Are You Unknowingly a Victim of “Adrenal Fatigue”?

)© Health Realizations, Inc

Do you feel constantly tired, moody and depressed? Do you wake up feeling tired even after a full night’s rest? Do you crave sugary and salty foods, and depend on your morning coffee just to keep your eyes open?

Are you constantly exhausted and reaching for coffee or sweets to wake you up? Your adrenals may be fatigued.

These are all common symptoms of adrenal fatigue — a condition caused, in short, by too much stress and work. It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of adults suffer from adrenal fatigue, yet it continues to be a largely ignored and overlooked health problem, according to Dr. James Wilson, author of “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress”.

“Adrenal fatigue can affect anyone who experiences frequent, persistent or severe mental, emotional or physical stress. It can also be an important contributing factor in health conditions ranging from allergies to obesity. Despite its prevalence in our modern world, adrenal fatigue has generally been ignored and misunderstood by the medical community,” Dr. Wilson writes on his Web site.

What is Adrenal Fatigue? What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Your adrenal glands (located on top of each kidney) act as control centers for many hormones. One of their most important tasks is to get your body ready for the “fight or flight” stress response, which means increasing adrenaline and other hormones.

This response increases your heart rate and blood pressure, slows your digestion and basically gets your body ready to face a potential threat or challenge.

While this response is good when it’s needed, many of us are constantly faced with stressors (work, environmental toxins, not enough sleep, worry, anxiety etc.) and are in this “fight or flight” mode for far too long — much longer than was ever intended from an evolutionary standpoint. If you are having issues sleeping due to snoring check out this well-known remedy to help you get a better night sleep.

The result? The adrenals become overworked and fatigued, and adrenal fatigue develops. If you feel one or more of the following on a regular basis, you may have adrenal fatigue, according to Dr. Wilson:

  • Cravings for salty or sugary foods is a symptom of adrenal fatigue.
  • You feel tired for no reason.
  • You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
  • You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.
  • You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
  • You crave salty and sweet snacks.
  • You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.

Further, when your body is overly stressed your adrenal glands increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can alter your:

  • Appetite, leading to food cravings
  • Energy levels, leading to fatigue and exhaustion
  • Mood, leaving you feeling emotionally drained
  • Memory and learning
  • Muscle mass and bone density
  • Immune response

You may notice symptoms began after a single, high-stress event, or alternatively after a prolonged period of daily stress. Either can over-stimulate your adrenals to the point of fatigue, and anyone may be affected. However, the following factors increase your risk of adrenal fatigue:

  • Chronic illness
  • Poor diet
  • Too little sleep
  • Too much pressure/overwork
  • Substance abuse
  • Repeated infections (bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.)
  • Maternal adrenal fatigue during gestation

Likewise, adrenal fatigue is often associated with chronic illnesses because they also place demands on your adrenal glands. According to Dr. Wilson, the following conditions may either be related to, or exacerbated by, adrenal fatigue:

  • Alcoholism and Addictions
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Syndrome X and Burnout
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Chronic Infections
  • Dental Problems
  • Blood Sugar Imbalances
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Herpes
  • HIV and Hepatitis C
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Mild Depression
  • PMS and Menopause
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sleep Disruptions

How to Diagnose Adrenal Fatigue

Conventional medicine typically does not acknowledge adrenal fatigue until potentially life-threatening conditions like Cushing’s syndrome (an overproduction of cortisol) and Addison’s disease (an underproduction of cortisol) develop. However, you can have adrenal fatigue or an adrenal imbalance — along with a range of debilitating symptoms — long before you progress into one of these extremes.

A health care provider who is knowledgeable in the area of adrenal fatigue can perform a saliva test to check your levels of cortisol over a 24-hour period. In healthy adrenal function, cortisol should be elevated in the morning, lower and steady throughout the day, and then should drop in the evening when you go to sleep. In people with adrenal fatigue, however, cortisol levels remain lower throughout the day and rise in the evening when you should be relaxing.

If you find that your adrenals are fatigued, there is help available and by following the steps below you can restore your adrenals and regain your vim and vigor.

Five Steps for Restoring Healthy Adrenal Function

It likely took some time for your adrenals to become fatigued, and it will take some time to nurse them back to health. And, you must commit to changing your lifestyle to be less stressed and more restful if you want to get better. At this time, the most important thing should be your health and you should make time for the following in that regard:

Taking time to de-stress, unwind and relax is crucial to help your adrenal glands recover.

  1. Get more sleep. Your body does most of its regeneration during sleep, so whenever you feel tired, it’s time to sleep. This includes taking naps during the day if you can, sleeping in an extra hour or two if you’re tired in the morning, and turning off the TV early so you can nod off sooner.
  2. Revamp your diet with healthy foods. A healthy diet focused on fresh, whole preferably organic foods will provide your body with the strong nutrient base it needs to function. Focus on including a protein source in all your meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar stable, and eat nutritious snacks between meals so you never get overly hungry (going long periods without eating makes your adrenal glands work harder).
  3. Cut out sugar, caffeine and artificial stimulants. When you’re tired, you may be tempted to reach for coffee, candy, doughnuts, and other refined carbs for a quick pick-me-up. But while these stimulants will give you a quick boost, they’ll be followed by an even bigger crash. Coffee can also over-stimulate your adrenals, which you want to avoid. Instead, if you’re craving sugar or caffeine, it could be because your body is actually tired, and you’d be better off resting than trying to get artificially “energized.” You can also substitute healthier alternatives for sweets and coffee, such as fresh fruit or a cup of herbal tea.
  4. Reduce stress: You simply must have adequate outlets for stress if you want your adrenals to be healthy. First, identify the source of your stress, and if possible make changes to eliminate it (for instance, cutting back your work hours or personal obligations). Also be certain to take into account emotional stress from guilt, arguments, relationship problems, unhealthy habits, etc., and work out ways to resolve these issues.
  5. Consider supplements for adrenal health: You may benefit from certain high-quality supplements to help your adrenals stay healthy and return to optimal function if they’re distressed. When choosing a  supplement for your adrenal health (buy from Amazon), look for one that supports both your immediate energy needs and long-term immune system function, as well as comes from a reputable source like Designs for Health. Since 1989, Designs for Health has been the health care professional’s trusted source for research-backed nutritional products of superior quality. Driven by a “Science First” philosophy, their team of nutritionists and clinical experts utilize both clinical feedback from leading industry pioneers, and sound, scientifically research led literature as the basis for designing their products.

If you feel like you may be a victim of adrenal fatigue, we recommend booking a consultation with one of our Naturopathic Doctors:

Dr. Paris Stevens

Dr. Tiffany Binder 


At the same time, be generous with stress relieving activities such as long walks, hot baths, or sitting down with a good book. Your body and mind know how to relax — you just need to give them “permission” to do so.

After making positive lifestyle changes, most people can expect to feel improvement in four to six months. For best results, make an appointment with a knowledgeable health care provider who can work with you on an individualized course of lifestyle modification and other treatment.

For more tips on how to promote healthy adrenal function and restore your energy and health, “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome” is a valuable published resource.

Related: Best CPR training in Brampton.

For information about addiction and how to get rid of them Click on the following or call Virginia Center for Addiction Medicine.


Cupping Therapy for Pain in Denver


Fire cupping cups on back of female patient in Acupuncture therapy

Pain can be one of the most difficult experiences to manage and treat. Many times a person with chronic pain will need to try several different modalities before finding something that works. If you’re interested in natural, alternative therapies for pain you’ll want to be aware of the Chinese therapy called Cupping. This therapy has been around for thousands of years and isn’t widely known about in the western world but is gaining in popularity.


What is cupping?
Cupping can be traced to ancient Egypt over 3000 years ago and in today’s world is practiced in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The treatment creates a partial vacuum on the skin using cups. The result is a suction that increases blood and energy flow to the area. The increase of circulation facilitates localized healing.

The way Cupping relieves pain is by opening up the meridians, or energy channels, of the body and improving energy flow to every organ and tissue of the body. Cupping also triggers body tissues to release toxins and activates the lymphatic system which helps to alleviate aches and pains.


The cupping process:
Glass cups are generally used for cupping, although bamboo cups are also used. Glass cups are fitted with a valve that attaches to a small hand-operated pump, allowing the practitioner to suck out air without having to rely on fire to depressurize the cup first. It also gives them greater control over the amount of suction. The modern name for cupping is baguanfa or suction cup therapy.

In order to allow the cups to move over the skin easily, oil is used. Oils that have been infused with extracts of medicinal herbs are particularly useful. The cups are applied at room temperature, and there is some friction generated with moving cups, causing a small but significant amount of heat, especially if a warming oil is also used.

Cups are generally left in place for ten minutes although the time can range from five to fifteen minutes. The skin will redden due to the congestion of blood flow. The cup is removed from the skin by pressing the skin on one side, allowing some outside air to enter and thus equalise the pressure. Some bruising on the skin where the rim of the cup is to be expected.


What can cupping relieve?
This natural treatment isn’t only great for back pain, Cupping can be an excellent noninvasive treatment of:

  • Body pain including but not limited to knee pain, elbow pain, back and neck pain, pain in the legs, low back pain, hand pain
  • Acute pain such as sprains and strains
  • Dull aches and pains, arthritis
  • Edema and swellings
  • Respiratory issues like asthma, chronic cough, and bronchitis
  • Abdominal pain, stomachache and indigestion
  • Painful menstruation and associated low back pain
  • Coughs from excessive mucus

If you struggle with any of the above ailments it may be time to give Cupping a try. The Wellness Center’s Dr. Tim Price and Dr. Shwu-Yar Tsai both offer Cupping in Denver and can work with you to create the perfect treatment plan. Schedule your appointment today.


Article References:

Sleep is Critial for Brain Detoxification

267611-lady-sleepingFor decades doctors have been researching the body’s dependence on sleep and its inter-connectivity to human health. What are the benefits? What systems are most active during REM? How does sleep deprivation impact the immune system? The questions go on and on, but a team at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine believe to have discovered yet another clue as to why sleep is mandatory for good health – brain detoxification.

The brain actually has its own unique waste disposal system, similar to that of the lymphatic system. What scientists are deeming, the glymphatic system, actually flushes the brain of unwanted toxins which restore its function and many more neurological benefits. Read the entire article from

Massage and other “Alternative” Therapies for Cancer Patients

hospital massageAlas the mainstream medical world is accepting massage therapy, acupuncture and other alternative and complimentary therapies to offset the pain and incredibly difficult onslaught of side effects from the traditional treatment of cancer that typically involved chemotherapy and radiation. Media moguls like NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman on “Nightly News with Brian Williams” and Newsweek Magazine are seeing that the majority of cancer treatment facilities are offering such services. Check out this informative article from


Hospitals are also recognizing the power of massage therapy. Massage Today’s article talks abut how “Hospitals are beginning to realize the benefits of not simply treating the condition or disease a patient has been diagnosed with, but also treating the person behind the disease.” They provide massage for expecting mothers, high-need patients and cancer survivors. Read this interesting article.


How to Avoid SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) – Starting Now How to Stay Happy

© 2012 Health Realizations, Inc.

 For many, summer is filled with long, fun-filled days in the sun, but come fall and winter, sunlight gets scarce and many retreat to the warmth of their homes until the spring thaw signals that it’s time to venture back outside.

When the sunny days of summer give way to the dreary days of fall and winter, many find their mood follows suit.

During this time, the lack of sunlight and inactivity can lead to a common condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). About 10 percent of the U.S. population living in northern states suffer from SAD, which is characterized by a depressed mood, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, cravings for carbohydrates and weight gain. Another 30 percent suffer from a less severe form of the condition, often referred to as the winter blues.

How do You Know You Have SAD?

If you suffer from SAD, chances are you’re already familiar with the pattern; symptoms generally appear in the fall or early winter, then go away when the spring and summer come.

Typically, this occurs because winter sleep-wake cycles often have us waking up after the morning sun has been up for a while. This limits the amount of already limited sunlit hours that we are exposed to during the day. These fluctuations in the sleep-wake cycles create an increase in melatonin levels during sleep, which can increase feelings of depression.

The lack of exposure to light also contributes to a decrease in serotonin levels, which also leads to depression.

Some common symptoms you may experience if you suffer from SAD include:

  • Increased feelings of lethargy and loss of energy
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning or oversleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating and thinking creatively in comparison to the summer months
  • Incorrectly blaming oneself for things that go wrong
  • Difficulty performing tasks that normally seem to be easy/enjoyable
  • Increased craving for carbohydrate-rich food like chocolate, pasta, bread and sodas
  • Depressed mood
  • Anxiety and social withdrawal
  • Hopelessness and irritability
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy

If not addressed, SAD can worsen and lead to more serious problems associated with depression, including suicidal thoughts or behavior, problems at work or school and substance abuse.

Who is Most at Risk?

Anyone can suffer from SAD, however women are far more likely to be diagnosed with the condition than men. That said, when men are diagnosed, they tend to have more severe symptoms.

Also, as you might suspect, the farther north or south you live from the equator, the more likely you are to have SAD, likely because of the decreased amount of sunlight during the winter and longer days during the summer (it’s also possible, though less likely, to experience SAD in the spring and summer months).

If you have a close family member with Seasonal Affective Disorder, it may also increase your risk of the condition.


SAD symptoms often hit hardest after the busy holiday season comes to an abrupt halt. But this year you can prepare yourself in advance so you stay happy and healthy all winter through, including after the holidays.

Because SAD is linked to the lower levels of sunlight many of us experience during the winter months, you can help to lessen your risk – or treat SAD if you have it – by using light therapy (also known as phototherapy). The premise is simple, a special light box such as NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light mimics the effects of sun exposure, helping to alter brain chemicals that are linked to improved mood. This high intensity of light also helps to restrict the amount of melatonin produced by the brain, and thus decrease feelings of depression

According to one meta-analysis of 20 controlled studies, light therapy is as effective as antidepressant drugs in treating SAD and other depressive disorders.

For a 10,000-lux light (a measure of intensity) such as NatureBright SunTouch, you need only about 30 minutes in front of the light daily to experience benefits. You can sit in front of the light and read, knit, or do just about any other activity while reaping the benefits of summer sun exposure on your mood.

“Dawn simulation,” which uses a special alarm clock such as the BioBrite Sunrise Clock to simulate the sunrise in your bedroom, has also proven effective in relieving SAD symptoms. Because your body is designed to naturally waken with the rising sun, using a dawn-simulator in your bedroom can help your body wake up gradually as it would during a natural sunrise.

Exercise: Another Secret Weapon for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Exercise is a natural way to increase serotonin levels. Studies have shown that one hour of aerobic exercise has the same uplifting effects as 2.5 hours of indoor light therapy.

Regular exercise is also a phenomenal way to relieve the symptoms of all types of depression, including seasonal depression. As TIME magazine recently reported:

“Molecular biologists and neurologists have begun to show that exercise may alter brain chemistry in much the same way that antidepressant drugs do — regulating the key neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.

At the University of Georgia, neuroscience professor Philip Holmes and his colleagues have shown that over the course of several weeks, exercise can switch on certain genes that increase the brain’s level of galanin, a peptide neurotransmitter that appears to tone down the body’s stress response by regulating another brain chemical, norepinephrine.”

Quite simply, it is your body’s natural state to be active. Studies show, for instance, that sitting for too long actually stimulates disease-promoting processes, and may double or even triple your risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and premature death.

Fortunately, with at-home DVDs staying active is easy. You can also try doing regular stretching, as it will help you to reduce and manage stress, along with improve your mental clarity and focus. As with exercise, proper form in stretching has everything to do with achieving the maximum health benefits.

What Else Can Help You to Beat the Winter Blues?

Even though it’s not yet winter, or even fall, you can start making lifestyle changes to boost your mood and levels of well-being now. That way, as the days get darker and you get busy with holiday preparations, you’ll be feeling happy instead of blue. What other tips can help?

  • Get outside: Even if it’s cool and cloudy, a walk outdoors can help boost your mood. Studies show it’s especially helpful to spend some time outdoors within two hours of waking up in the morning.
A high-quality light box such as the NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light may help relieve symptoms of SAD.
  • Make your environment brighter: In addition to using the NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light for light therapy, and the BioBrite Sunrise Clock to simulate the sunrise in your bedroom.

Try to get out in the sun, or let it shine through your windows as much as possible. Try using sheer curtains instead of blinds. If possible, go to bed earlier to help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper so that you can wake up earlier to get more of that morning sun.

You can also liven up your home with splashes of warm colors, such as reds, oranges, yellows. Instead of taking on any major redecorating, just add some warm-colored pillows, blankets, candles, tablecloths, etc. These colors evoke feelings of warmth and fire. And by all means, if you have a fireplace — use it in the cold-weather months!

  • Modify your diet: Carbohydrates have been shown to increase serotonin levels. To treat your body right, indulge in complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain pasta and brown rice, or try eating healthy simple carbohydrates, like fruit, in place of high-sugar foods. Sugary foods may provide momentary relief, but will ultimately exhaust your body and make you more susceptible to illness. A healthy diet — one full of raw fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains — is necessary for your body to function properly on every level

If you try the above lifestyle modifications and your symptoms don’t improve, or you’re suffering from signs of serious depression, such as suicidal thoughts, you should seek professional help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps you to recognize and change damaging thought patterns, has been shown to be effective in treating SAD, especially when combined with light therapy.

In fact, research by University of Vermont psychologist Kelly Rohan, PhD found an 80 percent remission rate for SAD patients treated with a combination of light therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

“People with SAD may want to curl up on the couch and eat junk food – both are symptoms of the disorder. However, trying to get outside and take a walk can combat SAD rather than fuel it … Taking a long walk, even in winter months, can help people feel better. A half-hour walk is equal to two-and-half hours in front of a light box.”

–Dr. Raymond Crowel, Psy.D., vice president of mental health and substance abuse services, Mental Health America

Do one or the other (walk or enlighten yourself with a lightbox) each day… and when your schedule allows do both plus add a workout to each day.

Can you just imagine how happy you will be throughout the coming Fall and Winter Seasons into Spring?! Might it just be possible to replace drugs with healthy natural walking to lighten your each and every day upfront … as then there’s no need for a cure. We want you to be happy and stay healthy, and wealthy without added costs of seasonal drug expenses — if you can help it and if not needed. First check your personal health issues and conditions with your physician as there might be other underlying issues.

Be good to yourself… enjoy!


Thank you Health Realizations for the informative article.

Seasons Change

I have always loved Colorado because you can experience the changing of seasons. This spring has been amazing one, with perfect BBQ and picnic weather almost daily.  When I think about the seasons I am reminded that our lives are similar. There are times in our lives where things are warm, lush, growing and abundant and other times when things are cold, calm and fallow. Every season brings about its own unique strengths and lessons.  Our job is to try to embrace and savior each moment of each season.

Since having a newborn in my life, I am even more acutely aware of passing of seasons.  As I move through sleep deprived days, I am reminded that this is just one phase of my life that will quickly pass. Rather than dread waking up in the middle of the night to feed my little one, I think what a gift this intimate time together is.  I stop to listen to the pitter, patter of rain on the roof, the quiet and still of the night and I feel grateful.

Remember to enjoy the present day and all the gifts that this season brings.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

In Health,

Sharon Signature

Sharon Hwang

Owner/Founder The Wellness Center

The battle for slowness

I am currently reading” In Praise of Slowness,”  by Carl Honore and I love the concepts.  It has led to a lot of reflection on my own life and embodying the principles of slow living.

At this point my life is far from slow.  Every day I write out a notecard of all the things I have to do for the day and I find that it is totally packed.  Yesterday I was going from 9am to literally 9pm almost every minute accounted for and today it is the same.  This is stressful.  When you have very little time and spaciousness between activities and appointments if something unexpected comes up (i.e.: traffic, upset child, losing your keys, long line etc.) you are thrown into a tizzy.  Talk about stressful.

Now I am asking myself, what is all of this busyness?  Many of things that fill my day are not all work related.  I actually enjoy working out, going to a networking event, dance lessons, dinner with friends, and grocery shopping.  All of them combined in one day makes for one every chaotic day with little spaciousness or time for reflection.  Even as I sit here writing this blog, I am thinking to myself, this is the hour that I have allotted to going to the gym.

How do we stop this busyness and move towards a slower life?  I don’t necessarily claim to have the answers, as I am still pondering this question.

Here is what I am committed to doing:

  1. Get clarity on what is really important in my life and what gives it value.  My coach terms these things as, “lifetime value” activities.  Such as working out, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be 2 hours at the gym it could be a walk with a friend.  Then covers another lifetime value activity, creating a strong and supportive social network.   Eating healthy foods, spending time writing, painting, meditating, these are all lifetime value activities.   Now before I do an activity I try to ask myself, “Does this improve my quality of life?”
  2. Letting go or minimize activities that do not provide “lifetime value.”  Letting go of watching television, only go shopping for things that I need, minimizing social activities that drain my energy, committing to an 8 hour or less work day, not overworking (I know this one is tough if not impossible, but necessary if you want to slow down your life).
  3. Letting go of being perfect.  Would I love to get a pedicure every 3 weeks and my hair done every 4 weeks?  Absolutely, but realistically when my schedule gets hectic these are things that are not absolutes.  Ok so my hair gets overgrown. my nails get a little ghetto, my towels are not folded perfectly, nor is the bed made every day and I wear the same outfit 3-4 days in a row.  This is part of life; honestly, no one cares or will remember if you didn’t look perfect.  Let go of perfection and revel in the beauty of imperfection and naturalness.
  4. Try to be less reactionary and more pro-active.  What does that mean exactly?  Taking control of your schedule.  Don’t be a slave to e-mail and the phone.  Of course you need to check and respond to messages, but plan on doing that 2-3 times a day.  Once you start checking e-mails you become reactionary, because you generally need to respond to messages and action items.  In the morning, before checking anything plan your day out to include times to respond to things.  I am generally most productive in the morning so I try to plan my most high value activities in the morning; once those are done then I check e-mails.

What tactics do you use to help you slow down?  I would love to hear them.

In celebration of slowness and until next time,