This post is the 3rd in my series on Adrenal Fatigue and is a list of what works for me. Here’s the disclaimer that I’m not a doctor and this post is not intended as medical advice or to treat any disease. This is simply a compilation of what has been helpful to me.
Keep in mind that depending on the severity of your situation healing can take anywhere from 3 months to 3 YEARS! I was bedridden for 3 months at the height of my symptoms and am on my 2nd year of the healing journey. Life is MUCH better than it was, but I still have relapses when I need bed rest. Be patient with yourself. It will get better.
Before assuming you have adrenal fatigue, please rule out all other things. MANY autoimmune diseases have the same symptoms. (MS, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Depression….) And often mal-nutrition/vitamin deficiency of some kind is part of the issue.
I’m linking up to the products I personally use and they are not affiliate links. The ones that don’t have prices by them are from a discount membership club. You can get more info on that here.
1. Nightly bath with 1 cup epsom salts and 3 drops of lavender oil, or peace and calming blend of essential oils. The point is to take in minerals through the skin and reduce stress, preparing the body for sleep.
2. Phosphatidylserine–900 mg 30 minutes before bed. This reduces cortisol production at night and helps with brain fog. If you learn to say it you’ll sound really smart, but it’s really just an important fatty acid. Once your cortisol productions are in the normal pattern and brain fog symptoms are gone, reduce it to 300 mg a night.
3. Melatonin–3-10mg 30 minutes before bed. This helps me fall asleep and develop the proper nighttime hormone profile. These are my favorite.
4. Micronized DHEA in the MORNING. This restarts cortisol production in the morning and other important hormones. My doctor recommended 5mg, but I didn’t notice improvement until I went to 25mg. I like these. This is not a product to play around with. I tested super low on my hormone levels overall so this has been helpful. The body can use DHEA to build hormones, but can also turn it all into cortisol if you are stressed (not good.)
5. Methylated B vitamins in the morning. I take one in the morning and if I start to crash around 2-3pm another one then. This stuff will make you a morning person. Throw away the coffee. Literally, because coffee is the enemy of adrenal glands.
6. No stimulants: Coffee, concentrated green tea (in capsules–a cup of green tea is usually ok), 5 hour energy drinks, or other caffeinated beverages like Monster or Red Bull. When I take caffeine even a small amount, I feel better for a few minutes and then crash hard. Sometimes to the point of blacking out as my blood pressure drops even lower than before.
7. No Hard Exercise. Especially High Intensity Interval Training or Drop Sets.
8. Gentle exercise EVERY DAY. Such as swimming, body weight strength training, walking, T-Tapp, Ballet Barre, or gentle yoga. 15-20 minutes is enough. In the beginning, 5 minutes will be a challenge. If you can get that much done call it a win.
8. Massage! If you can’t afford regular visits to the massage therapist, a chair massager is a good second option. If you have a jetted tub for your nightly bath, use it. Body brushing is another good thing to add to your nightly routine. This helps flush toxins from the skin and reduce stress.
9. Reduce the schedule. There was a time I was working 4 jobs including teaching school, volunteering at church, and playing taxi for 6 kids to get to multiple activities a night. Nope, nope, nope. This is hard because you have an invisible disease. Other people won’t understand why you can’t run the PTA and sew all the costumes for the school play. You don’t have to explain it. Some days I just need someone to tell me it was ok to say no. So I’m telling you it’s ok. Say “No” to the good so you can say “Yes” to the best.
10. Electrolytes. Adrenal glands use up electrolytes. If you are in crisis you need even more than the average person. This includes SALT. Salt everything to taste and take an electrolyte drink every afternoon. This one is my favorite.
11. Immune Support. Adrenal Fatigue stresses the immune system and leaves you more susceptible to bacterial and virus infections. Support the immune system with the proper use of essential oils (such as Armour in the bath or diffuser), zinc lozenges when exposed to a cold, vitamin c, and elderberry concentrate. This product has been very helpful to me.
12. Blood Sugar control. This is a tough one. Getting too hungry will stress your body and cause more adrenal problems. On the other hand adrenal fatigue makes it very easy to put on weight (like a pound a day!!!!!), since the thyroid does not function properly when adrenals are not functioning properly. Eat enough but don’t over eat. I know, easier said than done. Avoid simple/refined carbs but do eat healthy carbs such as: fruit and vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, oats, and sweet potatoes. Eat 5-6 SMALL meals a day (around 300 calories each) Make sure you have 15-20 g of protein at every meal. Use healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and butter. Avoid refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. Stevia, real maple syrup and honey are ok when used sparingly. This product is very helpful to me with blood sugar control.
13. Remove toxins from your home. Stress causes adrenal fatigue and stress comes from many sources. It could be fear, worry, improper diet, financial concerns, or the death of a loved one. Environmental toxins are another huge source of stress for the body. Chlorine bleach, ammonia, triclosan, sulfates, dioxins, and other toxic cleaners need to go. I use these products for laundry and cleaning.
14. Try a 21 day allergy elimination diet. Temporarily this will add more emotional stress as you get used to a new way of eating, but it removes all stimulating and difficult to digest foods for 21 days. This gives the body a chance to rest and heal and was extremely helpful to me. After 21 days reintroduce one food at a time waiting 3 days in between to watch for reactions. Since the adrenal glands and the immune system are so closely linked, one of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue is the development of new allergies. It’s important to check for them as part of the healing process.
15. Take a high quality multi-vitamin. I use these because they are very easy for my body to absorb. I noticed within the first week that I felt better and had more energy.
16. Proper hydration. Dehydration is a common symptom of adrenal fatigue and contributes to loss of energy, brain fog, vision disturbance and low blood pressure. Keep a water bottle handy and have a way to measure what you’re drinking. I keep 4 20 oz bottles in the fridge at the start of each day and try to space them out all day.
17. Plan a rest day after any large event. Taking the kids to the zoo? Plan to do nothing the next day and let it be ok. You are not a failure.
19. Light therapy. Get some fresh air and sunshine. Let the sun hit your skin for around 15 minutes without sunscreen. If you can’t get that, a full spectrum light is next best.
20. Control inflammation. I use a blend of curumin and bioperine. I’ve used both of these brands here and here with good results. For me this works better than prednisone for controlling my inflammation response. My most recent adrenal symptom was an out of control reaction to dust mites that covered my whole body in a red itchy rash for months. The curcumin/bioperine fixed it when nothing else would.
That’s a pretty long list. It’s more overwhelming to read it than to do it. I have a geriatric pill box to organize my supplements and make them easy to keep track of. The other things are part of my routine now. I don’t always do all of it every day, but when I feel myself crashing, I look back over this list and remind myself of what works.
Leave a comment and let me know how you are doing.