Before we dig deep into how you can heal your adrenal glands naturally, let’s quickly go through what can cause adrenal fatigue in the first place.
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?
-Stressful experiences like death of loved one, divorce or surgery
-Exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
-Prolonged stress due to financial hardship, bad relationships or work environment, and other conditions that entail feelings of helplessness
-Negative thinking and emotional trauma
-Lack of sleep
-Poor diet (including crash diets and inconsistent nutrition) and lack of exercise
-Reliance on stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks
So how can you heal your adrenal glands and get them back to normal function naturally?
– Caffeine: This can interfere with your sleep cycle and make it hard for your adrenals to recover. If you must drink coffee or a caffeinated beverage, then have a limited amount in the morning before noon. I would highly recommend lowering your caffeine intake to 1 per week over time if you need to. Try to drink herbal or green tea instead.
– Sugar and sweeteners: Includes avoiding high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners as well. Avoid sugary foods, cereals, candy, sweets, etc. Be aware that sugar is an additive in many breads, condiments and dressings. Try to avoid as much extra sugar as possible. Seek the benefits of stevia as an alternative, and always moderate your use of sweeteners of any kind.
– Processed and microwaved foods: First of all, the microwave has its own dangers, but additionally, most microwaveable, ultra-processed foods have many preservatives and fillers that are hard to digest and wear out your body’s energy and digestion cycle. Try to buy food on the outer walls of your grocery store and prepare your own food whenever possible.
– Processed meats and dairy: An overload of protein can stress your hormones more than you might think, and the added hormones and lacking nutrition in conventional, processed meats (particularly red meats like beef and steak) can throw your system out-of-whack in quick succession. We usually consume way too much animal products in our diet these days which are all the cause of the most deadliest diseases known to human such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Eat these protein-heavy meats only in moderation.
– Hydrogenated oils: Vegetable oils like soybean, canola and corn oil are highly inflammatory and can lead to adrenal inflammation. Try to only use good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil.
Next, you want to add nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest and have healing qualities. Some of the top superfoods for adrenal health include:
– Avocado and other healthy fats
– Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
– Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
– Seeds, such as pumpkin, chia and flax
– Kelp and seaweed
– Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
– Fermented foods rich in probiotics
– Chaga and cordyceps medicinal mushrooms
– Whole grain gluten-free carbs.
A strict no-carb diet can stress the body even more, worsening adrenal burnout. Of course, I’m not saying please go and eat cookies and cakes, but rather quinoa, lentils and buckwheat.
2. Herbs and Supplements.
– Adaptogenic herbs ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, schisandra and holy basil: Research indicates that adaptogen herbs may help to lower cortisol levels and mediate stress responses within the body. By using these herbs in food preparation, you can alleviate some of the strain on your adrenal glands
– Licorice root: This spice is available in extract form and helps to increase the DHEA in your body. Licorice root is associated with some side effects and may sometimes be avoided by taking DGL licorice. Pregnant women and those with heart, liver or kidney problems should avoid licorice root. Don’t take it for more than four weeks at a time.
– Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA): There are a large number of benefits of increasing your omega 3 fatty acids intake through natural sources such as chia seeds, flaxeeds/linseeds and hemp seeds. Several of these include counteracting a number of adrenal fatigue-related symptoms and complications, such as diabetes, mental dysfunction, arthritis, immune system function, skin issues, weight gain and anxiety/depression.
– Magnesium: For some time, magnesium has been understood as one of the necessary nutrients for fighting adrenal insufficiency, While the mechanisms of this aren’t fully understood, you may benefit from supplementing with magnesium if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue.
– B-Complex vitamins: Research has found that vitamin B12 deficiency may be associated with stress on the adrenal cortex in some animals. Vitamin B5 is another commonly deficient vitamin in people with adrenal stress. It may serve you well to take a high-quality B-complex vitamin supplement.
– Vitamin C: Known as a “stress-busting” nutrient, vitamin C has been found to minimize the effects of stress on people as well as reduce the time necessary to bounce back from stressful events.
– Vitamin D: In addition to maintaining homeostasis between magnesium and phosphorus in the body and supporting strong bones, Vitamin D has also more recently been seen to have impact on other conditions, including adrenal dysfunction and disease.
– Selenium: At least one animal study has found that selenium deficiency can negatively impact adrenal function.
– Lavender oil: Human and animal studies show that lavender essential oil has a calming effect that can reduce stress. Research also suggests that it may lower high cortisol levels when inhaled.
– Rosemary oil: Rosemary essential oil (along with lavender) can help to decrease cortisol concentrations and reduce oxidative stress on cells.
I always recommend using whole-food-based supplements from reputable companies and using only 100 percent, therapeutic grade, Certified Organic essential oils. Make sure you trust what you’re purchasing.
***Check out a tea recipe at the end of this blog and a link to buying a premade tea to enjoy for adrenal fatigue.***
3. Other things you must pay attention to:
– Go to bed early.
Getting to bed before 10-11pm is a must in any stage of adrenal fatigue. Many people get a second cortisol surge after 11pm, which further disrupts sleep patterns.
– Focus on hydration.
Dehydration is also a hallmark of adrenal fatigue. You can take a multi trace mineral supplement so more water is absorbed into your cells. You can also add fresh lemon juice or Himalayan sea salt to your water instead.
– Build rest into the day.
Practise Iyengar Yoga at least 2 x week and take two 20-minute rest breaks a day (time outs alone to breathe and restore).
– Change your perspective.
Is your definition of success killing you? In many cases, what you perceive as success is driving you into adrenal overload. Try to internalize the idea that “it” doesn’t have to be perfect to be great.
In some cases hormone therapy can be helpful, and if someone has an autoimmune disease called Addison’s, it can be necessary. But for most people who live their way into stage 1, 2 or 3 adrenal fatigue, it’s just a matter of living their way right back out of it and into balance with their bodies.
***Adrenal Support Tea link***
Rest and Relax Tea
***Adrenal Support Tea Recipe***
Cacao Orange Rejuvenator
1/2 tsp ginseng root
1 tsp roasted chicory root
1/2 tsp orange peel
1/2 tsp licorice root
1 pinch per cup cacao powder
1 drop per cup orange essential oil
This will serve 2–3 cups of rich and rejuvenating tea.
1. Put the ginseng in a pan with a lid. Add 7 ounces cold water and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes. Add the roasted chicory root, orange peel, and licorice root to the pan along with 14 ounces freshly boiled filtered water. Leave to steep for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cups by adding cacao powder to each one.
2. Once the tea has steeped, strain and pour it onto the cacao powder in the cups. Whisk and finish each with a drop of orange essential oil. (If you’re short on time, you can skip simmering the ginseng or leave it out.)