What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens can be SUPER helpful for those healing from adrenal issues. We use the HTMA and symptoms to determine the best formula for you. By definition, adaptogens have non-specific and normalizing effects on the body- they are not meant to be used to lower/raise cortisol (that is an allopathic way to look at adrenal health). They are meant to support the adrenals under times of stress so that they can function better.
Adaptogens help to takes some of the stress off of your adrenals so that we can get your minerals in balance a bit quicker. They help to calm down the stress response that wastes minerals, and they are especially helpful for those that are dealing with chronic infections. We take our info about herbs and adaptogens from actual herbalists that have used these herbs for decades, and they got their information from generations of proper use.
We find that blends tend to be best for adrenal support. They are formulated so that the herbs work synergistically. High doses of one herb CAN raise or lower cortisol. Herbs in blends are less likely to do this when you are using them as directed.
My favorite adrenal support supplements
My top favorite Adaptogens:
1-My absolute favorite adaptogen is Loving Energy from BioRay. This is the most balancing and best tolerated adaptogen I’ve been able to find. It works well in tandem with the other BioRay tinctures, and you can increase your dose during times of stress or detox. It can also be helpful for those with histamine issues! You can find it here for the best price (and use the code SASSY for 10% off).
2-The Herb Pharm blends by Aviva Romm are all formulated just for women. There are 3 blends and they all have different purposes (again, not all adaptogens are the same!). I find that with adaptogens there is intuition that is needed to pick one that draws you in most. Read about a few and pick one that suits you best, or let your practitioner pick for you based on symptoms and your HTMA.
- Adrena Soothe is best for those with an overactive adrenal response that need help with calming down a heightened flight or flight response. This blend tends to be relaxing, and we usually use it for fast oxidizers if needed (which is why HTMA is so important to do when you want to heal your adrenals. It’s best to know this before picking a blend!)
- Adrena Nourish is the main one we use since it’s the most balancing out of the 3 blends- it helps the most with just giving stressed adrenals a little boost and nourishes them (hence the name!). We prefer to use this with our mineral balancing plan so it’s easier to get sodium and potassium levels regulated.
- Adrena Uplift can be more of a booster for incredibly exhausted individuals. The herbs in this blend are more energizing than anything.
- You can read more about these blends here, and they are also available on Amazon Prime.
- Herb Pharm Stress Manager– another balancing blend, good for men or women.
- Herbalist and Alchemist have a ton of great blends like Calm Adapt, Women’s Adapt, Men’s Adapt, and so much more.
Not adaptogens but still helpful for adrenal health:
- Whole food vitamin C- We don’t store much vitamin C in the body, but most of what we do store is in the adrenals. When we’re stressed, we can burn through those stores. My favorite whole food vitamin C is Synergy Pure Radiance. You can also use single sources like amla, acerola cherry, or rosehip powder.
- Nettle infusions- these are basically a whole body tonic but they can be so helpful for those with adrenal issues. Anyone with adrenal fatigue will have issues with low nutrients. Nettle infusions are one of the best ways to replenish these nutrients. Read all about nettles here!
Why adaptogens are not meant to “treat” cortisol:
A great comment from Denise on this issue: “I’m not in the camp that we should be treating actual cortisol levels, so having low cortisol alone would not be a dis-qualifier for me. Adaptogens aren’t meant to be used as in “match a pill to the ill.” They work so much more on the person as a whole. This very topic actually was discussed in my clinical herbalist group yesterday where not one single herbalist (at least 2 of which run herbal schools) said that they test cortisol before giving adaptogens. One said that he did loads of cortisol testing between 2005-11 and ending up abandoning it because in his words, “it was notoriously inaccurate.”
All agreed that it is much more valuable to learn the adaptogens intimately and get to know the person well and match accordingly. This is also what I have learned in my herbalism course taught by Aviva Romm who is a MD and herbalist.”
Saliva cortisol is one of those tests (like blood, urine, and stool) that will have the potential to change day to day based on stress levels, nutrient intake, detox, and many other factors. Testing cortisol levels is not a way to treat or heal the adrenals- it’s just a way to influence your cortisol. Considering that the liver also plays a role in cortisol regulation, messing with cortisol levels directly won’t always even have an effect. Work on healing the adrenals with nutritional balancing, balanced herbal formulas, a healthy diet, and working on underlying health issues.
More about adrenal fatigue and HTMA:
The Sodium/Magnesium ratio shows our adrenal health on the HTMA. Ideally, this ratio should be around 4. It tells us whether your adrenals are over-active (high ratio) or under-active (low ratio). It is referred to as the adrenal ratio because sodium levels are directly associated with adrenal gland function. The sodium/magnesium ratio is also a measure of energy output, because the adrenal glands are a major regulator (along with the thyroid gland) of the rate of metabolism.
A majority of the HTMA’s we see show under-active adrenals, which is more of the adrenal exhaustion stage. This can be a bit harder to resolve than over-active adrenals, which usually are a sign of the beginning of adrenal fatigue. The most important minerals for healing underactive or sluggish adrenal issues are sodium and potassium- the HTMA helps us to see what YOUR personal balance is so we can work on getting them back in a better balance.
More reading here:
- How to use HTMA for healing adrenal fatigue
- Denise’s Article about adaptogens
- Why adrenal fatigue is technically HPA axis dysfunction
- Healing adrenal issues in kids
- Order HTMA Here