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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Burnout or Adrenal Fatigue: Is It Making You Overweight and Tired?

Oct 30, 2015 11:33PM
by Sushma Hirani, M.D.

Adrenal fatigue, also called burnout, is a stress syndrome of the 21st century. It is an epidemic prevalent in modern Western society and spreading elsewhere. The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and help in responding to stress by producing hormones such as cortisol. They are responsible for handling stress, whether it is physical, emotional or psychological.

Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands are unable to compensate for the daily stressors in life and the hormone reserves are depleted. Some common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include -

  • Feeling overwhelmed and burned out
  • Brain fog and memory loss
  • Feeling tired all the time and compensating by drinking two to three cups of coffee a day
  • Waking up feeling exhausted after a full night’s sleep of eight to nine hours
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Hormonal imbalance and/or depletion
  • Low libido
  • Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
  • Craving for salty and sweet foods
  • Irritability with uncharacteristic mood swings
  • Inability to relax
  • Susceptibility to flus and colds
Research links stress to many health issues. These come from a variety of sources such as: emotional or physical trauma; lack of sleep; poor diet with too much sugar and processed food; too much alcohol, nicotine or caffeine; chemical toxins; chronic infections or vitamin deficiencies.

It is helpful to understand how the stress response works biochemically in the body. This may be evaluated with specialized saliva tests to measure cortisol levels. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements or hormone balancing depending on the specific condition of each individual.

Some general supportive therapies for adrenal fatigue include:

  • Reducing and managing stress levels
  • Eating organic natural health foods and avoiding processed food
  • Getting a good night sleep, at least seven to eight hours each night
  • Exercising regularly
  • Adding sea salt to your diet
  • Taking appropriate supplements such as magnesium, B-complex or adaptogenic herbs, depending on your condition
  • Eat green and yellow vegetables, black beans, brown rice, proteins and healthy fats, which are great for nourishing the adrenals
The stresses of a modern lifestyle don’t have to determine your energy levels or your ability to lose weight. Everyone can overcome adrenal fatigue and feel energetic once again by listening to your body, cutting back on stress levels, and eating a healthy well-balanced whole food diet.

Sushma Hirani, MD practices functional and integrative medicine to treat chronic diseases, such as Adrenal Fatigue, at Rose Wellness Center in Oakton, VA. She specializes in women’s health care, natural hormone balancing and digestive disorders.

Join her for a free, live webinar, sponsored by Natural Awakenings on November 17 from 6:45 to 7:30 pm to learn more about adrenal fatigue and how you can deal with this modern condition. Reserve your spot at


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