Adrenal fatigue • Natural home remedies
The adrenals are a pair of ductless glands positioned above the kidneys. Adrenal fatigue can be caused by prolonged stress.
Your adrenal glands make hormones and the theory is that when you call on them through prolonged stress to pump out cortisol constantly, they lose the ability to do that efficiently and the result is chronic fatigue. Fatigue may also be caused by thyroid dysfunction, depression, poor diet, lack of quality sleep, diabetes, arthritis, anemia, et. al.
There is a disease called Addison’s, which is also known as Adrenal Insufficiency. It is a life-threatening disease.There is no recognized disease known as Adrenal Fatigue and what we are talking about here is simply the effect of prolonged stress. Different alternative health practitioners use different methods for testing adrenal function, including a urinalysis.The term Adrenal Fatigue is common among alternative practitioners and a good search term if you are doing research.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Some or all of these may be present:
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Autoimmune conditions
- Dark under-eye circles
- Decreased sex drive
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Dry skin or other skin ailments
- Food cravings
- Frequent urination
- Hair loss
- Inability to handle stress
- Insulin resistance
- Joint pain
- Loss of muscle tone
- Low blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
- Low body temperature
- Lower back pain
- Muscle or bone loss
- Poor circulation
- Poor memory/brain fog
- Sleep disturbances
- Weakened immune system
- Weight gain, especially around the middle
Since there is no recognized disease, there are no statistics. One can guess, however, at the number of people in the world who experience prolonged stress.
Since the medical community recognizes only normal function or total failure, there is no standard treatment. There are things you can do to support your own health, however, and a naturopath or integrative doctor can offer help.
A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease.The more stress hormones you produce on a prolonged basis, the weaker your immune system becomes.To promote a healthy immune system and mitigate some of the damage, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat.The Zone is an excellent nutrition plan.There is also an Adrenal Fatigue Diet you can find online.
Because adrenal dysfunction is associated with blood sugar stability, eat small meals throughout the day. Do not skip breakfast.The Zone Diet is an excellent guide for maintaining stable blood sugar levels all day.
FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING
- Anti-inflammatory foods
- Bone Broth
- Brussels sprouts
- Calcium-rich foods
- Chaga medicinal mushrooms
- Chicken, organic
- Cordyceps medicinal mushrooms
- Fermented foods
- Fish like wild salmon
- Flax seeds
- Himalayan sea salt
- Kelp (beware if you have iron overload)
- Low sugar fruit
- Pink sea salt
- Organ meats
- Organic dairy products
- Pantothentic acid-rich foods
- Potassium-rich food
- Protein and fats: see Zone Diet to determine sufficient amounts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Seaweed (beware if you have iron overload)
- Turkey, organic
- Vitamin A rich foods
- Whole, sprouted grains
FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID
- Dried fruits
- Fast food
- Hydrogenated oils
- Microwaved food
- Pay attention to your reactions to specific foods and then eliminate the ones that cause you discomfort.
- Refined carbohydrates stress the adrenals.
- Sugar and sweeteners
TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS
- Adaptogen herbal tea blend (herbs that help us adapt physically to stress)
- Any caffeine-free herbal tea is acceptable, if not directly medicinal.
- Chamomile to soothe
HERBS AND SPICES
- Holy basil
- Licorice root
- Rehmannia (Chinese combination)
- Valerian root
Administer oils via a diffuser for inhalation, administer topically in a carrier oil, or add drops to a hot bath.
- Lemon Balm
OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS
Blood tests can tell you if you are deficient in certain nutrients. It will cost you less to get some tests done than to buy unneeded vitamins and minerals. If you find you are low in an important vitamin or mineral, then correct it.
- Ascorbic acid
- Fish Oil (Omega-3’s)
- Lipoic acid
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantethine)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin D, D3
Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.
That exercise is beneficial is undisputed. If you are ill you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Be sensible.
Since adrenal dysfunction is often caused by prolonged stress, it is important to reduce stress as much as possible. This is largely a mind game. Stress is not like a virus that we breathe in, or a bacteria that we pick up from a dirty surface; it is our reaction to life’s challenges. We must adjust our way of reacting and learn to develop a philosophy that allows us to be observers rather than participants in every little annoyance that prickles.Talk to a friend, join a support group, practice positive thinking or use one of the methods below to relax and preserve your health.
- Art therapy
- Biofeedback (for help with controlling muscle tension, heart rate, blood pressure)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Massage (which will increase blood flow and lower blood pressure)
- Music Therapy
- Qi Gong
- Tai Chi
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO
- Diatomaceous earth, food grade, taken in water daily to eliminate toxins
- Go to bed early and do what you can to promote a good night’s sleep.
- Have a test to determine if you have food sensitivities and eliminate or reduce any offenders.
- Kalish Method
- Acupressure – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gciMz038210
- Acupuncture – https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/healing-the-adrenal-system-acupuncture-and-the-hpa-axis
- Chiropractic adjustments – http://theamericanchiropractor.com/adrenal-fatigue-and-chiropractic-care/
- Chinese Medicine – https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2014/10/24/traditional-chinese-medicine-can-help-adrenal-fatigue
- Homeopathy (https://drnancymalik.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/adrenal-fatigue/)
This can become a chronic condition so don’t take it lightly. The body is not designed for a continual fight-or-flight state.
- A healthy immune system
- A wholesome diet
- A positive outlook
- Regular exercise
- Use natural household products rather than chemicals.
- Avoid exposure to environmental toxins.
- Avoid negative self-talk, negative people, and overwork.