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Stress, Adrenal Fatigue & Gut Health: PART THREE

Before we start, I want to explain that there is a compounding effect that is created on the body from chronic stress.
  1. Stress negatively impacts the health of our gut.
  2. The gut responds from stress with various issues (listed below)
  3. These digestive issues then create more stress on the body.
  4. The adrenals suffer and start malfunctioning (called adrenal fatigue)
Let start with the gut.

STRESS AND GUT HEALTH

It probably won’t shock you that excessive stress can negatively affect your gut and microbiota (I believe it is one of the largest influences on our digestive health).
How does it do this?
  • Gut damage (leaky gut)
  • Decreased gut immunity (immune suppressed- long term)
  • Decreased intestinal mucous membrane (likely why stress correlates with leaky gut)
  • Decreased blood flow to the intestinal tract
  • Suppression of stomach acid and secretion
  • Slowing of stomach and small intestine motility
  • Delayed wound healing.
These are problematic when there is chronic or long term stress.
The greatest cause of stress on the gut are:

  1. DIET
  2. LIFESTYLE
When you improve these, you can greatly decrease the amount of stress that is placed on your gut and heal from many of the issues listed above.

THE STRESS-GUT-ADRENAL FATIGUE CONNECTION

The adrenal glands malfunction as a DIRECT result of STRESS; therefore, the solution to adrenal fatigue is fixing the source of stress.
Some are obvious such as relationship stress, financial stress etc. Others are not as obvious such as lack of sleep, food intolerance and one major one, digestive stress.
After diet and lifestyle, the most common cause of stress on the body is the gut. So if you are struggling with the symptoms of adrenal fatigue (go back to part 1 of this series) there is no point in supporting the adrenals without first looking at the source of stress on the body.
  1. DIET
  2. LIFESTYLE
  3. GUT HEALTH
Of course, you should read that list and think… ‘well, improving my diet and lifestyle will also improve my gut health’. So really they all go together and are pivotal pieces of recovering from adrenal fatigue.

WHY ARE GUT PROBLEMS SUCH A MAJOR SOURCE OF STRESS FOR THE BODY?

  • Inflammation - which can occur because of eating inflammatory foods or from bacterial/ fungal imbalances
  • Autoimmunity- brought on by problems in the small intestine (which is where most of our immune system is)
  • Nutrient malabsorption- damage to the gut can result in malabsorption of vital nutrients.
In order to recover from adrenal fatigue the focus should be first on gut health which then triggers questions around diet and lifestyle!
(see the diagram below)
Comment below what you feel is the main trigger of stress in your body! There could be one main thing or multiple things.
Next we will go into some practical steps you can take to heal from adrenal fatigue!

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