There is perhaps nothing worse than feeling out of sorts, but not being able to put a finger on what might be causing the problem. Worse yet, a visit to the doctor reveals nothing, as they are unable to find any specific cause for the symptoms you are feeling. Fatigue, aches and pains, and a general feeling of anxiety are often linked to stress, but it could well be that you are in fact suffering from adrenal exhaustion.

The adrenal glands don’t really get much attention in the grand scheme of your body, but they play an important role. Located near the kidneys these little glands crank out essential hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are both used when you find yourself in a fight or flight situation, which is exactly what you tend to feel around the clock when suffering from stress.

You see, when you are stressed, the adrenal glands become unable to keep up with the production levels of the hormones that you need to get though the day. When that happens, adrenal exhaustion can become an issue.

Since the adrenal gland are so small, doctors seldom pay them much heed. This is why depression is often diagnosed, when in fact adrenal exhaustion is the problem. That shouldn’t really come as a surprise, though, as the symptoms are generally very similar: feelings of stress, inability to sleep, aches and pains, and loss of appetite being just a few.

If you have been diagnosed with adrenal exhaustion, or think you may have it, you’ll be pleased to know that reversing the condition is not all that difficult. That said, you will need to commit to a few lifestyle changes in order for it to happen. The first, and most obvious change, has to come with getting rid of the stress that is bringing you down.

There are certain scenarios, such as a job, where stress may come naturally, but if it is affecting your health, you need to take a long, hard look at whether or not is actually worth it.

Another area of change that has to be addressed is in what you put into your body. We have all become a little too reliant on processed foods, none of which do the body any good at all. As such, we end up struggling to get all the nutrients we need, and which can generally be found in whole foods. Caffeine is another unhealthy option when talking about the adrenal glands. The more you can remove processed foods and caffeine from your diet, the better.

You can also help your body, and your adrenal glands, get the help they need by investing in natural herbal supplements. A good daily multi-vitamin is an excellent place to start, but there are also other natural herbal supplements that are great for the adrenal glands. Those include licorice root, which is excellent at helping keep your cortisol levels where they need to be. Talk to your doctor before making any of the suggested changes, although he is likely to be on board with them all.

Dean Smith is a long-time student of health, fitness, wellness and nutrition. He’s currently working with Well Beings Health and Nutrition Centre in Langley, Canada.