Tailoring Supplements To Your Bodys Needs
At this point, you may feel discouraged and wonder whether you should just take a multivitamin and hope for the best. While its true it can be a little overwhelming at first to figure all of this out, rest assured that its worth the time and research you put into it. By the end of this article, you will have a good enough understanding to take your first step.
Depending on your condition, taking supplements may be exactly what you need to increase your vitality and support your recovery from AFS. Adrenal fatigue supplements can help stabilize your HPA, strengthen your adrenal glands ability to produce hormones again, reduce inflammation, rebalance the microbiome, and increase brain function, among other things.
There are tons of supplements out there, with different potencies, delivery systems, forms, and quality. Adrenal fatigue supplements can range from gentle to potent. Generally, we like to classify them into the following categories:
Well cover all of these and tell you how they can help with AFS. But, we have to warn you of another mistake some people make when they are thinking about supplementing: taking the strongest, or highest potency adrenal fatigue supplements in the hopes of getting a big push in recovery.
Additional Support For Cushings Disease
The following interventions may provide support for Cushings disease, though more studies are needed to confirm their efficacy in humans.
- Vitamin A
Laboratory and animal studies have shown that retinoic acid decreases ACTH synthesis and decreases proliferation and survival of pituitary tumor cells . It also decreased proliferation and corticosterone production in adrenal cortex cells . In one study, animals with Cushings disease were given either ketoconazole or retinoic acid. After 90 and 180 days of treatment there was a significant decrease in ACTH levels in the retinoic acid treated animals compared to no change in the ketocanozole group. The retinoic acid treated animals also showed improvements in clinical signs and survival time, and a significant reduction in pituitary tumor size .
Curcumin, one of the active constituents of Curcuma longa , has been widely studied for its therapeutic properties. ACTH-secreting pituitary tumors are one of the most common causes of Cushings disease . Using pituitary tumor cells from mice, a laboratory study showed that curcumin suppresses ACTH secretion, stops tumor cell growth and proliferation, and induces the death of tumor cells .
Is Adrenal Fatigue Real
- By , Contributor
Low energy and tiredness are among the most common reasons patients seek help from a doctor. Despite being so common, it is often challenging to come up with a diagnosis, as many medical problems can cause fatigue. Doctors engage in detective work, obtaining a medical history, doing a physical exam, and doing blood tests. The results often yield no explanations. It can be frustrating for clinicians and patients when a clear-cut diagnosis remains elusive. An attractive theory, called adrenal fatigue, links stress exposure to adrenal exhaustion as a possible cause of this lack of energy.
Don’t Miss: How To Combat Chronic Fatigue
Dont Supplement For Every Symptom
Your symptoms, and indeed every system in your body, is connected. The adrenal glands are part of the hormonal circuit of the NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress Response, and they function as part of the hormone cascade called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. When you are faced with stress, whether physical or psychological, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain signal to the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol, the bodys main anti-stress hormone.
Cortisol is responsible for functions such as blood pressure and blood sugar regulation, heart and blood vessel maintenance, suppressing the immune system, and neutralizing inflammation.
Chronic stress overworks the adrenal glands because they have to keep secreting more and more cortisol. This marks the beginning stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome . But after a while, the adrenals become exhausted, and they cant produce cortisol anymore. At this point, the rest of the NEM circuits are left to compensate for the loss of its most important anti-stress hormone.
Symptoms of AFS include fatigue, easily gaining weight and difficulty losing it, insomnia, brain fog, hair loss, frequent colds and flu, food and drug sensitivities, anxiety, mild depression, PMS, low libido, infertility, heart palpitations, hypoglycemia, sugar and salt cravings, and many others.
There are supplements that help regulate hormones and support the adrenal glands, but do you take those or do you also need something for the other circuits?
Why Is Cortisol So Important
Its normal for cortisol levels to fluctuate throughout the day. Let me give you an example.
In the morning, your body knows you need to get up and go, so your cortisol levels will naturally peak at around 8am. This ensures you get the burst of energy you need in order to start your day. Conversely, it makes sense that levels naturally drop in the evening when youre preparing your body for sleep.
During stressful periods, or at times when youre in fight or flight mode, your body knows to make cortisol to help you deal with the stress. While this response is vital, its also important that cortisol levels return to normal once the stressful event has passed.
Unfortunately, so many of us are leading such busy, hectic lives that this level of stress has almost become the norm. The truth is, for some people the stress response is activated so many times during the day that the body literally has no time to recover. The end result? You end up feeling totally depleted.
When your body is so pre-occupied with manufacturing cortisol, it has no reserves for making other important hormones and neurotransmitters like aldosterone, testosterone and epinephrine which are so invaluable for keeping stress under control.
Other Factors In Adrenal Exhaustion
Many illnesses and some medications increase the odds of developing adrenal exhaustion. Type-2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohns disease, allergies, Candida infection, and hepatitis are often intertwined with adrenal exhaustion, either as a contributing factor or as a consequence. The regular use of oral, topical, and intranasal glucocorticoid drugs can suppress normal adrenal function. So can antifungal drugs and some anticoagulants, such as warfarin and heparin. Low sodium levels and dehydration are also potential causes of adrenal exhaustion.
Abnormally high cortisol levels depress the bodys production of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone . You need DHEA to make estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, so high cortisol levels can interfere with your sexual hormones and libido. Additionally, elevated cortisol levels increase blood sugar levels and the bad low-density lipoprotein form of cholesterol, which boosts the risk of type-2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. Combined with high levels of insulin, cortisol promotes the formation of fat around the belly. Excess cortisol can also interfere with the bodys production of the active form of thyroid hormone.
Over the long run, adrenal exhaustion will weaken your bodys responses to bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections. It can also precipitate chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and it may also increase your long-term risk of cancer.
You need cortisoljust not too much.
Other Gentle Supplements To Consider
The adrenal fatigue supplements we listed above are what we most frequently recommend for those starting their adrenal fatigue recovery journey. But, from time to time, when more specific types of support are needed and the body is ready for them, we may also suggest one or a combination of the following:
Disclaimer And Safety Information
This information is not intended to replace the attention or advice of a physician or other qualified health care professional. Anyone who wishes to embark on any dietary, drug, exercise, or other lifestyle change intended to prevent or treat a specific disease or condition should first consult with and seek clearance from a physician or other qualified health care professional. Pregnant women in particular should seek the advice of a physician before using any protocol listed on this website. The protocols described on this website are for adults only, unless otherwise specified. Product labels may contain important safety information and the most recent product information provided by the product manufacturers should be carefully reviewed prior to use to verify the dose, administration, and contraindications. National, state, and local laws may vary regarding the use and application of many of the therapies discussed. The reader assumes the risk of any injuries. The authors and publishers, their affiliates and assigns are not liable for any injury and/or damage to persons arising from this protocol and expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
Overuse Of Stimulants Like Sugar And Caffeine
Are you one of those people whose day revolves around finding your next shot of caffeine? If so, youre not alone! Millions of people rely on stimulants like coffee and sugar to lift them up when they get tired. However, theres a big difference between drinking an occasional coffee and consuming stimulants all through the day.
The problem is that stimulants tend to lose their effectiveness over time. As chronic stress takes its toll on your endocrine system, each cup of coffee or sugary snack gives you less of an energy boost. Caffeine can prevent you from getting a good sleep too. The more stressed and tired you become, the more stimulants you need. This vicious cycle is how many people unwittingly accelerate their decline into hormonal dysregulation and extreme fatigue.
It doesnt have to be this way. Simply becoming more mindful of your caffeine and sugar consumption will often help to reduce it. Limit yourself to one or two coffees each day at first, then try to give it up entirely. Eat a nutritious, healthy diet, and try some of these low sugar recipes. Look for low glycemic fruits instead of sugary dried fruits or fruit juices. Learn how to improve your sleep hygiene so you wont feel the need for those stimulants. And identify ways to work more efficiently during the day, so you take rests when needed.
What Are Adrenal Disorders
Adrenal disorders are conditions that arise when adrenal gland function is impaired. The adrenal glands are hormone-producing glands that regulate several bodily functions via the secretion of the following hormones: glucocorticoids , mineralocorticoids , catecholamines , and adrenal androgens .
Disordered adrenal function can have significant adverse effects. Two major adrenal gland disorders are Addisons disease and Cushings syndrome .
Natural interventions such as melatonin, calcium, and vitamin D may help support adrenal function.
What Are The Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue symptoms can vary from individual to individual, but there are some common symptoms experienced by almost all. These include insomnia, a feeling of being overwhelmed by stressful situations, food cravings, high levels of fatigue each day, and weak immunity.
These symptoms are mostly related to the changing hormone and neurotransmitter levels that come with Adrenal Fatigue. There are a number of other, less common, symptoms that can also appear. These might include vertical lines on the fingertips, frequent urination, and low blood pressure. Again, these are all related to the dysregulation of the HPA axis and the various hormone levels that depend on it.
But What If I Have Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue
If you have tiredness, brain fog, lack of motivation, among other symptoms, you should first have a thorough evaluation with a medical doctor. Anemia, sleep apnea, autoimmune diseases, infections, other hormonal impairments, mental illnesses, heart and lung problems, and kidney and liver diseases are just some among many medical conditions that could cause similar symptoms. If the workup from your medical professional turns out normal and you believe you might have adrenal fatigue, I would recommend you consider a fundamental question: Why would your adrenals be drained? Take a better look at what types of stress might be affecting you. For many, the hectic pace of modern life is to blame.
The lack of a biological explanation can be disappointing. To make things worse, its not unusual for doctors to say “there is nothing wrong with you” or “this is all in your head.” The overwhelming amount of information on the Internet that recommends many types of treatment causes even more stress. Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, may have symptoms similar to adrenal fatigue and may not respond well to antidepressants and counseling. And some patients do not believe that a mental health concern is the primary cause of their symptoms and many refuse medications due to concerns about their side effects.
Take The Right Supplements
While itd be great if we could get all of our daily nutritional requirements from food alone, its rarely possible. The way in which food is grown, stored, processed and cooked destroys much of its nutritional value. Although most whole foods still harbor plenty of health benefits, they may not have enough of the vitamins and minerals you need to recover from adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue also wreaks havoc on the ability of your gut to absorb nutrients from food, as chronic stress hinders normal digestive function. Thats why supplements are a great way to top up your bodys nutritional needs, especially when your stores of a certain nutrient have been depleted for a while.
Here are some of the best supplements to help you recover from adrenal fatigue:
This group of vitamins is the first step in getting your mind and body back into gear. B vitamins work together in helping the body create energy from the food you eat, while also supporting brain function and healthy skin, hair and muscles. Although the role of each B vitamin differs slightly, theyre all vital for a healthy metabolism and energy production.
B12 is particularly important in fact, its commonly referred to as the energy vitamin. Its needed for nerve function, mood regulation and the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, which aids energy production in the cells. Vitamins B12 and B6 are also linked to positivity and mental alertness.
Adrenal Fatigue And Stress
Both emotional and physical stressors, as well as a history of trauma, including childhood events, can effect the adrenal function and the stress response throughout life. The midbrain , the seat of control of the adrenal system, stores memories of trauma and stress. This part of the brain is the crossroad between emotions like fear, traumatic events, and the function of the endocrine system including the adrenal production of cortisol and 30 other hormones. When long term stress occurs, unlike other physiologic functions , the stress response often stays up-regulated even after the stressful situation is resolved. This is called allostatic load and leads to chronically elevated cortisol and adrenal response, even when not needed. Eventually, in most people, the brain will reduce the excess allostatic cortisol production as a protective mechanism to prevent the serious consequences of elevated cortisol-weight gain around the middle, diabetes, immune suppression leading to greater cancer risk, heart disease and depression and anxiety. When cortisol responsiveness is lowered the outcome is worse fatigue, poor exercise tolerance, increased food and airborne allergies and reduced capacity to adapt to new stressors, major of minor . This is what many call adrenal burnout.
Lab Tests Needed To Assess Fatigue
- Salivary cortisol
- Blood cortisol and CBG levels, urinary measures of cortisol
- TSH, free T4, free T3, thyroid antibodies, reverse T3
- Hormone evaluation -DHEA, testosterone, estrogen,pregnelone
- CMP, CBC and other routine blood tests
- Vitamin and mineral levels with blood levels and urine organic acid tests
- Comprehensive stool exams to evaluate the microbiota and digestive functions
- Allergy tests for food intolerance
- Heavy metal testing with provocation
- Genetic tests for metabolic mutations
Example salivary cortisol test results
Start Healing Adrenal Fatigue Today
Now that you know more about the foods to enjoy and the foods to avoid, are you ready to start healing adrenal fatigue?
All of these foods are great options to incorporate alongside other treatment approaches to help you minimize your symptoms, balance your body, and start feeling your best. You may need additional support to get to the root of your condition and find long-term healing, though.
If you want to learn more about adrenal fatigue and how to manage it, were here for you at Thrive Wellness Center. Contact us today for more information on our services or to schedule an appointment for a consultation.
Mitochondrial Dysfunction: An Underlying Reason For Fatigue
Fatigue, whether chronic or intermittent, often has a nutritional basis. Energy is produced by the mitochondria as ATP which cells use as fuel for all metabolic processes, making proteins and other components needed for health. Nutrients such as carnitine, CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid are the key ingredients in the manufacture of ATP by the mitochondria if they are healthy. In cases of chronic fatigue such as chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome , fibromyalgia and CIRS, even with adequate nutrients there can be underlying mitochondrial dysfunction.
Mitochondrial issues can be triggered by genetics with mutations in key genes that control metabolism, , viral illness such as CMV, EBV viruses, toxin overload from heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants including PCB, BPA, organophosphate pesticides, and others as well as nutrient deficiency relative to these other issues. The sum of ones genes, epigenetics and these other factors will determine any one persons energy level and overall well-being.
Supporting mitochondrial function starts with managing all of the epigenetic factors above and the following nutrient supplements.
- CoQ10 100-300 mg
- Alpha Lipoic Acid 300 as time release if possible
- Acetyl l-Carnitine 100-200 mg
Is Chronic Fatigue Adrenal Fatigue
Identifying the cause of chronic fatigue is often a challenge in medicine. If obvious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune conditions are ruled out most physicians assume fatigue is a symptom of depression Though that can be the case, in the majority of medical visits where fatigue is the main complaint an underlying cause can be identified using the concepts of integrative medicine
Fatigue is one of the most common reasons for medical evaluation, with up to 35% of all primary care visits for problems of fatigue and tiredness. One confusing area is the role adrenal function plays in fatigue. Many endocrinologists dispute the existence of adrenal fatigue except in cases of Addisons disease On the other hand it is common to hear non MD practitioners make a diagnosis of adrenal exhaustion as a frequent cause of fatigue.
Actually both ideas are accurate. The adrenal gland makes cortisol, the most important adaptive and stress hormone which controls many of the functions which effect energy production. Cortisol maintains blood sugar, fights inflammation and allergies and helps us survive stressful challenges. Cortisol is one hormone that we can not live without, allowing us to survive the challenges our distant ancestors faced with struggles for survival. However, with the type of chronic low level on going stress we face today, the adrenal response can become dysfunctional leading to fatigue and other symptoms.