In times of stress, such as when our ancestors were being chased by a tiger, they had to run for their life. Our body’s natural response is to mobilize its resources in order to respond quickly. Our adrenal glands pump out the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which leads to the fight or flight response. This puts the body’s various systems, from digestive to immune functions, on hold so we can focus all our energy on survival.
In today’s world, although the physical threat of being chased by a tiger has long gone, stress is still an all too common part of life. The constant state of “fight or flight” can lead to adrenal burnout. When we ignore the body’s warning signs of fatigue and continue to push forward, we can eventually reach the last stage of adrenal fatigue – a state where the body is unable to function. If left untreated, this can lead to extreme exhaustion and even death.
The first adrenal hormone is pregnenolone, the “grandmother of hormones”. It is the precursor to all other hormones, including cortisol and DHEA. Pregnenolone can also be converted into testosterone and progesterone, making it an important precursor in the production of sex hormones. It becomes even more important after menopause when it accounts for up to 70% of the body’s sex hormone production. That’s why chronic stress can lead to premature menopause, or cause severe menopausal symptoms.
Three Paths to Adrenal Recovery
Get a good night’s sleep
- Make sleep a priority and create good sleep habits, making sure the bedroom is quiet and dark with a comfortable bed.
- Don’t eat or drink too much at night
- Don’t fight with your spouse or children at night
- Don’t spend time watching the news, surfing the internet, or doing computer work
- Have a soothing bath, and journal to process your emotions, especially if you have a hard time falling asleep.
- Yoga, Qi Gong, prayer, or meditation may also help
Reduce your stress level
a. Simplify your life. Consider doing a stress inventory to determine which parts of your life cause the most stress, then see what changes or eliminations could be made in order to create more balance in your life
b. Develop a regular exercise routine. Relaxation exercises such as yoga or tai chi can help to reduce stress and pull our body out of its fight-or-flight mode.
c. Practice deep breathing. Deep, abdominal breathing can help to stimulate the vagus nerve which is a major part of our body’s parasympathetic nervous system. Taking time to practice deep breathing every couple of hours for 5-10 minutes will help you relax and reduce stress levels
d. Meditate. Meditation can help to develop the frontal cortex, which enables us to remain calm and composed during stressful situations.
e. Do enjoyable things. Finding activities that you enjoy and doing them on a regular basis can be beneficial for your wellness. Consider getting outdoors to go hiking, gardening, or to the beach. Spend time dancing, singing, having lunch or dinner with a good friend, and remember to laugh! These activities can help relax our bodies and nurture our souls!
f. Build healthy relationships. Relationships are an important part of overall well-being. Try to avoid toxic people or relationships and surround yourself with positive, supportive individuals who will lift you up instead of drag you down.
g. Practice journaling. Developing a habit of journaling every day can help you process your emotions and avoid negative thoughts, Additionally, practicing gratitude and appreciation of what you have in life can make you happier.
h. Take a break. We are human beings, not human doings, so it’s important to take a break from time to time and allow us to rest and recharge!
It takes at least 20-30 years to weaken the adrenal glands, so by the time we need adrenal support supplements, it’s likely long-term use. If the adrenal glands are not too severely damaged, they can eventually regenerate, but this process usually takes at least 6 months to a year. Those who burned their adrenal glands badly and pass the point of no return will need to be on supplements permanently. Here are some supplements we use to support the adrenal system:
Our adrenal glands need many vitamins and minerals to rebuild, so I formulated ADRENFUEL-T and ADRENCALM-T. Both have high doses of Vitamin C, E, and B complex, and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, and chromium to help adrenal glands to make more adrenal hormones.
It has tyrosine to make T4, the first thyroid hormone, and selenium to help T4 convert to T3, the active thyroid hormone.
The difference between the products is ADRENFUEL has herbs to give us more energy and ADRENCALM has herbs to reduce the stress response in our body. I have used these products for over 10 years and have seen great results. They are time-tested products that work like a good multivitamin but focus on balancing out the adrenal and thyroid glands.
For those with more severe adrenal fatigue, I recommend using ADRENBOOST, which not only contains vitamins and herbs to support the adrenal glands but also has adrenal concentrate derived from bovine sources as an adrenal hormone replacement.
PREGNENOLONE can be taken either sublingually or orally as a hormone replacement, as pregnenolone is the precursor to cortisol, DHEA, progesterone, and testosterone.