Here’s 21 Ways to Give Your Adrenals a Boost …
But first . . . why is this even necessary? Does it feels like a everyday struggle – just to maintain a normal life? Do you wake up exhausted or hit a wall of exhaustion after you eat your midday meal?
Well, you’re not alone because thousands of people suffer from constant fatigue unrelieved by rest and sleep and this can lead to (or indicate) adrenal issues. Today’s lifestyle is overflowing with the demands of home, work, family, finances, and more. These can fatigue your body’s primary stress-handling glands, the adrenal glands. In 1998, Dr. James L. Wilson coined the term ‘adrenal fatigue’ to identify a specific kind of chronic tiredness that many people experience. It can affect anyone who undergoes frequent, persistent or severe mental, emotional or physical stress.
Adrenal fatigue occurs when adrenal gland function becomes less than optimal—usually as a result of stress, physical (internal or external), mental or emotional stress. An estimated 80% of people experience adrenal fatigue and the physical symptoms of stress at some point in their lives, yet it is frequently overlooked and misunderstood by the medical community.
If you answer “yes” to more than three of the following questions, you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue . . .
What symptoms do you suffer with?
- Tired for no reason?
- Fatigue and lack of energy?
- Weight loss struggles?
- Cravings and low blood sugar?
- Difficulty sleeping?
- Digestive problems?
- Hot flashes, night sweats, PMS
- Mood swings, depression, anxiety?
- Loss of libido?
- Allergies and sinusitis?
- Difficulty concentrating, brain fog or ADD?
- Having trouble getting up in the morning?
- Need coffee, coke, energy drinks, salty or sweet snacks to keep going?
- Feeling run down and stressed?
This exhaustion is the main symptom of adrenal fatigue, often known as adrenal burnout. Other symptoms may include a craving for sweets, low blood pressure and low blood sugar, irritability and depression. Secondary symptoms range from impaired digestion to infections. Low energy can then impair every system of the body. People may suddenly seem uncaring and a hopeless or depressed attitude to life for these unfortunate people is not uncommon. Did you know that stress, chemical exposure and a nutritionally deficient diet are the biggest causes of this major underlying cause to so many of today’s health complaints?
What Causes Adrenal Burnout?
Terms such as executive burnout, washed out, used up, and burned out are often used in the work force to describe what is actually adrenal fatigue brought on when someone can no longer respond adequately to the demands of their job. Middle executives, secretaries, and teachers are examples of professionals who suffer from “sandwich stress.” This is stress that comes from having to meet the demands and expectations from above and below without the power or authority to make the necessary changes or to do their job effectively. It is frequently the person in the middle who takes the blame when things go wrong, but not the credit when things go right. People in this position commonly have more than their share of health problems.
They may also have a higher incidence of metabolic syndrome, a complex of signs and symptoms that includes high cortisol, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, hypertension, belly fat and accelerated atherosclerosis. These symptoms largely reflect the cumulative effects on the body of stresses that repeatedly or chronically stimulate the adrenal glands and drive up cortisol levels.* This period of elevated cortisol may be followed in time by an extended period of low cortisol if the adrenal glands fatigue as the result of constant over-stimulation and become less able to respond to stresses. However, the health effects of the high cortisol phase may remain, now complicated by the fatigued adrenals and associated complications.
Excessive stress, the underlying cause of adrenal burnout, can be from many sources. Chemical toxicity and nutritional depletion are among the key physical causes. Mental, emotional or spiritual stress may be a major neurological factor. Financial, family or other stress may also contribute to burnout. Toxic metals and chemicals often play a large role in adrenal burnout. Everyone is exposed to thousands of chemicals in the air, the water and the food. Other sources are dental materials and skin contact with chemicals. Over-the-counter and prescribed medications also add to the body’s toxic load. Within the body, impaired digestion can also lead to toxic buildup as can chronic infections due to dental and other hidden origins. Unfortunately, the organs of elimination, in most people do not function well. Toxic substances slowly build up in the body, leading to many serious heath concerns.
Nutritional deficiencies are a common cause, because when under stress, the need for nutrients is much greater. Carbohydrates, when excessive in the diet, also stress the adrenals. Diets low in protein may also create deficiencies and inadequate or poor quality water affects oxygenation of the tissues. Most diets are low in nutrients required by the adrenals. These include B-complex, vitamins A, C and E, manganese, zinc and others. Most food is grown on depleted soils. Processing and refining further deplete nutrients, placing a further burden on struggling adrenals.
Of course, stress management is necessary, but there are also some excellent herbs and nutrients that can give your adrenal glands a boost.
What Adrenal Glands Do
If the pace of life has left you exhausted, your adrenal glands may need some support. These triangular-shaped glands that sit on top of the kidneys and are located in the solar plexus region of your abdomen, handle all of our work, home, financial, relationship, family stresses, and much more. They secrete hormones that help us cope with stress, but when the stresses become chronic the adrenals can become depleted, causing adrenal fatigue. Yet most of us don’t give them a second thought until we’re exhausted, depressed, or experiencing other symptoms of adrenal stress.
The adrenals glands are primarily known for the production of our stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. But they are literally a hormone factory and significantly affect the function of every tissue, organ and gland. This image only gives a first pass at how the hormones are made, but a reduction in any one hormone has a domino affect on many others.
Adrenal function can also be an important factor in health issues ranging from allergies to obesity.
Let’s look at a two of these hormones
Progesterone plays an integral part in a woman’s life and the life of the human species as well. When scientists first discovered progesterone at the turn of the century, it was named after its only known action of that time, “pro” meaning in support of, and “gestation” meaning pregnancy. For years to follow, the only recognised role of progesterone was to support pregnancy. Like all of our steroid hormones, progesterone is formed in the body from cholesterol. It is made predominantly in the ovaries, with small amounts produced by the adrenal cortex and other tissues, such as nerves.
Twenty to ninety-five percent of women (20% – 95%) experience premenstrual syndrome, with 10-12% severely affected, often as a result (or a side affect) of adrenal dysfunction. Some of the more common symptoms associated with PMS include: mood swings, painful menses, food cravings (especially salt and sweets), bloating, abdominal swelling, constipation, frequent urination, breast tenderness, backache, forgetfulness, irritability, and migraines. Many symptoms related to PMS can be attributed to “oestrogen dominance,” a condition of relative excess oestrogen activity in the body. This can be caused by too much oestrogen (unopposed oestrogen without progesterone increases the risk of endometrial cancer), or by sub-normal levels of progesterone.
Researchers over the last forty years have identified four major types of PMS, determined by a woman’s predominant symptoms. Some women have only one group of symptoms, while others suffer with a combination of two or more symptom groups. Of the four PMS types, three may benefit from progesterone supplementation. Clinically, physicians have seen as high as an 80% response rate with the use of supplemental progesterone. Progesterone has many opposite, balancing activities to those of oestrogen. In addition to normalising blood sugar levels and water metabolism, progesterone also has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Supplemental progesterone during the luteal phase of the reproductive cycle (days 14-28), has been found to address many of the symptoms of PMS listed above.
In addition to manufacturing cortisol and adrenaline, the adrenal glands are also involved in the crucial anti-aging hormone DHEA. DHEA plays several vital roles in health, including the metabolism of cholesterol to make the sex hormones progesterone, estrogen and testosterone, as well as aldosterone which regulates our sodium and potassium. Because DHEA is the steroid precursor to your body’s sex hormones, progesterone levels may be affected by adrenal exhaustion. As you get older, levels of DHEA in the body naturally diminish along with the production of sex hormones. However these days low progesterone and low DHEA not only affects post-menopausal women, as well as women who have undergone hysterectomy but is also very common in the reproductive population.
What Can Be Done?
Dr Wilson found these important organs can be brought back to optimal health by diligent work of anyone suffering from adrenal fatigue, as long as the individual has the right mindset and uses adequate nutritional, hormonal and herbal support. Botanicals such as the wild yam can be used to help restore adrenal function and others; we will mention some below. Teas made from Licorice Root, Hawthorne, Ginger or Gotu kola are also good.
Balancing the body nutritionally is a universal science that causes healing at the deepest level and mental development. It requires a very specific set of components or facets. These include diet, the proper type and amount of drinking water, lifestyle factors and the ninety necessary nutrients for optimal health which are available from the Savvy team in a handful of carefully targeted nutritional supplements. It might also require complete body detoxification which may include chelation and hormone support.
Here are 21 ways to give your adrenals a boost, as recommended by Dr Wilson and the Savvy team:
1. Give the fast food a break. Usually loaded with neurotoxins like monosodium glutamate (MSG), fast food can cause your body to be in a constant state of stress after eating it and until the chemicals are detoxified from your system. Depending on the strength of your liver’s detoxification systems that can be anywhere from a few hours to several days or even many months (Or never if the liver can’t deal with the toxins, then they build up in your tissues). Of course, if you get onto a good nutritional regime and take liver supportive herbs , your recovery will be much faster.
2. Eat plentiful amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Chronic stress depletes nutrients. By eating a diet that is rich in nutrients from fresh fruit and vegetables, you’ll give your body the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that help it recover. Nutrition is crucial, and due to the fact that quantity and looks is more important to food growers than nutritional quality, we recommend you supplement your mineral intake with additional trace and macro minerals. Diet is an important factor for everyone. Eat protein with every meal. Eggs, natural meats and poultry are the best sources of protein. Toasted almond butter and nuts are other good sources. Avoid vegetarian diets. At lunch and supper, have three cooked vegetables. Rotate your proteins and your vegetables so you don’t eat the same thing every day.
3. Get extra vitamin C. The adrenals suffer from a tremendous amount of oxidative stress, especially when producing excess cortisol during the stress response. This leads to a significant increase in free radicals within the same adrenal cells that make the needed hormones. The adrenal glands thus use more vitamin C than any other organ or gland in the body. Vitamin C is essential to manufacture adrenal gland hormones. The more stress you experience, the higher your vitamin C needs may be so when you’ve been chronically stressed, your adrenals may have depleted your vitamin C stores. There’s a great vitamin C combination antioxidant supplement that increases the activity of vitamin C in the body, so ask your Savvy Team support person about these.
4. Take some Ashwagandha, (withania somnifera). Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine recommend ashwagandha as a prized adrenal boost. Ashwagandha is an ancient Indian herb with a history of therapeutic uses. Known as a tonic for all kinds of weaknesses, ashwagandha is famous for its direct benefits for the adrenal tissue and function of the adrenal glands. It can normalize adrenal gland hormones. Ashwagandha promotes strength and vigor while also regarded as a rejuvenator and mild aphrodisiac.
Ayruvedic physicians use ashwagandha as the treatment of choice in rheumatic pains, inflammation of joints and other related conditions. Ashwagandha is considered to be an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body return to normal levels. For instance, if cortisol is too high, ashwagandha lowers it. If cortisol is too low, ashwagandha raises it. Ashwagandha is a tonic for fatigue and exhaustion, memory loss, muscle weakness, and other symptoms of adrenal fatigue. One of the best in the world is available through your Savvy team member, who deals in anti-aging and wellness support. They use and recommend a 2000 year old Chinese formula that works wonders – enquire for more info.
5. Use Wild Yam to Boost Low Progesterone Levels: Wild Yam which is known for it’s progesterone boosting activity is an excellent additional tool to add to your arsenal of adrenal support. Wild Yam contains diogenim which may also provide actual DHEA activity. Wild Yam Cream provides a new approach to balancing hormonal levels, relieving symptoms of PMS and Menopause, and helping to reverse Osteoporosis. The relationship between adrenal fatigue and progesterone levels potentially runs in two directions. Adrenal fatigue can affect the amount of DHEA secreted in the adrenals, thereby reducing the body’s ability to metabolise sex hormones and produce normal progesterone levels. Conversely, reduced progesterone production in the ovaries can diminish the amount of cortisol and adrenaline manufactured in the adrenal glands.
6. Supplement with Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus senticosus). Famed as an energy tonic in China since ancient times, Siberian ginseng only gained recognition in the West in the 1950s. Siberian ginseng contains remarkable compounds that favorably affect the adrenal glands to better endure physical strain, resist disease, and perform tests of mental sharpness. Siberian ginseng is good for both men and women, the main benefits being increased resistance to stress, normalized metabolism, and regulation of neurotransmitters. Siberian ginseng is also an anti-depressant that helps improve sleep, diminishes lethargy, lessens irritability, and induces a feeling of well-being.
It works primarily on the pituitary gland in the brain to better regulate adrenal gland function. In adrenal fatigue, communication between the pituitary gland and the adrenals may be impaired. A typical dose of Siberian ginseng for the treatment of adrenal fatigue is 100 to 200 mg daily. Here‘s some other info. Like siberian ginseng root, its use in an Adrenal Fatigue setting should be limited to mild cases and short term to avoid stimulatory side effects that invariably overwhelms the body and worsens the overall condition over time.
7. Cordyceps sinensis (caterpillar fungus)is one of best “herbs” for all-around health. Well, it’s not really an herb – it’s a fungus with very strong medicinal properties. In Chinese medicine, Cordyceps sinensis is both a “tonic” and an “adaptogen.” A tonic is any herb that normalizes bodily functions, such as lowering blood pressure. It’s also called an adaptogen because helps you fight stress and get over its effects more quickly.
Of all the so-called “medicinal mushrooms,” Cordyceps is one of the Savvy team favourites as it’s well-suited for a wide range problems: low energy, dizziness, stress, adrenal fatigue, immune support, poor cell utilization of oxygen, tumors, hearth rhythm disturbances, liver damage, kidney damage, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and chronic cough. In short, it has a huge number of benefits and many people have used it in a Chinese herbal form to get over the effects of adrenal fatigue, some say the effects were immediate. Because adrenal fatigue is such a problem today, although many are not aware they have it, the Savvy team use it as part of a trio of products for a general body tonic.
#1: “Cordyceps sinensis is one of the best things you could take and is probably my favorite herb, period. I have a personal attachment to it, as well, since it helped me tremendously when I was suffering from severe adrenal fatigue. I’ve used it to get over the effects of adrenal fatigue – the effects were immediate. It’s cheaper than most medications, covers more health issues, and is WAY safer, too.”
8. Take some extra vitamin B-5, or pantothenic acid, as its also known. Pantothenic acid is one of the B-complex vitamins that is essential for adrenal gland health and is necessary for adrenal gland health. While it is naturally present in the adrenal glands, it can become depleted as hormones are manufactured in response to stress. A common dose for adrenal fatigue is 1500 mg but should always accompany a B-complex vitamin combined with other nutrients since these nutrients work synergistically. We recommend you take all vitamins and other supplements in a synergistic blend for optimal results – for the best available in the market contact your Savvy Support person.
9. Korean Ginseng Root (Panax Ginseng). Korean ginseng is a natural remedy for Adrenal Fatigue. Generally, Panax ginseng is more suitable for men than women, that men can start taking in small doses and gradually increase. Korean Red is a type of ginseng with which some women have experienced adverse affects. Women can experience an increase in facial hair and acne. Men taking too much ginseng can also experience symptoms of aggressiveness, irritability, or sexual excesses. It’s probably best for women to avoid its use altogether. Side effects include insomnia, headaches, upset stomach, breast pain, diarrhea, vertigo, and anxiety. As with other herbs, its stimulatory properties tend to be more pronounced in a body that is decompensated with weak adrenals.
10. Ginkgo leaf (Ginkgo Biloba). Ginkgo Biloba comes from the Ginkgo tree and is one of the oldest living tree species. The Chinese have used Ginkgo for thousands of years for various ailments, including lung congestion, asthma, circulation support, anti-aging, and libido support. It is well recognized for its positive effects on brain functions including enhanced mental alertness, reduced brain fog, enhanced memory, and reduced mental fatigue. Ginkgo leaf possesses strong anti-oxidative properties to sequester free radical production, thereby protecting the adrenal glands, the brain and the liver from free radical damage. Ginkgo also contains several bioflavinoids that improve blood flow to the brain, ears, eyes, heart and extremities. It increases oxygenation of the blood so its ‘side effects’ can include gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, anxiety, and increased fatigue. These are usually healing reactions.
11. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra and Glycyrrhiza uralensis) is grown in Europe and Asia. Licorice is a highly prized Chinese medicine. It is used in almost all of the Chinese patented herbal formulas. Take it in a tea rather than in the sweet form. Licorice is the most well known herb for adrenal support. It is an anti-stress herb known to increase energy, endurance, and vitality and act as a mild tonic. Licorice is known to naturally fortify cortisone levels and it has been used to help decrease symptoms of hypoglycemia, a common side effect of decreased adrenal function. It causes increased production of aldosterone, a hormone that is frequently deficient in advanced Adrenal Fatigue. Licorice can soothe nervous stomachs and stimulate both blood circulation in the heart and arteries and production of interferon-like substances by the immune system.
12. Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale). An adaptogen for the adrenals, ginger root helps modulate cortisol levels, normalize blood pressure and heart rate, burn fat, and increase energy and metabolic rate. Ginger also stimulates digestive enzyme secretions for proteins and fatty acids. So get some ginger root and drink it as a refreshing tea. It can also be added to black tea for a wonderful drink. Ginger is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It is not known whether this product is excreted into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
13. Reduce your stress. Ok, I know this sounds impossible to many people. Take a deep breath…and then, take a few more. Research shows that even a few minutes of deep breathing can have an impact on the adrenal glands by reducing the stress hormones they secrete. Instead of jumping out of your seat during a traffic jam or other stressful spot, start breathing deeply. The Savvy team have specific nutritional and herbal suggestions to help in this area so make sure you contact the person who sent you to this site. The truth is that no one else is going to reduce your stress, you have to do it. While life can be stressful sometimes, it’s important to take some time on a daily basis to release stress. Go for a walk, stop and smell the roses (literally), give a loved one a hug, practice meditation, get some rest, or practice some other form of stress management.
14. Get to sleep before 10:30 pm. Try to get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep at night. And if possible, don’t wake to a blaring alarm clock since the noise causes a flood of stress hormones to be released.
15. Exercise regularly but don’t overdo it. Exercise is a valuable release for pent-up stresses, but if you are already exhausted pushing yourself is not health. Just know your limits and don’t overexercise, since it can cause stress on the adrenals. Usually you will feel better after moderate exercise if you are adrenally exhausted. If not, chances are you may have a thyroid problem that is impacting your adrenals.
16. Eat some protein at every meal to stabilize blood sugar and prevent strain on the adrenals. That doesn’t necessarily mean meat. Some good vegetarian sources of protein include: legumes (beans), nuts, seeds, avocado, and quinoa (a delicious whole grain).
17. Be careful if you are a vegetarian. Many vegetarians eat way too many carbohydrates which puts a load on the body. Here’s a couple of people’s testimonials:
#1: “I’ve battled adrenal fatigue for about 15 years (to varying degrees). 2 years ago I started acupuncture and my practitioner (very experienced) told be I was so depleted it would take up to two years to “fix” me! I actually quit my job in order to heal and STILL had a heck of a time making any progress. It wasn’t until I started eating ‘Primally’ that I made ANY significant progress! I was formerly a vegetarian (which I now know is a huge no-no for adrenal fatigue!) My diet was working against me. If you do the right things you will make progress, but it takes awhile. It wasn’t until I got strict (NO grains!) that my hormones really started responding positively (they were low and I wasn’t ovulating very often).”
#2: “I was a vegetarian for a couple of years but still ate dairy and eggs so I thought I was getting what I needed, though I ate a lot more carbs than I realise now that I should have. I used to drink fresh orange juice every morning and I use to eat a lot of bananas too, both are very high is sugars and according to Dr. James Wilson should be avoided, especially in the mornings….I tried fasting a couple of times and felt very faint almost passing out, I became very week and tired and so I researched the Adrenals and that is when I found out I had very low Cortisol, DHEA, and vitamin D levels. Once I know what to do I followed Dr Wilsons regimen and had positive results quickly.”
18. Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands only to cause an energy crash later on. Try herbal teas instead. Peppermint tea is a natural pick-me-up that doesn’t stimulate the adrenal glands. Liquorice is a wonderful tonic for the adrenals.
19. Practice the yoga posture Viparita Karani (“legs up the wall.”) While keeping your legs up the wall, elevate your pelvis on a bolster or folded blankets. According to yoga expert, Roger Cole: “If the legs tire of being straight, bend the knees and cross the legs, with knees near the wall.” According to Cole, “This pose stimulates baroreceptors (blood pressure sensors) in the neck and upper chest, triggering reflexes that reduce nerve input into the adrenal glands, slow the heart rate, slow the brain waves, relax blood vessels, and reduce the amount of norepinephrine circulating in the bloodstream.”
20. Avoid sugar and refined wheat products – and hypoglycaemia. They cause your blood sugar to fluctuate rapidly, which in turn causes your adrenals to overreact. One of the classic signs of Adrenal Fatigue is hypoglycemia, a medical term for a state produced by a lower than normal level of blood sugar. Compared to a normal person or even one with compromised insulin control, those with Adrenal Fatigue tend to have symptoms of hypoglycemia even though their serum blood sugar may be within the normal range. Our body needs a continuous supply of energy to maintain homeostasis throughout the day. Cellular energy demand is met by intake of food, which is then converted into sugar. When this demand is not being met, as in Adrenal Fatigue, the body will turn to existing protein and fat as resources of energy.
The more advanced the Adrenal Fatigue, the more the time between completion of a meal to the onset of hypoglycemic symptoms is shortened, and triggers symptoms of hypoglycemia such as irritability and fatigue. For this reason, it is common for those with Stage 3 and beyond Adrenal Fatigue to require sugar replenishment every 2-3 hours. A small snack usually suffices. In fact, as Adrenal Fatigue recovers, this period lengthens. Those with Stage 2 Adrenal Fatigue can go 4-6 hours without food and not have symptoms of hypoglycemia and hunger. Many in Stage 1 can skip a meal and have no symptoms at all.
21. Eliminate exposure to toxic chemicals. Everything you use in the bathroom contains chemicals that could be causing you harm, and you use everything in that room on your physical body. You put toothpaste into your mouth; shampoo, conditioner, soaps, creams and cosmetics to your skin; but do you know if they are safe? Did you know that the chemical ingredients of these products when combined with the outgassing plastics in the surrounding containers can cause major hormonally disruptive substances that build up over time with damaging effects? There are some companies that have taken this issue very seriously – for instance the one the Savvy team recommend have been going the extra mile to avoiding toxic chemicals and use safe plastics for 25 years! How’s that for integrity? They now avoid over 3000 potentially harmful chemicals that other companies are still using. We recommend you contact a Savvy Support person immediately if you want to avoid further damage to your body and your hormonal system.
NOTE: Always consult your physician if you are concerned about a medical problem.
Here’s some more on this increasingly growing yet overlooked health issue.
Where You Can Get Support
The Savvy Support team provide nutritional education and support on how to improve your physical health, clear toxins, balance hormones and gain emotional strength. The steps our support groups can teach you will allow you to reach your potential as the physically and emotionally and spiritually empowered being (woman, man or child) that you were created to be.
However they cannot do the work for you. While they are there to provide a free service of support, to achieve success you will need to commit to yourself and overcome some resistance as you make time for yourself and the work that needs to be done. This is not a painful process but this is not a spectator sport. Relinquishing past beliefs that you are the victim no longer holds true.
You are responsible for your own health and with your commitment we will help you achieve this goal. You didn’t arrive at your present state over night and it takes time, effort and patience to create physical and emotional wellness and improvement. Remember, we are willing to be there with you, coaching you along the way. All you need to do is ask. ([email protected])
Our work encompasses empowering … :
- Women who want assistance with hormone balancing (Fertility, PMS, Peri/Menopause)
- Men with medical problems and/or hormone concerns
- Anyone who desires weight release, clearing of toxins and detoxification,
- Restoring health during and after cancer treatment
- Healthy ageing…this is the right place for you.
After decades of working with stressed patients, Dr. Wilson wrote an easy-to-understand guide on stress and health, “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome”, for the many individuals experiencing adrenal fatigue. This article does not replace the wealth of information in the book, but it does provide some great tips and the Savvy Team provide free additional support and access to resources to help you handle the stress in your life. Contact us on [email protected]
DISCLAIMER: Provided for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.