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What is the Exhaustion Stage of Stress?
The exhaustion stage of stress is the point when you don’t feel you have enough energy to even get out of bed let alone have a productive day.
The exhaustion stage of stress is often labeled as “burnout”. Your two major energy producing glands such as the thyroid and adrenals are no longer capable of sustaining an unnatural source of energy. Unnatural energy, in this context, is your continual dependency on the stimulatory effects produced by the sympathetic neuroendocrine system as your primary source of energy – primarily adrenaline.
In addition, your “natural” energy levels produced by your neuroendocrine systems are also compromised as well. This is due to overworking the glands that produce nutrient excesses and deficiencies that in turn, compromise the ability of the endocrine glands to produce their respective hormones. In addition, the glands themselves are also subject to becoming cellularly compromised due to nutrient imbalances.
By this stage, your metabolism is extremely slow. Your digestive tract is compromised (stomach pH, microflora, and so on) and this interferes with the ability to breakdown and absorb nutrients. This normally results in various stages of subclinical or clinical malnutrition. Your immune systems (humoral and cellular) are compromised which makes you more prone to a wide variety of mental and/or physical manifestations. See Beyond Symptoms.
The unequivocal truth is that every cell in your mind and body is only able to survive and function through nutrition. Yes, oxygen (in the air) and oxygen and hydrogen (H2O) in water are nutritional as well.
Why does the body enter the exhaustion stage of stress?
This is the point when your mind and body shuts down any unnecessary energy expenditure in a last attempt to survive. It is an innate animal instinct for survival. The exhaustion stage further reduces your ability to fight infections or diseases you may have experienced during the chronic resistance stage of stress.
The exhaustion stage of stress may be sufficiently severe (e.g., Addison or Cushing disease) as to require medical intervention. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/adrenalgland/conditioninfo/treatment
Keep in mind, the degree and extended duration of chronic stress are different for every person. There is no specific time limit. However, we could surmise that three different components for entering the exhaustion stage would include:
- The Innate Wisdom of the body for survival
- Biochemical imbalances
- Endocrine distress
The Innate Wisdom of the body for survival
Fortunately, you have extraordinarily little control when one amasses all the functions happening every nanosecond throughout the mind and body simultaneously 24/7 that you do not control. In fact, all these functions are all happening autonomically without any conscious thought on your behalf. It is an autonomic response for existence/survival similar to that described in the nutritional immune response.
Biochemical (nutrient) imbalances experienced during each stage of stress become compounded throughout every aspect of the nutritional spectrum. As seen throughout this website, myriad factors contribute collectively to nutrient imbalances. However nutrient interrelationships, nutrient transporters, and a properly functioning digestive system are key factors.
Endocrine distress happens through two different means that include:
- Continual or maximum hormonal demands from each endocrine gland
- Diminished cellular health of the gland resulting from subclinical nutrition
Continual/maximum hormone demands
If we continue to place maximum demands on an endocrine gland (e.g., the adrenals), the adrenals are now consuming a greater level of the specific nutrients required to produce each of the adrenal hormones.
The catecholamines include dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine and are produced by the adrenal medulla and are responsible for all the physiological characteristics of the stress response.
The continual demand at maximum capacity contributes to an increased nutrient consumption by the adrenals and easily contributes toward excess consumption of many nutrients throughout the mind and body to counter the effects of each stress response.
As a note, the amino acid tyrosine is the base nutrient absolutely essential for the production of ALL the catecholamines! No tyrosine – no adrenaline! There are many other nutrients needed to produce catecholamines throughout each step. Also, tyrosine is an absolute essential nutrient for the production of thyroid hormones as well!
Cellular health of every endocrine gland
The adrenal glands are also important for maintaining certain nutrient levels, such as sodium and potassium through aldosterone (a mineralocorticoid produced in the adrenal cortex). We have seen through the different stages of stress the resulting imbalances of these two elements.
One of the extremely important functions of these two elements is that they are nutrient transporters that are needed to transport many nutrients into the cell! Many nutrients are sodium dependent, and many other nutrients require transporters that rely on the energy produced by the Na/K-ATPase (sodium/potassium pump) to get the nutrient into the cell.
In addition, potassium (calcium, hydrogen, chloride, etc.) is also important for the parietal cells in the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid to help produce the acidic pH level required for digestion.
As you can see, the adrenals are also connected to your digestive system (and much more) and compromising the digestive system also produces nutrient imbalances of nutrients essential to every cell in the mind and body, including the health of the adrenal glands themselves.
How do I get out of the exhaustion stage of stress?
Basically, the longer you have been in the exhaustion stage, the more time it will require to improve to the point of entering the recovery stage. This is the continuum between the chronic resistance stage, the exhaustion stage, and ultimately, the recovery stage.
If medical intervention (e.g., hormone replacement, IV nutrition, pharmaceuticals, and so on) has been needed during the exhaustion stage, you need to remain under care until released by your healthcare professional.
- Patience is primary – do not induce any additional unnecessary stress
- Plenty of rest and relaxation to conserve your remaining energy essential for the healing process to begin
- Targeted nutrition specific to your current biochemistry – this may require several different nutritional analyses that include amino acids, fatty acids, organic acids, vitamins, and others as well
- More patience – albeit you may begin, at some point to have more energy, you should conserve it for the continued healing process and progress to the recovery stage.
The exhaustion stage may require years for recovery.
Hair Analysis and the Exhaustion Stage of Stress
The exhaustion stage of stress is revealed on a hair analysis in several ways.
Here again, it is important to consider many patterns revealed on the results for proper interpretation. One of the most telltale indicators is an excess or deficiency of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorous. These are macro elements and often labeled as electrolytes.
On the analysis graph, all of these elements are normally deficient (four lows). Also, it is common to see the majority of the remaining elements to be low as well due to the energy required combined with the lack of elements essential to produce the proper pH level in the stomach for digestion.
Additional indicators include a low sodium/potassium ratio (vitality ratio), a low sodium/magnesium ratio (adrenal indicator), and a high calcium/potassium (thyroid indicator).
The exhaustion stage of stress has compromised the intimate nutrient interrelationships between all essential nutrients including minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids.
Are you in the exhaustion stage of stress?
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Follow the Gazelle!
Our gazelle has had a long and trying experience with this infection. Nutritional resources are close to depletion and energy levels are low. Our gazelle is now conserving, by instinct, the last energy reserves in a final attempt for recovery. This includes lots of rest to help the healing process. Due to a lack of energy, minimum effort is available to replenish much needed nutrition to assist the healing process. Will our gazelle reach the recovery stage of stress?
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