STYLE

Have You Got 21st Century Syndrome?

05/01/2011 14:58 | Updated 22 May 2015

If you're tired, irritable and hooked on caffeine and sugar, then you could be suffering from 21st Century Syndrome. Otherwise known as Adrenal Fatigue, the syndrome is characterised by a collection of symptoms, many of which are a side effect of modern living.

Read on to find out if you're affected – and how to tackle it...
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21st Century Syndrome

The problem: Adrenal fatigue occurs because the adrenals, which are walnut-sized glands just above the kidneys, get overworked. These glands are designed to produce the stress hormone cortisol, but if you suffer from constant stress the adrenals will burn out, cortisol levels are reduced and you will no longer able to manage your stress levels, leaving you anxious and irritable.

21st Century Syndrome

The solution: It's important to take time to relax. Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy – anything from reading, to knitting, walking or yoga, and make time to enjoy it. Aim to set aside at least 15 minutes each day to spend on your chosen activity.

21st Century Syndrome

The problem: Many people who suffer from 21st Century Syndrome complain of feeling tired and listless, even if they have had a good night's sleep or have no obvious reason to feel tired. As a result, it's common to rely on coffee to wake you up and keep you going throughout the day, or caffeinated drinks like cola or red bull, to perk you up during the day.

21st Century Syndrome

The solution: Kicking your caffeine habit will make you feel worse in the short term, but after a week or two you should notice that your energy levels start to improve. Switch to decaf and herb teas, and aim to drink eight glasses of water each day to keep you hydrated.

21st Century Syndrome

The problem: If chocolate, biscuits, cakes and crisps have become a routine part of your daily diet, this could be a sign of adrenal fatigue. If your adrenals are no longer able to supply enough cortisol to help you manage your daily stress, then your body will begin to crave energy from other sources. Sugary, salty snacks offer a quick fix, but they ultimately make the problem worse, leaving you feeling even more tired and craving more.

21st Century Syndrome

The solution: It's tough to kick a sugar habit, but the supplements magnesium, zinc, calcium and chromium can help to control cravings. It's best to go cold turkey for at least two weeks, as even a taste of sugar will leave you wanting more.

21st Century Syndrome

The problem: Those with 21st Century Syndrome often find that they are particularly susceptible to coughs, colds, allergies and other minor illnesses. This is because high levels of stress, combined with not enough rest and a bad diet can leave the immune system compromised and less able to fight off infection.

21st Century Syndrome

The solution: Support your immune system by cutting out alcohol and sugar, stop smoking, get eight hours of sleep every night and eat fresh, unprocessed food. Outdoor exercise can also help, so try to walk for at least 30 minutes every day.

21st Century Syndrome

The problem: Low libido is a key indicator of 21st Century Syndrome; unsurprisingly, your sex life is usually one of the first things to suffer. More common in women than men, low libido is directly related to tiredness and stress.

21st Century Syndrome

The solution: Resist the temptation to rely on alcohol to get you in the mood; instead look at your diet. Aim to include pumpkin seeds, which are high in zinc, mood enhancing dark chocolate, and celery, which contains androsterone, an odourless hormone, which is also released in male perspiration.

21st Century Syndrome

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it's advisable to visit your GP for advice. A simple saliva test can rule out any other illnesses.

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