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 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.