Are you Dealing with Adrenal Fatigue?
Many people are experiencing adrenal burnout these days, and it’s not really shocking once you realize why. Our food is depleted of nutrients, our lifestyles are full of stress, and we’ve gotten so far away from common sense living.
There are a million and one books out there on healing adrenal fatigue, but one of my huge hopes with this post is to get people to realize that adrenal fatigue is part of a larger, whole body issue. It’s a symptom of imbalance- we have to work on many things in order to fully heal the adrenals.
Adrenal Fatigue is HPA Axis Dysfunction
I actually made a whole post about this which you can read here. But the term ‘adrenal fatigue” isn’t really correct. The adrenals are a part of the HPA axis, and when we have “adrenal fatigue” it’s truly HPA axis dysfunction. Luckily, all of the things that are specific for healing the adrenals can help the whole axis, so don’t have to go too deep into specifics here.
The adrenals are the emergency glands of the body. When we are constantly stressed, our bodies cannot keep up with the demands of homeostasis (keeping the body in balance). Because of this, the adrenals do tend to take the brunt of the damage and start to either over react or go into a sluggish state.
A large majority of people with adrenal issues will end up in a sluggish state (also called slow oxidation). This means that the adrenals lack the energy to function at full capacity. When we’re stressed, we are burning through nutrients (especially sodium, potassium, and vitamin C). If we keep using up these nutrients due to constant stress, then the adrenals have a very hard time keeping us stable. Once we get to this point, we have to work on replenishing what has been lost and supporting the adrenals in other ways to let them recover.
How to Heal your Adrenals Naturally
Everyone’s exact plan will be different, but these are the main points to keep in mind while healing from adrenal fatigue.
Rest is underrated. We’re living in a society that can make you feel worthless if you’re not burning yourself out each and every day. Learn how to say no to things that don’t need to get done, stop over-exercising (especially if you find you’re needing days to recover from one session), and start making your own routine for self-care each day. Even 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference- close your eyes, do deep breathing exercises, do legs on the wall yoga pose, or even just put your favorite music on and allow yourself to just be for a bit.
Sleep is one of the most underestimated healers out there. Most people with adrenal issues tend to have problems with sleep as well. Whether the sleep issues started due to stress or because you were used to pushing yourself to the limits each day (which might have included little sleep!), you do need to make it a focus now. Reduce screen time at night, use blue light blockers, try tart cherry juice, or create your own bedtime routine. You can check out my list of 25+ sleep helpers here.
As I mentioned above, there are a few many nutrients that the adrenals need to function. Sodium is the first mineral we burn through with adrenal stress, and it is often the first to tank once our adrenals finally reach their limit. Salt cravings are a HUGE sign that you need more high quality salt. Use adrenal cocktails, salt water sole, or even mineral baths to help with replenishment.
Potassium can be a bit harder to replenish because the recommended amounts for adults are so high. Coconut water, nettle infusions, dead sea salt baths, and potassium broth are among the favorites of my clients.
Vitamin C is another crucial nutrient to add in. 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.
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. It can take some time to find the best blend or dose for you, but it’s worth figuring out so you can get the best support possible.
My favorite blends:
- Bioray Loving Energy
- Herb Pharm Nourish (Soothe and Uplift are also good but Nourish is the most balancing)
- Herb Pharm Stress Manager
- Herbalist and Alchemist have a ton of great blends like Calm Adapt, Women’s Adapt, Men’s Adapt, and so much more.
One other very helpful herb for adrenal issues that isn’t technically an adaptogen is nettle leaf. We love nettle leaf infusions, which are basically a very strong tea. They help to replenish MANY nutrient levels and they’re a whole body tonic. You can read all about how to make nettle infusions here.
This is usually the hardest one! If you’re dealing with a job that you hate, toxic people in your life, or something similar then it is time to reevaluate and see what can be done to change things. Chronic infections, mold exposure, toxin exposure (like fluoride in the water, implants in the body, or smoking), and even excess amounts of caffeine can all be adrenal stressors.