Fatigue: The Cortisol Connection
By Dr. Marc Bubbs ND
Stress is one of the main reasons we feel fatigued, lack vitality, and succumb to colds and flus. In today’s world, we are continually burning the candle at both ends with busy work and social commitments while not giving ourselves the time to recharge our batteries. When the body is unable to sufficiently adapt to increased levels of stress, we begin to see some common symptoms; trouble getting-up in the morning, repeatedly hitting the snooze button on the alarm , requiring coffee first thing in the morning and again throughout the day, foggy thinking, muscular fatigue, and depressed mood. These symptoms are commonly associated with ‘adrenal fatigue’ and there is something you can do about it.
Cortisol is produced in varying amounts by the adrenal glands throughout the day. In the morning, cortisol levels should ideally be elevated as this hormone is designed to increase our alertness, getting us out of bed and ready for a busy workday. If you struggle to wake up in the morning, hit the snooze button multiple times, or need several cups of coffee to get yourself moving, then chances are your morning cortisol levels are low. This can cause fatigue, poor brain and memory function, lack of productivity and an irritability that can last throughout the day. Adrenal fatigue forces people to look for that sugary snack or caffeine hit to make it through until 5pm.
New medical diagnostic tests can now evaluate your cortisol or stress hormones levels more effectively by assessing the levels circulating in the tissues rather than just the blood. If you feel tired, sluggish, immune-depleted or aren’t performing at your best, consider booking an appointment to measure salivary cortisol levels and take the first step towards getting your hormones back in balance.
Dr. Marc Bubbs is a naturopathic doctor and practices at IHI several days per week. He has a special interest in sports medicine and men’s health. IHI is located downtown Toronto at the corner of King St. and Sherbourne St.
Photo Credit: Stephen Poff via Compfight
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