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Fibromyalgia & Adrenal Fatigue

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

Oh shit, it’s 2:59pm!

If you’re a Fibro warrior, chances are, along with your pain, you feel tired, fried, and exhausted. And, chances are, you crash around 3pm each day!

You've probably heard of adrenal fatigue and wondered if it’s a Fibro ‘thing’ or something separate.

Adrenal fatigue and Fibro go hand in hand – in many ways, they are two sides of the same shocking coin. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenals. In response to pain and stress, the adrenals release cortisol. When we’re in persistent pain our bodies ‘fuel’ us with excess adrenalin in order to help the body ‘cope’ and ‘push’ through. This is the same way our cortisol levels elevate after a night without sleep – it’s the bodies way of helping us push through the exhaustion.

Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenals are bombarded! This continual bombardment of stress forces the adrenals to pump out cortisol at a continuously high rate. The result - overworked adrenal glands that never get a ‘rest’. And with no rest comes ‘burn out'.

The adrenals put out over fifty hormones. We often only hear about DHA and cortisol, but forty percent of women’s estrogen and progesterone are made in the adrenal glands and about forty percent of testosterone in males is made in the adrenal glands.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms:

- Fatigue, particularly upon waking, with intermittent “crashes” throughout the day

- Poor stress response and mood regulation

- Cognitive issues or “brain fog”

- Increased energy levels late in the evening, and a feeling of ‘buzzing’, despite feeling exhausted. This sometimes leads to insomnia

- Cravings for salty and sweet foods

- A compromised immune system

- Frequent urination at night

- Poor circulation

- Depression

- Weight gain; and

- Decreased libido.

So why the 3pm happy hour that ain’t so ‘happy’?

Fibro sufferers have higher levels of cortisol for two reasons – firstly, they’re in pain which causes the adrenal system to go into overdrive … as a coping mechanism. Put simply, adrenalin is the bodies way of helping suffers drive through the pain. Secondly, Fibro sufferers generally have poor sleep, further adding to the problem as insomnia works up the adrenals.

On a ‘normal’ non-flare day, the typical Fibro sufferer wakes and starts driving down the highway at 100km/hour in third gear while the rest of us cruse off in fifth gear! Put simply, Fibro sufferers start their day with an over revving, over heated and stressed adrenal engine. Revving your engine for a minute or two is fine … but do it for hours and that engine begins to burn out! As Fibro warriors go about their day – battling on, staying strong (holding the line to coin a Covid cliché), adrenalin builds and builds … and builds to the point that the 3pm alarm clock sounds – we call it the 3pm Fib-Ruption! This is the time that the body triggers the adrenal stress response.

The 3pm Fib-Ruption is where we start to experience lethargy, elevated pain, headaches and anxiety. It's the bodies way of saying “STOP” so it can drive down its heightened adrenal level. In many, that happy hour bell also tosses in that enviable cocktail ‘special of the day’ - a pain flare! If you've ever experienced pain flares that emerge out of nowhere in the afternoon, chances are the origin of the flare is related to this adrenal stress response.

It’s vitally important that Fibro sufferers manage adrenal stress. Along with Melatonin to assist with sleep, there are a number of advanced nutrients such as Magnesium as Glycinate, Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+), Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), high Dose Vitamin B1 and N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) that are highly effective.

So, if you’ve got a rowdy adrenal party going on, contact Elixir Compounding today. We offer complementary face-to-face or phone consultations where we can discuss your individual symptoms and recommend a treatment protocol to get that party under control.

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