Stress & Fatigue – by Kelly Brown

Stress and fatigue is presented in most, if not all of my patients! It can be mild to extremely severe.   It is often presented as irritability, mild depression, nervousness, weakness, light-headedness, insomnia, weak immune system, low sex drive, anxiety, and/or weight gain. Extreme fatigue is often brought on from long term stress.  These stressors can be emotional, stress, physical stress, psychological stress, stress at home or work, and stress caused on the body by eating certain foods, such as high sugar intake.  All of this can lead to feeling exhausted!!!

Why does stress cause fatigue?

The adrenal gland is the organ that is associated with stress.  When our bodies or mind experience stress, cortisol is released from the adrenals. It is what is release during the fight or flight response. Over time the adrenal glands become overworked and the cortisol levels are not optimal for daily life.  Therefore we begin to gain weight in our midline, plateau during weight loss, have lack of sleep, fatigue, and difficulty coping. This is not to be confused with adrenal diseases such as Addison’s disease or Cushing’s syndrome.

What can my Naturopathic Doctor do to help?

Nutrition and Diet-Ensure you are getting proper nutrition through your diet and if needed, nutritional supplementation.  Vitamin B-5, B-6 and B-12 is often low in decreased adrenal function.  Supplements, such as GABA, can be used for general or acute anxieties or stress. Botanical medicine- can support your adrenal glands so that they are functioning optimally.  These herbs are called adaptogenic herbs.   Adaptogenic herbs can balance cortisol and speed up your metabolism!  Acupuncture- Is a very useful tool in dealing with acute or chronic stress.  It can also help with muscle pain. Lifestyle and counselling- Directly dealing with anxieties, depression, and coping skills will help individuals manage with future stressors. Even though we may always be exposed to stress, with the right tools we can live energetic, active, and balanced lives!


Are your adrenals imbalanced?

If the answer is yes to more than one of these questions, you may have a problem with long term stress and your adrenal glands.

Have you had recent weight gain? Or difficulty losing weight?
Do you crave salt or sugar often?
Do daily tasks feel overwhelming to you?
Are you exhausted when you wake in the morning?
Do you crash mid afternoon or need to nap after work?
Do you feel anxious or irritable often?
Do you struggle to relax at the end of the day when falling asleep?

You may want to consider talking to a naturopathic practitioner about your adrenal glands.  It is important to consult with a Doctor because many herbs and supplements for stress interact with medications and medical conditions.

Kelly Brown, B.Sc., N.D. is currently practicing at Birch Wellness Center at 34 Carlton Street. Click Here for map.
Please call 204 505 0325 to book a consultation. She also has a mobile clinic, for more information go to

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