In my previous post I shared some of the tell-tale signs that your adrenals might be feeling the pressure. Maybe like I once did, you relate to quite a few of these signs and symptoms but have no idea where to start to address the underlying problem?! Well today I am going to share three very simple tests that you can perform at home to rule out the possibility of adrenal fatigue.
These tests are a really good starting point and in my experience, each and every one of them offer some insight into adrenal function. If you are not sure whether you should do any of these tests, go back and check whether you resonate with a few of the signs and symptoms.
I recommend that you do at least one of these tests before considering a more comprehensive saliva or urine test.
1. Temperature Test
Body temperature have been used for hundreds of years as a way to measure imbalance or disease. In fact, it is incredibly effective as a way to get a deeper understanding of our hormones. It’s one of the most accurate ways to measure ovulation and can help you to get a closer insight into thyroid and adrenal function.
So why temperature?
Individuals with adrenal fatigue tend to be far more sensitive to fluid changes (remember adrenals produce aldosterone), but also seem to have a problem with the feedback loops needed for the hypothalamus to regulate temperature. This test can help you to understand whether your adrenals might be under pressure and in my opinions is one of the most accurate tests. Remember if you are a women, your temperature will be higher during ovulation, so it’s best to do the test either side of ovulation. Another important reason to track your cycle girls!
You will need a mercury (or liquid) thermometer.
Start by taking your temperature three times a day for five consecutive days. Write each of the readings in a book. You should finish with 15 readings over the five consecutive days.
Record your first temperature reading three hours after you wake up and then repeat the test twice every three hours. If the time falls close to a meal you have just enjoyed, then wait 20 minutes before taking your temperature. At the end of each day calculate your average temperature for each of the give days.
You are looking for fluctuations between your daily average temperatures (DATs). Therefore comparing the difference between the highest and lowest DATs.
If the daily fluctuations are greater than 0.1 C or 0.2-0.3 F, this can indicate the need for adrenal support and thus further investigation.
As an example, here are the readings of one of my clients:
Monday: 36.79 C
Tuesday: 36.66 C
Wednesday: 36.61 C
Thursday: 36.58 C
Friday: 36.72 C
As you can see from the above, there is a difference of 0.21 between the lowest and highest reading, which indicates adrenal dysfunction.
2. Blood Pressure Test
This was one of the very first tests I did before I paid for a functional test and is definitely worth doing. Ideally you want to perform this test first thing in the morning, as this is when cortisol should be at its highest.
You will need a blood pressure monitor, such as Omron.
Lie down on the floor (not mattress or bed) for five minutes. I recommend that you attach the blood pressure cuff to your arm before you lie down. Relax completely. After five minutes take your blood pressure reading lying down. As soon as you have done the reading lying down, immediately stand up and take a second reading straight away. You should therefore have two readings when you are finished.
You are looking for the change in your systolic reading. Your systolic reading is 120 (top number) of your reading 120/80. The top number (120) refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle.
Anyone with healthy adrenal function will show an increase of between 10-20 points in your systolic reading. This increase reflects the effort to push your blood to your brain. You are ideally looking for an increase, but many individuals with thyroid disease may end up with a similar reading lying down and standing up. If this is you, then I would suggest that you repeat the test a few times.
So what happens when your reading is lower?
A lower reading upon standing is a strong indication that your adrenals are struggling. This is especially referring to aldosterone, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that help regulate fluid in the body and blood pressure. My advice is to repeat the reading a few times and if you continue to get the same result, then follow this up with a comprehensive adrenal profile test.
3. Pupil Test
All you are going to need to perform this test is a mirror and torch.
Stand in a completely darkened room in front of a mirror. Take your torch and shine it onto your eyes from the side of your face (not the front) and keep shining for one minute. You are looking at the response of your pupil to the light. Healthy individuals will witness their pupil restrict for at the duration of the minute whilst the light is hitting the pupil.
People with adrenal fatigue, on the other hand will witness a struggling pupil as it attempts to stay constricted. These individuals are likely to observe a reduction in pupil size to start with, but then it will flutter and soon enlarge again. It will keep repeating this back and forth motion over the duration of the minute. This is an indication that adrenal function is not as optimal as you would like it to be.
It is important to note that this test (hence number 3) is more focussed around aldosterone levels and some individuals with adrenal fatigue might still have good levels of aldosterone. If you notice that your pupil flutters, then do either test 1 or 2 or both to see whether you can get some more information about your adrenal function.
The next step
If you are presenting with the classic symptoms and any of these tests indicate adrenal fatigue, the next best step you can take is to work with a qualified practitioner who can guide you through the necessary actions needed to restore adrenal function and health.
I would like to also make a really important point to say that anyone with thyroid dysfunction is likely to have ongoing issues with their adrenal health. This is why it is so important to work with someone who will focus on addressing all the different bodily systems to help you restore overall health and vitality. It is not a problem of the endocrine system, but an imbalance impacting your entire body. This is why in functional medicine, we look at everything that has happened in your life that has led you to where you are today. This helps us to understand the various triggers and drivers that needs to be addressed in order to restore the imbalance.
If you are ready to take the next step in regaining your health, schedule your 30-minute free assessment call today.