Is My Fatigue caused by Adrenal Fatigue or am I Iron Deficient?
If you suffer with ongoing fatigue, it could be more than your adrenals.
One of the most confusing and frustrating conditions plaguing men and woman alike is chronic Fatigue. We are not talking about the fatigue that goes away after a good nights rest, but rather a condition that million of people are being crippled with. In fact over three quarters of the patients who come to our office often have complaints ongoing fatigue.
In this article I want to discuss some of the many causes of fatigue and what you action steps should include. I will also share with you some of the common things most doctors (conventional and Holistic) fail to evaluate with patients who suffer with fatigue.
When a person is experiencing crippling fatigue, It is essential to be evaluated for a condition called Adrenal fatigue. Cortisol and DHEA are two hormones released by the adrenal glands that have a profound impact on every aspect of your health and the best way to evaluate these hormones is through saliva rather than blood.
What is DHEA
Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a steroid hormone synthesized from cholesterol and secreted by the adrenal glands. The adrenals are walnut-sized organs located right above your kidneys. The average adult makes about 25 mg of DHEA per day (some more, some less) with dwindling production as we get older. Men at all ages have more DHEA than women.
Natural DHEA production is at its highest in our twenties and by the time we reach seventy we only make about 20% of the DHEA we had when we were young.
DHEA is a very powerful precursor to all of your major sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. High levels of Cortisol or low levels of DHEA also interfere with healthy thyroid function. DHEA is a precursor to many of these hormones and it is for this reason we call it the “mother hormone” — the source that fuels the body’s metabolic pathway:
In the beginning stages of Adrenal dysfunction, practitioners will often find elevated cortisol levels and only after a prolonged period of exposure to stress (physical, chemical, emotional) will you see Low DHEA levels and low cortisol levels. When a person has low cortisol and low DHEA levels you will also start to see multiple systems of the body shut down. Common problems will include low blood sugar, reactive hypoglycemia, Insulin Resistance, hormone imbalances, neurotransmitter imbalances and low thyroid function.
But what if Cortisol and DHEA levels are normal? What about Anemia?
If someone is experiencing fatigue but has normal cortisol and DHEA levels, another common problem that should be suspected is anemia. If your doctor has diagnosed you with anemia, it’s important that you don’t stop there.
The very next question you need to ask your doctor is WHY am I anemic?
There are times when an iron deficiency is obvious, but other times it’s not. When an iron deficiency is detected then the short term solution is obvious, supplement with quality iron supplements and increase foods that contain iron such as Red meat, poultry, eggs, green leafy vegetables, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
But don’t think for a minute that simply taking an iron supplement will correct the cause if your anemia is rooted in a B12 deficiency, a Parasite, H.Pylori, a mal absorption issue, low acidity levels, an autoimmune condition (pernicious anemia) or if you are a women with cycle irregularities. It also should be noted that you cannot correct an anemic condition without correcting any underlying hormone irregularities.
As you can see this is why I recommend a BIG PICTURE approach to chronic health problems.
As mentioned earlier, it’s not unusual for people to have multiple system problems (MSP). This is why it’s important to consult with a doctor who looks at the entire picture, as many medical doctors would just assume a person’s fatigue is due to anemia, but won’t even bother to evaluate the adrenal gland or some of the other causes referenced above.
Why Is Iron Deficiency Anemia So Common?
In past articles on this site I’ve discussed in detail why many people have weak adrenal glands, and so I’m not going to talk about this here. But it should not come as a surprise that more woman suffer with anemia than men. For woman heavy cycles, irregular periods, hormone imbalance leading to PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) or Endometriosis will also be a cause of iron deficiencies. In fact these problems are estimated to affect as many as 1 in 10 women.
Avoid This Common Pit Fall If You Suffer With Fatigue.
One of the mistakes I often see made by many holistic practitioners is assuming that every case of fatigue is caused only by adrenal gland dysfunction and then starting the patient out on and Adrenal gland Protocol. The scenario will often look like this. You suffer for many years with debilitating fatigue that continues to get worse with no help from your conventional doctor, you have a friend who recommends a Naturopath, a Holistic Medical doctor or Doctor of Chiropractic. These holistic practitioners test your adrenals and no surprise this practitioner finds low or high cortisol and tells you that your fatigue is caused by your adrenal glands. This practitioner then tells you they found the cause of your fatigue and you just need to start taking these adrenal supplements.
For the vast majority of chronic fatigue sufferers this will NOT solve their problem. Avoid the one cause one cure. If you continue to suffer with Health Problems contact us at 630-718-0555.
Points to Remember
1. There are many causes to Anemia. Adrenal Gland dysfunction is just one possibility.
2. Ask the question WHY? and investigate the many causes I outlined in this article. There’s never a one cause one cure. Your body does not work like that.
3. Find a doctor who will look at your Iron levels and your Ferritin levels.
4. Most doctors simply look at serum Iron levels and fail to evaluate Ferritin. Ferritin levels will indicate whether you need iron or not. Ferritin is how your body stores Iron.
5. I outlined just some of the potential causes or Fatigue in this article. There are many others and you should work with a doctor or practitioner who looks at the Big Picture
6. You can search our site to learn more about these additional causes by doing a search in upper right hand corner.
For Better Health Naturally
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