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Adrenal Fatigue And How It Affects A Diabetic’s Life

We don’t hear nearly enough about adrenal fatigue and how it affects a diabetic’s life, but it should be included from day one of your treatment.

Because the health of your adrenal glands is crucial for the production of our mail and female hormones, our cravings and even our psychology. This is an important topic for Diabetics. 

Adrenal Fatigue And How It Affects A Diabetic's Life-2The adrenals are two small glands that sit above each kidney.

If you’ve already been diagnosed as having Type 2 Diabetes or think you might be headed there, it’s important to understand adrenal fatigue and how it affects a diabetic’s life. 

The Adrenal glands produce hormones such as:

 ➡ Norepinephrine (known as Adrenaline), which is released into your body to help you in stressful situations where a burst of energy is required to help sustain you.

 ➡ DHEA which leads to the production of the male and female sex hormones (androgens and estrogen)

 ➡ Cortisol, which affects the body’s ability to handle physical, emotional and psychological stress

The Adrenal Glands also:

  • Contribute to a strong immune system
  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Help maintain healthy blood sugar levels

Low levels of DHEA and high levels of cortisol, brought on by stress, can contribute to a number of health problems such as:

  • Cardiovascular Disease, which generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.
  • Heart Disease, which usually refers to other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm. 
  • Inflammation
  • Premature aging 
  • Diabetes Type 2

Hormonal imbalances directly impact:

  • The body’s production and processing of insulin
  • The body’s ability to burn glucose and increase **insulin resistance

 ➡ **When the body produces insulin under conditions of insulin resistance, the cells are resistant to the insulin and are unable to use it as effectively, leading to high blood sugar.

 ➡ Beta cells in the pancreas subsequently increase their production of insulin, further contributing to a high blood insulin level.

  • Hormonal imbalances also contribute to weight gain
  • Increases vulnerability to bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.

Although excessive stress is the biggest cause of adrenal fatigue, a diet high in sugar, caffeine, and smoking all play a part in determining adrenal fatigue and how it affects a diabetic’s life.

Adrenal Fatigue And How It Affects A Diabetic's Life-low energySome symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

Excessive, unexplained tiredness

  • This is because under stress the hormone levels are higher, thus making it harder to sleep.

Cravings for sugary foods

  • Adrenal Fatigue lowers the blood sugar level. When this happens cravings for “energy foods” increase and you’ll crave more sugary foods.
  • Foods high in sugar are also “comfort foods” and stress can make you reach for that extra “comfort.” 

Cravings for salty foods

  • This is because the adrenal glands affect how the kidneys regulate mineral fluctuations.

When we suffer from fatigue, the body releases more minerals in the urine. This, in turn, can increase the desire for salty snacks.

Another characteristic of Adrenal Fatigue and how it affects a Diabetic’s life is that it causes the feeling of having more energy in the evenings.

  • Some people with adrenal fatigue find that they feel tired all day but then get a burst of energy late in the evening.

The reason is that Cortisol normally reaches a peak in the late mornings and then decreases during the day.

Difficulty handling stress:

The normal body’s response to stress is to release specific hormones so that stress can be handled effectively.

The three specific hormones are cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Knowing how these affect the body helps us understand the relationship to stress:

  • Cortisol gives the body extra energy to cope with stressAdrenal Fatigue And How It Affects A Diabetic's Life-stress
  • It increases memory function
  • It lowers sensitivity to pain

However, the body needs a rest period after cortisol has been released in a stress-related situation. If a person with adrenal fatigue rarely gets to have the ‘rest period’, less and less cortisol is produced over time.

  • Cortisol also helps to regulate the immune system in the body and works as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Too much cortisol over an extended period interferes with the response of the immune system and results in having more infections.

However, if the adrenal glands are so weakened that they produce too little cortisol then the body’s response is to overreact to infections which results in certain autoimmune disorders (your body becomes immune).

  • Adrenaline. Probably the most well-known stress response hormone, Adrenaline gives us the first burst of energy needed to respond to stress.

Once again, adrenal fatigue will affect the amount of this hormone and the response to stress is reduced.

  • Norepinephrine This helps the brain to focus on the stress. Without this active hormone, the response to stress could be described as lethargic.

Other symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • dark circles under the eyes
  • excessive perspiration
  • blood sugar swings
  • depression/anxiety
  • weight gain
  • digestive problems
  • mood swings
  • a decreased tolerance to stress

Adrenal Fatigue And How It Affects A Diabetic's Life-factorsThe good news is that there are ways to strengthen your adrenal glands.
Here are five suggestions that will benefit your adrenals as well as your overall health.

1.Reduce/eliminate caffeine consumption.

  • Drinking just two coffee mugs per day (24-26 ounces) is classified as an addiction and will aggravate the adrenal glands of a diabetic.

2. Eliminate sugar and processed carbohydrates.

  • Focus on a diet that consists of whole foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.

3. If you eat meat, make sure to choose the cleanest available sources.
 Read our articles about meat consumption for diabetics:

Part One

Part Two

4.    Practice stress-relieving techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga.

5.    Get plenty of rest. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. With adrenal fatigue, your needs will be closer to 9 hr per night initially. Find out what works for you and make your sleep a priority. Learn how much sleep you need here.

6. Ask your doctor if you should supplement your diet with some strength building herbs such as ginseng, and/or vitamins such as B-Complex.

I understand, and I know. If you’re a diabetic you rightfully feel you have enough to deal with just managing your blood sugar and watching your weight…but, forewarned is forearmed, as the old saying goes.

Becoming informed about Adrenal Fatigue and how it affects a diabetic’s life is essential.

It will help you identify any symptoms early and prompt you to report them to your physician before serious complications arise.key to wellness


Learn more: Four Steps To Stress-Free Diabetes