Dietary and lifestyle changes are two critical parts of the healing equation, but there is a third essential component to recovering from adrenal fatigue and restoring your body to normal function. Supportive supplements round out the big 3.
Diet + Lifestyle + Supplements = Adrenal Fatigue Healing
Supplements are a critical part of the equation. Adrenal fatigue is like being stuck in a vast desert that’s draining your energy daily. You want to get to the oasis of healing as quickly as possible. Making dietary and lifestyle changes gets you started in the right direction. It’s like going from wandering through the desert without direction to finding a clearly marked path to the oasis. And once you add in supplements, you’ll get there faster. Supplements are like the dune buggy that comes roaring down the path you found asking if you need a lift. Yes please.
There are various stages of adrenal fatigue, and depending on what stage you’re in, there are supplement formulas to support your recovery. An Adrenal Stress Test will confirm if you have adrenal fatigue and if so, what stage of adrenal fatigue you’re in.
From there, a holistic health care practitioner will recommend the appropriate supplement protocol for healing. In general, supplementation starts with gentle, supportive nutrients and if the condition necessitates, hormones can also be used.
Supplements for Adrenal Fatigue Recovery
Pantethine is the active form of pantothenic acid (B5) and is a critical nutrient for adrenal function. Pantethine is converted into an enzyme called co-enzyme A. Co-enzyme A is needed to produce adrenal hormones like cortisol and aldosterone, both of which are low with adrenal fatigue syndrome.
Did you know that one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the body is in the adrenal glands? Vitamin C is required for the production of adrenal hormones, like cortisol, and also for the prevention of oxidative damage during times of stress. Vitamin C has a whole host of benefits including preventing inflammation, boosting the immune system, fighting infection, and assisting detoxification. The preferred form of vitamin C for recovery from adrenal fatigue is sodium ascorbate. As discussed in Part 1, the low levels of aldosterone experienced with adrenal fatigue can result in low blood pressure, so the extra sodium in sodium ascorbate can help normalize blood pressure again. A liposomal form of vitamin C aides with absorption and improves bioavailability of the nutrient. This delivery system simply means the vitamin C is encapsulated into a liposome (a capsule composed of the same material our cell membranes are made from) for maximum absorption and bioavailability.
Magnesium is a critical maintenance supplement that many people are low in to begin with, and chronic stress can further deplete magnesium levels. Magnesium supports the HPA axis, the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is responsible for the regulation of cortisol. Thus, magnesium is an important nutrient for the restoration of proper adrenal function.
Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have utilized the healing power of adaptogenic herbs to naturally support the body’s ability to recover and heal from stress and fatigue. Adaptogens promote a healthy regulation of cortisol and do so by “adapting” to your body’s specific need. Supportive adaptogenic herbs for healing adrenal fatigue include: Siberian ginseng, ashwaganda, rhodiola rosea root extract, maca root, holy basil leaf, and licorice root extract. Herbs are a powerful form of medicine, so it's important to use a synergistic blend of these herbs in a formula given to you by a certified practitioner.
Gladulars have been used in traditional medicine for 3,000+ years. Glandulars are extracts of a hormone-producing gland, such as the thyroid or adrenal glands, that typically come from a pig (porcine) or a cow (bovine). Glandulars can both increase energy and create a sense of calm. The best glandulars are organic, grass-fed from New Zealand. Be sure to get a clean source from a reputable brand recommended by your holistic health care provider.
In late stage adrenal fatigue, hormones like pregnenolone and DHEA may be warranted. Pregnenolone is the precursor to the steroid hormones DHEA and cortisol, and the sex hormones estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. When used judiciously, prenenolone and DHEA can be a very effective treatment. However, because of their strength and potential side effects, hormones should only be used under the supervision of an experienced healthcare practitioner.
If you suspect you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue and need help with healing, contact us at 303.688.6698 to schedule your Adrenal Stress Test and get your personalized healing protocol.
The Paleo Cure, Chris Kresser