You’ve seen countless specialists, natural doctors, and even woo-woo energy healers.
Thousands of dollars and countless hours have been spent trying to regain your health.
Yet your fatigue remains unchanged…
Maybe this fatigue of yours is actually an adaptation. A way for your body to protect itself from further harm. Maybe you’ve been approaching treatment all wrong.
Let me explain…
If you’re like most of my patients, by the time you see me you’ll have already seen 5+ practitioners and spent thousands of dollars on treatments. Almost always, treatment with other practitioners involves the taking of multiple – expensive – supplements or medications.
All of which never seem to work.
In fact, for a good number of my patients, they feel worse after taking supplements or medication. And not a little bit worse. A lot of the time, supplements, or medications known to improve fatigue actually make them worse.
After taking the supplement/medication there’s a flare of gut symptoms. Or, the fatigue worsens. Or, the pain intensifies.
Does that sound like you?
If so, you’re in the right place. In today’s post, I’ll explain why your fatigue never seems to get better. And what you can do about it!
Your body is smarter than every doctor
If you’ve been sick and tired for a long time, you’ve inevitably run into a doc that told you your problem was adrenal fatigue. Low cortisol was the problem! And he had the solution – all you needed to do was take these supplements for four weeks.
Four weeks later, you’re still tired.
You’re still tired because your body is smarter than any practitioner out there. Way smarter!
You see, adrenal fatigue is a condition characterized by low levels of cortisol. Your practitioner sees this as bad and wants to do everything he can to increase your cortisol. He gives your herbs, supplements, breathing exercises, meditation techniques, you name it. All of his prescriptions are thought to help increase cortisol levels.
Whenever you employ any of the recommendations, you feel worse. Way worse. You get frustrated. Your practitioner gets confused. No progress is made.
This barrier to treatment or therapy resistance as they call it in medical lingo is actually a positive adaptation by your body. It’s us practitioners that are wrong. Not your body.
Your body got it right. It’s us arrogant practitioners that got it wrong. Forcing your body to increase its cortisol levels could be the exact wrong thing to do!
Adrenal fatigue might be your superpower
If you’re dealing with fatigue, be it adrenal fatigue or chronic fatigue, some practitioner has inevitably told you your cortisol levels were messed up. Maybe they’re too high. Or, they’re too low. Others still have irregular cortisol rhythms.
The common thread is that your cortisol levels are doing weird things. Things that your practitioner doesn’t want them to be doing. Sometimes, your practitioner is bang on. Fixing your cortisol improves your symptoms. You feel way better and get on with your life.
But other times, you feel worse when you try to fix your cortisol levels. That’s what we need to talk about here. Your altered cortisol levels could actually be protecting you. Think of them as your superpower. When we practitioners try to alter your cortisol levels, you might feel worse. Way worse!
If you haven’t already, check out my post on pregnenolone and fatigue. It’s a good primer on what’s to come.
Cortisol: your new favorite hormone
In response to stress, your body releases cortisol. It does a lot more than that, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s focus on cortisol. So, you have a stressful day and in response to that stress, cortisol is released.
Great question! Cortisol has a great many functions in your body. Here are some of the highlights of what cortisol does for you:
- Helps metabolize glucose
- Cortisol increases the amount of glucose in your blood.
- This helps you run fast and fight strong. Think, the fight or flight response.
- Prevents inflammation
- Cortisol helps to block the release of substances that cause inflammation. (1)
- Helps with the creation of memories (2)
- Cortisol helps you form short-term emotional memories.
- It’s these memories that help you avoid a particular stress in the future.
Notice how each of the above three functions will help you better adapt to stress. The caveat here is that the stress doesn’t last too long. Your body’s stress response system is far better adapted to deal with bear encounters than it is credit card debt.
Bear encounters are high stress but short in duration – hopefully! Your body is well prepared for this type of stress. Whereas credit card debt is less stressful than a bear attack but it lasts much much longer.
The long duration is where you can run into problems. We’re going to discuss this in the next section.
Adrenal fatigue as an adaptation
In the short-term, elevated levels of cortisol will help you survive an epic battle with a wild animal. But over the longterm, what was once an advantage becomes a hindrance.