By Alane Palmer, ND, CNC and Russell Shein
Fatigue can present itself in many ways. General fatigue is normal with lack of sleep, jet lag, stress, unhealthy diet, illness, etc. General fatigue has a simple fix – sleep. Chronic fatigue, however, is a constant struggle that generally has an underlying issue. One of the most likely culprits for chronic fatigue is problems with cortisol and the adrenals. The adrenals are a hormone secreting gland that sits just above the kidneys. They produce a variety of hormones, but are most known for regulating human “fight or flight” responses. Whenever we are in a suddenly stressful or dangerous situation – the adrenals will actually use hormones to slow down other processes in the body and divert blood flow to the brain and muscles to quickly resolve the situation. After this response, they then release hormones to calm the body back down again.
The hormone in the above scenario is known as cortisol, which actually has a huge impact on our day to day lives as well as “fight or flight” scenarios. Cortisol is sometimes called the “wake-up hormone” since it is at high levels first thing in the morning and lowers throughout the day. Cortisol levels help to get us up in the morning and regulate our sleep cycle. If this cycle goes out of balance, however, it can lead to chronic fatigue through one of two ways. The first is that cortisol can simply be low throughout the day – and never getting that morning spark can leave you tired all day. The second is that cortisol spikes at night, which can lower your sleep quality. This means that even if you sleep a full eight hours, your body can feel like you only have a couple hours of sleep. This is where our chronic fatigue test can help. Some our our tests consist of four saliva vials so you can test your cortisol throughout the day and some also include DHEA and sex hormones and thyroid hormones.
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Medical disclaimer: Testing cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.