Updated: Apr 20
The adrenal glands are responsible for compensating and keeping balance when life interferes. The adrenals help us to deal with psychological stress, a lack of sleep, low blood sugar or a mild allergy. When these stressors hit you all at one time, you may suffer from adrenal fatigue. Checkout last weeks questionnaire on adrenal fatigue. To recover from adrenal fatigue we will investigate and remove all the ways you’re triggering an adrenaline rush in your everyday life. After removing the stressors we can use food and supplements to help boost adrenal function.
Sleep is necessary to repair your adrenal glands. When a busy or stressful day is over and you have a full nights sleep the adrenal glands are able to fully rest and repair then bounce back to wake you up in the morning. Do you have trouble getting to sleep? Do you wake up in the middle of the night? Do you feel a surge of energy at night then have trouble waking up in the morning? If you are not sleeping well, then your adrenals don’t have time to repair.
Blood sugar –When you get low blood sugar, the adrenals kick in to tell the liver to give you a rush of blood sugar(glycogen). This is a normal and healthy process, but if the adrenals are overworked, they can overreact, giving you an adrenaline rush simply to fix blood sugar. It’s not worth it – give your adrenals a break and don’t go hungry. Enjoy 3 meals a day and a snack at bedtime if needed to prevent low blood sugar and help you sleep.
Allergies/toxins – Any food that you crave or overeat may be an allergen. When you eat this food it gives you an adrenaline rush and that feels good! The most suspicious foods for this type of allergy are wheat, chocolate, dairy, peanuts, soy and eggs. Do you crave any of these foods when you’re stressed? After removing and healing from the food allergy, you will find it doesn’t carry the same appeal for you.
Other toxins also create a stress on the adrenal glands – think alcohol, mold, heavy metals – the list is endless. Have you had a toxic exposure or food allergy that hasn’t been cleaned up yet?
Stress management – The year 2020 has added an additional layer of psychological stress to everyone. Psychological stress works the same on your adrenals whether you are running from a lion, stressing about work or worrying about the county Covid-19 update. Psychological stress causes an adrenaline rush which is designed to help you to safety where you can then sleep and eat well to replenish your adrenals. People are experiencing this psychological stress for an ongoing period of time and the adrenals can’t recover! We have to learn to turn the stress off.
Meditation, qigong, moderate exercise, talk therapy and body work are just some of the important formal ways to turn down the stress response.
Nourishment –The adrenal glands require a well balanced diet with plenty of protein at each meal. Balance means having protein, vegetable, healthy fat and carbohydrates at each meal. 3 full meals per day and snacks if you need them to balance blood sugar and give your adrenals a rest.
Think 2 eggs on 2 corn tortillas with butter and a handful of sautéed greens. Grilled chicken with green salad and pasta with olive oil and olives. Steak and potatoes with broccoli. Tofu and bok choy sautéed in coconut oil over rice. Protein powder with MCT oil, coconut milk, spinach and fresh berries.
For the very worst cases of adrenal fatigue I recommend ground beef for breakfast with sautéed greens. My nutritionist is recommending beef for breakfast! Don’t worry – it’s temporary and you’ll be surprised at how great you feel.
Adaptogens - The adrenal glands actually become swollen and stiff from overwork. They lose the ability to turn off when the stress is gone. They overreact – giving you a jolt of adrenaline from a simple dropped book or car backfire.
After removing any unnecessary stress and eating a well balanced diet you can add nutritional supplements to help the adrenal glands recover. Herbal adaptogens like eleuthero, rhodiola, licorice and ashwaganda help the adrenal glands to be more flexible – turning on and off when needed. Vitamin C, zinc and the B vitamins help with adrenal function.
Recovering from adrenal fatigue requires you to shut off the stress response with stress management, healthy hypoallergenic foods and sleep. Special supplements can be added to support the process. This is a quick overview of my 5 step process to recover from adrenal fatigue – sleep, blood sugar, allergies, stress management and nourishment and adaptogens all work together to bring your health back into line and help you recover from the stress of this year.
In the next few weeks I will dive deeper into each of these areas – How can you get a full night’s sleep? Are food allergies or toxins contributing? Which supplement is best for me?
This is the second in a series on how to heal adrenal fatigue. Jump ahead to