[Below is my transcript of my video about how to overcome adrenal fatigue with the adrenal fatigue diet, along with supplemental information on the topic.]
The adrenal glands are two sort of thumb-sized organs that sit in the back of your flank area, and there are so many people — about 80 percent of the population — that at some point will struggle with adrenal fatigue in their lives. I’m going to go through the three steps you must follow if you want to heal adrenal fatigue for good — and unsurprisingly, it starts with diet.
Warning Signs of Adrenal Fatigue
Before I get into that, though, let me talk about warning signs you have adrenal fatigue.
No. 1, if you struggle with fatigue — even if you get enough sleep at night but the next day you wake up and you’re still tired — that is a major warning sign that you have adrenal fatigue. If you feel like you can just never catch up and you’re always tired, that’s a warning sign you have adrenal fatigue.
If you feel overwhelmed and stressed and you feel anxiety, those are also warning signs you have adrenal fatigue. If you have trouble focusing or concentrating or have a poor memory, those are more warning signs you have adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency.
Also, pretty much every person who has thyroid problems — whether it is hypothyroidism, Graves’ or Hashimoto’s disease — that probably means you do have an adrenal issue.
Some other adrenal fatigue symptoms could be that you are storing excess body fat. So if you go to the gym and work out for hours and you’re still not losing weight like you think you should — or you can’t seem to lose that last five pounds or break through that weight-loss plateau — those are warning signs that you have adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue Diet & Treatment Plan
1. Change Your Diet
Step No. 1 in healing adrenal fatigue is changing your diet. The first thing you want to do is get certain, harmful foods out of your diet. No. 1 is caffeine.
If you consume loads and loads of coffee on a regular basis and/or large amounts of caffeine, that will definitely burn out your adrenal glands. In fact, a study from the Duke University Medical Center found that “caffeine may exaggerate sympathetic adrenal-medullary responses to the stressful events of normal daily life.” (1) That means you want to avoid a potential caffeine overdose and cut out caffeine as much as possible in your adrenal fatigue diet.
The other thing you want to avoid is consuming too much sugar. Sugar will also burn out your adrenal glands and lead to adrenal fatigue if too much enters your body. (2) Foods that imbalance blood sugar levels and cause spikes — like hydrogenated oils in foods that are just stimulants — are also detrimental to your adrenals. So caffeine and sugar are the two biggies that you need to get out of your diet.
The next thing you want to do is add foods that really support your adrenal glands when following an adrenal fatigue diet. That includes vitamin B12 and magnesium, along with foods that help stabilize blood sugar and energy levels.
Coconut products — like coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut meat — are great for supporting your adrenal glands. When someone suffers from adrenal fatigue, the adrenal glands often increase in weight. According to Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, coconut oil’s anti-stress and antioxidant effects help reduce the weight of the adrenal glands, showcasing its ability to help heal adrenal fatigue. (3)
Olives and olive oil, raw dairy products and grass-fed butter, and organic meats are fantastic for your adrenals as well. That’s because healthy fats like these help regulate the adrenal glands. (4) Loads of vegetables, especially spinach, kale and chard, are great for the adrenal glands, along with seaweed. Seaweed contains iodine along with other minerals that can support the adrenal glands and help normalize elevated adrenal secretion. (5)
Adding some of those foods in your adrenal fatigue diet is a definite must if you want to overcome adrenal fatigue.
2. Take Adrenal-Friendly Supplements
The second thing you need to do to heal adrenal fatigue is take supplements that support your adrenal glands. There is a group of herbs or roots called adaptogen herbs or adaptogenic herbs that work as adrenal fatigue supplements. (6) Adaptogen herbs include ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, licorice root and ginseng. They’re titled adaptogens because they help your body adapt and deal with stress, and these have big benefits.
The No. 1 adaptogen specifically for your adrenals and thyroid is called ashwagandha. Ashwagandha benefits adrenals because it lowers cortisol levels and maintains healthy adrenal function. (7) The same is true of the other adaptogen herbs, including ashwagandha, holy basil and licorice root, which are the most beneficial for supporting your adrenal glands.
Also, getting B vitamins is very important for your adrenal glands, especially Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to adrenal cortex stress, so supplementing with vitamin B12 can be a beneficial addition to your adrenal fatigue diet. (8) I recommend taking a high-quality vitamin B complex supplement.
Last but not least, magnesium as well as vitamin D can also support your adrenals, along with selenium. Magnesium plays a vital role in combatting adrenal insufficiency, while more evidence is needed to explain the role of vitamin D on the adrenals, its use in combatting adrenal issues is touted in many studies. (9, 10)
3. Lower Stress Levels
Last but not least, if you want to overcome adrenal fatigue, you have to lower your overall stress levels. Adrenal responses to stress are what cause adrenal fatigue, so in addition to an improved adrenal fatigue diet, you want to find ways to relieve stress. (12)
Step No. 1 in lowering stress is getting better quality sleep at night, and that means sleeping eight to 10 hours a night. The next step is, if you’re stressed out, you have to start working on removing the stressors.
I recommend you get out a sheet of paper, write down all of those things that are causing stress — maybe it’s your boss at work, maybe it’s your spouse doing something or maybe it’s something in your schedule. Really look, address and know what’s stressing you out, and then work on rectifying those things.
You can’t fix all forms of stress, but if you can reduce your stress by 50 percent, that alone will help you improve your adrenal function and help heal your adrenal glands. Then schedule in times of fun and joy in your schedule, doing things you love to do; that also can help you overcome adrenal insufficiency. So, again, getting more sleep, reducing stress, adding joy into your life — all of those things are going to help you overcome adrenal fatigue.
Also doing certain forms of exercise that help reduce stress, like barre classes, Pilates or even going out for a jog. Whatever exercise you choose, make sure you’re not overdoing it. Light amounts of exercise 20 to 30 minutes several times a week — going out, going for a walk, going out in nature — all of those things that can reduce stress are going to help you overcome adrenal fatigue.
So remember, if you want to heal adrenal fatigue or cure your adrenal fatigue fast, I recommend you:
- change your diet
- get rid of the caffeine and sugar
- start loading up on nutrient-dense foods, especially green leafy vegetables and healthy fats like coconut oil
- take some good, quality supplements like ashwagandha, other adaptogenic herbs and B Vitamins
- reduce stress
You follow those steps, you are well on your way to curing your adrenal fatigue symptoms.