Optimizing Your Adrenal Health with Nutrition

Tim ZimmerLearn

Hello Everyone!

Now that all of the Holidays are behind us and our new President is officially in office, we can all switch gears into the new energy of the year…whatever that may be!

Today I’d like to address the topic of the adrenals and how the health of these tiny walnut sized glands greatly affect well being.

If you are one of the many who suffer from adrenal fatigue, you may find yourself thoroughly exhausted most days.  You might experience dizziness when standing up quickly, and in severe cases, you may even be unable to make it through the day, finding it necessary to lay down by late afternoon.  You might make it through the day but not without frequent pick me ups like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and carbohydrates. You may also find yourself mildly depressed for no particular reason, as if nothing is really worth the effort. You may suffer from poor concentration and cloudy thinking, and become quickly irritated. High sensitivity to noise can be another indication.  And most unfortunately, you may find yourself looking older physically because adrenal fatigue leads to rapid ageing too!

Some people may feel like they have an abundance of energy when moving about and keeping busy, only to realize how exhausted they really are the minute they sit down and rest.  

I myself suffered severe adrenal fatigue in my twenties with symptoms including no energy, depression, poor sleep, dental issues and chemical sensitivities. Although I was never officially diagnosed, I would venture to say I suffered from full on Chronic Fatigue. I was an extreme case.  I also experienced  constant chest colds that came on one after the other.  I would even at times, feel actual pain and aching in my back at the spot where my adrenals sit after just a few sips of coffee. I also experienced disruptions in my cycle. After several years of this I got to the point where I literally could not make it through the day and would have to lay down by 3:00 p.m. to rest and elevate my legs.  My ankles would be swollen most days which is another sign of fatigued adrenals. I was so chemically sensitive that just a breath of toxic cleaners or a few minutes in a toxic building would shut me down for the day.

So what happened, how can it be reversed, and how does this relate to you?

First it helps to know that I have fully recovered and so can you…whether you are suffering from mild or severe adrenal exhaustion!

Your adrenal glands, the two small sized glands that sit on top of each kidney, assist your body in coping with stresses of all kinds, be it physical, emotional, relationship, or work related.  Your endurance, resiliency, and energy all rely on their proper functioning.  It has been said that the quality of your life literally depends of how well your adrenal glands function….and I can vouch for that!

When your adrenals are functioning properly you will feel full of energy and enjoy good moods and strong memory function.  You will sleep well and experience a strong respiratory system as well as a strong libido and healthy blood sugar.  You will also feel a sense of peace and and a strong ability to manage anything that comes your way, even if it is challenging.

Many things can stress the adrenals, put them into over drive, and lead to exhaustion.  Original cause can be anything from anesthesia for an operation, a divorce or death of a loved one, an ongoing, unhappy relationship, environmental toxins, and lifestyle and diet choices.  Sometimes a combination of all these over time is the cause as these stresses become chronic and accumulate, giving the adrenals no time or ability to recover.  

The bottom line is that adrenal fatigue occurs when the amount of stress is greater than what the adrenals can handle.

If you think you may be one of the millions who needs to strengthen your adrenal function, here are my suggestions…Create a regular sleeping pattern that includes going to bed before 11:00 and sleeping in as late as possible, make stellar food choices and avoid or limit all stimulants including caffeine, chocolate, sugar, and alcohol.  Make it a priority to include enjoyable activities in your everyday and surround yourself with people who’s energy lifts you up.

If you are involved in an unhealthy relationship or work situation, get help to make the changes necessary to protect your well-being.  It is critical to locate and remove the energy robbers in your life be it people, places, or things.  You must empower yourself to take control of your life instead of letting life take control of you.

Take time everyday to relax, slow down, and breathe.  Give yourself unstructured time to just be and do what feels good.

From a dietary standpoint, add a pinch of high quality sea salt to your drinking water, because fatigued adrenals desperately need the high quality minerals.  Most adrenally fatigued people also have low blood pressure.  Fill your diet with high quality proteins and complex carbohydrates from vegetables and properly prepared grains such as brown rice, millet, and quinoa.  Use only healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and the highest quality butter you can find. Avoid overly sweet fruits, especially in the morning.  Organic, pastured eggs and chicken, goat milk, goat cheese, and grass fed meat are all excellent food choices. Other fantastic foods include dulse, kelp, homemade broths, highest quality, preferably sprouted, nuts and seeds.

For more severe conditions, a strict regimen will be beneficial, at least for a while with the addition of  nutritional supplements.

An excellent book that I recommend for everyone is Adrenal Fatigue, the 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson N.D., D.C., Ph.D.

This book goes into great detail for self diagnosis and recovery.

Take some time to consider how this may or may not relate to you or someone you love.  Know that there are varying degrees of adrenal fatigue and that all can be reversed!

We all deserve a life full of energy and vitality!

Until Next Week,

Adrienne McLaughlin, NTP
Nutritional Therapist Practitioner
Classic Health Inc.

To learn more about Registerd Dietitian Consultations at Seattle’s Tummy Temple or to schedule an appointment please call (206)729-6211.