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Stress, Fatigue and Naturopathic Support

by Dr. Kelly Brown, B.Sc., N.D.

Stress and fatigue is something I see many of my patients experiencing. It can be mild to extremely severe.   It is often presented as nervousness, irritability, mild depression, weakness, light-headedness, insomnia, weak immune system, low sex drive, anxiety, and/or weight gain.

Extreme fatigue is often brought on from long term stress. These stressors can be emotional stress, physical stress, psychological stress, stress at home or work, and stress caused on the body by eating certain foods, such as high sugar intake. All of this can lead to feeling exhausted!

Why does stress cause fatigue?

The adrenal gland is the organ that is associated with stress. When our bodies or mind experience stress, cortisol is released from the adrenals. Cortisol is adrenaline which is release during the fight or flight response. Over time the adrenal glands become overworked and the cortisol levels are not optimal for daily life. This is not to be confused with full blown adrenal diseases such as Addison’s disease or Cushing’s syndrome.

What can my Naturopathic Doctor do to help?

  1. Nutrition and Diet-Ensure you are getting proper nutrition through your diet and if needed, nutritional supplementation. Vitamin B-5 is often low in decreased adrenal function.

Supplements such as GABA, can be used for general or acute anxieties or stress.

  1. Botanical medicine- can work with your body by the supporting adrenal glands are functioning optimally. These herbs are called adaptogenic herbs.
  2. Acupuncture- Is a very useful tool in dealing with acute or chronic stress.
  3. Lifestyle and counselling- Directly dealing with anxieties, depression, and coping skills will help individuals manage with future stressors.

Fatigue and stress aren’t just a “normal part of life” as I often hear my patients say. With the right tools we can live energetic, active, and balanced lives!

Questionnaire

Are your adrenals imbalanced?

If the answer to more than one of these questions is yes, you may consider talking to a naturopathic practitioner about your adrenal glands.

  • Do daily tasks feel overwhelming to you?
  • Are you exhausted when you wake in the morning?
  • Do you crash mid afternoon or need to nap after work?
  • Do you feel anxious or irritable often?
  • Do you crave salt or sugar often?
  • Do you fall asleep while reading or while watching movies?
  • Do you struggle to relax at the end of the day when falling asleep?
  • Have you had recent weight gain? Or difficulty losing weight?

If the answer to more than one of these questions is yes, you may consider talking to a Naturoapthic practitioner about your adrenal glands.