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Adrenal Fatigue: Management and Treatment Options

Updated on December 21, 2016

Most of us give our adrenal glands no more importance than the insignificant trash can in the corner. However, just like a stuffed trash can is likely to turn into an eyesore sooner than you expect, overworked adrenal glands could lead to adrenal fatigue. Hence, dismissing your adrenals as tiny pea-sized glands is the most incorrect course to follow. Adrenal fatigue is a surmounting health problem today, although 8 out of 10 conventional physicians are bound to belittle the possibility of adrenal exhaustion.

Conventional medicine provides treatment for adrenal insufficiency but not adrenal fatigue, mainly because it is an evidence-based field. Your physician may see several symptoms of adrenal fatigue glaring at him, but as long as your blood investigations are normal you will be considered perfectly healthy. But, does a normal blood report provide relief from the numerous symptoms of adrenal fatigue? Certainly not!

Fortunately, similar to the treatment for adrenal insufficiency, there are certain treatment programs in place for its lesser counterpart, adrenal fatigue too. So, despite the indifference of your physician, you need not feel dismayed if you are a potential victim of adrenal fatigue. Luckily, you can reboot your adrenals by yourself without having to depend on pills and doctors. Dr. James L. Wilson, author of ‘Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Syndrome’ very correctly states the core of the adrenal exhaustion treatment: “There are no magic pills for your adrenal fatigue but there are certainly key lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements that will greatly facilitate your recovery.”

Hence, it is in your hands to take control of your adrenals and get better, mostly because the lifestyle choices you make on a day-to-day basis are likely to either exploit or support your adrenal glands. Chances are that you have been exploiting your adrenals for years, which has finally culminated in adrenal fatigue. Here’s a concise and simplified understanding of the adrenal fatigue treatment program in a nutshell.

Adrenal Exhaustion Treatment

Adrenal exhaustion treatment isn’t as overwhelming as its symptoms. A combination of dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, nutrient supplements, and herbal adrenal fatigue remedies is usually more than sufficient to recharge your adrenals.

Adrenal exhaustion treatment with lifestyle modifications

  • Get 8-10 hours of sleep daily. It’s the best form of rest you can give your adrenals.
  • De-stress. Avoid situations that may increase your stress levels. Organize your work and home schedule to avoid stress due to over-work or impending deadlines.
  • Learn to relax with meditation.
  • Avoid strenuous exercises to relieve the strain on your adrenal glands. Replace it with refreshing walks or other low intensity exercises in the open air like aerobics, yoga, tai chi, swimming, wind sprints, etc.
  • Quit smoking. Nicotine is likely to harm your adrenals.
  • Laugh a lot; it is the easiest and the best among the adrenal fatigue remedies. Laughing reduces your stress and relaxes all the mechanisms in your body.

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Dietary changes for adrenal exhaustion

We know that an automobile runs on fuel, similarly your body runs on food, and not just any food but healthy and wholesome food. For instance, a car that runs on petrol is likely to splutter and stop if you fill its tank with diesel. Hence, minding your diet is a significant aspect in the treatment for adrenal exhaustion.

  • Eating regular small meals often helps with adrenal fatigue. It’s also prudent to have your meals around the time when your cortisol levels are lower. Have your breakfast before 10.00 AM, Lunch around 11:00-11:30 AM, a snack at 3:00 PM, dinner at 6:00 PM, and a healthy snack before your bedtime.
  • Eat and drink organic food products as often as you can. Avoid toxins from processed and synthetic foods.
  • Have more of unrefined sea salt, as adrenal fatigue results in low aldosterone levels. Aldosterone monitors the salt in your body; hence adrenal fatigue is likely to lower the salt in your body. Interestingly, most individuals with adrenal fatigue tend to crave salt.
  • Have more of starchy and unrefined carbohydrates from vegetables and grains such as potatoes, millet, rice, wheat, beans, etc.
  • Proteins are excellent sources for boosting adrenal fatigue recovery through your diet. Consume more of organic eggs, lean meat, poultry, fish, soya beans, tofu, dairy products, and pulses.
  • Vegetables contain important nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants; hence make sure you get at least 5-6 servings of vegetables daily.
  • It’s good to watch your calories too, but remember that not all calories are bad. Hence, skip the refined and processed sugars and calories, and have more of essential fatty acids instead, as they are good for adrenal fatigue recovery. Load up on nuts, seeds, cheese, avocados, and dairy products. Use coconut, palm kernel, cocoa butter, butter, peanut, olive, sesame, sunflower, or avocado oil for cooking.
  • Avoid deep fried food as it contains unhealthy calories.
  • Avoid too many fruits and fruit juices, as they are rich in potassium and fructose that are likely to aggravate your adrenal fatigue.
  • Turn your back on caffeine, alcohol, and other addictive substances. They can burn your adrenals even further.
  • Replace your caffeine, cold drinks, and hot chocolate with green teas and herbal teas that contain plenty of antioxidants.

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Herbal adrenal fatigue remedies

Herbs can treat adrenal fatigue efficiently, but educate yourself about their individual side-effects and optimal doses before you take them.

  • Licorice root extract is believed to support adrenal function by monitoring the cortisol levels. Hence, licorice infused herbal tea is often useful in improving the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. However, you may need to watch your blood pressure as licorice is known to raise one’s blood pressure in addition to regulating the adrenals.
  • Indian ginseng is a natural adaptogen and tonic. It helps the body adapt to stress; hence lowering fatigue and weakness. It is used in adrenal exhuastion treatment programs frequently as it can also normalize cortisol levels in the body.
  • Ginger root is another useful adaptogen with positive results in adrenal exhaustion treatment, whereas ginkgo biloba leaf a powerful anti-oxidant helps get rid of free radicals to treat adrenal fatigue.

Supplements for adrenal exhaustion treatment

Vitamins are important players in bringing about the harmonious functioning of your body. Although, you are bound to get some of them from your food, it’s not always possible to get enough through your diet. Hence, an additional dose of vitamin C, Vitamin E, bioflavonoids, B complex vitamins, calcium, and magnesium through supplements is important in adrenal exhaustion treatment.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant within the adrenal glands and it is also used up in the process of adrenal steroid hormone production. Hence, adrenal fatigue treatment is incomplete without a good daily dose of vitamin C. The B complex vitamins behave much the same as vitamin C, and hence a little of all of them is necessary to heal your adrenals. On the other hand, vitamin E isn’t really required by your adrenals, but it is a powerful antioxidant that gets rid of the free radicals produced by the adrenals during the process of hormone production. Magnesium is your body’s natural powerhouse of energy; hence it’s important to get enough of it to keep your energy levels high and to keep your adrenals charged, whereas calcium works on your bones and nervous system. Hence, make sure you get enough of all of these nutrients to heal yourself.

Hormone replacement adrenal exhaustion therapy

Today the marketplace is cluttered with hormonal supplements for adrenal exhaustion treatment. However, not all of these may be genuine and safe. You need to choose wisely when it comes to hormonal supplements as they have the potential to do more harm than good if you aren’t careful. If possible, speak to a trusted physician about hormone supplements for adrenal fatigue. However, also remember that most of them are likely to help relieve the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion, as the root cause of adrenal fatigue is sluggish adrenals. Slow and stressed adrenal glands produce lower amounts of adrenal steroid hormones, which is why you end up feeling zapped, fatigued, groggy, and low all the time.

Some hormonal adrenal fatigue remedies you can pick from are DHEA, Progesterone, and Pregnenolone supplements. DHEA is a male hormone manufactured by the adrenals, and it plays a major role in the production of the male and female sex hormones, whereas progesterone and pregnenolone are manufactured within the adrenal cortex to help with the production of DHEA. It’s always prudent to verify such supplements with your doctor before you decide to take them.

Cortisol, adrenal cell extracts, and adrenal cortical extracts are often used in the treatment for adrenal insufficiency. On the same principle, some researchers recommend them for adrenal fatigue too. However, tread this path with caution as direct intake of these hormones can lead to an array of side-effects. Speak to a physician before you plan on undergoing any kind of hormone replacement therapy for adrenal fatigue.

Summary

All said and done, don’t let adrenal fatigue pull you down. It’s just a diagnosis after all, take control of your lifestyle and boost your adrenals to heal yourself. Most individuals suffering from adrenal fatigue feel better with dietary and lifestyle modifications alone. However, if they don’t seem enough for you, you can always depend on the benefits of herbs and nutritional supplements.

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