Adrenal Fatigue For Dummies
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The best source of vitamins is food. Fruits and vegetables provide excellent antioxidant support in addition to supplying vitamins and other nutrients. However, if you have adrenal fatigue, then you need to consider vitamin supplementation.

Most people with adrenal fatigue are likely depleted of important vitamins and minerals. Supplementing with the B vitamins and vitamins C, D, E, and K — can help you restore your adrenal glands to health.

Not all vitamins are created equal. The quality of the vitamins you take makes all the difference in how well they work in your body. Here are three characteristics of synthetic versus natural vitamins you should be aware of:

  • Ingredients: Pay attention to the ingredients in vitamin supplements. Many synthetic vitamins may have other chemicals (used in the process of making them) that you don't want in your body. You can obtain most natural vitamins you need from a reputable health food store. Again, it's important to speak with your healthcare provider concerning the right type of vitamins for you.

  • Digestion: Compared to natural vitamins, synthetic vitamins are harder for the stomach and intestine to break down.

  • Absorption: Synthetic vitamins are chemically made and are often not as well absorbed as natural vitamins. A lot has to do with the preparation of the vitamin itself. Because the compounds in a natural vitamin are very similar to those found in food, they're easier to digest and absorb.

Vitamin B complex supplements

Many diets are devoid of B vitamins. Because of the importance of the B vitamins for adrenal health, everyone should take a B-complex supplement.

A good vitamin B complex has all the essential B vitamins your adrenal glands require, including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), and cyanocobalamin (B12). The good news is that a high-quality vitamin B complex aids in the prevention of adrenal fatigue.

If you're experiencing any of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, then you'll likely need to supplement some of these B vitamins at a higher dose:

  • Thiamine ( B1): Start at a dose of 25 milligrams once a day.

  • Riboflavin ( B2): Start at a dose of 200 milligrams once a day.

  • Niacin ( B3): Start at a dose of 25 milligrams once a day.

  • Pantothenic acid ( B5): Start at a dose of 500 to 1,000 milligrams a day; this can be taken twice a day in divided doses.

  • Pyridoxine ( B6): Start at a dose of 50 milligrams once a day.

  • Cyanocobalamin ( B12): This can be taken by mouth or under the tongue (sublingually). A good starting amount is 250 micrograms once a day for both the oral and sublingual formulations.

Vitamin C supplements

Vitamin C is super important for adrenal gland function. If your diet is low in vitamin C, then you may need to supplement in order to obtain the optimal amount to prevent adrenal fatigue. You should take vitamin C at a dose of 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams a day to provide the nutrient support that the adrenal glands need to deal with daily stresses.

If you have symptoms of adrenal fatigue, then you may need more vitamin C to nourish the adrenal glands — your dose may be as high as 4,000 to 5,000 milligrams a day. Ask your healthcare professional. You can take this vitamin twice a day in divided doses.

If you have kidney disease or are on dialysis, take a smaller dose of vitamin C. For someone with kidney disease, the normal dose is on the order of 250 to 500 milligrams a day. For symptoms of adrenal fatigue in this specific patient population, start at 1,000 milligrams a day and slowly increasing.

Vitamin D supplements

Vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic levels in the United States as well as in other industrialized nations, so vitamin D supplementation is usually a good idea. The goal of vitamin D therapy is to get your vitamin D level to greater than 40 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Some experts recommend aiming for 50 ng/mL.

How much vitamin D do you need to take on a daily basis? The answer to that question is enough. That is, you need enough vitamin D to get your vitamin D levels above 40 ng/mL. Here are some basics about vitamin D supplementation:

  • There are two forms of vitamin D replacement: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. The former is derived from animals, and the latter is derived from plants. There's nothing wrong with either form.

    What about the sun? Excellent question! The sun is a great source of vitamin D. All you need is 15 minutes of sun exposure daily to get mega doses of vitamin D. Fifteen minutes of sun can give you 20,000 units of vitamin D. The key is to avoid getting sunburn.

  • A maintenance dose of vitamin D3 that everyone should be taking (with a few exceptions) is 1,000 to 2,000 units per day. Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it's best absorbed when you take it with food. You can take it in divided amounts during the day with food.

  • If your levels are lower than 40 ng/mL, you may need to increase your dose of vitamin D3 until your levels are up to par. This can mean an average of 3,000 to 5,000 units per day.

  • Vitamin D can increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, so check calcium levels when you increase vitamin D dosage. If a person has kidney stones or has a problem with high calcium levels, vitamin D3 may not be appropriate — or it should be used at very low doses.

Vitamin E supplements

There are eight basic forms of vitamin E, including the tocotrienols and the tocopherols. A good vitamin E supplement should contain all eight to provide the maximum benefit. A good starting dose is 200 milligrams a day. You usually take a vitamin E capsule with food for maximum absorption.

Vitamin K supplements

Vitamin K has several important functions. It promotes the health of both the bones and the blood vessels by inhibiting the leaching of calcium from the bones and preventing the influx of calcium into the blood vessels.

If you're taking warfarin (Coumadin) for treatment of a heart arrhythmia, a clot in the veins of the leg (deep venous thrombosis), or a clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism), do not take vitamin K2. It can affect the liver's processing of warfarin and have a life-threatening interaction.

Vitamin K2 can be started at doses of 40 micrograms a day and increase to 60 micrograms over time. This vitamin is taken once a day. Because vitamin K2 is fat-soluble, it has a better absorption rate when you take it with food.

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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