals . . . and start off slimming down naturally and being your best! For the time being, start some of these tips on controlling your cortisol levels naturally to find out just how much of an improvement it can make in your health.
Carnahan, J. M.D. (2015, May 17). Signs You Might Have Adrenal Fatigue. Retrieved May 13, 2017, from http://www.jillcarnahan.com/2015/05/17/signs-you-might-have-adrenal-fatigue/
Grohol, J. (2012). What’s the Purpose of the Fight or Flight Response?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 13, 2017, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/12/04/whats-the-purpose-of-the-fight-or-flight-response/
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016, March 19). Metabolic syndrome. Retrieved May 13, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/home/ovc-20197517
Stancakova, A., & Laakso, M. (2014). Genetics of metabolic syndrome [Abstract]. Reviews in endocrine & metabolic disorders, 15(4), 243-252. doi:10.1007/s11154-014-9293-9
Thomsen, A., M.S., R.D., L.D.N., (2014, April 29). Is Adrenal Fatigue Making You Fat? Retrieved May 13, 2017, from http://www.katheats.com/is-adrenal-fatigue-making-you-fat
WebMD. (2017). Understanding Thyroid Problems – the Basics. Retrieved May 13, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/understanding-thyroid-problems-basics#1