Fatigue and tiredness affect us all at some time and whilst often a few good night’s sleep will fix this at other times our fatigue is such that we may need some assistance to rebuild our energy.
Our endocrine system, notably our adrenal and thyroid glands, are significant keys to our daily energy levels. Our adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones which include adrenaline and steroid hormones – such as glucocorticoids. The glucocorticoids are important as they regulate our metabolism. Additionally the hormones produced by our adrenal glands are involved in a wide range of essential biological functions – from regulating our blood pressure and heart rate to our immune system. If we have reduced adrenal function then then our adrenal glands will struggle to produce the levels of hormones our bodies need to be able to function at an optimal level.
Our thyroid glands are also vitally important to our energy levels and also have a link with our adrenal glands. Elevated cortisol – due to stress – interferes with our thyroid function. Any reduced function – low thyroid function – will also have a significant effect on energy levels.
Factors that affect energy ‘reserves ’There are a number of factors that affect our ‘reserves’ of energy but also have deleterious effects on our endocrine system and in particular our adrenal glands which can begin and contribute to the downward spiral of fatigue and then potentially continued ill health.
- Excessive use of stimulants – such as caffeine
- Excessive long periods of stress
- Poor diet
- Environmental toxins – heavy metals and pesticides are noted endocrine disruptors. These chemicals appear to affect the production of hormones and also interrupt the normal function of our endocrine system – i.e. reduced thyroid function.
Licorice – glycyrrhiza glabra A Key herb that supports our adrenal glands is licorice – this is not to be confused with the licorice lolly which usually contains only very small amounts of licorice and large amounts of sugar.
Licorice – glycyrrhiza glabra – is an adrenal restorative and is particularly useful to use during and after stressful episodes. Its effects are to support the adrenal cortex – an area of the adrenal gland that mediates our stress responses through the production of steroid hormones such as glucocorticoids.
Iodine Additionally support for low thyroid function, in the form of herbs that contain the trace element iodine such as carrageen and kelp, can be particularly beneficial. Iodine is a specific nutrient that our thyroid glands requires to be able to make thyroid hormones. A deficiency of iodine in our diets can contribute to low thyroid function.
Essential oils such as clove and cinnamon have traditionally been used for debility and as physical and mental tonics. Lime oil is also particularly uplifting and is ideal for a fatigued mind. Combined with rosemary essential oil this provides an uplifting stimulating effect on our central nervous systems. Historically Rosemary has been used to increase memory and learning.
If you are constantly fatigued and feel like you need a pick me up try an adrenal tonic and also make sure you discuss your specific needs with your local health professional.