Adrenal Fatigue: Herbal Remedies to Fight Fatigue & Increase Brain Function
Are you feeling tired or depressed? How do you put on weight recently? Is nothing just the way it used to be?
You may be tired, but it's not something sleep can cure. Too much stress, work, or a hectic lifestyle can cause adrenal fatigue, something affecting more and more people every year.
Adrenal Fatigue – What is it?
Adrenal fatigue is a catch-all for a group of symptoms that all point back to an imbalance of hormones. Your doctor may believe that your body is just not able to produce the right quantity or quality of hormones. It could link to a more significant problem, so it’s always good to check with your doctor if you feel these symptoms.
It's prevalent in today’s society to find many people with some variation of adrenal fatigue. The amount of stress we’re under daily means we produce an excess amount of cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that helps us deal with stress by increasing blood pressure, increasing blood flow to the body, retaining fat around our middle, and causing nervous energy.
In the distant past, when we were chased by saber-tooth tigers, cortisol was a beneficial hormone, as it helped us get away from those tigers. And in the process of running away, the exercise destroyed the cortisol. So, by the time we were safe, the cortisol was burned off.
Today, we don't have saber tooth tigers. We have deadlines, traffic jams, and kids. They cause us a considerable amount of stress, but we have a difficult time releasing it. We can’t yell at or attack our bosses. We have nothing to smash to pieces when we're stuck in a traffic jam. And we certainly can't hurt our own kids, emotionally or physically.
So, what can we do? Exercising is an excellent way to get rid of cortisol, but many people have difficulty finding time to do that exercise. So, what can we do?
Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Doctors diagnose adrenal fatigue by looking at a series of symptoms. But, not every sign appears in every person, and sometimes symptoms can indicate a different problem. Be sure to work with your doctor if you think you may have adrenal fatigue.
Here are some of the symptoms attached to adrenal fatigue.
- Inability to remember things
- Unexplained hair loss
- Pain in the upper back or neck
- Increased illness
- Tendency to gain weight around the middle
- Digestive problems
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Lethargy/Not caring about things
- Low energy
- Difficulty kicking an infection
- Mild depression
- Low body temperature
- Reduced sex drive
Natural Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue
Working with your doctor, you may be able to overcome some of these problems with a short course of medication to address the symptoms immediately. Using natural remedies and lifestyle changes can help offset the long-term issues and give you the best chance to overcome adrenal fatigue permanently.
Changing your lifestyle, so you avoid many of the stressors in your life or at least mitigating their effect on you, is the primary focus of solving adrenal fatigue. It's virtually impossible to remain unaffected when surrounded by continuous stress. But, by removing yourself from the stress and having proper coping methods for what you do experience can give your body the opportunity for real healing.
Focusing on a diet that’s rich in vegetables should be your primary focus. Most of our nutrients come from fruits and vegetables. Additionally, drink plenty of water, eat 100% whole grains, and choose whole cuts of meat from local, ethical farmers.
You should eliminate foods that contain chemicals, heavy processing, and excess sugar. These types of additives place stress on our internal organs. For the most part, if it comes in a bag or a box, it should be avoided.
Ideally, you should get between 20 and 30 minutes of exercise every day. At a minimum, you should choose to exercise three times a week for at least 20 minutes. This helps burn off stagnant energy and neutralizes the cortisol hormone.
Exercise helps you control your weight, using up excess carbohydrates in your blood, and burning fat from storage. It helps give you more energy during the day and may help you sleep better at night. In the long-term, it can help keep your bones strong and your muscles active, which can reduce falls and injury later in life.
There are some things in your life that you cannot or will not change, and many things that you can. If you find yourself in situations that repeatedly cause stress, you should look for options to reduce that stress. This might mean changing a job, finding a new route to work, or avoiding certain people.
For example, I had a job one time where the secretary for the office was miserable to those of us who work there but was best friends with the boss’s daughter. Once I realized she wasn't going to change, I took steps to make changes in my own life. The very act of choosing to look for a different job made putting up with this person much easier.
What can you choose to change? And if you can't change it, what can you do to minimize your impact on yourself?
Meditation and prayer have a profound impact on your ability to handle stress. It can give you peace of mind, calmness, and the strength to face adversity. Interestingly enough, some studies show meditation can reduce or eliminate the effects of cortisol on the body.
If you're already experiencing signs of adrenal fatigue, there's a couple of herbs that you can add to your diet to help restore your body to a state of health.
Licorice root contains the compound glycyrrhizic acid. This compound stops the body from breaking down cortisol into natural cortisone. By allowing the body to retain cortisol, it prevents the adrenal glands from producing more, which can give them a rest. Additionally, maintaining a steady level of cortisol at a healthy level can reduce tiredness and mood swings.
Licorice works quickly, with results seen in as little as one week. Licorice can also help a variety of other conditions associated with adrenal fatigue, including constipation, digestive problems, and helping the body get over illnesses.
This uncommon herb is also known as Arctic root and has been used for centuries to help anxiety, fatigue, and depression. It is a potent adaptogen, an herb that helps increase your body’s resistance to stress. It's been proven in multiple studies that it can help with reducing stress and fatigue and can protect the heart.
Rhodiola may also help reduce mild depression, especially when combined with a lower sugar diet. We recommend Rhodiola for increasing your ability to exercise. It helps to reduce the perceived exertion and improved the endurance people experience. It's not something that is going to help you win a race, but it might get you over that hump to get you exercising again.
A popular Chinese herb, Schisandra, is often called the five flavor berry due to the complex palate, which comprises the five primary Chinese tastes including bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and hot. However, Russia made Schisandra famous by calling it an adaptogenic agent and promoting it for helping to fight heart problems and stress.
Russian study shows Schisandra helps with protecting the body against stress including from heat, burning, frostbite, inflammation, and radiation. It was used extensively in survivors of the Chernobyl accident.
According to the doctrine of signatures, Schisandra properties come from its vibrant red color, which associates with the red blood cells. It's well-known to reduce inflammation, boost muscular activity, protect against liver problems, modulate blood pressure, prevent exhaustion, and improve mental function.
Schisandra improves results when combined with other heart herbs, including rose. It can also combine with other anti-inflammatory herbs of the hot variety, including ginger and cinnamon.
Doctors warn against taking schizandra with certain medications because it increases the liver’s ability to break down toxins, and might cause the liver to break down medications faster.
Ashwagandha may be one of the most popular adaptogenic herbs, and certainly one of the most well-known and safe. It's been shown in certain studies to reduce cortisol levels in as little as three months at low levels. At higher levels, it may help reduce anxiety and insomnia.
Ashwagandha may also help reduce inflammation, which can make exercising a little bit easier.
And for people who have memory issues, primarily when related to stress, studies show moderate levels of ashwagandha help significantly improve memory function.
This particular supplement is a concentrated extract made from the adrenal glands of animals. Extracts can be made from the whole gland or just the outer parts, with the active compound being hormone hydrocortisone. Throughout history, they have been used to treat Addison’s disease, burns, allergies, asthma, surgical shock, and morning sickness.
It's believed that one of the reasons glandular supplements work is that they contain inactive hormones and enzymes in our body that can easily convert into active forms. But, you want to be careful where you get your supplement. Less reputable companies and cheaper supplements tend to destroy the inactive enzymes and lace the products with chemical-based hydrocortisone. That's why we recommend going for a supplement that's backed by doctors.
You also want to make sure before you take any glandular supplement that your adrenals are truly not functioning correctly. Some research indicates taking adrenal glandular supplements may suppress natural adrenal function in people with a healthy functioning adrenal gland.
Making The Most of Getting Healthier
If you have adrenal fatigue, changing your diet and lifestyle is something you can do right now to improve your health. Adding in some of these supplements can help improve your body’s function and ability to cope with the stresses of everyday life.
- Nutracare Team