I know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to try to navigate all the different health problems we face today.
One overlooked connection I want to highlight (that I personally suffered from) is between Adrenal Fatigue and Leaky Gut Syndrome – two conditions that are increasingly seen in our fast-paced lifestyles.
If you’ve ever experienced brain fog or fatigue for no clear reason, sleep disturbances, digestive issues, or any combination of these symptoms, then this blog post is definitely for you!
Introducing the Link between Adrenal Fatigue and Leaky Gut
During my chronic illness battle, I suffered from both adrenal fatigue and a leaky gut. And, I learned there’s a connection between the two…
So, here’s the deal: our adrenal glands, located on top of our kidneys, produce hormones that regulate our metabolism, stress response, and immune function. When these glands get fatigued, it can lead to several health issues.
But …. our gut also plays a crucial role in our overall well-being. A healthy gut is super important for keeping inflammation, stress-related ailments, hypertension, and immune dysfunction at bay.
Here’s the deal (and the culprit!) – stress affects both our adrenal glands and our gut.
When our gut gets stressed due to a not-so-great diet or less-than-healthy lifestyle choices, our adrenal glands start going into overdrive, producing extra cortisol and adrenaline.
What exactly is Adrenal Fatigue, and what should you look out for?
So, what’s the difference?
Adrenal insufficiency is known in the medical community as Addison’s disease, a condition where the adrenals do not produce enough cortisol due to issues with the adrenals themselves or signaling problems between the brain and the adrenals.
Whereas adrenal fatigue is a result of chronic stress and overworking the adrenals, leading to similar symptoms as Addison’s disease, yet distinctly different.
The Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue You Shouldn’t Ignore
Let me tell you… If you’ve been going 100 miles an hour lately and burned out, better keep an eye out for these key symptoms:
Despite sufficient rest, individuals with adrenal fatigue feel tired upon waking and throughout the day and never feel fully rested. (I could barely get out of bed most days – docs were convinced I had Narcolepsy!)
Adrenal fatigue can cause a general feeling of weakness, making routine tasks and physical exertion more challenging, like going up/down stairs or walking to the bathroom.
Loss of appetite and weight loss:
Decreased interest in food and unintentional weight loss are common – pay attention to your hunger cues. (My body deteriorated quickly down to 110lbs, not a healthy weight for my frame at all!)
Adrenal fatigue can lead to discomfort and impact digestion due to the stress on your gut (and body!) Every time I ate, my stomach would hurt, and I would get diarrhea. I felt like everything just ‘ran right through’ – and it did.
Additional signs to watch for:
Nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, dizziness, irritability, depression, joint pain, cravings for salty foods, hypoglycemia, irregular menstrual periods, loss of interest in sex, and darkening of the skin are all things that can pop up if you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue. (Yikes! That’s a lot!)
It’s important to note that symptoms may develop slowly over time and can be mistaken for other health conditions. While often hard to pinpoint, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the progression of adrenal fatigue, and you can avoid many of it’s associated complications before it’s too late!
Don’t be like me!
How Leaky Gut Can Make Adrenal Fatigue Worse
Leaky gut is a condition in which tiny holes form in the lining of the small intestine, causing undigested food particles and toxins to pass into your bloodstream. It can lead to inflammation, impaired digestion, nutrient deficiencies, and an overactive immune system.
It’s been linked to a wide range of health issues, including allergies, autoimmune disorders/chronic illness, skin problems, and chronic fatigue.
A leaky gut can make adrenal fatigue worse by further depleting the body’s energy reserves and weakening its ability to fight off infections. And… it can lead to malabsorption of essential nutrients, which are necessary for optimal adrenal gland function.
To address leaky gut, a holistic approach is often best—one that includes dietary changes and the use of specific supplements.
Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet that eliminates processed foods, alcohol, and other known triggers can help to reduce inflammation. I went on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet once I was diagnosed, which I highly recommend – but it was an animal-based diet that finally healed me.
Natural Ways to Support Your Body When Struggling with Adrenal Fatigue and Leaky Gut
1. Get enough sleep
Studies have shown that even one night of disrupted or poor-quality sleep can lead to increased inflammation in the body, which impacts both adrenal fatigue and leaky gut. Aim for 8 hours of uninterrupted, high-quality sleep each night. And for goodness’ sake, put away that phone before hitting the sack!
2. Manage stress levels
Stress can further deplete the body’s resources and cause inflammation. Practice stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.
3. Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity can help to reduce inflammation and boost energy levels. Just make sure to not overexert yourself as this can be counterproductive when dealing with adrenal fatigue and leaky gut. Nature walks are an excellent idea!
4. Eat a healthy diet
Avoiding processed foods, sugar, and other inflammatory foods can help support the body in healing. Focus on eating plenty of vegetables, quality proteins, and healthy fats. Look for organic and locally sourced options when possible to further reduce your toxic load while healing.
5. Consider taking supplements
Specific supplements such as probiotics and digestive enzymes may help to reduce inflammation and improve gut health. But make sure to work with a qualified healthcare practitioner to identify which ones are right for you.
My Experience with Adrenal Fatigue & Poor Gut Health
Overcoming adrenal fatigue and poor gut health has been a journey that’s taught me so much about the power of self-care and the importance of paying attention to my body’s signals.
When I first started experiencing exhaustion, brain fog, and digestion issues, I kept pushing through, believing that I just needed to work harder and be more disciplined.
It wasn’t until I hit a breaking point that I realized something deeper was happening, and I sought out medical and holistic support.
Through that process, I’ve learned how to nourish my body with nutrient-dense animal-based foods, prioritize sleep and stress-reduction practices, and incorporate targeted supplements and healing modalities.
While the road to recovery hasn’t always been easy, I feel grateful for the lessons and insights it’s given me and for the resilience that comes with overcoming health challenges.
And I am excited to share my experience with others so they can learn from my healing journey!
The Wrap – Adrenal Fatigue & Leakey Gut
All in all, adrenal fatigue and leaky gut are intricately linked conditions that can have a huge impact on your overall health. By making sure you get the proper amount of rest, eating nutritious food, and engaging in (light!) daily exercise, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance to avoid these conditions or at least keep their symptoms under control.
Additionally, incorporating supplements into your diet or reducing stress through practices like meditation can also help to alleviate any problems associated with adrenal fatigue and leaky gut.
Reminder; I am simply sharing my personal experience. Your doctor will be able to provide personalized advice on what steps you should take in order to feel better and keep these conditions under control.
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