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Afternoon Fatigue Explained

By Lucy Rose Clinic

November 16, 2020

Do you struggle with mid afternoon energy, need a coffee to keep going, or actually need to have a lie down?

Mid afternoon fatigue is a sure sign that your adrenal hormones are out of balance, and if this continues too long, it leads to chronic fatigue, thyroid hormone issues, weight gain around the middle, and powerful unhealthy food cravings.

The good news is that you don’t need to live with it! There is a test that picks up this issue and natural treatment that can recovery your energy….all day long.

Testimonial from a patient who suffered with low energy:

“Thanks to the testing, exactly why my body was in pain, I was exhausted, I couldn’t remember anything. The Lucy Rose Clinic and Kylie, my Naturopath from the Gold Cost clinic have not only changed my life, they’ve saved it. What price for feeling great? It’s worth it for every pain-free step I take. Thank you.” – V.O

Cortisol – The Adrenal Hormone To Test

The adrenal glands sit on our kidneys and make our steroid hormones.

Cortisol levels spike within an hour of us waking up, helping us to get active and get going with our day. Then levels drop throughout the day, and should be lowest at night, allowing our natural melatonin production to start lulling us into sleep.

How Cortisol Affects THYROID

Cortisol is extremely important to our thyroid hormones, and it is affected when we have too much cortisol – or when we have too little – such as in chronic fatigue.

Some of the primary cortisol/thyroid interactions:

  • TSH secretion
  • T4 to active T3 conversion
  • activation of T3 at the cell entry point
  • T4 to rT3 conversion

In our modern world, being busy is seen as a badge of honour. However, being constantly on the go every waking minute, without giving the body adequate down time, overstimulates our nervous system, pushing our adrenal glands hard to produce all those excitatory hormones to keep us going. This affects our thyroid hormones.

Stages of Adrenal Stress

Our adrenal glands have 3 stages of adapting to this daily stress.

Pushing our adrenal glands (stage 1) over a prolonged period of time – often when also associated with a traumatic event – can result in sudden fatigue that usually is manageable with periods of rest (stage 2). If this fatigue becomes intrusive and persistent and doesn’t seem to get better with rest it is stage 3. When present for 6 months or more, is classed as chronic fatigue (stage 3).

Here are some 3-point salivary cortisol test results demonstrating the stages:

Stage 1 – Hyper Adrenal

Common Symptoms:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugars
  • Moodiness, irritability, or depression
  • Muscle and bone weakness
  • Skin problems, such as acne, psoriasis or rashes

Stage 2 – Adaptive Response

Common Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Wired and Tired
  • Low blood pressure and/or high blood pressure – it may fluctuate
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of body hair

Stage 3 – Chronic Fatigue

Common Symptoms:

  • Fatigue often worsens with activity
  • Doesn’t improve with rest
  • Forgetfulness, foggy head
  • Joint pain and muscle aches
  • Sensitivity to pain
  • Sore throat, hoarse voice

How does cortisol affect WEIGHT GAIN?

Cortisol is metabolised through the liver and turned into glucose moles (SUGAR) by the process of gluconeogenesis. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. Its a deadly cycle that can lead to:

  • sugar craving
  • insulin resistance
  • fat storage around the middle
  • hypoglycaemia

Testing Know-How and What to Test

When testing adrenal function and its impact on the body, it needs to be done alongside other tests to truly understand the root cause – and of course alongside symptom surveys and thorough consultation.

Many symptoms of thyroid issues are similar to adrenal issues, so testing both is vital to get the full story and then be able to treat it correctly.

  • Diurnal Cortisol – saliva samples are more sensitive than blood. Diurnal cortisol tests show a 3-point cortisol pattern to accurately assess adrenal output.
  • DHEA-s – adrenal hormones that can be tested by blood or saliva samples
  • Melatonin – our sleep neurotransmitter tested by saliva sample.
  • Thyroid test – TSH, fT3, fT4, rT3 minimum blood test and reflex test.
  • Blood sugar studies
  • Nutritional panels

Our motto – “Test, don’t Guess!”

Do you need help getting to the bottom of your health concerns?

Please feel welcome to book a free call with one of our naturopaths to discuss what is going on with you to see if we can help!

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