Adrenal fatigue is caused when your adrenal glands aren’t able to meet your body’s needs sufficiently. These small glands sit atop each of your kidneys. Their job is to help regulate your metabolism by producing several types of hormones that are essential to life.
Adrenal function is especially critical during times of stress, when the body is in an ongoing fight-flight-or freeze state. This state occurs when the human body perceives a threat to its very survival. A physiological response triggers a sudden release of hormones meant to help prepare the body to deal with the threat. Blood pressure is elevated. Breathing and heart rates accelerate. The body becomes tense as it prepares to fight, freeze, or flee.
This heightened state can be triggered by acute stress or by threats—real or imagined. When your adrenal glands aren’t able to keep pace with these factors, the body may suffer from adrenal fatigue.
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