We are all familiar with the terms stress and burn-out, but do you know what adrenal fatigue is? Long-term stress can deplete the adrenal glands, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, depression and sometimes even burn-out. The lifesaver? Vitamin C!
Adrenal fatigue is a relatively unknown condition and the concept has not yet been fully accepted by scientists. But that does not mean that the concept of adrenal fatigue is incorrect or untrue.
To understand exactly what adrenal fatigue involves, it is useful to know where the adrenals are and what their function is. The adrenal glands are two small organs, one sitting on top of a fat layer on each kidney. The adrenal glands are responsible for producing a number of important hormones in our bodies, including:
- Cortisol: ensures a healthy immune system and inhibits inflammation.
- Adrenaline/noradrenaline: the ‘flight hormone’.
- Aldosterone: responsible for fluid balance and blood pressure.
- Testosterone and oestrogen: the male and female sex hormones.
With stress stimuli (whether physical, emotional or psychological stress) the adrenal glands are stimulated to produce these hormones to cope with these stressful situations, such as intense work pressure, financial worries or an unhealthy lifestyle. But when the adrenal glands are stimulated for too long and too often, for example due to persistent stress, they exhaust their supply of hormones.
A major cause of adrenal fatigue is intense and prolonged stress and when this stress persists, burn-out symptoms are experienced.
Stress causes adrenal fatigue
It is important to relax after periods of stress so that your body can recover. Failing to do this means that your body will continue to draw hormones from the adrenal glands and the supply will run out, resulting in adrenal depletion. The main symptom of adrenal fatigue is an annoying feeling of tiredness that is not even improved by a good night’s rest. You cannot get out of bed and you feel you don’t have enough energy to get through the day. In addition, you may also have difficulty getting to sleep. Other known symptoms of adrenal fatigue include cravings for sweet, salty or fatty food, poor memory, a weakened immune system, muscle weakness and depression. But how do you overcome adrenal fatigue? In addition to rest, healthy eating and of course avoiding stress, there is a lifesaver: vitamin C!
Vitamin C is indispensable for adrenal glands
Adrenal glands need a lot of nutrients to function properly, but vitamin C is perhaps the most important. The production of cortisol and the other adrenal hormones depends on an adequate supply of vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency causes excretion of these hormones to stop. This places your body under stress again, increasing your need for vitamin C even further. It’s a vicious circle.
Vitamin C therefore plays a crucial role in adrenal fatigue, both in terms of prevention and recovery. How much vitamin C do you need? The dosage for people with adrenal fatigue is between 3000 and 4000mg a day. Are you fit? Then 1000 to 2000mg is sufficient, but the dosage varies per person. You can also increase the dosage according to your own needs. Other supplements such as magnesium, probiotics, Q10 and omega 3 also aid recovery from adrenal fatigue.