How Do You Treat Adrenal Fatigue? Here Are 11 Great Ways
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and perpetually exhausted? Friend, you’re not alone.
We live in a nonstop world that is unfortunately a prime environment for stress and exhaustion. If what you’re experiencing feels more powerful than an occasional moment of stress, you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue.
Fortunately, there are ways to treat adrenal fatigue naturally and get on the road to better health. But before we dive into that, we have to learn a few things about the basics of adrenal fatigue. Below are some details you’ll need to know.
What are the adrenal glands?
You have two adrenal glands, and they sit on top of your kidneys. They’re responsible for creating important hormones like cortisol, aldosterone, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. The adrenals are made up of two sections, the adrenal cortex and the adrenal medulla, which each produce different hormones.
The hormones created by your adrenals carry out all kinds of important functions, some of which include maintaining your metabolism, managing inflammation, and releasing the “fight or flight” response.
When adrenal glands don’t produce enough of the hormones you need, you may develop Addison’s disease, also known as adrenal insufficiency. Addison’s disease is marked by symptoms like weight loss, darkening of the skin, exhaustion, low blood pressure, cravings for salt, and other issues. Adrenals can also develop nodes, which can either be benign or cancerous. This can lead to an overproduction of hormones.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Considering that the adrenals produce adrenaline and cortisol (though they also play many other important roles), it might not be surprising that they’re associated with this stress-related issue. When you’re under prolonged extreme stress, the adrenals become tired and overworked.
Adrenal fatigue is said to occur when the adrenals glands are exhausted by this. The term adrenal fatigue was first used by chiropractor James Wilson in the late ‘90s. Since then, as concerns about stress and burnout have grown, the term has become widely used.
What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue can be hard to notice at first, because its symptoms are vague and can easily be associated with other health issues. Below are a few of the symptoms you might experience:
- Weight Changes
- High Levels Of Cortisol
- Loss Of Body Hair
- Brain Fog
- Trouble Concentrating
Could these symptoms be caused by anything else?
Definitely. That’s one of the factors that can make it difficult to detect issues with the adrenals. These same symptoms could also be signs of health issues like heart problems, lung problems, kidney disease, mental health issues, sleep apnea, or many other ailments.
It’s important to see a doctor and to be evaluated for other potential issues, as early detection for any health problem tends to be ideal. However, keep in mind that adrenal fatigue isn’t going to show up on many typical tests, and even if you’re diagnosed with another issue, you may also be experiencing adrenal problems.
What is the main cause of adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is often sparked by the same triggers associated with burnout. It tends to happen when you’re exposed to stress, exhaustion, and/or anxiety for long periods of time. You’re that much more likely to develop adrenal fatigue if you’re experiencing a particularly busy time in your life, like new parenthood, studying for a degree, family issues, or a high-pressure job.
How To Treat Adrenal Fatigue
Ready to start tackling your adrenal fatigue? Below are some healthy steps you can take to get on the right track.
1. Decrease your caffeine intake
Caffeine may feel like the one crutch available to help with the exhaustion you feel, but cutting back is a more beneficial move in the long run. Caffeine can impact your body’s natural sleep patterns, and that can make it that much harder for you to heal. Limit your caffeine intake to a small amount, and only ingest it in the mornings.
2. Avoid carbs and sugar
Sugar, artificial sweeteners, and high-fructose corn syrup are all worth decreasing in your daily diet. Sugar and simple carbohydrates can both cause inflammation or energy issues. You’ll also want to consider avoiding white flour foods, like white rice, bread, and crackers.
3. Eat more vegetables, protein, and healthy fats
Consuming lots of foods that are rich in nutrients are an excellent way to help your adrenals in their healing process. Cruciferous veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower, are a great way to start. You’ll also want to incorporate avocado, seaweed, wild salmon, olives, and free-range poultry. Make time to enjoy nuts and seeds, like walnuts, almonds, and chia, as well.
If you’re looking for even more healthy foods, try adding oysters, organic turkey, and ethically raised organ meats to your diet.
4. Improve your sleep schedule whenever possible
First off, it’s important to do your best to ignore our culture’s tendency to treat sleep deprivation like a badge of honor. Your body is built to need rest, and there is nothing wrong with providing it with the sleep it requires. In fact, giving your body the sleep it needs is a vital key to living a healthy and happy life. Aim to get at least eight hours of sleep each night, and try to get to sleep before midnight.
5. Be kind to yourself
Adrenal fatigue often goes hand in hand with self-negativity. Do your best to treat yourself with kindness and practice positive self-talk. Not only will this take some of the edge of the stress and tiredness you’re feeling, but it may also help improve your healing process. What you say to yourself matters!
6. Consider cutting out gluten
You may want to temporarily cut gluten from your diet as something of an experiment, to see if this makes an impact on your symptoms. You may have a gluten sensitivity that previous went unrecognized, and if so, it could be contributing to the drain on your adrenals.
7. Make sure you’re getting the vitamins you need
Several vitamins and supplements may help your adrenals get back on track. Fish oil can help improve focus, inflammation, and mood issues. Magnesium can help boost your adrenals’ function, and vitamin C can help reduce the stress that might go along with your adrenal fatigue. You’ll also want to aim for vitamin D and B vitamins.
8. Quit smoking
If you’re a smoker (and yes, e-cigarettes count), consider quitting as soon as possible. It’s not easy, but the health benefits of quit are tough to overstate. Not only can it will help ease your adrenal fatigue, but quitting can drastically decrease your risk of major health issues throughout the course of your life.
The longer you go without smoking, the more risk factor you can say goodbye to when it comes to heart issues, lung cancer, emphysema, throat cancer, and all kinds of other health issues.
9. Try yoga or other relaxation rituals
Stress is a major factor in adrenal fatigue, and yoga can be a great way to move your body and unwind. If yoga doesn’t click for you, seek out similar activities and rituals that can help you find your sense of calm.
10. Reduce stress in any way you can
It may not be as simple as just snapping your fingers and telling your stress to disappear, but building healthy coping mechanisms and positive habits can help you feel less negatively impacted by stress over time. Consider meditation, mindfulness exercises, nature walks, or talks with a counselor to help find your best stress-busting routine.
You’ll also want to practice saying no to obligations that just don’t resonate with you anymore. “Busy” is not the same thing as “important,” so don’t feel like you have to jam pack your schedule each day.
11. Get outside!
Not only is spending time outdoors good for managing stress, but it’s important to get that aforementioned vitamin D and soak up the sun. (Wear sunscreen, of course!)
Above all, have patience with yourself
Your body will take time to properly heal. It is normal and natural for your adrenals to take several months to even years to get fully back on track. Take note of this from the start so that you’re not tempted to be cruel to yourself or think something is wrong with your body. Healing takes time, and that’s okay. Keep at it, because you deserve to feel better.
Sometimes, healing from adrenal fatigue can be a lesson in better understanding yourself and your body’s needs. Get to know what makes you feel good and what doesn’t, and practice advocating for your body’s needs by not stretching yourself too thin. Take things one step at a time as you slowly kick adrenal fatigue to the curb.