Who Else Wants Help For Adrenal Exhaustion? Adrenal Support For Adrenal Stress.

by Kalidasa on March 20, 2009

I covered 30 symptoms of adrenal fatigue in an earlier article, so I’ve been asked what to do to heal adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal stress is one of the biggest issues in peoples health that I have seen in my practice. It isn’t hard to bring them back up with proper care. The hard part for most people is the change in diet that is necessary.

There are different levels of what you can do for the adrenals. It depends on how bad things are, what you can afford — some of the better supplements are expensive, and what you are willing to do.

Adrenal dysfunction primarily comes from diet and emotional stress. We’ll start with diet.

Adrenal Dysfunction And Diet
The adrenals are the base line energy for the body. In Chinese medicine they call it kidney chi. They also say that cold food and drinks are hard on kidney chi and should be avoided.

One of the most important avoidance’s is processed foods which includes all forms of sugar (there are exceptions, I’ll talk about theme another time). Sugar includes honey, maple syrup, fructose, dried fruit, fruit juice, carrot juice, sweet fruits like red apples, oranges and bananas, and any other kinds of ‘natural sugar.’ The body metabolizes all of these sugars the same way it does white sugar. And, all put severe stress on the adrenals.

All processed foods like bread and noodles, even whole wheat or other alternate grains are also to be avoided. If grains are ground up they are processed and will metabolize in almost as bad a way as white sugar. It doesn’t matter if the original form was whole or not. White rice is also out unless you get the low glycemic kind. Thick whole oats are okay, but the steel cut ones aren’t.

If you’re really committed, you could give up grains all together. That will help a lot. This is really hard for most people to do, so only try this if you are really ready for something like that. Minimizing grains is another option. Eating boiled potatoes and sweet potatoes (not baked) can help you too feel full.

I’ve made it a life practice to not eat grains at all. I only eat animal protein, vegetables and a little fruit. This is called the paleolithic diet since that is what our most early ancestors ate. It is what our bodies evolved eating, and it’s what is best for optimum health.

Animal protein is essential to bringing up the adrenals. If you are vegetarian then things are going to be much harder to correct and will take much longer. I’ll write on how to do that if anyone wants me to.

Animal protein means fowl (chicken, turkey), eggs, fish and limited red meat like pork and beef. Different bodies can tolerate different types of animal protein, but that is a long discussion. Most body types do fine with fowl, eggs and fish, but rotate the types of fish you eat.

You can also use protein powders like whey and egg white protein. These are really good for when you are in a hurry.

It is stressful on the adrenals to go hungry, so it’s important to eat when your body asks for food. The problem happens an hour or so after hunger hits, when you stop feeling hungry. It’s an adrenal hormone that brings up the blood sugar causing you to not feel so hungry anymore.

Also, you should have animal protein every time you eat anything. The only exception might be if you were to have nuts as a snack to keep from being hungry. Almonds are the best as they are mostly fat, and the little bit of carbohydrate they have in them won’t cause a spike in the blood sugar. Cashews are not as good as they have a high carbohydrate content. Peanuts are not nuts, they are carbohydrate. They should only be eaten with protein.

Adrenal Supplements
Adrenal support in the form of supplement adrenal is a big subject. Here are three protocols with a little variation.

If your adrenals are in really bad shape you can take whole desiccated adrenal cortex, but only for a short time. Taking it for too long causes the adrenals to burn out even more. One an hour for five to seven days is one protocol that will kick start the adrenals. Stop taking it three or four hours before bed so you can sleep. You’ll feel pretty good in a day or two, but the adrenals are not yet in good shape. They need more nutrition to heal completely.

If you use the desiccated adrenal, take it for a few days, then switch to another protocol. I know this is repeating myself, but it’s important.

The cheapest nutrition is a few B vitamins and an amino acid. B6 is probably the most important one since most people in the world have a deficiency in it. The reason is that the body doesn’t have the necessary enzymes to convert B6 into its usable form. Red bell pepper has those enzymes if you juice or eat a lot of raw vegetables. About a half of a medium sized pepper a day is what it takes. The seeds are even higher in the enzymes. Otherwise, you can get pyrodoxyl 5 phosphate, or P5P. This is the enzyme activated form of B6. Five tablets a day with food in two doses is optimal. The ingredients on most will say either 50 or 34 mg, or something close to that. The numbers are the same, different parts are measured.

Two other B vitamins are pantothenic acid and niacinamide. The dossage is 300 mg per day with food, morning or evening, just pick the time you’d like to take it. Both usually come in 500 mg tablets, it’s okay to take the whole tablet.

Note: Be sure to get niacinamide and not niacin. The later causes a skin flush that is rather unpleasant and not necessary.

Vitamin C is also needed. 5000 mg a day. Break this one up into three or four doses, with food.

B12 is the final one. 400 to 600 mcg a day in two doses, also with food. Get the enzyme activated form if you can, it just works better.

The amino acid that helps the adrenals is found in mushrooms, so you can eat them raw or supplement with tyrosine. 500 mg in the morning will probably make you feel great.

These supplements are available in most health food stores for a reasonable price. You might not be able to find the adrenal cortex though. I use one from Standard Process called Whole Desiccated Adrenal. You can probably find it online even though it goes against Standard Process’s terms to sell over the internet, but people do it anyway.

The best supplements for the adrenals are from a company called Apex Energetics. It is against their terms to sell their products unless you are a licensed medical practitioner, but again, people do it anyway. Adrenastim and adrenacalm are the main ones. They are in a cream form which you apply topically. They come with a little spoon for measuring, a slightly rounded spoon full is a dose. In other words, not much. Apply it to an area where there isn’t any hair to impede absorption. Use the adrenastim twice a day, morning and around noon. It can keep you up at night, so avoid taking it too late. And, use adrenacalm three times a day.

If the adrenals are in pretty bad shape you will need adaptocrine. Four tablets a day in three doses if you can remember, two if you have trouble remembering to take supplement three times.

Another good protocol is herbal. I only use the highest quality herbs, and the only two companies that have good herbs that I know of are MediHerb and Kroeger Herbs. I’ve only used MediHerb, so I’ll give those dosages.

Use the liquid herbs from MediHerb, not only are they better, but they are more cost effective. Licorice root, the high grade, 4 ml per day, and Siberian Ginseng 11 ml per day. You can just mix them up and take them in two dosages on an empty stomach is best. This is for the first few weeks. After you feel better you will want to change the herbs, usually in four weeks or so.

Ashwaganda (withania) and Rehmannia are for when the adrinals are a little stronger but not yet fully healed. Mix the two with just a little more ashwaganda than rehmannia and take 15 ml per day, also on an empty stomach.

That’s the basics. There is a lot more to the subject, but you could easily get yourself back in decent shape in one to six weeks. Twelve weeks at the most. It all depends on age and how desperate the adrenals are.

Feel free to ask questions about this. Using the comment box with this post is the best as I’ll get those sooner than an email.

You can learn more about the adrenal glands from wikipedia.

{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

Kalidasa April 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm

@Stephanie, Whole desiccated adrenal should only be taken short term because it can overwhelm the adrenals. It should only be used to get them going when extremely exhausted. Also, it will have a similar effect on babies either when pregnant or nursing, so should be avoided. The next step after whole adrenal is to nourish the adrenals and give the body something to help it adapt to its stress. Drenamine has drenatrophine in it which tells the adrenals to rebuild — also not the best thing for babies either. Some nursing mothers might be able to take it right after a big feeding when the baby is expected to go down for a few hours. Even herbs that help adapt aren’t very good for babies. Taking b vitamins and extra pantothenic acid, niacin amide (has to be amide) and b12 with more vitamin C is a good protocol for nursing mothers. There’s more info in my adrenal fatigue book if you’d like.

Also, you are probably in fight or flight. I can clear this over the phone if you want.

I would worry too much about the T3 levels. They are at the top of normal and probably that way from the supplements you’re taking. You can go off them for a couple of days and retest to be sure, or not worry since you still have three tenths to go to be high.

No mater how you think your body is working with a particular food, pasta is not helping at all. In fact, it may be the primary problem. Try going off all wheat for three weeks then have some, that will convince you.

gloria May 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

I am 68 years old, very active, but the last 1-2 years I am constantly very tired and painful, I have trouble to sleep and at work I am terrible sleepy, I eat a lot of bread and pasta, I use stevia for my coffea, in the morning I run 6-7 miles, and I feel great, but when I reach home I feel so tired, almost like sickness, and the rest of the day is like that., I have most of the symptoms. mentioned above; I take B complex and some other supplements.My cholestrol is high, but the rest is normal, no hypert. or diabetes.My annual Physical is o.k. what do you think.?, I shall be grateful for your opinion. Thanks.

Kalidasa May 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

@gloria, You’d do well to eliminate the bread and pasta. Even at your age it sounds like your basic health is fairly good, though herbs and supplements will likely help a lot.

BLAZE May 29, 2012 at 3:50 am

hi there,
I have almost all of the symptoms described above i also suffer from celiac disease – i am in my mid twenties normally in good health but since have been exhausted and then unable to sleep and gaining weight rapidly for no reason as my eating and exercise has stayed the same.
I have cut all refined sugar out of my diet and do not eat gluten anyway.
I washing you could recommend some supplements that could help me level out my cortisol levels and help recharge my adrenals as i have heard that some supplements recommended for the adrenals may do the opposite effect.

Azura May 30, 2012 at 9:45 am

What do you recommend protein-wise for a vegetarian diet, and why do you see animal protein as being so essential?

Kalidasa May 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm

@Azura, I need to write an article on the subject. Our ancestors ate a diet that was 90% animal protein, so most of us need at least some on a regular basis. Whey and egg white protein is agreeable with some vegetarians. Two extra strength bromaline capsules with each meal makes the amino acids more available. Eating nuts is another possibility.

Kalidasa May 31, 2012 at 8:47 am

@Blaze, There are several things going on here. Adrenal fatigue is very likely as you suspect. AF often includes complications like leaky gut and liver detoxification issues. That is, the liver doesn’t detox estrogens correctly so they stick around doing one of the things they do best, cause the deposition of fat. I’m working on a book about this. This article on liver detoxification has some info on the subject.

Dianna Hine June 1, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I have every symptom of adrenal fatigue. I have always been very healthy but have always had PTSD. I’ve also had low T-3 and been on Armour for about 20 years. I began to feel fatigued 2 years ago after my gallbladder was removed, which I hear is not uncommon. I was still nauseous and found my stomach was paralyzed, Gastroparesis. The two diets are opposite, one high fiber the other baby food. During the year I felt sick I lost a lot of weight and now am gaining it back quickly though I eat around 1200 calories. Also, I found out I have high levels of lead and uranium in my system. I may have to chelate it with EDTA. Since I worked with horses my friend thinks I might have Lyme Disease. I’ve been treating the adrenal fatigue with many of the supplements you recommend and more, Dr. Wilson’s products, 2 Priority One products, and Cortisol Manager at night (Integrative Therapeutics). I’m still very fatigued. I feel very confused. How do I put this all together? Is goat yogurt OK? There is very little I can eat though I do follow your diet. Help?

B@web June 24, 2012 at 5:52 am

As you have said “If you are vegetarian then things are going to be much harder to correct and will take much longer. I’ll write on how to do that if anyone wants me to.”
Can you please consider writing on what should a vegetarian do here ? I am a pure vegetarian (no eggs even) and have been suffering from Adrenal Fatigue for more than 3 years now.

Kalidasa June 24, 2012 at 6:07 am

Dianna, your case is more complex than most. Clearing the metals is a high priority. Chlorella is a good method for what you have. Fulvic acid is less expensive and not as powerful, but could be a big help Sweating helps too. Clearing metals is the first step in clearing Lyme’s too. I’m not sure what to think about your stomach, but there is likely a strong fight or flight reaction that needs to be cleared. I can do that over the phone if you like.

Kalidasa June 24, 2012 at 6:09 am

B@web, I just posted this article on vegetarian health. It is only going to help though, not a complete cure. There are vegetarian herbs and supplemnents that will help even more, that info is in articles on my site and in my adrenal fatigue book.

Emily July 3, 2012 at 6:12 am

Hello,
I contracted glandular fever back in 2008. Since then, I have suffered with incredible chronic fatigue-like symptoms which seem to worsen continuously. Last year my IBS symptoms also came bounding into the situation, and these issues seem to worsen all the time also. I have also been told that I am pre-diabetic, that my hormones are imbalanced, that I’m low in almost every vitamin and mineral, that my liver is very congested, etc etc… I’m a vegetarian, and have been since I was 10 (no white meat or fish either), and blood type A.
I’ve seen two naturopaths in the past two years as well as a holistic doctor. I have tried herbs, natural medicines, diets (no carbs/no sugars, then no gluten/dairy/sugar), medication, adrenal support formulas…the list goes on.
I am tired and uncomfortable all of the time, and NOTHING has made a difference for me. My condition continues to worsen it seems. After struggling for all of these years, I am now finding the fatigue and tummy troubles unbearable.
I’m going to bring up this blog with my naturopath when I see her this weekend, and fingers crossed she can set me on the path mentioned above (and fingers extra crossed that it can help me!). I’d love to know if you have any further advice for me at all?
Thanks in advance (and thank you so much for this blog post!),
Emily

Kalidasa July 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Emily, There’s actually a better protocol in this article on adrenal supplements.

Also, it’s taken a long time to get where you are. There are several issues you have to deal with. Almost definitely you’re allergic to supplements, and are in fight or flight. Being vegetarian doesn’t help though there are things you can do to help with that — much better if you eat some animal protein, suggestions in the article.

B@web August 20, 2012 at 4:58 am

I have started on a regimen to cure my Adrenal Fatigue using the supplementation protocol 2 months back.( I stay in India where no practitioners knowledgeable in Adrenal fatigue even exist, hence it has been a long struggle to understand what this disorder is about and how to even think of treating it). Have had to fall back on myself and have read on the Internet a lot about how to use nutrition and supplements to help on the path to recovery. Have made some good 20-30% progress.
I have few comments/suggestions on your supplementation protocol:
(i) taking Pantothenic Acid in dose of 300 or 500 mg causes me a late-night insomnia (even when taken in morning). I wake up around 4 am feeling with a heavy and forceful head and a heavily confused state in my head (as if over-stimulated by drugs).
With experimentation, found that around 150-200 mg is the max does I take currently without triggering this early a.m. bewilderment. Don’t know what to do.
(ii) I am also taking CoQ10 since I read some practitioners advise it for mitochondrial ATP energy production. Am only taking 50 mg currently (it is expensive) but may need to setup the dosage.
(iii) Many also advise taking Magnesium as a “must’ for restoring the energy levels found in fatigue and helping Adrenal glands. I have recently bought Magnesium malate but am not sure how to start using it.
— Can you pl. share your views on the above 3 items ? Thanks in advance!

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