Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
- inability to recover appropriately from exercise (you should feel tired post-workout for MAYBE 20-30 minutes, then you should feel just fine – if you are dragging for hours or the rest of the day, you overdid it!)
- headaches with physical or mental stress
- weak immune system & allergies
- slow to start in the morning
- gastric ulcers
- afternoon headaches
- feeling full or bloated
- craving sweets, caffeine or cigarettes
- blurred vision
- unstable behavior
- becoming shaky or light-headed if meals are missed or delayed
- cannot stay asleep or cannot fall asleep
- dizziness when moving from sitting to standing or lying to standing
- transient spells of dizziness
- hemorrhoids, varicose veins
What can you do about it?
- Avoid draining people or situations. Learn to say NO to things!
- Do not over-train: (training vs draining, working out vs working IN, READ: Paul Chek’s book “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy” for more on this)
- Do restorative exercises: see Paul Chek’s book – listed above – Qigong, meditation, restorative breathing, walking, very light/restorative yoga. Depending on your status, if you are going to lift weights, keep it moderate weight and low reps- not high intensity over long periods of time.
- Whenever you are not enjoying your life, assess whether you can:
1. change the situation
2. change yourself to fit the situation
3. leave the situation
- Play! With family, friends, pets.
Diet: The food you eat is your first line of defense against Adrenal Fatigue.
- A well-balanced diet free from refined grains (or all grains), and any added sugar– focus on quality proteins and fats, add starch pre and/or post workout as-needed for energy and recovery.
- A variety of (organic) vegetables
- EFAs (omega 3 fatty acids) to manage inflammation and quiet the loop that feeds into higher cortisol production
- Add mineral sea salt to food / water
- Balanced meals – judge your “success” by how you feel entering your next meal (starving, shaky, low blood sugar?!)
- make sure to stay well hydrated
- cut out coffee (or switch to decaf)
- take a probiotic with your meals
Vitamin C – Citrus, strawberries, kiwi, cruciferous vegetables and green leafy vegetables are good food sources. Vitamin C has been shown to induce an anti-inflammatory response to prolonged exercise and stress and limits the rise of cortisol and response to physiological stress
Vitamin B5 (or only a complex as noted below) – Helps to activate the adrenal glands and deficiency results in adrenal insufficiencies characterized by fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbances, nausea and abdominal discomfort.
Vitamin B Complex– Liver, meat, seafood (wild/pasture raised, grass-fed sources), seeds, mushrooms are good food sources. All B vitamins are critical for the entire adrenal cascade
Magnesium Glycinate or Malate – Green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (also tahihi) salmon and halibut are good food sources. Magnesium is “essential to the production of the enzymes and the energy necessary for the adrenals.
Omega 3 – Fatty cold water fish: salmon, mackeral, herring, some tunas, etc. are good food sources. In supplemental form, fermented cod liver oil from GreenPasture.org is the one that I recommend.
Licorice root extract (DGL) – no more than 1000mg of glycyrrhizin/day – when cortisol is lower than normal. This is also easily taken via licorice root tea .
Acetylcholine – To support poor circadian rhythm function (tired & wired/can’t sleep), supporting brain and neurotransmitter function.
L-theanine – As a calming amino acid, works by increasing GABA which is a relaxer and creates a sense of well-being in the brain.
Ashwaganda root & leaf, Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, Ginger root – adaptogenic herbs that can help to modulate cortisol levels, normalize blood pressure, heart rate and increase metabolic rate by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes for protein and fat.
Ginkgo biloba – a powerful antioxidant that helps to calm free-radical production and thereby protect the adrenals from the imbalance of inputs to the hypothalamus that the free-radical damage would create.