Tired ALL The Time? Here's The Best Adrenal Fatigue Advice We've Heard All Year
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include (but are not limited to) unexplained weight loss or gain, body aches and muscle pain, low blood pressure, salt and sugar cravings, dizziness, extreme fatigue, and low libido. Sound familiar? It doesn't come as a surprise that so many people are suffering from adrenal fatigue, as the epidemic of chronic stress only seems to be growing. Long work hours, living in a bustling city, lack of sleep, emotional trauma, and overexercising can all contribute to this condition that occurs when your adrenal glands throw in the towel and say "I've had enough."
Sadly, many of us have to get to this extreme point before we start prioritizing self-care and agree to give our bodies a little extra love. Healing from adrenal fatigue can no doubt be done, but it can also be a long and winding road, so here is some of the best adrenal health advice we've heard all year from three functional medicine experts who do it for a living:
1. Get in touch with your physical energy limitations.
If you're suffering from adrenal fatigue, you might struggle simply going up a flight of stairs or walking to the bus station. That raises the question: Should you be exercising if you have adrenal fatigue? This is not an easy question to answer because there's not one solution that's right for everyone. According to Dr. Wendie Trubow, functional medicine doctor and expert in all things adrenal, it's all about connecting with your body and understanding its limitations. "Move your body! But not too much. At the end of exercising, you should feel amazing, invigorated, full of more energy than when you started. If you feel jittery, weak, exhausted, like you need a nap, or have heart palpitations after a workout, then you overdid it. Next time decrease the intensity by 50 percent and see how you feel." At the beginning, a workout might be simply walking around the block, or you might not be able to do all that, and that is OK. If this is the case, Dr. Trubow suggests turning to acupuncture, infrared sauna therapy, cryotherapy, and massage.
2. Run lab tests to better understand your adrenal health.
Dr. Will Cole, functional medicine expert and mbg class instructor, suffered from adrenal fatigue himself. One piece of advice he always gives is to get lab testing done to better understand the status of your adrenal health. These include adrenal fatigue labs, which involve spitting into several vials throughout the day to better understand what hormones your adrenals are producing and in what amounts. He also recommends getting microbiome tests done, which makes a lot of sense, considering the amazing connection between the gut and the brain. According to Dr. Cole, "Dealing with underlying leaky gut syndrome, candida overgrowth, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is essential for recovering from adrenal fatigue." Finally, he often tests his patients for the MTHFR gene mutation, which gives you an idea of how well your body is methylating. Dr. Cole explains that "Methylation is a massive biochemical superhighway that happens one billion times every second in the human body. It makes a healthy brain, gut, hormones, and detox pathways and protects your DNA. Genes that make methylation happen can be mutated in some of us, and this decrease in methylation can cause a variety of health issues."
3. Adopt an adrenal-healing diet.
The food we eat is what fuels our entire body and all its complex biological functions—including our adrenals and nervous system. What does an adrenal healing diet look like? Well, according to Dr. Becky Campbell, there are a few things to avoid if you have an adrenal issue. The first items you can cross of your shopping list are white sugar, white flour, and other foods that cause a spike in blood sugar. Next, cut out caffeine and alcohol. "Alcohol is high in sugar, which we want less of to help balance blood sugar. Caffeine can put your body into fight-or-flight mode, which is the last thing you want when dealing with adrenal fatigue. Caffeine sends signals telling the adrenals to pump out more adrenaline as well as cortisol, which will cause even further chaos for your adrenal glands."
Ever wonder how long it actually takes to heal from adrenal fatigue? Here's what a functional medicine doctor has to say.