Waking Up Fatigued

Cortisol is a hormone that plays a vital role in our body’s response to stress. But when cortisol levels are out of balance, it can lead to a variety of health problems, including fatigue, weight gain, and suppressed immunity.

Cortisol is a hormone the adrenal glands make to boost our alertness. When we are in a strange situation, cortisol boosts our alertness and awareness to better respond to new information. It has its own rhythm in the body to help us wake up with energy, and use caution when driving or hiking a new trail. Basically, it’s an energy and survival hormone meant to help us succeed in times of stress.

When cortisol is triggered over and over from continuously stressful situations or an unbalanced life, the adrenals secrete it more and more frequently, disrupting the hormone’s natural rhythm. Typically, we see this overbalance in sleep patterns – we have a harder time falling asleep and feel very tired in the morning. We also see it in stress-related weight gain and suppressed immune function. Abnormal amounts of cortisol lead to long-term adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue manifests as trouble waking up in the morning even after a good amount of sleep. It can look like extreme fatigue after a small amount of physical effort, surviving on caffeine to function, feelings of weakness, and being hypersensitive to cold. It can also be the random burst of energy that shows up after 6 p.m. and keeps you from sleeping.
Generally, lifestyle changes to address stress are the first thing we can do to bring ease into our bodies. When we need more than change, or change is not possible, there are nutrients we can take to keep cortisol balanced so we can feel stronger, refreshed, and confident in our ability to handle life’s challenges.

The simplest thing to take is a high-absorption Vitamin B complex to begin to bring cortisol back into balance. When taken in the morning, it stimulates the hormone’s production and release for better energy. Additionally, Vitamin C can be very helpful. When we are injured or physically threatened and cortisol surges to help us move out of danger, the adrenals also flood the body with Vitamin C as it reduces inflammation. Supplementing Vitamin C into the diet during times of stress can replenish and replace what might be low or missing in the body.

With prolonged stress, an excess amount of cortisol in the body can actually reduce levels of another stress hormone, DHEA. Under normal conditions, some of the DHEA is converted to cortisol. Under prolonged stress, more and more of the DHEA is converted to cortisol, leaving very little DHEA to regulate other functions, like our immune system. This is when we start to see adrenal burn out.
Taking DHEA as a supplement can balance against high levels of cortisol, address adrenal burnout, support the immune system, and even replenish our DHEA levels that deplete with age.

Stress is a natural part of life, and it comes and goes with what life brings us. Our bodies are fully equipped to support us through stressful times. However, if the stress starts to wear us down and exhaust us, supplementing some B and C vitamins with DHEA may help support the body to keep us going strong.


“This article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”