To start, not to imply that any of you are dummies by any means, but adrenal fatigue can be rather confusing. Some of us nutrition nerd types are all about understanding the exact scientific information that involves the adrenal glands, but we're just special in our own way, we're not the norm. Let's assume that you have no idea what your adrenals are. Let's start from the very beginning, the smallest bit of information that has the most impact. Let's talk about a tiny gland that is the size of a grape that lives above our kidneys. They are these tiny fragile things that are responsible for one of THE most important functions in the body. Stress! Good stress or bad stress, the adrenals are the reason we have a stress response (adrenaline). Imagine a temper mental friend that lives up stairs, one that their entire existence revolves around the happenings of the day and their mood dictates EVERYTHING. Well that is the life of your adrenal glands in a nut shell.
Now that you know what your adrenals are, let me go a step further to tell you how your stress button (cortisol) directly affects your metabolism, sleep, energy, libido, and immune system.
Can you believe that these tiny little glands can ruin your sleep, take away your energy, destroy your sex life and get you sick all of the time. I'm sure you're thinking, what am I doing, these glands are not good. On the contrary, these glands can make all of those categories into the best they have ever been, but we need to love our adrenals, we need to baby them.
Let me tell you my story.
About a year ago I had a debilitating fear of flying, horrible anxiety, paranoia, and suicidal depression. Not to be a huge downer here, but this was my life, it was hard to even ride in car with people without thinking I was going to die. Not everyone has these symptoms, some of you have a few or all and of different variations. Side note, ever since I was young I have hated prescriptions, literally hated. My mother always says don't use that word unless you mean it and in this case I do. I have vivid memories of spitting out countless prescribed chemical elixers, but we'll save that story for another day. Anyway, even with these horrible daily battles I never gave into medication no matter how much it affected my life. So I went off in search of a natural cure, a way that food or herbs could heal me, I wanted to get my life back, I wanted to be whole again.
At the time despite my condition I was very fortunate to not only be in school to become an NTP, but, I also was a buyer for a natural foods grocer and had access to holistic herbs and organic food. It seemed as though It was meant to be so that I could be here to give you the proper advice on how to get back to feeling great, back to yourself, back to who you really want to be.
More recently I work with men and women that are trying to decrease their intake of prescriptions and deal with the result of an unhealthy lifestyle that has caused, weight gain, interrupted sleep, thyroid disorders, diabetes, failed libido, ect. After all of them have taken the hormone saliva test to see how their adrenals are functioning, more than 90% have adrenal fatigue. This can't be coincidence, this has to be an epidemic, rendering the adrenals a HUGE topic to discuss.
SO if you have ANY of the following lets get you on a new regiment, a new way to exist, off the meds, away from the negativity, and on a path to a revitalized you!
Adrenal fatigue symptoms:
Difficulty getting up in the morning
Continuing fatigue not relieved by sleep
Craving for salty foods
Decreased sex drive
Decreased ability to handle stress
Takes too long to get over colds or heal an injury
Light headed when standing up quickly
Less enjoyment or happiness with life
Agitation or anger before meals
Feel energized at night and better after evening meals
Possible disorders from long term adrenal fatigue:
Wow who would have thought that these tiny glads could be responsible for so much?! Who wants to know how to make it better? I certainly would if I didn't even know that this was the answer to everything I was going through. That these simple ity bity little glands could make huge complex issues in my body. That these glands can and would change my very existence, and make me feel like I was crazy, and that no one understood.
Here are the top ten things to do to support your adrenals and fight off fatigue:
1. Sleep 8 hours a night or more if your body needs to catch up
2. Eat foods with enough B vitamins and natural Amino Acids like Buffalo, Liver, Grass Fed Beef, and Grass Fed Raw milk, butter, and cheeses
3. Increase your saturated Fats like Coconut oil, Tallow, or Red Palm oil
4. Get enough exercise, not too much, alot of athletes suffer from adrenal fatigue and develop issues like splints, plantar faciitis, lung ect... Proper exercise should be 60 min weight or cardio with 30 min stretch and relaxation 4-5 days a week, always take a rest day.
5. Sea Salt, yes salt, but it must be fresh unrefined and have mineral properties in it. One pinch a day keeps your blood sodium levels balanced.
6. Holy Basil- this ancient Indian Aruveydic herb helps to calm and support the adrenal glands, you can drink the tea or take herbal supplements.
7. Laugh- positive emotions don't over use cortisol
8. Eat at the proper times: Breakfast within and hour of waking, lunch five hours later, dinner five hours later, snacking in between makes the liver go into overdrive and disrupts cortisol production. Don't wait longer than five hours or else fatigue gets worse and hypoglycemia sets in.
9. Walk in the grass barefoot first thing in the morning. Earthing has been used to blance adrenals since the beginning of time.
10. Don't over do sugar or starches, even ancient grains can throw you off. Eat a balanced diet with protein, veggies, little bits of fruit and limited starches, NO SUGAR!