Transcript Ep 291 – Dr. Taz’s Take on Adrenal Fatigue
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Dr. Taz: Welcome back, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Super Woman Wellness when you know we are determined to bring you back to your superpowered self. And today, it’s just me talking to you about adrenal fatigue. Now, that’s a term that’s been used quite loosely and many people debate.
Dr. Taz: But if you haven’t heard it before, adrenal fatigue is this idea that after rounds and rounds of stress and you busting and trying to beat up stress, the body crashes. And it crashes, and it presents itself in so many different ways. Now, how many of you even know where the adrenal gland is? Well, the adrenal gland is this tiny little gland that sort of sits right there in your kidneys, but it actually produces hormones. That’s right. It produces something called DHEA and is actually also instrumental in cortisol regulation, producing cortisol as well.
Dr. Taz: Now, here’s what happens with cortisol. When something comes along and stresses us out, cortisol goes up. We acclimate to the stressor. Cortisol levels off, and eventually goes back down. When we wake up in the morning, as soon as we wake up, cortisol levels are high. And they slowly come down throughout the day, petering out as you reach nighttime. So hopefully, you both fall and stay asleep, getting a good night’s sleep and getting rejuvenated and ready to start all over the next day.
Dr. Taz: Well, let’s talk reality. That’s not exactly what happens. What often happens instead is that we stay up late. We’re trying to beat that cortisol sort of downward spike. We stay up all night trying to get things done. We’re super stressed all day long. We eat a lot of food that doesn’t really help our gut and help our hormones. And before you know it, you’re in full out cortisol crisis where your adrenaline and your cortisol is flip flopped. It’s low in the morning, so you can’t get out of bed. You are exhausted. You are tired, and it’s impossible to get going in the morning.
Dr. Taz: You crash in the afternoon. But wait, six or seven o’clock, eight o’clock rolls around and you’re wired. And you’re up all night. All of this, guys, are signs of adrenal fatigue. And as I’ve explained many times, we have different stages of adrenal fatigue. There’s stage one when you’re kind of stressed. Maybe, you’ve gone through a round or two of stress, and you’re starting to feel a little anxious. You’re getting some heart palps. You might have the afternoon crash, but you’re okay in the morning. You’re okay at night. And you’re kind of sleeping through the night.
Dr. Taz: When we progress from there to stage two adrenal fatigue, well, that’s where things start to get a little bit more serious, probably dragging a bit in the morning, crashing definitely in the afternoon. Then, as evening comes, maybe still tired, just wanting to go to bed. So that’s stage two.
Dr. Taz: But then, when we hit stage three, we start to see some of the good old-fashioned flip flop of adrenal fatigue that keeps us wired and tired. Now as night approaches, we’re hyper. We’re awake. We want to work all night. But the morning comes, and we just want to sleep all day.
Dr. Taz: Now, somewhere between stage three and stage four, we start to see so many other signs and symptoms. We might see blood sugar levels destabilize. All of a sudden, we’re getting super hungry. And we have high highs with blood sugar or low lows. We may start to gain weight. Anxiety becomes more pronounced or more severe. Leaky gut or these ideas of an unstable gut alternating the constipation and diarrhea becomes much more prominent. All of this contributing to us just not feeling like ourselves and having, quite honestly, full out, full-fledged super women’s syndrome. Now, none of us want to be in adrenal fatigue. But most of us have already been there. And we want to be able to prevent it.
Dr. Taz: So let’s talk about what we can do and what some of the fundamentals around preparing adrenal fatigue really are centered on. I would say the first, the most important, is to get a good, consistent night’s sleep. That’s right, ideally falling and staying asleep around 10 or 11 and sleeping past 5:00 AM in the morning. This is a critical Meridian time, guys. So when we’re not sleeping through this critical time, we are seeing a lot more adrenal and cortisol dysfunction, from 11:00 PM, 10:00 or 11:00 PM to about five or six o’clock in the morning.
Dr. Taz: Many people will do night shifts and then day shifts, or they’ll flip flop or they’ll sleep in on the weekend. And they’ll think that’s the answer to their adrenal fatigue. Unfortunately, what the body demands, what our circadian rhythm demands, is that we’re getting deep, consistent sleep in between those hours, because that’s really where the hormonal cycle takes place. That’s where the regulation takes place. That’s essential moving forward. All right.
Dr. Taz: So we’ve got that issue, and are really trying to repair sleep. Then, we know that because blood sugar instability accompanies adrenal fatigue, getting in plenty of protein, at least 20 grams of protein, every four hours is also important in repairing adrenal fatigue and making sure it’s good quality protein, right? We don’t want a lot of junky proteins or proteins with a lot of saturated fats and things like that, but maybe doing a protein shake in the morning, waiting three or four hours, doing protein again. And kind of consistently getting that protein throughout the day is another way to keep cortisol and insulin levels nice and stable. So getting your protein, getting your sleep.
Dr. Taz: I think augmenting and supplementing with B vitamins becomes really important with adrenal fatigue because anytime we’re stressed, we burn through those B vitamins very rapidly, and we need them to help manage the kind of stress that we’re experiencing and to repair the adrenals.
Dr. Taz: We know vitamin C is important as well, along with healthy fats, things like omega-3 fats, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. They help to stabilize the gut as it’s going through the stressful cycle. So all of these are things that can really help adrenal fatigue. And remember, we want to get adrenal fatigue under control. We want to get the sleep corrected, the sugar corrected. When those things are off, cortisol dysregulation triggers inflammaging.
Dr. Taz: Remember, inflammaging is where the body is chronically inflamed. And that accelerates the aging process. And cortisol is directly tied to that. Think about it. Have you ever seen the presidents who go in and they’re looking all youthful and young and they come out four years later and they look severely aged? And then they take a few years off. And all of a sudden, they look young again. So there’s such a testament to stress and cortisol due to the aging process. They accelerate it. They move that cycle of inflammaging because high cortisol leads to high insulin, leads to more inflammation, leads to acceleration of the aging process.
Dr. Taz: So keep that in mind, as you’re thinking about this. This is not only about feeling good in the moment. It’s also about feeling good long term and keeping your health and wellness balanced over and over again. So if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, whether it’s stage one or going all the way to stage four or five, watching sugar, watching salt, watching alcohol, these are things that we definitely want to avoid because we know they all impact blood sugar stability. They impact sleep, and they definitely impact sort of the cortisol variation and production throughout the day
Dr. Taz: So keep that in mind. And if you feel like you’re having adrenal fatigue, maybe start here. See your doctor to get some of your numbers and your labs checked. Remember, adrenal fatigue is not just about the adrenal hormones, but actually impacts the entire hormonal pathway, including progesterone, testosterone, estrogen, thyroid, and insulin. And adrenal fatigue also impacts every other organ system. So your gut gets affected when you’re in adrenal fatigue, your brain, your muscles, your joints, because there’s more, guess the word, more inflammation. And that inflammation in turn becomes sort of the thing that drives all other symptoms, signs and chronic disease processes.
Dr. Taz: All right. That’s a quick little primer on adrenal fatigue. Of course, if you want to learn more, check out my website, doctortaz.com. We have lots of resources there on hormones on trying to get your body back into balance, hormone guides, so much more. And, of course, thank you for watching and listening to this episode of Super Woman Wellness. Don’t forget to rate and review it, and share it with your friends. I will see you, guys, next time.