Lethargy, weight gain, low mood, energy crashes, and a lack of motivation for life – although a classic description of the Adrenal Fatigue sufferer, these symptoms could equally apply to several other conditions. It’s for this reason that many people with adrenal exhaustion often endure a long and frustrating journey before finally getting a diagnosis for their condition.
Metabolic syndrome has many symptoms in common with Adrenal Fatigue; indeed, having either one of these conditions sets you up for the possibility of going on to develop the other. As many of the symptoms are common to both, it’s easy to feel confused about how to tell which one might really be at the root cause of your health issues.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Discovered 20 years ago, metabolic syndrome is also known as “Syndrome X”. As with Adrenal Fatigue, there’s an ongoing discussion within the medical community, as to whether or not it should be classed as a true medical condition. Despite the debate, The American Heart Association claims that a staggering 47 million Americans currently live with it.
In common with Adrenal Fatigue, the development of metabolic syndrome is often triggered by lifestyle choices. Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates such as bread, starchy foods and sugary snacks is, for some people, one of the major contributing factors to their current health situation. We spend a lot of time in The Adrenal Fatigue Solution discussing how simple lifestyle changes can improve your health.
Sugar and Metabolic Syndrome
Whenever you eat refined processed foods and sugary snacks, your blood sugar rises and your pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin to bring the glucose levels back into range. In the case of metabolic syndrome, this repeated pattern of sugar spikes and insulin crashes is what causes the pancreas to become overwhelmed by the increasing amount of work it has to do.
To make matters worse, over time, cells become less receptive to the insulin (a condition known as insulin resistance) forcing the pancreas to work harder than ever. If left unchecked, the person could go on to develop Type 2 Diabetes or a number of other serious health conditions.
Metabolic Syndrome and Weight Gain
There are more problems in store for people with metabolic syndrome.
Insulin tells the body to absorb glucose from the blood and turn it into fat where it can be stored for energy. Some blood sugar is stored as glycogen in the liver; the rest is turned into fat cells. This creates four big problems:
- When the liver is constantly reaching its capacity to store glycogen, it can lead to a condition known as fatty liver. Fatty liver causes a number of health issues, and symptoms include a lack of energy and low mood.
- Over time, the person begins to realize they’ve gained a few pounds, and are having difficulty losing weight.
- The depletion of function in both the liver and pancreas causes other organs to struggle to function at optimum level. The whole body begins to feel the effect.
- The person develops a craving to the very foods which are causing them harm.
What Do Metabolic Syndrome and Adrenal Fatigue Have In Common?
As with metabolic syndrome, Adrenal Fatigue occurs when a major organ becomes exhausted by the amount of stress being placed upon it.
During periods of prolonged stress, an enormous burden is placed on the adrenal glands. They’re tasked with producing enough adrenaline for you to deal with any perceived threat, and of course once the threat has passed, they need to pump out cortisol to bring your body back into balance.
Similarly to the sugar spikes experienced by people with metabolic syndrome, a person with Adrenal Fatigue is constantly yo-yoing between a state of “fight or flight” and “rest and digest” Once again, it isn’t long before the other organs begin to suffer.
Metabolic syndrome is similar to adrenal fatigue in that:
- A pattern of spikes and crashes cause major organs to cease functioning at optimum level
- These spikes and crashes lead to symptoms such as lethargy, sugar cravings and sleep problems
- Hormonal imbalances such as insulin resistance and cortisol dysregulation cause issues with weight gain
- In both conditions the liver is put under pressure to regulate the balance of hormones in the blood stream
- Both conditions can be managed with the right lifestyle choices
The only real way to get to the root cause of any health issues is to step away from the microscope and take a look at the bigger picture. To focus purely on the condition and to forget the person is missing the point. It’s empowering to know that even if you’re at a point where you’re still learning to understand your symptoms – your lifestyle choices matter. You always have the option to choose optimum health.