Adrenal fatigue can have a devastating impact on your body. To recover from this condition you need to make sure that you are getting enough nutrients, which support the health of adrenal glands. Learn which vitamins, minerals and herbs are essential for recovery from adrenal fatigue, and which supplements can be dangerous for fatigue sufferers.
The process of recovering from adrenal fatigue is both long and arduous. The victims of this ailment are forced to make a whole host of lifestyle changes as they attempt to reduce the impact of as many outside stressors as possible.
However, even that is often times not enough to provide the adrenal glands with the support they need to begin healing. That’s why anyone suffering from this condition should begin a regiment of dietary supplements to ensure that the adrenals have everything necessary for recovery.
WHY SUPPLEMENTS MATTER
If you’re already active in your own adrenal fatigue recovery program, odds are that you have already made at least some dietary changes in an attempt to eat the healthy, nutritional foods you need to support your adrenals. What you may not know is that your efforts may still be falling short of what is necessary to provide optimal nutrients for the adrenal glands. Moreover, most hypoadrenia sufferers begin at a nutritional disadvantage anyway, since their high levels of stress will have more than likely created a nutrition deficit. In fact, poor nutrition is a common cause of this ailment.
Many times, these patients have diets that are heavily weighted in favor of excessive amounts of carbohydrates, which create additional stress on the adrenals. They may also follow diets that are low in protein content. Add to that the fact that many in the Western world eat diets that lack sufficient quantities of vitamins E, A, C, the B-complex group, and many essential minerals, and it becomes easy to see why these patients experience such high levels of bodily stress.
That stress causes the adrenals to demand even more nutrients as they attempt to produce the requisite amount of hormones the body needs to withstand the onslaught. As that production ramps up to ever increasing levels, the body drains itself of nutrients, creating even more stress that the adrenals must address. It’s a terrible cycle that often cannot be broken without a dramatic shift in the way you deal with your dietary needs. The most obvious solution is to supplement your nutrients with the additional vitamins and minerals your adrenals require.
In order to make the best choices in supplementation, it is important to identify the most critical areas of vitamin deficiency, as well as why each of these vitamins is so vital to your adrenal health. Obviously, you may not need to supplement each of these vitamins, but it can still be valuable to learn how they impact your adrenal function and overall health.
Vitamin C is almost universally recognized as the single most critical vitamin or mineral for adrenal activity. It is used by the adrenal glands for cortisol production, and is thus one of the first vitamins to be depleted in the body when outside stressors being to overtax the adrenals. In addition to its role as a key ingredient for the production of cortisol, this vitamin also serves the adrenal cortex due to its properties as an antioxidant.
Of course, vitamin C is also an important part of maintaining a healthy immune system. It helps to bolster that system in its efforts to fight infection, while at the same time reinforcing the adrenals as they work to counter the bodily stress that often accompanies such ailments. In fact, this vitamin is useful for helping the adrenal glands in any stressful situation. To take advantage of that fact, it is wise to get into the habit of taking vitamin C whenever any stressful situation – be it physical, mental, or emotional – arises in your life. If you’re already suffering from a vitamin C deficiency and fail to support your adrenals with supplementation during times of stress, your adrenals will suffer the consequences of that neglect. Then, as the adrenals wax weaker and weaker due to a lack of the nutrients necessary for hormonal production, that stress will make it more and more difficult for you to recover from your exhausted state.
Maintaining the necessary levels of vitamin C is no easy task for humans. While most members of the animal kingdom have the capability to create vitamin C from blood glucose, we have to obtain our supply from food sources and various supplements. The good news is that there are many different foods that contain this crucial nutrient:
- Oranges and Other Citrus fruits
- Various sprouts
- Green leafy vegetables
The bad news is that even regular consumption of these foods cannot guarantee that you’ll receive the amount of vitamin C you need to support your weakened adrenals. That makes it absolutely vital that you include supplements to bolster that natural supply.
While you wouldn’t expect a topic like vitamin C to come with any caveats, there are actually dangers that you need to be aware of as you begin to use these supplements. First, your body naturally adapts to any changes in the level of this vitamin. If you then suddenly stop taking the supplements, the sudden drop can produce a condition called scurvy (an ailment with which all pirate movie aficionados are only too familiar). To avoid any deficiency, always be sure to decrease the supplementation gradually over the course of several weeks.
This vitamin sometimes gets forgotten when the subject of adrenal fatigue supplementation is addressed. That’s a dangerous bit of neglect, since vitamin A is a critical component in the production of adrenal hormones. Many people suffer from a deficiency in this area, since stress can quickly deplete vitamin A reserves. Just as happens with vitamin C deficiency, any lack of requisite vitamin A directly impacts the adrenal glands’ ability to do their job.
The problem is that the adrenal cortex is responsible for turning cholesterol into all of those wonderful hormones that the body needs to counter stress. To do that, vitamin A is required to facilitate the process. When we have a deficiency of that vitamin, the adrenal cortex cannot act to make the hormones needed to stave off inflammation, deal with stress, or aid the healing process.
Fortunately, this vitamin can be easily obtained from sources like sweet potatoes, lettuce, bell peppers, fish, carrots, and tropical fruit. Remember though that this vitamin requires that you consume some type of fat with it so that the body can properly absorb it. That’s why cod liver oil serves as an excellent supplement to bolster the body’s supply of this critical nutrient and ensure that you receive the amount you need for adrenal health.
While vitamin E is not actually a necessary component of hormone production, its value to the adrenals and the body cannot be questioned. When the adrenal glands produce hormones, they release harmful substances known as free radicals as a byproduct of that process. These free radicals will wreak havoc within the cells if they are not neutralized. Vitamin E has the ability to absorb these dangerous molecules, and prevent them from damaging the adrenals and the body. It also can help to slow down cellular aging.
Vitamin E is obtained from foods such as sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, turnip greens, spinach, asparagus, and Swiss chard. Apart from the greens, most of these foods are considered to be relatively high in caloric content – making them a less than desirable option for many overweight adrenal fatigue sufferers. The best bet then is to eat these foods in moderation, while recognizing that supplementation will be necessary to meet the body’s actual requirements for this critical vitamin.
There are different kinds of E supplements, however, and you have to be careful about which you choose. The most common varieties sold in many health stores can actually be harmful to your adrenals. These d-alpha tocopherol vitamin supplements are naturally-derived, but incomplete. Their danger for hypoadrenia patients occurs in large amounts of the supplement, since excessive d-alpha can inhibit adrenal recovery.
The mixed variety of tocopherols is the correct choice in this instance, since they help to keep the vitamin E levels higher. Taken each day, these vitamins will begin to show their effects in roughly three months. The key thing to remember is that you cannot stop taking them just because you don’t see positive results right away. It takes time.
A Word of Caution
Vitamin E is one of those nutrients that can thin your blood, so anyone who is on a blood thinning medication may need to discuss alterations to his or her medical regimen. In many instances, the blood thinner can often be removed altogether, since the vitamin E makes the additional medication unnecessary.
The B Vitamins
Supplementing your diet with the various B vitamins is an essential part of any recovery plan for hypoadrenia patients. These nutrients contribute to the adrenal process is a number of important ways, and tend to work best in conjunction with one another. As a result, the B-complex vitamins should be taken in small doses along with your other vitamins.
These include B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). The B vitamins can be found in natural form in foods such as liver, rice bran, brewer’s yeast, and the assorted whole grains. They perform such critical functions as helping to formulate various enzymes necessary for the adrenal process, helping to convert glucose into the energy the body needs, and lifting overall energy levels in a natural way that avoids overtaxing the adrenals or increasing fatigue.
Just as your body can be deprived of essential vitamin nutrients, so too can it be lacking in certain critical minerals necessary for sound health. The most critical of those minerals need to be replaced through supplementation to ensure that you have the right levels necessary for optimal adrenal activity.
For many people, the thought of calcium conjures up images of bones and teeth. While this nutrient is well-known for its impact in those areas of health, it also provides other benefits. For example, calcium is a useful mineral for stabilizing the human nervous system. That is an important part of stress reduction, since it helps to reduce stress by calming the adrenal fatigue sufferer. You should aim for at least 750 mg of calcium each day. In addition to capsule supplements, you can also obtain calcium from milk, cheese, some fish varieties, broccoli, and other green vegetables.
This mineral is responsible for much of the energy production in your body. It sparks enzyme production and creates the energy needed by the adrenal glands if they are to properly produce the hormones your body needs. It is one mineral that you absolutely must have in adequate supply if you expect to fully recover from your syndrome.
Magnesium can be obtained from food such as brown rice, nuts, seeds, and various beans. Since you need about 400 mg of this mineral a day, you’ll definitely need to add it to your list of supplements rather than trying to rely on food sources alone. Like other minerals, it is easiest on the stomach when taken with some sort of acidic juice.
The Trace Minerals
Even the minerals that appear in miniscule quantities in your body are vital to full health and recover from your condition. Manganese, chromium, iodine, copper, zinc, and many other mineral compounds have a trace presence both within your systems and in the food you consume. These can calm your body and reduce stress. As a result, they can help to shield your adrenals from some of the damage done during stressful times.
Most experts recommend taking these supplements in liquid form, since the body absorbs them more easily. You should also attempt to get as much of these minerals as you can from natural sources such as algae and sprouts. There is even a hair follicle test that can be performed to determine which trace minerals you may be lacking.
FIBER IS IMPORTANT TOO
Adrenal fatigue patients often experience varying degrees of constipation, as the body struggles to properly process the food you consume. That can lead to toxic materials building up in the colon and further diminishing your body’s ability to heal itself. Ultimately, many of these poisons end up being released and absorbed by the intestines.
To counter that constipation and return the bowels to normal activities, it is often necessary to increase dietary fiber and take a fiber supplement. That added fiber helps the movement of waste by bonding with it to increase its volume. This process forces the bowels to move that waste through the digestive tract in a more efficient manner.
There are many different sources of dietary fiber including many vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and seeds. For supplements, many dieticians recommend Psyllium, which has been demonstrated to be quite effective in aiding a return to normal bowel activity. Try to skip the nationally-advertised supplement brands that you find in many grocery venues. Many contain sugars that can throw your blood sugar out of balance and further weaken your adrenal glands.
There are so many different herbal supplements worthy of mention that there is scarcely room to list them all here. As a result, we’ll just note some of the most beneficial.
Licorice is at the top of the list – it is that wonderful substance that serves as a key ingredient in the popular candy. It has demonstrated properties that increase energy and endurance. Both benefits are crucially important to hypoadrenia patients. Most experts recommend converting the licorice root into a tea and consuming it in that form, or simply taking a capsule supplement.
Ashwagandha root is an adaptogen that has the ability to help regulate cortisol levels by raising or lowering them to the body’s normal state. It has to be taken in moderation, however, since higher doses can actually prevent the adrenals from functioning properly. Ginger root is also one of these adaptogens that can help to keep cortisol levels where they are supposed to be. It also improves energy, and can even help to burn fat.
Siberian Ginseng is a supplement that increases the body’s ability to resist stressors by helping to naturally bolster adrenal response. It can provide increased energy, while protecting against mental exhaustion and other stressors that can increase fatigue.
Ginkgo biloba is an antioxidant supplement that can aid the body in its battle against free radicals. As a result, it can help you to avoid further damage to your adrenal glands by ensuring that these free radicals are neutralized.
Watch Out for These Herbs
While it might go without saying, let’s say it anyway: you need to avoid any herbal substances that create stimulative or sedation effects, since these can place greater stress on the adrenals. That includes coffee, black teas, ephedra, and any herbal hallucinogens. Yes, these are all natural substances, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t negatively impact your adrenal health.
At the end of the day, there is but one truth when it comes to adrenal fatigue and dietary supplements: you need them. Even seemingly small vitamin and mineral deficiencies can result in major complications for your recover plan. With the right supplement strategy, however, you can give your adrenals they help they need to make it through the healing process and return to full health.