Just watched this very interesting lecture by Nora Gedgaudas of Primal Body Primal Mind fame in which she explains that much of what the paleo community considers ‘adrenal fatigue’ is actually the result of central nervous system fatigue. There are quite a few moving parts before we get to the point where the adrenals secrete cortisol:
- Hypothalamus secretes corticotropin releasing hormone which stimulates the pituitary
- Pituitary secretes adrenocorticotropic hormone which then stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.
And a whole bunch of inflammatory cascades and feedback loops act on these parts of the brain, which then determine what the adrenals do!
She goes into much greater detail about this in this 45 minute video which I recommend watching.
Few things she talks about that definitely catches my attention:
- Recommends ketogenic / very low carb diet for maximal blood sugar control as one of the ways to treat these issues
- Says to avoid taking melatonin! Unfortunately, she doesn’t specifically talk about shift workers… so I’m not entirely sure this applies to my situation, especially given all the stuff I’m trying.
- She also says that because all of this stems from the central nervous system, taking adrenal support supplements doesn’t do anything (looks like I’m going to be tossing at least one of these things…), so you need to treat the primary cause instead (inflammation, chronic infection, gluten, not enough sun light, not enough sleep, etc…)
I’m hoping she has recommendations for shift workers so I’ll try to check out her books:
- RETHINKING FATIGUE: What Your Adrenals Are Really Telling You And What You Can Do About It
- Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life