You work in a pressure cooker. You don’t get enough sleep. Most mornings you drag yourself out of bed. Then, you jump start your body with two cups of strong coffee.
However, around 2 p.m., you want to nod off at your desk. So you head down to the vending machine for some soda and a chocolate bar.
You have no resistance to infections. You catch every bug that goes around. These colds and flu viruses linger. Usually they turn into sinus infections. Last winter, you even had a bout with bronchitis.
Even though you’re young, and in the prime of life, you don’t feel well. You’ve been to your regular physician, and all of your tests turn up fine. So, what’s going on?
What is Adrenal Exhaustion and How Is It Treated?
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Your adrenal glands, each about the size of a walnut, are located on the top of your kidneys. They manufacture cortisol, DHEA and norepinephrine. These are secreted in greater quantities in times of stress, or if you need to respond to something quickly, such as a pot burning on your stove.
Chronic low-level tension, or extremely high stress over a short period, can cause your adrenals to work too hard. If this is coupled with a poor diet, your adrenal glands can become depleted, according to one school of thinking. Overtaxed, your adrenals also don’t have the proper nutrients to recover. This results in a very vicious cycle of poor health.
Adrenal fatigue is barely recognized by the mainstream medical community. But a growing number of people are starting to become aware of what can happen when adrenal glands aren’t working well. Some alternative medical professionals believe that low adrenal function is the root cause behind many cases of chronic fatigue syndrome. If you’d like to read more about this seemingly common condition, here are two excellent resources.
Why Doctors Don’t Diagnose Adrenal Fatigue
Alternative health practitioners are quick to diagnose adrenal fatigue. They see it often, as people who suffer from it tend to end up in their offices. Adrenal fatigue has even been described as an epidemic.
Critics claim some holistic healers tell virtually everyone they have adrenal exhaustion. Perhaps this condition is over subscribed. But there’s also a case to be made that many of us, right now, are running on low adrenal reserves.
Life for many people is extremely stressful. And the Standard American Diet doesn’t provide the proper nutrition to maintain good health.
Mainstream doctors, on the other hand, aren’t even sure there is such a thing as adrenal exhaustion. Typically, they dismiss it. They don’t tend to find and treat problems unless the glands are so far gone that they’re starting to fail. This is called Addison’s Disease, and it can be a life-threatening condition. Replacement steroids are given to make up for some of the hormones the glands no longer produce.
Classic Signs of Adrenal Exhaustion?
Adrenal exhaustion presents itself in a number of ways. It also mimics many other diseases. So make sure not to neglect medical care, to rule out other conditions.
A personal with adrenal fatigue may experience a range of emotional symptoms, such as irritability, depression and nervousness. They may also have a propensity toward panic attacks.
The hormones secreted by the adrenals control many bodily functions. So people with low adrenal reserves may feel tired all the time. Yet they also have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. They may suffer from headaches, nausea, indigestion, joint pain and muscle stiffness. Many people with this condition report feeling foggy headed, and unable to concentrate.
Another symptom of adrenal insufficiency is low resistance. Someone may catch frequent colds and may have trouble getting rid of them. Adrenal fatigue and thyroid problems often go hand in hand.
Usual Recommendations for Adrenal Exhaustion
Alternative practitioners will tell you to get more rest and to reduce stress. If you are over committed, you might need to dial it back.
Generally a range of whole food supplements are also suggested. One that’s frequently recommended is extra Vitamin C. This is not the same as ascorbic acid, although most people confuse the two. Ascorbic acid is made in a laboratory. Whole Vitamin C is derived from foods.
However, I personally wouldn’t regularly take high doses of Vitamin C or any other supplement. I’m a big fan of moderation. Especially for people like myself who’ve been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue.
Vitamins and Minerals For Adrenal Fatigue
A good source of whole Vitamin C is the camu camu berry powder, which grows along the banks of the Amazon River. Approximately 2-3 percent of the weight of this fruit is straight Vitamin C. Camu camu is also rich in niacin, phosphorus and iron, and it contains many other nutrients as well. I take this (as well as other superfoods) instead of synthetic vitamins.
Please understand that I’m not a doctor. So I can’t give medical advice or make a diagnosis. Nor can I promise that any particular product or remedy will help heal adrenal fatigue. All I can do is share my own story of how I successfully battled this stubborn condition.
Herbal Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue
I’ve been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, not once but twice. Both times this happened after a period of intense stress, coupled with eating a poor diet. (You think I would have learned the first time.)
Some people believe adrenal fatigue and fibromyalgia are the exact same thing. What you’re diagnosed with depends largely upon your healthcare provider. Holistic practitioners are generally quick to spot adrenal fatigue.
It was much more difficult bouncing back the second time. Still, I managed to regain my health by cleaning up my diet, getting my mercury fillings removed and using a lot of natural remedies, including herbs, homeopathy and essential oils. Recovering from adrenal exhaustion took a long time. But, eventually, I started having more good days than bad.
Herbs For Adrenal Exhaustion
It’s hard to say which natural remedies helped me the most, because I’ve used so many. At my worst, I used a natural anti-inflammatory formula made from herbs. This was something recommended by a holistic healer.
This practitioner also put me on an adrenal glandular for a short period of time. Even though bovine glandular supplements are sold over the counter, these are powerful medications that should only be taken while working with a health professional.
Today, I still take natural anti-inflammatory supplements, such as Zyflamend and spirulina. I don’t take these together. For me, natural remedies work so much better when I rotate them. So I might take Zyflamend for a few weeks, before taking a break.
Then I’ll switch to spirulina. Or something else. Then I’ll return to Zyflamend. Or, I may rotate camu camu powder or another herbal remedy into the mix.
Essential Oils for Adrenal Exhaustion
One of the most frustrating aspects of adrenal exhaustion is the inability to get a good night’s sleep. Insomnia is one of the symptoms of stressed out adrenals.
One of my happy discoveries is essential oils. At night, I use these amazing plant-based aromatics for relaxation. They work so well that I consider my insomnia a thing of the past.
Occasionally, I still have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. But I no longer have chronic insomnia. Although I can’t promise that aromatherapy will have the same effect on anyone else, it does seem to work for me.
The brand of essential oil I recommend most often on this site is made by Plant Therapy, which has exacting safety and purity standards. This company also works with a world-famous aromatherapy expert. Here are several synergy blends, designed to help with worry, relaxation and sleep.
Best Foods For Adrenal Fatigue
I’m convinced that my return to better health wouldn’t have happened if I continued eating a poor diet. I was addicted to potato chips and other salty snacks. I’d substitute these foods for proper meals. Also, chocolate was my very favorite food. I ate way too much of it, especially in the form of ice cream and pudding.
Nowadays I eat real foods. Whenever I can, I buy organic.
Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle is not conducive to home cooked meals. Actually, a lot of people have forgotten how to put real meals on the table. So, if you need some help in learning how to eat better, help is available.
Foods to Support Your Body When You Have Adrenal Fatigue
Real Plans is a meal planning service that makes healthy eating much easier. Once a week, you receive a set of delicious recipes. (Gluten-free and dairy-free options are available.) You also receive a shopping list that contains everything you need to make a week’s worth of whole food meals. Potential food waste is virtually eliminated, since you buy only what you need. Also, Real Plans is designed to cut down on last-minute runs to the grocery store, because you forgot to get a single ingredient. If you’d like more information, click on the image below.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils or herbal remedies unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.