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4 Essential Ways to Stop Adrenal Fatigue

September 18, 2012

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You can barely drag yourself out of bed each morning, yet you have trouble going to sleep at night. Maybe you need coffee in the morning and crave sweets around 3pm for a pick me up. And you feel like you are on a treadmill, running from school to work to errands to home, never getting a break.

Sound familiar? You may be burning out your adrenals.

Adrenal fatigue is a collection of symptoms that arise when the adrenals are unable to produce enough of these stress-coping hormones. You might be suffering from adrenal fatigue if you have trouble waking up in the morning, rely on caffeine and sugar to keep you going, and generally feel unwell. 

Why are adrenals important?

The adrenals help regulate stress, whether physical, emotional, or psychological. Adrenals release hormones that regulate energy production and storage, immune function and inflammatory response, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with stress.

When your adrenals burn out, you’re more susceptible to headaches, overall weakness, colds, allergies, and respiratory infections, weight gain, lower sex drive, reduced concentration, and difficulties in relationships at work or at home. Adrenal fatigue has also been linked to autoimmune disorders, diabetes, post traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism and drug abuse.

How can you heal your adrenal functioning? Here are 4 essential ways to stop adrenal fatigue:

1. Breathe: This is the simplest and most profound change you can make to relax even when life is at its most hectic. Commit to a regular practice of diaphragmatic breathing. Start by scheduling time into your calendar to breathe – even if it’s just 5 minutes every afternoon – and make sure to stick with your appointments. Visiting teacher Dr. Andrew Weil emphasizes breathing in his programs.

2. Be grateful: An attitude of gratitude melts away stress. Being thankful for everything that you have in your life will help you stay positive and feel good. If you need structure, keep a daily gratitude journal – writing down what you’re grateful for takes just 10 minutes and can increase your overall well-being significantly!

3. Add supplemental support: Adaptogens are herbs that help the body adapt to stress by fine tuning the stress response. You should work with an herbalist to find the right formula for you. Some herbs that your herbalist may recommend include Withania and Rhodiola (for worries) Siberian ginseng (supports female fatigue), Panax ginseng and Astragulus (for extreme exhaustion), and dandelion leaves (for fluid retention).

Because stressed systems tend to lose a lot of nutrients, adrenals also fare well when supported by vitamin B and vitamin C. Make sure to find a high-quality supplement.

Remember, supplements are not a replacement for a poor diet. Of course, you want to make sure that you’re eating high quality foods that you’d recognize in nature.

4. Eat well: Reduce or eliminate caffeine and sugar. If you’re relying on them, it may be painful at first to take these out of your diet. But in the long run, you’ll feel much better and your adrenals will thank you for it, too.

You can reduce caffeine by cutting back gradually: make your morning cup of coffee half-decaf until you can go all decaf or cut back to tea. Add sweet vegetables to your menu – like cooked carrots, onions, parsnips, and butternut squash – to wean yourself off sugar. It may be tough at first, but your energy levels will soar!

What are your favorite stress-busting methods?