Is Adrenal Fatigue Real?
Probably not, but there are real issues that can cause the symptoms that people associate with. Like many coaches, I once believed in adrenal fatigue. The theory was as follows:
If you are under constant stress, your adrenal glands work overtime and are forced to produce more stress hormones than they should. Over time, they become tired or can no longer produce stress hormone. This theory makes the body ill when it is confronted with stressful situations and leads to a condition in which you become chronically tired.
The problem? It's pseudoscientific, has never been proven and unlikely to really happen.
That does not mean that people are lying about their symptoms. These are real and can be caused by excessive stress, abuse of stimulants, and other lifestyle issues that increase the production of stress hormones. However, they are not due to "fatigue" of the adrenal glands.
What are the symptoms anyway? In general, people experience when they suspect that they are suffering from adrenal fatigue:
- Low energy
- Decrease in willpower / discipline
- Anhedonia (lack of desire)
- Mood swings [1
- Not rested after a full night's sleep
- Decrease in physical and mental capacity
What can cause these problems?
The most likely causes are:
- Dopamine deficiency
- Dopaminergic receptor desensitization
- Adrenergic receptor desensitization
- Norepinephrine depletion
Each of these situations leads to the symptoms that we associate with fatigue of the adrenal glands associate. And all of this can happen if you are chronically under stress or overwhelmed by your nervous system.
Depending on brain chemistry, some are likely to pass more than others. For example, in a person who is very sensitive to dopamine, there is a likelihood that dopamine depletion or desensitization of dopaminergic receptors will increase. Why? Because it is naturally very sensitive but does not produce high dopamine.
Someone who is more sensitive to epinephrine has a higher risk of adrenergic resistance and norepinephrine depletion. This is more common. About 14-20% of the population is dopamine dominant.
Still confused? The following must be understood: Adrenaline and dopamine are neurotransmitters – chemicals that control your brain. They work by attaching to and activating receptors. The receptors can be more or less sensitive. The more sensitive they are, the more they react to the neurotransmitter.
Dopamine and adrenaline activate neurotransmitters. They activate the nervous system and increase motivation, willpower, drive, competitiveness as well as physical and mental performance. They also have their own effect, depending on which part of the brain they work on. For example, dopamine is the neurotransmitter "pleasure".
Both are closely related because adrenaline is ultimately made from dopamine. Dopamine can be converted to norepinephrine, which in turn can be converted to adrenaline.
The more adrenaline you have to produce, the more dopamine you consume. If you do not produce much dopamine and produce a lot of adrenaline, you run the risk of depleting your dopamine supplies. Let's talk about it.
People with low dopamine production run the risk of consuming their dopamine if they ask their body to pump out too much adrenaline by putting themselves in stressful situations. Several training variables increase adrenaline:
- Speed: Faster training produces the highest amount of adrenaline.
- Volume: More volume means more adrenaline.
- Mental Stress: A max lift (or cheer up) can also increase adrenaline.
When someone naturally suffers from low-level dopamine and trains quickly with high volumes and is constantly failing, the risk of dopamine breakdown is real.
] Desensitization of dopaminergic receptors
Another possibility is to make the dopaminergic receptors less sensitive. In this case, the effect is similar to dopamine degradation: you have a lot of dopamine, but the receptors just do not respond.
This is much less common. It's unlikely that a normal Joe will lead a normal life and train hard. This is more likely to be the case with people who abuse substances / drugs that target the dopamine receptors directly.
Which drugs can make your dopaminergic receptors less sensitive? These are the most common:
The use of these drugs can trigger a strong allure on the dopaminergic receptors. The receptors adapt by being less responsive, so as not to be constantly overstimulated. If someone uses these medications on a regular basis, they can easily become resistant to their own dopamine and show the symptoms we have seen before.
Note: As we have seen in Question of Strength 50, some anabolic steroids also stimulate the dopaminergic receptors, which may be the cause of the depression associated with the use of steroids.
The other option, and much more common, is either the desensitization of the adrenoreceptor or the reduction of norepinephrine.
Desensitization of the adrenoreceptor
Receptors are the most desensitised. Ask a bodybuilder who has taken Clenbuterol in the past. On the first day or two days he will be super excited, jitter, monster energy, etc. As if he had speed.
After 2-3 days, the effects become very subtle. And after a week he does not feel it anymore. This is because his receptors have been "down-regulated" or desensitized.
The problem is, when your own adrenergic receptors become desensitized, you stop responding to your own adrenaline. And that results in too little energy, no motivation, no discipline, a loss of self-esteem, poor performance, etc.
You do not need clenbuterol to desensitize your adrenergic receptors. These receptors are like the NO2 in your race car: they are supposed to give you a short burst of time in a do-or-die situation. They should not stay activated all the time.
If you are under constant stress and are pumping out adrenaline, you can easily make your receptors resistant. This is the most common cause of what we falsely refer to as "adrenal fatigue".
One last option is the depletion of norepinephrine. This can be caused by a chronic and excessive cortisol increase. Cortisol is an enemy of muscle growth and increases the conversion of noradrenaline to adrenaline. The more cortisol you produce, the more you convert norepinephrine to adrenaline.
Symptoms of norepinephrine attenuation include:
- Low energy
- Lack of focus
- Concentration problems
- Low blood sugar
- 19659033] The deadweight message? Excessive chronic cortisol levels can lead to "adrenal fatigue" by either norepinephrine (easier to repair) or desensitization of adrenergic receptors (harder to repair) to be considered depleted.
How do you know which One It Is?
In addition to blood tests, you usually have to rely on behavioral observations. But there is a test that can restrict him.
Take 7 grams of tyrosine on an empty stomach in the morning, wait 30 minutes and assess how you feel. Contrast that with how you feel normal most mornings.
If you feel awesome, better, and energetic than normal after 30 minutes of taking tyrosine, the problem is probably dopamine deficiency (tyrosine is used to make dopamine.)  If you feel good, but not so very much, as if you had just found the magic ball, this is probably the removal of norepinephrine. In that case, it may take 45 minutes to feel better. This is because tyrosine forms dopamine, which then increases norepinephrine.
If you still crave shit after 30 to 45 minutes and there is no difference, then this is probably an adrenergic desensitization.
The first two cases share the same basic solution: increase dopamine levels. I recommend Brain Candy®, which has the most bioactive form of tyrosine, and the bioavailable form of B6, which is needed to make dopamine, in combination with Rhodiola Rosea, which prolongs the life of dopamine.
If norepinephrine is your problem If you are exhausted, you may also want to lower cortisol levels by taking 3-5 grams of glycine and a small dose of magnesium (500 grams) after your workout and in the evening. Glycine is a neurological inhibitor that reduces cortisol production due to overactivation, and magnesium can displace adrenaline from the adrenergic receptors.
If your problem is adrenergic desensitization, take small doses of magnesium (500 mg) one gram 3-4 times daily to prevent excessive binding of adrenaline to the receptors. Increases eating frequency and carbohydrate intake.
Increased frequency of eating and more frequent carbohydrate intake reduce adrenaline production both directly and by reducing cortisol, reducing the conversion of norepinephrine into epinephrine.
phobe you might think, "Yes, but I'm getting fat!" You might add one or two pounds of fat. But that's nothing compared to the long term damage if your receptors remain resistant.
In all of these situations, you need to reduce volume by about 40-50% and decrease the frequency (just three or four weekly workouts). increase the rest intervals and stay away from intensity techniques until the problem is solved.
I consulted an international CrossFit athlete who had just that problem. He made these adjustments for three weeks and was back in full shape. Settling down for a few weeks (even up to five) is nothing in the training life.
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