Athletic Stress and Adrenal Fatigue

Prolonged stress, whether it is physical or mental, has a dramatic impact on how your body functions. 

Athletic Stress and Adrenal FatigueThe adrenal glands are primarily responsible for the release of major stress hormones that help your body deal with stress.

Stress caused by jobs, finances, family and friends  and even bodybuilding can lead to the sub-optimal performance of your adrenal glands.

When your adrenal glands are fatigued, your body becomes susceptible to a number of diseases and syndromes that can affect not only your physical health, but mental health as well.

Understanding the Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are two small triangular masses situated right above the kidneys that work closely with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for releasing four major stress hormones: cortisol, DHEA, norepinepherine and adrenaline.

Hormones are secreted from one of two sections in the adrenal glands. The adrenal medulla (or inner section) is responsible for the release of adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine.  Adrenaline, which is associated with the fight-or-flight response, increases the body’s metabolic rate and improves the rate of force in the muscles in times of trauma or stress. Norepinepherine is released at the same time and functions as both a hormone and neurotransmitter. It is responsible for increasing blood pressure.

The cortex (outer region) of the adrenal gland affects the body’s metabolism, and has an effect on chemicals in the blood and on certain characteristics of the body. In this region cortisol is secreted, which helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates. Within the cortex, DHEA is also secreted. DHEA helps prevent hardening of the arteries and is linked to the creation and release of testosterone.

If your adrenal glands are overworked, you can expect to experience weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, headaches, food cravings and blood sugar disorders.

Adrenal Fatigue and Athletes

Adrenal fatigue is common amongst serious athletes. Calorie restriction, sleep deprivation and excessive exercise all stimulate the release of stress hormones. A study conducted on military cadets found that cortisol levels increased and performance decreased in instances of stressful training where food and sleep supply did not meet the demand. These elevated cortisol levels, if ignored, can lead to depression, injury, panic disorder, malnutrition and weakened immunity.

In periods of prolonged stress (i.e. overtraining or extreme dieting), the over-secretion of cortisol can lead to Cushing’s Syndrome. Individuals that suffer from this syndrome have a distinct appearance that is characterized by a swollen abdomen and/or buttocks, slim limbs and moon (swollen) face.  Additionally Cushing’s Syndrome can cause mood swings, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low sex drive, severe fatigue and weak muscles and bones.

Preventing Fatigue

Eating to prevent adrenal fatigue is not rocket science. If you are going to train intensely, you must ensure your nutrition is sufficient. Additionally, athletes should avoid alcohol, excessive caffeine and tobacco. It is also a good idea to limit refined sugar and refrain from eating fried foods, foods high in fat and highly processed foods.

When stress is unavoidable, controlling cortisol levels can become challenging. Supplementing with products that help to keep cortisol in check can help prevent Cushing’s Syndrome, and can also help prevent the storage of fat in the mid-section, hips and buttocks. RapidCuts Shredded can help. The Lipid Targeting technology is designed to target stress-related fat stores with the inclusion of both Korean Ginseng and Ashwagandha. Korean Ginseng helps to strengthen the adrenal and reproductive glands. It is useful when battling low energy levels or stress. Similarly, Ashwagandha can help prevent stress-related illnesses and depletion of vitamin C and cortisol. It also helps to increase endurance and improves sexual function.

A simple detox can also help promote energy levels, revive your metabolism and enhance adrenal gland function. ALLMAX’s 21-Day Liver D-Tox formula works to detoxify your body with N-acetylcylcysteine (NAC) which acts as a body detoxifier, promoting healing, and has anti-aging effects. By helping to remove toxins and heavy metals (like mercury) from the body, it allows you to continue to perform at an optimal level. NAC is commonly referred to as the “athlete’s antioxidant.”

Further, a properly functioning liver has a direct affect on how the adrenal glands function. Thus, with the inclusion of milk thistle, Liver D-Tox can help reverse insulin resistance and improve the performance of the adrenal glands.

So, if you insist on dragging your body through war, the least you can do is arm it with the proper defense mechanisms to keep it going. RapidCuts Shredded and D-Tox will ensure your body can handle the stress you throw at it, by supporting your adrenal glands and promoting higher energy levels.

 

Sources:

  • Endocrinology Health Guide. Adrenal Glands, Univeristy of Maryland Medical Center. http://www.umm.edu/endocrin/adrengl.htm, Aug. 3, 2010.
  • Bach, Phyllis A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing 5th Edition, Penguin Group: New York, 2010.
  • Head, Kathleen A. Gregory S. Kelly. Nutrients and Botanicals for Treatment of Stress: Adrenal Fatigue, Neurotransmitter Imbalance, and Restless Sleep, Alternative Medicine Review 14, 2, 2009, 114-140.
Valeria Fazio

Valeria Fazio holds a B.A. Honors degree in history from Carleton University and a diploma in professional writing from Algonquin College. She has been competing in amateur fitness and figure competitions for three years, and has recently qualified for the 2011 Ontario Provincial Figure Championships. As a certified personal trainer and nutritional coach, Valeria helps others in her free time to achieve their fitness goals.

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