Are you exhausted? Fatigued? Overwhelmed? Anxious? Moody? Depressed ? Wired and tired at night? Are you getting sick all the time or constant hay fever or allergies ?
If you have any of these symptoms, fatigue on waking or throughout the whole day and you have been suffering long term, your adrenal glands are probably to blame. These small, walnuts sized glands produce our ‘fight or flight’, or stress hormones. They therefore help regulate the stress response, but also other hormones, the nervous system, cardiovascular system, regulate the sleep wake cycle and inflammation, and the immune system. With many people in today’s busy world, they get over worked and then they cannot keep up with the ongoing demands our bodies put on them.
To rebuild the adrenals, you should avoid all stimulants where possible. This includes caffeine in chocolate, coffee, cola and guarana in supplements, sugar, alcohol, and white flour products/ refined starches. Reduce stress and get plenty of sleep.
EATING FOR YOUR ADRENALS!
- Eat within 2 hours of waking up
- Eat frequently through the day to regulate your blood sugar levels, at least every 4-5 hours. This will prevent a drop in your blood sugar levels and will make a difference to your adrenal health and energy levels.
- Eat good quality protein at every meal. These can include organic free range eggs and chicken, fish and nuts and seeds.
- Eat a wide variety of whole, natural foods
- Combine a healthy fat, protein and carbohydrate source with every meal
- Eat lots of vegetables, especially the brightly coloured ones and preferably organic
- Use a mineral salt such as Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt; ½ a teaspoon daily.
- Avoid fruit in the morning
- Mix 1-2 tablespoons of fresh essential oils (cold pressed olive or flaxseed oil) into wheat free grains, vegetables and meats daily. Do this after cooking as they are not meant to be cooked with! Cook with coconut oil which is anti-inflammatory and has a high burning point.
NUTRIENTS FOR ADRENAL HEALTH
Magnesium is a very important mineral for adrenal gland function. It is estimated that at least 80% of the population are magnesium deficient. Please be aware that there are many forms of magnesium and they are not all the same! Practitioner ranges have the most bio-available forms, meaning they are very efficiently absorbed. Potassium and magnesium together are the ‘nervous system Nutrients’.
B complex vitamins are important but may be too stimulating for some people when they are extremely adrenally fatigued. In these cases, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C are the best nutrients to nourish the adrenals glands. ‘Activated’ B vitamins should be used for more efficient absorption. Vitamins B5 and B6 especially help to restore adrenal function. Always take a B- complex if you are taking singular B vitamins to avoid an imbalance occurring. Be careful during intense anxiety as the B vitamins maybe too stimulating, also when there is Chronic fatigue, take small amounts to begin with and see how you feel.
HERBS FOR ADRENAL HEALTH
There are many herbs for the adrenal glands that can help strengthen the adrenals, but also act as adaptogens. Adaptogens help your body adapt to stress and protect the adrenals from any ongoing stressors. An example of an adaptogen are; siberian ginseng, panax ginseng, withania and Rhodiola. Withania can help when there is insomnia and Rhodiola is great for energy, stamina and cognitive function. I use other herbs simultaneously to strengthen the adrenals glands, such as Rehmannia and licorice, along with homeopathics.
When there is anxiety, herbs such as withania, skullcap, magnolia and ziziphus, are great to reduce the flight and fright hormones. It is important to check your Thyroid function through a basal body temperature testing or a thyroid function test. The thyroid gland may need support also. The adrenals and thyroid work together to help regulate the nervous system.
RELAX AND MEDITATE
The adrenals cannot rebuild themselves when they continually stimulated. It’s like whipping a dead horse! If you are tired, avoid ‘soldering on ‘, as this will only make the adrenals weaker. De- stress often, by meditating or doing yoga or Tai chi. Have regular massages and enjoy some time to yourself every day. During times of anxiety more intense exercise may be needed to help the body rid the stress hormones and relieve tension.
Have an Epsom salt bath before bed to get you into a deeper sleep. If you haven’t got a bath, have a warm shower and afterwards rub some lavender oil on your temples. Magnesium oil can be rubbed on the tops of your feet before bed to give the same effect as the Epsom salt bath (Epsom salt is magnesium). Sleeping well and for at least 8 hours a night is an integral part of helping the adrenals recover.
AND BREATHE !!
Try and practice breathing from the lower part of your diaphragm. Too many people shallow breathe when they are stressed or have anxiety. Breathe in for a count of 3, and out for a count of 5, when you feel anxious or finding it hard to get to sleep.
Also our adrenals are patterned from birth, we pick up stresses in utero (the womb) and during childhood, which can have long term effects on our adrenal glands. In families, there may be a genetic pattern, where the all of family members have a similar weakened adrenal response.
No matter what stage you are in, there IS a sure road to recovery! I am here, to help you recover also!
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1; an excerpt From Angela Hywood on ‘The Adrenal insufficiency syndrome’
NLS Salivary hormones training manual, 2009