Bridgette Ruge Barlow, MA, RHC, CPT
With the current levels of stress in daily life we are seeing more and more dysfunction of the adrenal gland. There are several ways to confirm adrenal issues. One way is to run lab test to assess adrenal function, which is a common practice by integrative physicians, but usually not for traditional western medicine doctors. Most adrenal fatigue cases have classic signs or symptoms than need no testing to diagnose as an adrenal issue. Since there is not a drug on the market for adrenal fatigue, you may never be officially diagnosed with this, however, if you have any of the following symptoms, you could have stressed adrenals.
- Trouble getting started in the morning
- Sugar or salt cravings
- Low libido
- Low blood pressure
- Afternoon tiredness or “crash”
- Feelings of being “wiped out” after exercise or exertion
- Brain fog
- Getting a “second wind” in the evening
- Trouble staying asleep
- Dizziness when standing up quickly
- Afternoon headaches
- Blood sugar issues
- Chronic inflammation
- Thinner, weaker nails
- Weight gain or weight loss difficulty
It is worth noting that none of the natural remedies to heal adrenals listed here are harmful so if you suspect you have adrenal fatigue, using these tips can only help. All of these are healthy lifestyle recommendations but can be of particular benefit when combatting stress in the body—such as adrenal fatigue.
If you suspect you are having adrenal stress or are experiencing some of the symptoms above, put your focus on the following items for the next 90 days. It will likely take longer than 90 days to recover adrenals but putting a heavy focus on it for 90 days is a great jumpstart to getting well and feeling better faster.
1. Take care of your gut and address any possible gut imbalance or infection
- Gut stress = body stress = adrenal stress.
- Include more fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, kombucha.
- Get on a high-quality probiotic, such as MD Prescriptives Purebiotic*, 1-3 times per day and possibly a digestive enzyme such as MD Prescriptives Probiozyme* 1-3 times per day. Your coach will help you personalize this dosing for your needs.
2. Clean up your diet
- Eat a diet consisting of 50% vegetables, 25% protein, 25% healthy starches, and 5-10% healthy fats. Make this ratio on each plate. Now is not the time for aggressive dieting or cutting out food groups—even if you’re trying to lose weight.
- Cut out sugars, processed foods, and restaurant foods. Limit caffeine and alcohol.
3. Eat more GREENS and sulfur-rich foods
- Greens are high in magnesium and sulfur foods contain high levels of B-vitamins, both of which are necessary for adrenal health and promoting great energy.
4. Consume dark chocolate
- About 1 ounce per day of >70% cocoa content (preferably organic) dark chocolate can calm cravings and provide a nice dose of magnesium.
5. Eat plentiful amounts of healthy fats each day
- Try to ensure you have some source of health fat with each meal. Some particularly healthy fats are avocado, wild caught fish, coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil (unheated only), avocado oil, and grass-fed butter or ghee.
6. Sip on chamomile or rooibos tea
- Chamomile helps decrease anxiety, depression, and stress.
- Rooibos helps to naturally balance cortisol.
7. Use adaptogenic herbs
- Adaptogens are defined as agents that support the body’s ability to accommodate varying physical and emotional stress (the major contributing factor to adrenal fatigue). Some of these herbs include ashwagandha, eleuthero ginseng, holy basil, and Rhodiola Rosea. You can find these in teas or tonics but an easy way to get them in is through an adrenal formula supplement, such as MD Prescriptives Adrenal Forte.* Take 2-4 caps per day.
8. Increase your magnesium
- While eating magnesium-rich foods is very helpful, supplementing with magnesium can take its benefits to the next level. Magnesium helps support the adrenal glands, relaxes stressed muscles and nerves, and promotes quality sleep. MD Prescriptives Magnesium* contains two forms that are highly absorbed by the body and brain. You can also put magnesium oil or lotion on your skin, consume it as a powder (Natural Calm magnesium powder), or start taking Epsom salt baths (containing 6-8 cups per bath and soaking for 20 minutes).
9. Bring down inflammation
- One of the most effective and natural ways to do reduce inflammation is to include high sources of omega 3’s and curcumin. These can be done naturally through diet and consuming high omega 3 foods and including the spice, Turmeric.
- For more potent and faster adrenal recovery, consider supplementing with 1-2 caps per day of Curcumin (Metabolic Maintenance Curcumin + C is available at SaJune) as well as MD Prescriptives Omega MD* (take 2 caps per day).
10. Improve sleep routine and sleep quality
- Sleep hygiene is of upmost importance when healing adrenals. Restorative sleep happens in the 7th-8th hour of SOLID un-interrupted sleep. Get to bed earlier, use melatonin and progesterone if necessary and avoid drinking liquids too late in the evening.
- If your schedule allows for afternoon naps, take them.
- Avoid caffeine after 3pm
- Turn off the TV, computer, and smartphone a few hours before bed (those screens and artificial light can overstimulate the brain, block melatonin production, and negatively impact sleep quality).
11. Learn stress management techniques and use them
- Bottom line is this… you can do all the right things but if you’re not managing stress, not much else matters. Stress, and not recovering from it, is the driving factor behind adrenal fatigue.
- Take time out throughout the day to practice diaphragmatic breathing (aka BELLY BREATHING).
- Other ways to manage stress can be downloading a meditation app such as “Inner Balance” (by Heart Math), “Calm,” or “Insight Timer.”
12. Start a restorative yoga practice
- This is a great way to practice stress management, stay active, and practice proper breathing. You can find many online videos FREE through YouTube for “restorative yoga.”
- As a start, try this pose called “Legs up the wall” for 10 minutes every day. Lay on the floor close to a wall and put your feet and legs straight up the wall. If your hamstrings do not allow for this, try putting a pillow under your hips or keeping your legs bent over a chair. You want to be totally comfortable. Stay here for at least 10 minutes and practice positive affirmations, breathing, or take your mind to a beautiful and peaceful place.
13. Don’t over-exercise
- Exercise is a physical stress on the body. It’s okay to move and be active but now is not the time to join bootcamps or run marathons. A rule of thumb is to only do exercise that makes you feel GOOD! If it wipes you out, stop.
- Focusing on lower heart rate exercise (keeping heart rate under 120 beats per minute) is a good way to keep from over-working your adrenals. Once you are recovered, you can go back to more intense exercise if you choose (only if you ENJOY it!).
14. Spend more time outdoors
- “Earthing” (getting connected to the earth) is a powerful way to destress and discharge radiation and electromagnetic energy that may be built up in the body from electronic devices. The sun also helps to reset our circadian rhythms and hormones. If possible, get morning sun and keep light dim in the evening.
15. Bring vitamin D levels into optimal ranges
- Getting outdoors more will help with vitamin D, but you may need to supplement to get into the optimal range of 75-100ng/mL. Ask your doctor to test levels of Vitamin D and aim for intake of 5000-1000IU per day of MD Prescriptives Vitamin D3* to get there. Vitamin D is responsible for regulating over 200 genetic pathways. Check your levels every 6 months.
16. Learn to say “NO.”
- Ok, admittedly this is a hard one, but something to really think about and try to put into practice. Sometime adrenals can get run down from being overly busy and overwhelmed with too many things to do and not enough time to do it. These are not necessarily bad things as stress doesn’t always have to be referring to something negative.
- You must create space and time in your life to do things you truly enjoy, spend time with people that you love, and relax and restore. If you don’t have this happening, start saying “no” to things that are getting you away from this. Also, consider letting go of some things that are not fulfilling you at this time. Prioritize, organize, relax and have JOY!
Want help living your best life ever?
SaJune Institute for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine, under Medical Director, Dr. Sangeeta Pati, has integrative medical providers and certified Regenerative Health Coaches that will help you on your journey. Book a consultation by calling our office at 407-478-9797, or request to schedule https://www.sajune.com/book-now/