Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease caused by chronic inflammation. There are many symptoms including numbness, tingling, weakness, fatigue, and much more. The connection between adrenal fatigue and MS aren’t usually mentioned at the doctors.
Adrenal fatigue is very common, although it’s not a symptom conventional medicine recognizes. It may come from your diet, gut infections, stress, or from having an autoimmune disease. If you don’t get a handle on it, your body can become extremely fatigued.
During the “Great Recession,” I went through a stressful period due to the job market. My husband’s company shut down, my job was laying employees off every three months. There were also wage cuts and furloughs.
Each day I’d go to work not knowing if I would lose my job that day. It was daily chronic stress at work and home, the worst part, it lasted for over a year.
That stress took its toll on me and my MS. During that period I could feel the tension in my body which affected my walking. Later I discovered I had adrenal fatigue from the constant stress levels.
What is adrenaline?
Adrenal glands are small glands that sit on top of each kidney. Their job is to produce hormones such as stress and sex hormones into the bloodstream.
The outer adrenal cortex produces steroid hormones such as cortisol. The inner adrenal medulla produces adrenaline and noradrenaline hormones. These hormones regulate stress, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and metabolism.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenaline is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. They’re located above the kidneys. It is part of the “fight or flight” hormone response during threatening situations.
When the adrenal glands release a lot of hormones, this is an adrenaline rush. This happens when your body feels threatened, excited, or stressed. It increases the heart rate and respiration and decreases the insulin level. Your body can then have more fuel during the threat.
When the body is under constant chronic stress the adrenal glands become overwhelmed. Eventually, they can’t keep up with the body’s need for more hormones. Your body begins to feel exhausted and other symptoms begin to appear.
→ Insomnia or other sleep issues
→ Lack of energy
→ Low blood pressure
→ Muscle weakness
→ Sugar cravings
→ Weak immune system
Conventional doctors don’t see these symptoms as a possibility of adrenal fatigue. Instead, they give medications for each individual symptom which include many side effects. Because of this, your symptoms continue and you never discover the root cause.
Does MS Cause Adrenal Fatigue?
Chronic inflammation leads to autoimmune diseases. The cause is poor diet, toxins, infections, and chronic stress. This is stressful in the body producing more stress hormones. Eventually weakening your immune system even further.
However, there have been no known studies on MS and adrenal fatigue. According to the National MS Society, 80% of people with MS have chronic fatigue, but the cause is unknown. Since chronic fatigue is a symptom of both MS and adrenal fatigue, it does make you wonder.
MS patients often use prednisone as a synthetic hormone that imitates cortisol. Because prednisone affects the hormones it’s causing an unbalance in the body. Prednisone comes with many harmful side effects. Including bone loss and a higher risk of infections.
The adrenal glands produce hormones to maintain inflammation and blood sugar levels. When they are out of balance for long periods of time it causes serious damage. Leading to an inflammatory response and eventually an autoimmune disease.
Researchers have linked stress to gut health. Trillions of microbes live in your gut. They support your immune system and keep you healthy. This is why your gut gets tense when you’re stressed out.
Over a period of time stress can weaken the guts intestinal lining. As the gut lining breaks down it allows unfriendly microbes and pathogens to pass. They enter the bloodstream and throughout the body.
Keep stress under control and feeding your gut with plant based foods. This will help keep the “good” bacteria up. Include probiotic and prebiotic foods like asparagus, dandelion greens, flax seeds, garlic, and onions.
When we are constantly stressed we have a higher amount of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is necessary but too much of it raises the blood sugar levels.
Yeast overgrowth (Candida) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) feed on sugar. They don’t care where the sugar comes from as long as it’s fed.
When the adrenal glands aren’t working properly the hormones become out of balance. Cortisol levels rise affecting your immune system and your digestive system. This leaves you vulnerable to Candida, SIBO, and other viruses.
To learn more about Candida read: The Connection Between MS and Candida.
To learn more about SIBO read: What Is SIBO?
Chronic stress keeps stress hormones elevated. They aren’t given a chance to relax and go back to normal levels.
Long term stress causes many harmful health conditions. Such as heart disease, mental health, and suppressing the immune system.
When you have an autoimmune disease the stress can cause flares. It’s important for you to manage stress as much as possible.
This is hard, everyone lives with stress every day. It’s how you manage the stress and relax that’s important for your wellness.
- Deep breathing
- Exercise (yoga, tai chi)
- Listen to music
- Pets (they’re good listeners too)
- Sleep, get 8-9 hours
- Soak in a tub
- Talk to someone
When you have adrenal fatigue there is a bigger problem. Instead get to the root cause of the symptom. Talk to a functional medical doctor and find out if this is you. I don’t take any extra supplements, I just eat healthy, watch my blood sugar levels, and manage stress.
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