Have you been feeling “tired of being tired?” I hear this often from my patients and it turns out that they are not alone in this feeling. That’s because 80% of the US population suffers from adrenal fatigue at some point in their life yet most are unaware of the problem.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue happens when we allow our day-to-day stressors to spiral out of control, influencing and even taking control of our lives. If you don’t know how to deal with stress, the result can be imbalances in your body, mind, and spirit.
Adrenal fatigue is also associated with adrenal insufficiency. The red flags are many and you can experience multiple symptoms at the same time. 
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms:
- Weight gain, especially in waist or stomach
- Fatigue, lack of energy, lethargy
- Brain fog
- Mental fatigue
- Morning sluggishness ~ feeling a need for stimulants to get you moving
- Gluten intolerance
- Dry skin and hair
- Pain in upper back and neck 
- Unexplained hair loss
- Cold hands and feet ~ or just plain feeling cold
- Allergic reactions/sensitivities to both inhalants and food
- Reduced libido
- Sweet or salty food cravings
What happens when your body becomes stressed?
Your adrenal glands are located directly above the kidneys, in your back right above your waist. In this tiny gland is the most abundant hormone in your body – DHEA. DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone is made by the adrenal glands and is then converted to androgens, estrogens and other hormones that regulate aging, fat and mineral metabolism, sexual and reproductive function, and energy levels.
Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” because of its connection to the stress response and is also found in your adrenal glands.
When you are stressed, your cortisol shoots up to accommodate for the demand put on your adrenals. This is known as the “fight or flight” response and it can be beneficial when we are in a life or death situation or temporary trauma. But when life becomes a continuous stream of fight and flight events, we can easily develop adrenal fatigue.
Because of continuous stress, cortisol remains elevated and the symptoms begin. It is very likely that at the same time DHEA is declining, and if you are age 40 or older, it is doing so naturally. We know that hormones do decline with age, but if we are stressed they will decline more rapidly and age you faster both internally and externally. The result of low DHEA can leave you feeling in a state of constant fatigue or even worst, chronic fatigue or which is more severe.
Why is cortisol so important?
1. Blood sugar normalizer – Continuously increased blood sugar levels due to stress create an imbalance which can lead to multiple physical disorders including diabetes. 
2. Anti-inflammatory – Cortisol is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. When trauma happens to our body the cortisol is released to reduce the swelling and repair the injury, but constant trauma can also overwhelm the body with too much cortisol having a negative effect and cause systemic inflammation.
3. Immune system supporter – Chronic high levels of cortisol suppresses the immune system causing more susceptibility to illness, especially to viruses.
4. Stress balancer ~ Cortisol can help to balance your stress reactions, but if stress becomes chronic then it can no longer maintain the balance. The result can be putting on weight that is difficult to lose, high blood pressure, estrogen dominance that can lead to uterine fibroids and even breast cancer, and much more. 
Natural Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue
When I suspect adrenal fatigue, here are 10 steps I suggest my patients take to get control:
1. Get tested
There are simple tests you can get that measure your cortisol and DHEA levels. The results of these tests can be a good indicator of adrenal fatigue and if your adrenal cortex is out of whack. The best test to measure your cortisol patterns is a 24-hour salivary cortisol test in lieu of a stand blood test. 
2. Adopt a healthier lifestyle
Realize that you may be able to “fix” your adrenal problem temporarily by making some lifestyle changes, but if you don’t release the negative emotions that are underlying your stress, it will simply come back again. A healthier lifestyle can make you feel better physically and mentally.
3. Lower Stress
Remember that no matter what is going on in your life, the key is always to look at how you respond to stress so that you can slowly reduce the negative effects. Living stress-free is really possible, most of the time.
4. Get enough sleep!
Insomnia often accompanies adrenal fatigue and you need 8-10 hours or more for healing your adrenals. In fact, the ultimate timing for adrenal repair is from 11pm-1am so getting to bed late, is only making the problem worse. It is also a good idea to avoid TV and computers screens, and cell phones at least 1-2 hours before bedtime. Be aware that many people get a second cortisol surge after 11pm which further disrupts sleep patterns.
5. Adrenal Fatigue Diet
Change your diet – It is essential to clean your liver and digest your food well to heal your adrenals. It is also a good idea to consider a detox program to hit the reset button and stick to these tips:
- Eliminate sugar, caffeine, and alcohol
- Avoid excessive carbohydrates especially foods containing white flour
- Ditch processed foods from cans, packages and processed meats
- Steer clear of foods with additives, preservatives, and GMOs
- Include a high plant-based diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Add high-protein foods to your daily diet
- Include healthy fats such as wild caught fish, and raw nuts and seeds
- Add Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to your diet (the adrenals love salt!)
- Focus on hydration like pure filtered water throughout the day
6. Herbs for adrenal fatigue
Herbs such as licorice root, ashwagandha, and Rhodiola rosea have apoptogenic abilities to help balance and stimulate the adrenals. These herbs have been known to improve energy and help you cope with stress. You can easily include these herbs in your diet by drinking 1-2 cups of herbal tea in the morning. You can also consider taking a dietary supplement such as Adrenatone™ that includes a synergistic combination of these herbs and other nutrients specific for adrenal support. [6, 7]
7. Practice slow exercise
Participate in a yoga, tai chi and/or a meditation practice. Both can modulate cortisol and even lower it substantially over time. Moderate gentle forms of exercise are better for repairing adrenal fatigue over overexerting yourself with aggressive exercises. Try not exercise too close to bedtime and a good rule of thumb is to stop if you feel tired. Don’t forget to breathe!
8. Soothe the Senses
Essential oils can be extremely helpful to calm and soothe your mind from daily life’s stressors. There are many choices available such as lavender, rosemary or lemon balm. Many of these oils have been shown to reduce cortisol levels and oxidative stress on cells caused by stress. Try inhaling these oils whenever you need to take it down a notch.
9. Set boundaries
Practice self-care by avoiding the stress of taking on any unnecessary extra responsibilities and problems. Consider some me-time on a regular basis and try to do something you enjoy every day.
10. Get support
Don’t be afraid to seek the necessary support for psychological stress from family, friends, or counselors. Time spent with family and friends is not only a means of support but can also provide laughter and fun which can help reduce your stress levels.
Adrenal Support Supplements
Your adrenals not only respond to reducing stress and changing your diet but also to specific supplements that can support and heal them.
Some of the top ones I recommend to my patients can truly make a difference.
Because DHEA decreases with age, this may be one supplement you want to consider especially if you are experiencing chronic fatigue or adrenal insufficiency. It is a good idea to have your DHEA levels first checked by your doctor to get a baseline of your levels and have it routinely checked after supplementing with DHEA. This is one supplement you shouldn’t take in excessive amounts as it is a powerful hormone and can upset the hormonal balance of other hormones in your body if taken without professional supervision.
CatecholaCalm™ is a unique formulation designed to support your adrenals by promoting healthy catecholamine levels with adaptogen herbs and nutrients that may help mood and promote calmness and relaxation. It includes soothing herbs like valerian root, passion flower, lemon balm and ashwagandha and vitamin C.
StressArrest™ is a uniquely formulated product designed for the relief of occasional simple nervous tension and to support a calm response to stress. It contains GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a principal neurotransmitter in the brain and central nervous system involved in a calm response to stress. It influences the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the relaxation response, as opposed to the “fight or flight” feelings of agitation and anxiety.
Magnesium is often overlooked but I consider it a key nutrient that helps regulate the body’s stress response by activating over 300 enzymes in the body involved in catecholamine production, muscle relaxation, energy production and much more.
Stress accelerates the loss of magnesium, whether the stress is physical, emotional, dietary or environmental. Add this to that the fact that most people get less than the RDA of magnesium in their diet, and it is easy to see why so many can benefit from magnesium supplementation.
Magnesium bisglycinate chelate is one of the most absorbable forms of magnesium so a good daily supplement to add to your diet is Magnesium Chelate Powder.
Adrenal fatigue can affect every part of your body and every aspect of your life. I am here to help you find the answers to healing your adrenals. CONTACT me today and let’s get started on toning it down with an adrenal reset program and lifestyle changes needed for a calmer you.
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2. Chronic stress, cortisol dysfunction, and pain: a psychoneuroendocrine rationale for stress management in pain rehabilitation.
3. Endocrine stress responses and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
4. Stress, An in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of stress.
5. Salivary cortisol as an indicator of physiological stress in children and adults; a systematic review.
6. LICORICE root.
7. Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy.