Getting beyond the line of fine.
It seems like things start to fall apart around age 40 or beyond. Often, people just don’t bounce back quite as quickly as they used to or feel as great as they once did. They may have gone in for a physical with their doctor thinking something is surely off. Maybe it’s the thyroid or a vitamin deficiency?
They are relieved that nothing is seriously wrong, yet disappointed that nothing can be fixed when the news comes back that everything is great. Since everything is normal, most people chalk it up to aging and begin to accept that maybe their best years are behind them and this is what life is now like.
The truth is there is a lot that can be going on behind the scenes that can prevent you from feeling your best that a standard lab workup and physical will miss. In my 15 years in conventional medicine as a family practitioner, I saw patients like this every day. They thought something just wasn’t right and I believed them. I felt for them, but I didn’t know how to help them.
What I now know through my functional medicine training is that often, around age 40 and beyond, our body has been so impacted by chronic stress that our adrenal glands aren’t functioning as well as they should and are the root cause preventing people from truly thriving in middle age.
Stress is handled in our adrenal glands. Our bodies are perfectly designed to handle acute stress.
If you’re out in the wilderness, and a tiger starts chasing you, your cortisol (the stress hormone from the adrenal glands) is going to increase and allow you to flee to safety, hopefully. That’s how our body is designed. Today we are under chronic stress, day in and day out. This chronic stress really comes in three varieties. First, there is emotional stress. This is what we all think of when we think about stress. Emotional stress is the day-to-day, rat race that we live in. We all have it to a certain degree.
In addition to that emotional stress, there are HIDDEN stressors too. There is inflammatory stress from the gut bugs living in our gut, and toxic overload stress from living in the modern environment. All of this stress just wreaks havoc on our adrenals. This constant demand on the adrenals leads to hormonal imbalances. Under the profound stress burden, the body chooses survival over reproduction, and sex hormones are suppressed. This leads to all kinds of symptoms such as fatigue, moodiness, low libido, anxiety/depression, and difficulty losing weight.
Your body doesn’t hate you. It’s trying to keep you alive. The trouble is the body thinks you are in acute danger but you aren’t, so in this situation, these shifts aren’t helpful. Your body can’t thrive when it’s trying to survive.
If you wonder if there is more that can be done, to not feel just okay but to feel great, there likely is! Seek out a functional medicine doctor like me who can help you get beyond the line of fine. Finding and fixing the root causes before disease happens and optimizing hormones is the secret. Your body is designed to function perfectly and feel amazing and if you don’t there is a reason.
It doesn’t have to be this way…
Even if your physical is normal, there is likely so much more that can be done. Are you ready to work with a functional medicine doctor? Take the free quiz on my website: Are You Ready to Work with a Functional Medicine Doctor? to find out.
Before you go!
Be sure to check out my latest podcast with Kate McKay where I dive into the effects that stress can have on our bodies and our lives.
Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts here.
Remember, you don’t have to take all steps forward, just more forward than backward. You got this!