Ok, if you have any hope of recovering from your Adrenal Fatigue Nightmare, let’s get right into understanding adrenals fatigue, shall we?
Also known as the “suprarenal glands” your adrenal glands sit on the top of your kidneys. These glands produce hormones, which are chemical messengers in the body, responsible for orchestrating your “fight or flight” response.
What’s really amazing about your adrenal glands is the idea that the gland itself (like the pituitary gland) is basically two glands in one.
The outer portion, known as the adrenal cortex, and the inner portion of the adrenal glands is called the medulla.
Making things even more interesting, the outer cortex can further be divided into 3 different zones, with each zones being responsible for the production of 3 different types of hormones that each help your body deal with stress.
Don’t worry there won’t be a test, we just want you to understand how much responsibility falls on your adrenal glands to manage your body and the ability to handle what life throws at you.
The outer zone of the adrenal cortex, known as the zona glomerulosa, is responsible for a class of hormones known as mineralocorticoids or aldosterone release. This will help your bodies ability to regulate it’s sodium/potassium balance, which basically translates into having your mineral balance regulated.
Super important for your cells ability to make energy, because it relies on minerals being able to do so.
The middle zone of the adrenal cortex, known as the zona fasciculata, is where cortisol is produced. Also known as a more general type of hormone called glucocorticoids.
Cortisol does so many things from reducing inflammation, breaking down tissues to make glucose available for energy, and influencing your immune system, amongst other things.
The inner zone of the adrenal cortex is known as the zona reticularis.
This is where your adrenal androgens are produced, primarily DHEA-S, which is a pre-requisite to your sex hormones, responsible for libido, vigor, regeneration, and recuperation, amongst other things.
Next, within the adrenal glands is the inner part of the gland, known as the adrenal medulla. Born out of different embryological tissue, the adrenal medulla.
This tissue is responsible for your sympathetic or adrenaline response of the body.
I’m sure you are familiar with this response immediately after a very stressful even begins, with an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, heightened sense of arousal and alertness.
The proverbial running from the saber-toothed tiger to save your life.
The class of neurotransmitters that the medulla produces are called catecholamines.
As you can find within the truth about adrenal fatigue,, a very strong genetic predisposition exists for how well your body can make and break these chemical messengers.
Early stress theorist like Walter Cannon and Han’s Syle, and even researchers debated these two distinct regions of the adrenal glands.
The inner part which is controlled directly by the brain and it’s direct nerve impulse to the adrenal medulla, and the brains hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (cortex) blood communication elicited the mineralocorticoid, glucocorticoid and androgen responses to deal with stress.
That is the adrenal glands are stimulated directly by the brains impulses to have a very quick and decisive response to a life-saving stress response through your catecholamine response via neurotransmitters.
As well, the adrenal glands are stimulated indirectly by the brains co-ordinated hormone response that takes a little more effort to stimulate a response by the adrenals to deal with the aftermath of the first adrenaline response.
The term Adrenal Fatigue and Adrenal Exhaustion are often used to simplify the intricate mechanisms related to the stress response, that your body orchestrates to maintain harmony in the body.
At thetrruthaboutadrenalfatigue.com we understand this and make it our mission to help your recovery from the nightmare, no matter what you want to call it.
- To have doctors taking you seriously.
- To understand that there is a legitimate epidemic of stress-related disorders.
A lot of experts in the now like to redefine the terms of adrenal fatigue and adrenal exhaustion into HPA axis dysfunction, hypocortisolism, or adrenal insufficiency.
So we encourage the truth about adrenal fatigue community to use these more descriptive and accurate terms.
To understand that the stress response, whether is a direct response from the brain’s catecholamine mechanism, or the brain’s indirect response from the HPA’ hormonal mechanism, the truth of the matter is that control, resides mostly outside of the adrenal glands themselves.
Here’s the thing. Your low cortisol and DHEA-s levels as measured through “adrenal fatigue testing” are indeed related to chronic stress.
That the HPA axis most likely, as a result of chronic stress, down-regulates its signals to the adrenal gland, and not the actual adrenal glands themselves going into “failure” or “exhaustion”.
But does that matter?
That we call it adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion? Our answer at adrenalfatigesociety.com is no, No it shouldn’t.
Here’s the thing: there’s a difference between the “is” world, and the “should be” world.
The should be the world is that doctors should not judge your simplicity of a term or concept as ignorance.
But the reality is, doctors are not properly trained to understand all the nuances in the stress response.
So it is your job to be your best advocate. It is your job to care more about your health, and resolution of your fatigue, more than anybody else, including the doctors that don’t believe you.
Priority number one is your understanding the breakdowns in physiology and biochemistry that is happening in your body, in response to the day to day stressors that accumulate in and on your body over time, sometimes weeks, months, years, and decades.
Having a way to be your best advocate, and communicate with doctors in a more meaningful way. That is the “is” world.
In most cases. Issues related to how you interpret the stress, also known as perceived stress, controlling your blood sugar levels, how your internal body clock is regulated, also known as your circadian rhythm (take the circadian rhythm quiz here), the cortisol feedback function, hypothalamus function, pituitary function, inflammation, inflammation control, inflammation signaling, and how well your microbiome and your liver are ALL functioning, is what is going to be required to get this fixed.
It is the doctor’s responsibility to understand all of this too. So adrenalfatiguesociety.com is calling out all doctors to man-up, and step up their doctor game.
The other problem is the term adrenal fatigue is virtually absent from the peer-reviewed literature. As a result, the Endocrine Society warns it’s doctors and the public against the quacks and myth of adrenal fatigue, and the doctors or patients that use the term. Thereby casting suspicion upon clinicians using the term adrenal fatigue.
Oh, the irony.
As thetruthaboutadrenalfatigue will demonstrate in all the material that we create, there is hope.
There is an increasing body of research linking a variety of chronic dysfunctions with specific patterns of adrenal hormone responses. The tides are changing.
We believe by understanding what is really going on with adrenal fatigue and choosing to use more accurate terms when communicating with doctors, and ultimately understand what is really going on in your body, mainstream doctors will strengthen the credibility of this healthcare epidemic.
More importantly, you will get better care. Better, more appropriate therapies.
Dedicated to ending your adrenal fatigue (and all of the mechanisms going wrong in your stress response) nightmare.