Adrenal Fatigue For Dummies
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Treating adrenal fatigue includes improving nutrition, replacing key nutrients, supplementing with antioxidants, reducing stress, and beginning a controlled exercise program. Before you can treat the condition, though, you need to recognize the symptoms that suggest you have adrenal fatigue.

Recognizing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue

It’s hard to recognize the symptoms of adrenal fatigue for what they are. Many of them develop gradually, and people tend to ignore them until things get really bad. If you have more than one of the following symptoms, you may have adrenal fatigue; see your healthcare practitioner for testing.

  • A lower than normal body temperature

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • Dizziness and a drop in blood pressure when you stand up

  • Higher blood sugar levels than normal

  • Swelling in your legs

  • Salt cravings

  • Fatigue and a lack of energy

  • Decreased ability to get a good night’s sleep

  • Decreased libido

  • Recurrent infections or allergies

  • Irritated bowel and bladder

  • Bouts of confusion or brain fog

  • Symptoms of depression

Taking dietary supplements for adrenal fatigue

One big contributor to the development of adrenal fatigue is the nutrient-poor, processed Western diet. Your adrenal glands need certain vitamins and minerals on a daily basis for optimal health. Consider adding these supplements to your daily regimen, but be sure to consult your healthcare practitioner before you start any of them; you can work together to determine the right dosage.

  • Magnesium: Magnesium malate, a form of magnesium, contains malic acid, which provides energy to your cells.

  • Trace minerals, including zinc, chromium, and selenium: Trace minerals are vital to adrenal gland function.

  • B vitamins, especially vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): The B vitamins are important for the production of adrenal hormones and for optimal adrenal gland function.

  • Vitamin C: Along with the B vitamins, vitamin C is essential for optimal adrenal gland function and the production of adrenal hormones.

  • Vitamin D3: This vitamin is important for decreasing total body inflammation, which is a potent stimulus to adrenal fatigue.

  • Ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10) and D-ribose: Ubiquinone provides energy to the mitochondria (power centers) of the cells in the adrenal glands to boost adrenal gland function. D-ribose provides power to the energy centers of the adrenal cells.

  • Carotenoid antioxidant complex: The carotenoids are a group of antioxidants that have one of the highest concentrations in the adrenal glands. They help decrease oxidative stress and free-radical formation in the adrenal glands as well as boost adrenal gland function.

Avoiding foods that contribute to adrenal fatigue

Diet plays an important role in managing adrenal fatigue. You need to know which foods to add to your diet and which foods to avoid. The foods listed here can acutely stress out an already fatigued adrenal gland. They may provide a short-term energy boost, but cause you to crash later in the day.

  • Foods high in sugar

  • Anything with high-fructose corn syrup

  • Caffeinated beverages

  • Energy drinks

  • Carbonated beverages, especially colas (even if they’re caffeine-free)

You also want to avoid any foods to which you have a sensitivity or allergy. Examples of common food sensitivities include gluten and wheat. Gluten, like other food sensitivities, can be a cause of chronic inflammation and an overactive immune system. It’s a potent stimulus of adrenal fatigue.

Controlled exercises for adrenal fatigue patients

Exercise provides many benefits, including stress reduction. If you’ve been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, you need to begin your exercise program in a controlled fashion. Start with exercises that are low-intensity and of short duration. After you see how you feel, you can increase the amount of time you exercise and then begin to increase the intensity of your workouts. Exercising in this fashion reduces the risk of fatigue and muscle injury.

Here are some exercises to consider as you begin addressing your adrenal fatigue:

  • Walking at a regular pace

  • Biking on level ground (avoid hills until later)

  • Aquatherapy, or aquatic therapy (exercising in the water)

  • Yoga or tai chi (slow, purposeful exercise movements that have many health benefits)

  • Resistance-based exercises such as using free weights and weight machines (add these exercises slowly and carefully to your routine in order to build muscle strength and endurance)

Getting support when you have adrenal fatigue

Many people aren’t aware that adrenal fatigue exists or that it’s a medical problem. This lack of information is an issue not only among family and friends but also for many people in the medical community. Be candid with your healthcare provider and your family about this condition:

  • If your healthcare provider refuses to have an open discussion with you about your symptoms, consider working with another provider. Integrative medicine physicians, naturopathic physicians, and other holistic health providers are very aware of this diagnosis and its treatment.

  • Tell your family about the symptoms you’re experiencing. Explain to them why you feel that you likely have adrenal fatigue and need further evaluation and treatment.

  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you when you visit your healthcare practitioner. Take notes and ask questions during your visit.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Dr. Richard Snyder, DO, is board certified in both internal medicine and nephrology, as well as a clinical professor at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional sciences as well as a specialist in sports dietetics. She is the coauthor of Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies.

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