This is over simplified, but it's how adrenal function and adrenal fatigue, and recovery, was explained to me.
Normal healthy you. Your adrenals kick into gear in the morning at your regular time to wake. Working properly, they should wake you at about the time the alarm clock does.
Adrenals dump their largest load of hormone into the system giving us energy to get up and start our day, clarity of mind and direction of purpose... so that we can keep going until we can eat. Once we've eaten the adrenals have less pressure to cover for us and can kick back and relax.
Adrenal production is a slow trickle kind of a thing... They happily just work on filling a reservoir tank with hormone.. That way when it's time to get up in the morning the hormone is there, when you get a flat tire on the way to work the hormone is there, when a tree falls on your kid, the hormone is there. There is always enough there to do what you need it to do.
After there is a 'dump' into the system.. the adrenals just happily plod along working at their own pace to refill the tank. No big deal, the world is good.
Skip breakfast... a LOT... adrenals have to keep releasing into the system to keep you going...
Drink coffee.... adrenals have to release even more to keep up....
Hectic morning, racing, sucking coffee, no breakfast... more stress on the adrenals...
But they can take that kind of abuse for a long time...
Now... you add in low thyroid....
Metabolism is slow, food processing is slow, fatigue, insomnia, depression all contribute to poor sleep and bad eating habits.. the body relies more and more on the adrenals to make up for every thing... .
When a long enough period of time has passed that reservoir finally gets tapped dry...
Just to use some numbers so that it's easier to 'see', let's say that the adrenals at their normal pace can produce 75% of the hormone to fill up that tank. Normal folks use maybe 50 % so that tank is always topped off and the adrenals can work at their own happy pace.
Combine that lousy thyroid function, what it does to your metabolism and body function with poor lifestyle habits and your body is using more and more of the adrenal reserves.... it gets to the point where you need more every morning than what the tank has.... so the emergency call goes out to the adrenals to kick up the pace.
They are not happy anymore.. they are working hard... but they have
always been there for you and will work to their death for you... so they continue to work as hard as they can.
Time goes by and they get more and more tired.. it takes longer and longer to meet your morning demand. Forget about flat tires and daily stress.. they are still trying to answer to your call to wake up this morning and get going... *sigh* if only you'd eat a decent breakfast and skip the caffeine.....
Days continue, weeks, months, your body's demand for that precious adrenal 'go juice' isn't being met till late morning.. then early afternoon... then late afternoon... then early evening... then late evening... then its not hitting you until the wee hours of the morning....
How do you know if this is what is happening to you? Have you noticed that '
How can you help?
The ONE most important time of the day to help the adrenals is when you wake. These are the things that I've learned that help them...
Wake at the same time every day.
No sugar binges, eat a balanced breakfast with protein for sustained energy and carbs for quick energy
Have yourself organized so that the morning isn't a rush. Less panic, less stress, less pressure on the adrenals.
Take your thyroid dose as soon as you wake, especially when taking naturals, this gets more of those important thyroid hormones into your blood, easing the work load on the adrenals.
Take your adrenal supplement as soon as you wake. To help lesson the amount that must be taken from the reservoir...
Depending on how over worked and exhausted the adrenals are, it can take two years, or more, for them to recover.... but they should recover... to get past that point where they can't heal... is the point where they fail and you die.
How long does it take to get them so very very exhausted? Years....
Catch things early, change your morning routine to lessen the workload on the adrenals in the morning and you'll greatly reduce the amount of damage that they sustain while you're working on your thyroid dosing and over all health.
Is it worth it? You bet it is...
How would you like to be able to wake up in the morning without having to hit the snooze button 3 or 4 times?
How would you like to be able get out of bed, shower, dress, have breakfast and head out to start the rest of your day without being in a 'hair pulling frenzy'?
How would you like to have the end of the day roll around and be feeling sleepy and head off to bed at bed time and fall asleep and wake up in the morning, on time... instead of at 2 am wondering if the toilet is running over or if you closed the refrigerator door or if the dog is in or out?
Helping your adrenals to get back on schedule helps your whole body to work better AND helps the thyroid hormone that you have to work better.
Ponder on it... what you can do to HELP them to get better again,
making their work easier....
What do you do when lifestyle change isn't enough help?
Then it's time to sit down and have a serious discussion with your doc. There are tests that can be done to determine how well your adrenals are working. Not just a simple one shot blood test, a more specific series of 'spit' tests that takes samples several times a day will give the more accurate picture. What you want to see is how your adrenal levels are during the day, when you first wake, mid day, evening and late night. That way you can SEE if the levels are where they should be during a particular part of the day.
What you SHOULD see, if all is well, is that your levels are highest in the morning, and lowest during the night. If they are not; if, for example, if they are low in the morning and higher later in the day, then there is something off there, the adrenals aren't getting their job done in the morning, when they should.