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

May 31, 2018 10:11PM
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 as stress levels increase.

Adrenal glands are responsible for handling the stresses of your daily life, whether they are physical, emotional or psychological. With stress levels increasing in our daily lives, the adrenal glands—the two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys—become overworked and depleted. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal hormone reserves are depleted.

There is a long list of common symptoms for adrenal fatigue including: 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; low libido; craving for salty and sweet foods; increased PMS or menopausal symptoms; irritability; with mood swings that were uncharacteristic earlier in life; hormonal imbalance and/or depletion; inability to relax; weight gain; or susceptibility to flus and colds.

We often hear that stress is the main culprit and this is often the case. This stress can come from a variety of sources such as: emotional or physical trauma; lack of sleep; a poor diet with too much sugar and processed food; too much alcohol, nicotine or caffeine; chemical toxins; chronic infections; or vitamin deficiencies.

This 21st-century condition is easily diagnosed with a specialized lab test of the patient’s saliva testing to measure cortisol levels. With this information, a qualified physician can determine the severity of adrenal fatigue, which is characterized by stages one through three.

Treatment may include lifestyle changes, supplements or hormone balancing depending on the specific condition of each individual. Some general supports of adrenal function include: reducing stress levels; eating organic natural health foods and avoiding junk or processed food; getting at least eight hours of sleep each night; exercising regularly; adding sea salt to your diet; taking appropriate supplements such as calcium, magnesium, B-complex or licorice root extract, depending on your condition; and adding into the diet foods such as green and yellow vegetables, black beans, brown rice, sweet potatoes and oatmeal—which are great for nourishing the adrenals.

The stresses of a modern lifestyle don’t have to determine your level of energy 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, M.D. specializes in functional and integrative medicine to treat chronic diseases, such as Adrenal Fatigue, at Rose Wellness Center in Oakton, VA. She has a special interest in women’s health care, natural hormone balancing and detoxification.

Join her for a free, live webinar, sponsored by Natural Awakenings on June 11 from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m. to learn more about adrenal fatigue and how you can deal with this modern condition. Reserve your spot at


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