Heal Your Adrenals – Recovering From Adrenal Fatigue

A fatigued person with the title "How to Heal Adrenal Fatigue"

I have a perfect plan for recovery if you suspect you have adrenal fatigue. By tending to the adrenals through diet, supplementation, lifestyle adjustments, and stress reduction, adrenal health can be restored.

Basically, the worse the adrenal fatigue you have, the longer you must follow a protocol for recovery. And then you must live a more slow-paced, relaxed lifestyle once you’ve recovered. Our adrenal glands are not adapted to our go go go modern life style. Develop a plan to relax….

Recovery

Treating adrenal fatigue involves lifestyle changes that may not be easy for you. Some people love stimulation, are addicted to their adrenaline junky lifestyles or have high stress job. However, your adrenals will not recover without making the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes. Essentially, you need to do avoid any lifestyle or diet choice that involves the release of adrenaline:

A woman sleeping on a book.

Sleeping 8-10 hours a night. This is the most important aspect of recovery.

Eat meat! All the hormones made by the adrenal glands are made with cholesterol. You must eat cholesterol-rich foods like red and white meat and full fat dairy and eggs to produce hormones. In other words, vegan diets are not conducive to adrenal health and actually promote adrenal fatigue. Every cell in our body contains cholesterol. It is not the enemy of health it is made out to be in the media.

Avoid vigorous exercise, which can stress the adrenals. Think walking, pilates, gyrotonics, tai chi, etc. When you exercise vigorously, this releases adrenaline. And when you release adrenaline, you are exerting the adrenals, preventing recovery.

Minimize stress in every area that you can.

Learn to say NO to avoid overbooking and overworking yourself.

Take negative people out of your life who are draining and stressful.

Eat regular meals. Skipping meals triggers a dip in blood sugar and the release of stress hormones, taxing the adrenals.

Avoiding caffeine or other stimulants, which release adrenaline.

Avoid overeating carbohydrates like sugar and grains. These all break down to sugar, causing a release of adrenaline. Note, whole grains cause as many problems as refined grains with blood sugar.

Avoid junk food, like processed and fast food. You need nutrient dense, nourishing food to heal the adrenals.

Eating five to six servings of vegetables each day. You need the minerals from veggies to heal. You extract maximum minerals from veggies when they arecooked. I always eat my veggies cooked. The tough cell wall must be broken down with cooking to extract the nutrients inside. Otherwise, they are merely fibrous intestinal cleansers – not what most people need.

Take targeted supplements to feed the adrenals, such as zinc, selenium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C.

Add sea salt to your diet – Celtic, Hawaiian Bamboo Jade, and Himalayan are best, but any colored sea salt is fine.

Detox using infrared saunas and coffee enemas. These remove toxins and heavy metals that prevent your adrenals from working properly.

Employ meditation, deep breathing and relaxation techniques like massage.

Eating organic raw pasture butter which is high in adrenal nourishing conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

Lay down and stare at the wall! Do everything you can to relax!

A woman sleeping in a grass.

Recovery Time

If you take your treatment plan seriously, you can expect your adrenal fatigue to heal in:

  • 6 to 9 months for minor adrenal fatigue – Stage 1
  • 12 to 18 months for moderate fatigue – Stage 2
  • 24 months or more for severe adrenal fatigue – Stage 3

Seeking Help

Nutritional Balancing with Hair Mineral Analysis

I highly recommend hair mineral analysis to determine whether you have adrenal fatigue. Most adults these days are in some stage of adrenal fatigue. This is the program I am using to heal my adrenals.

There are many companies that do hair mineral analysis, but the Endomet program, described below, is quite unique. A hair mineral analysis is an incredibly powerful tool in diagnosing and providing a comprehensive program to recover from adrenal fatigue. It is done with a nutritional consultant trained in nutritional balancing.

Based on your test results, you will be given supplements to balance your minerals in addition to a detox plan and a diet tailored specifically to your mineral deficiencies. This serves to heal your adrenals naturally. Adrenal fatigue occurs in part due to heavy metal toxicity and deficiencies in minerals and vitamins the adrenals need to function. The adrenal glands require vitamins A, C, E, pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), manganese, and zinc, which are supplemented on a nutritional balancing program. Adrenal glandulars, made from dried animal adrenal glands, is also recommended to provide adrenal nucleoprotein and other factors to help rebuild the adrenal glands. These contain cortisol and can help to regulate your low cortisol levels.

Once you know and provide the exact nutrients your whole body needs in the exact combinations to properly balance your body chemistry, your body starts to heal itself. Toxic metals and chemicals are removed naturally and safely, cells can make more energy and symptoms start disappearing. The adrenals finally have what they need to heal.

I am certified in Nutritional Balancing science if you are looking to heal your adrenals effectively and naturally. I can consult with you by phone and email. For the program to be effective, you will need to do hair mineral retests every 3-4 months and change your supplements and diet accordingly until you are in balance. This can take 1-3 years. For more information and to contact me, see my blog post Nutritional Balancing with Hair Mineral Analysis.

Brown hair

Supplements

There are many supplements you can take to relieve adrenal fatigue, but some may or may not be appropriate for you unless you have been evaluated by a physician or Nutritional Balancing practitioner. I strongly suggest doing the targeted supplement Nutritional Balancing program based on your hair mineral analysis. In case you’re not able to commit to this program, I will list all available supplements. Please note these supplements MUST be used in concert with a saliva adrenal functioning test, ordered and overseen by your doctor, to know how and when you should be supplementing.

Adrenal Cortex Glandulars

Over-the-counter products made from animal adrenal glands can be very helpful. High quality products are made from Endomet and Bezwecken. Allergy Research has a product called Organic Adrenal Cortex. Use such products during the times of day that your saliva test results show you to be low in cortisol.

Whole Adrenal Glandulars

Be cautious about taking whole adrenal glandulars. The adrenaline they contain can make your problem worse by overstimulating you, exhausting your adrenals further. If you’re feeling burned out and exhausted, you may actually need this adrenaline and benefit from them.

Homeopathic Remedies

Treatments for glandular problems are called sarcodes. Dolisos International Labs 800-365-4767 makes a 6C-strength, which is mildly elevating for stage two adrenal fatigue and 4C, which is strongly elevating for stage three.

Pregnenolone

Usual doses are 10-50mg a day, but sometime higher doses are warranted. This hormone is used by the adrenals to convert to over thirty hormones, notably cortisol, progesterone, and DHEA, so supplementing with it can take a big burden off your adrenals. Some people experience no benefit from it at all. Pregnenolone seems to work best for men and menopausal women. Don’t use it if your estrogen is too high or you are hyperthyroid. I like the Pure Encapsulations brand. Pregnenolone can alter your sex hormone levels, so it’s crucial you get baseline sex hormone testing before staring this supplement and continued monitoring so you don’t create imbalances. This supplement requires monitoring by your physician.

Seriphos (Phosphorylated Serine)

This nutrient safely lowers cortisol. Tranquilizers lower cortisol also, but they prevent you from going into deep, restful sleep. Seriphos is a combination of phosphorus and calcium with the amino acid serine. This supplement reduces the ACTH (pituitary) messages that order your adrenals to release emergency amounts of cortisol. Take Seriphos six hours before your bedtime or at bedtime if you wake up too early. Do not take Seriphos for more than a month at a time. You don’t want to turn your adrenals down too low.

Adrenal Gland Requirements

The adrenal glands require vitamins A, C, E, pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), manganese, and zinc to function. Supplementing with these will help them on the road to recovery.

A woman receiving an acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture

Acupuncturists have been treating the adrenal glands for thousands of years. Not only are the adrenal glands directly supported through acupuncture, but acupuncture is famous for its ability to raise endorphin levels that are depleted by stress and needed to help regulate cortisol. Acupuncturists also have ancient and accurate methods for diagnosing sex hormone imbalances and treating them. Acupuncture releases endorphins, which is incredibly relaxing. This is one aspect of how it heals adrenal fatigue.

Results last for a few days, so it’s ideal to do it twice a week, but once a week will suffice. You’ll need to do it once a week or more for at least a month, but then may only need maintenance sessions once a month after that. I used acupuncture to treat my adrenal fatigue and can report that I always felt better when I did it on a regular basis.

Medical Intervention

Unfortunately, most doctors do not recognize adrenal fatigue until it is quite severe. In medical school, they are only taught to look for extreme adrenal malfunction – Addison’s disease, which occurs when the glands produce far too little cortisol, and Cushing’s Syndrome, which stems from excessive cortisol production. However, most people have symptoms when their adrenals are functioning just a little below normal. In my opinion, if you are presenting with symptoms of adrenal fatigue, it warrants treatment.

Saliva tests are the standard test given to you at your physicians and is very accurate, but needs to be done at regular intervals. It will show you what kind of depletion or excess your adrenal stress hormones are experiencing throughout the day. It will also show you which stage of stress burnout you’re in – early stage one, stage two, or late stage burnout.

A woman sitting at an office table with a noticeable migraine.

When doctors finally recognize adrenal fatigue, they typically treat it with hormone replacement therapy, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone replacement, in addition to cortisone replacement therapy. The reason you doctor will attempt to give you hormone replacement therapy is to replace the estrogen or testosterone the adrenals are not able to make. This seems logical, but is a very simplistic solution to a complex problem. I strongly recommend against hormone replacement therapy for the following reasons:

  1. HRT is proven to promote cancer.
  2. HRT is very expensive and must be monitored frequently.
  3. Supplemental hormones do not address the root cause of adrenal fatigue, which is heavy metal toxicity, nutrient deficiencies and stressful lifestyles.

HRT does not address the causes of adrenal fatigue, though it may relieve your symptoms. Unfortunately, this therapy may be accompanied by serious side effects, is very expensive, and must be monitored constantly. Your body’s hormones are monitored and changed minutely by your body. This system is quite difficult to replicate with hormone replacement therapy.

When I discovered I had adrenal fatigue, this is exactly what my naturopathic doctor recommended. I categorically denied this treatment and went in search of an alternative. I intuitively knew this treatment would not address what caused my adrenal fatigue and certainly was not a healing modality for adrenal fatigue. I wanted my adrenals to be healed and to work properly on their own.

Be warned, traditional medical treatment will interfere with proper recovery from adrenal fatigue. You cannot expect your adrenals to begin manufacturing testosterone, for example, if plenty is being provided externally. The body adjusts and produces less testosterone. Lifestyle changes and a program, like Nutritional Balancing, are far superior to heal adrenal fatigue.

You should always think about addressing a health issue by tackling the root causes of the issues, rather than covering up the symptom with medication. A change in lifestyle, while not easy, is the number one factor in addressing adrenal fatigue. It’s simple. Your body is tired and needs to rest.

Recommended Reading

For help along the way to taking back your life, you may want to read the following article by Dr L Wilson: http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/adrenal_burnout.htm

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Leave a comment

  • Thanks, Wendy! I’ve come near dying from adrenal fatigue a few times, so I know all about adrenal crisis. My doctors are in the process of exploring Addison’s now. I was on hydro-cortisone since 2007 through another doctor who diagnosed me clinically, but I’ve moved and these doctors need the tests to prove whether I have adrenal insufficiency or not. This article gives me a starting point to taking care of it myself – providing my adrenals aren’t too far gone. I had been taking Adrenal Chelate and gradually replacing the hydrocortisone with it. It lasted several months before I started spiraling into crisis mode again.

  • Hi Wendy!
    Thanks for posting such a great article! You gave a lot of helpful information. One thing that was particularly interesting was your mention of vegan diets and how they aren’t healthy for adrenal function. Earlier tonight me and my friend were talking about how vegan diets are unhealthy because this one guy from our class was challenging us since we eat meat. Next time, I’ll make sure to remember the importance of cholesterol 😉
    Right now, I am experiencing strange symptoms and I’ve narrowed the possible causes of the symptoms down to either adrenal fatigue, heavy metal buildup, or chronic infection. Adrenal fatigue can actually facilitate the latter two which is why I think I should focus on that first, but I don’t know who to turn to. I’m in college right now too so it’s hard to talk to anyone. The nurses here don’t treat adrenal fatigue XD I feel so lost though. It’s hard to concentrate and even vocalize thoughts sometimes. I’ve been feeling dizzy and forgetful, my sleep pattern is messed up, I get anxious, I feel tired and wired at the same time, etc. How do I know who to go to for help? You said your naturopath suggested Hormone Replacement Therapy which is pretty dangerous. Should I see an endocrinologist? Also, what herbs do you recommend to help reverse adrenal fatigue?
    Thank you so much for the information! It’s definitely good to know.
    -Nico

    • More than likely if you go to a western medical doctor, even if it’s an endocrinologist, the standard protocol is to give replacement hormones for what the adrenals are not producing. Of course, this does not solve the problem, but does make you feel better, if only temporarily. Supplementing with an adrenal support product is great, but it will not by itself heal adrenal fatigue. Mainly you need rest, relaxation, good nutrition and lots of minerals. You’d be better off taking a mineral product than herbs. I’ve written a more extensive article on the subject, here: http://www.liveto110.com/epidemic-adrenal-fatigue/ or you can look at this article here: http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/adrenal_burnout.htm. Start with doing a paleo diet. This will give your adrenals the nutrition they need to heal. Then you need to sleep 8-10 hours a night. Seeing as adrenal fatigue is caused by heavy metal toxicity, as are many of your other symptoms, your best bet is to do a nutritional balancing program. You can find more out about that here: http://www.liveto110.com/start-a-nutritional-balancing-program/ If you cannot afford to do a Nutritional balancing program, you can do the free program here: http://drlwilson.com/ARTICLES/HEALING%20LIFESTYLE.htm

      I hope this helps. I am also happy to do a free consult with you to troubleshoot the issue. Email me at [email protected].

  • Hi Wendy, I loved your article but wondered about the section on cooked veggies vrs raw?. All cooking destroys the digestive enzymes in food, required to break them down in the gut and so just guess the one area not addressed in this article is ability of the gut to absorb nutrients in the first place. As adrenal hypofunction and stress often affect the gut, would it also be fair to say in your opinion, that promoting good gut health and reducing gut permeability would also be an important factor in treating adrenals.

    • I don’t agree with you that cooking destroys all enzymes. Your body makes digestive enzymes with minerals. And these are not destroyed by cooking. When people have adrenal fagitue, this reduces the stomach’s ability to make hydrochloric acid, which affects digestion. My program Mineralpower.com addresses the whole body, including adrenal fatigue and digestive issues. You have to fix the entire body chemistry. So, yes, you need to fix digestive issues to heal the adrenals because healing them requires adequate intake and absorption of nutrients.

  • Hi Wendy! How do you get diagnosed with adrenal fatigue? I was a work out aholic, stressful, worry wart type person, who has become drained and very tired and no energy or motivation lately. My body hurts allll the time. All blood work comes back healthy. Except for my estrogen level and thyroid levels are low. My dr wanted to put me on antidepressants/ but I have nothing I am depressed about, except for my lack of energy, which irritates me and makes me feel useless. How can one get diagnosed with adrenal fatigue?

    • HI Sarah!
      You can get diagnosed with a hair mineral analysis or a saliva test. If your hormones levels are low this means you have adnreal fatigue. They make the hormones!! Don’t do antidepressants. This is not the issue. Given your lifestyle I can guarantee that you have adrenal fatigue. The hair mineral analysis is normally $300. But I have a special going on for $200 right now until Oct 30. You enter in coupon code detoxmania at checkout. My program’s focus is healing adrenal fatigue through supplementation, rest, and detoxing heavy metals that stimulate and irritate the adrenals. Until you focus on all of these aspects, the adrenal fatigue will not resolve.

  • I was wondering how much the hair analysis is, I have been suffering from adrenal fatigue on and off for 7 years 🙁
    Mary

    • HI Mary! The hair mineral analysis is normally $300. But I have a special going on for $200 right now until Oct 30. You enter in coupon code detoxmania at checkout. My program’s focus is healing adrenal fatigue through supplementation, rest, and detoxing heavy metals that stimulate and irritate the adrenals. Until you focus on all of these aspects, the adrenal fatigue will not resolve.

  • Hi Wendy,
    I found your article{s} on adrenal fatigue really interesting. There are some good points in there that many naturopaths omit, such as caution needed with the use of supplements that may overtax the adrenals and thus cause a negative affect. Mostly they want to pump you up with every ‘natural’ supplemen and mosly I can’t take them, not even low dose B vitamins. So I’ve found it hard to find a good practitioner who takes care with such sensitivities. Do you consult to people in Australia? Not sure if this is possible due to the regular testing that is necessary. Thanks, Chris

  • “Eat meat! All the hormones made by the adrenal glands are made
    with cholesterol. You must eat cholesterol-rich foods like red and white
    meat and full fat dairy and eggs to produce hormones. In other words,
    vegan diets are not conducive to adrenal health and actually promote
    adrenal fatigue. Every cell in our body contains cholesterol. It is not
    the enemy of health it is made out to be in the media.”

    Respectfully, this is not true. The human liver produces all of the cholesterol that the body needs. Meat, dairy, and eggs increase cholesterol to unhealthy levels.

  • Good comprehensive article, Wendy – your approach sounds similar to the Function Diagnostic Nutrition espoused by Reed Davis. It really is quite amazing how intricate and interconnected the entire endocrine system really is.

    Thanks for a great article.

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