The endocrine system is a complex network of glands and organs responsible for the release of hormones, which are chemical messengers that send information from one part of the body to another. While some hormones help regulate reproductive organs, others control mood, growth, production of blood sugar and metabolism. Because hormones play specific roles for health and well-being, a hormonal imbalance can affect people of all ages with a list of symptoms including depression, dizziness, reduced concentration, headaches, low libido and lack of energy.

Lack of Energy Due to Adrenal Fatigue

While there are several causes of hormone imbalance, stress is one of the key factors. Chronic stress can produce adrenal fatigue, a condition where the performance of the adrenal glands is not up to par. Some experts have concluded that for every minute the body experiences stress, it takes a full hour for the stress hormones to leave the bloodstream. This makes it easy to imagine how chronic stress can wreak havoc on the adrenal glands.he adrenals are small, thumb-sized glands located on top of the kidneys in the middle back. To deal with stress, the body reacts with a "fight or flight" response, and the adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol. If temporary, this response is beneficial to the body. However, if the response is perpetual, the glands become overworked and adrenal fatigue sets in, accompanied by a lack of energy. FatigueThe chief symptom of adrenal fatigue is chronic physical and mental exhaustion and lack of energy. Although medical practitioners can prescribe small doses of hydrocortisone or pharmaceutical-grade DHEA for adrenal fatigue, a more natural, long-term approach involves lifestyle changes that stimulate the body to produce more adrenal hormones. 

Natural Solutions for Adrenal Fatigue and Lack of Energy

Follow a healthy diet.

Whole foods with minimal sugar are essential to building adrenal health and banishing your lack of energy. In addition to plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, many naturopaths recommend protein with every meal to help preserve the enzymes and amino acids needed for digestion. This reduces the burden on the body and allows more energy for healing. Because caffeine overtaxes adrenals, herbal tea is recommended as a replacement.

Get plenty of sleep.

Of all the lifestyle changes for adrenal health and lack of energy, this is the most beneficial. To reduce mental stimulation, it is a good idea to turn off televisions and computers about 30 minutes before bedtime. A warm bath scented with lavender essential oils is also helpful, as is the maintenance of a regular sleeping and waking schedule. Most health experts recommend at least eight hours of nightly sleep.

Get regular, light-to-moderate exercise.

While it is important to exercise daily, too much exercise can further weaken depleted adrenals. Start slowly and build up to longer intervals and more intensity as energy levels improve.Boost relaxation. Get a weekly massage, listen to soothing music, or practice yoga, tai chi or meditation to relieve stress and boost relaxation. For nagging concerns, visit a therapist who can help elicit a new perspective and reduce stress.

Think with your heart.

Whether it is a favorite pet or lovely memory, focus on things that bring pleasure. Attention to joyful thoughts can trigger biochemical changes in the body that help to boost the adrenal glands and combat lack of energy.

Reduce exposure to environmental stressors.

Chemicals found in plastics, pesticides and paint can mimic the hormone estrogen, which can exacerbate a hormone imbalance. To avoid these chemicals, use glass containers for food, reusable, metal water bottles and low-VOC paints for covering walls. Also, choose organic foods over chemically sprayed produce and hormone-filled meats.

Increase exposure to natural sunlight.

In addition to a boost for the adrenal glands, sunlight provides the body with more vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Experts recommend about 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight—sans sunscreen—three or four times per week. To avoid the possibility of sunburn, early morning or late afternoon rays are the safest. If you suspect adrenal fatigue to be behind your lack of energy, visit a health care professional for hormone-related blood tests. This condition can be debilitating, keeping you from experiencing all that life has to offer. Awareness is crucial, and the lifestyle changes above can jettison the adrenals on the road to recovery.

By guest contributor Jillian Fritsen

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