Treatment Sheet for Adrenal Fatigue (Hypoadrenia)
You have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. The good news is that you can do most of what is necessary to recover and regain your adrenal health, yourself. You do not have to give your power to someone else in the hope that they know what they are doing because they have a license to practice and to prescribe magic pills to make you well. There are no magic pills for adrenal fatigue but there are certainly key lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements that will greatly facilitate your recovery. The following are guidelines for treatment with this condition:
- First and foremost, read the book entitled Adrenal Fatigue The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr. James L. Wilson.
- Lifestyle is extremely important in your program for recovery from adrenal fatigue. Elements of lifestyle are frequently the cause and the aggravating factors of adrenal fatigue that stand in the way of healing. When you understand these factors in your own lifestyle, you have the power to recover by making the necessary changes. Separate the good, the bad and the ugly, locate “energy robbers,” reframing (see book), practice the relaxation response exercises, and understand that you can do one of three things:
- You can change the situation.
- You can change yourself to fit (adapt to) the situation.
- You can leave the situation.
- Sleep is of utmost importance in adrenal fatigue. Be in bed and asleep by 10:30 at the very latest, before your second wind hits at about 11:00 PM. Also, if at all possible, try and sleep in until 8:30-9:00 in the morning, even if just on weekends. If you have difficulty sleeping, try one or two bites of a snack that contains protein, unrefined carbohydrate, and high quality fat before going to bed, such as half a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter or a slice of cheese on a whole grain cracker.
- Be sure to get enough physical exercise during the day. Try varying the kinds of exercise you do, their intensity or when you exercise.
- Certain postures in yoga, ta’i chi and qi gong can also be helpful with adrenal support and insomnia. Check with a teacher of these disciplines to find out which postures or exercises would specifically help you.
- Avoid coffee, caffeine containing beverages and chocolate because they act as stimulants. These can interrupt sleep patterns and increase morning lows. Even if they are consumed early in the day, they can disrupt sleep and make the next morning harder to negotiate.
- Some people are photosensitive and watching television or looking at a computer screen keeps their melatonin from rising and inducing sleep. If you are having difficulty going to sleep and usually are staring at a TV or computer screen late at night, try having an 8:00 PM limit on these visual stimuli.
- If your cortisol levels are low late at night, try exercising in the evening as exercise raises cortisol levels and may afford you a sound night’s sleep.
- There are particular nutritional supplements that can be beneficial. Often melatonin (0.3-1.3 mg) taken 30 minutes before bedtime helps establish normal sleep patterns. Calcium citrate (500 mg) taken with 50 mg of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) at night before retiring is also relaxing and helps many people sleep through the night. Trace mineral tablets taken at the evening meal also help relax the body. Adrenal extracts taken ½ hour before bedtime often help those with adrenal fatigue fall asleep and remain asleep. If your adrenal fatigue is moderate or severe, try this one first.
- The hypothalamus is very important in regulating sleep. Although accurately testing hypothalamic function is complicated, try doing this yourself: take 1-4 tablets of hypothalamus extract and 10-40mg of manganese before bedtime and see if your sleep improves. Sometimes the hypothalamus tablets need to be combined with adrenal extracts to normalize sleep.
- Take short horizontal rests during the day. Try to schedule your breaks so that when you have them, you can physically lie down for 15-30 minutes. Lying down is much more restorative than sitting for the person with adrenal fatigue.
- Laughter really is the best medicine. When you laugh, stress decreases and all the mechanisms in your body relax. Don’t underestimate the value of laughter and enjoyment as a recuperative tool. Do not take yourself and others so seriously and look on the lighter side.
- Eat before 10:00 AM. Even a small, nutritious snack is better than having nothing at all. An early lunch, before noon, is also better than a later lunch. (11:00-11:30). You should also eat a nutritious snack sometime between 2:00 and 3:00 PM to get through the cortisol level drop that usually occurs between 3:00 and 4:00 PM. Your evening meal should be eaten around 5:00-6:00 PM. Most people suffering from adrenal fatigue will usually feel best after their evening meal. If you do not feel this way, you may be eating the wrong foods for supper.
- Salt is o.k. (ONLY for patients with diagnosed adrenal fatigue). Monitor blood pressure closely and cut back if it rises over 140/90. Only a small percentage of patients are actually salt sensitive and develop salt-related blood pressure elevations. Sea salt is a good source of trace minerals; mix it half and half with kelp.
- Avoid foods high in potassium, such as fruit (especially bananas and dried figs).
- Good quality proteins are essential for adrenal recovery. Avoid processed proteins such as lunchmeats, processed cheese and textures vegetable protein. If you experience gas, bloating and heaviness in your stomach after eating a meal containing protein foods, you may have lowered levels of hydrochloric acid (HCL). HCL is necessary to properly break down protein foods in the stomach. The solution is to take a digestive aid with meals that provides supplementary HCL along with other factors such as pepsin, trypsin, papain and/or digestive enzymes.
- Unrefined carbohydrates are better than sweet/sugary and refined carbohydrates. Also choose whole foods when possible. Go lightly on fruits, especially in the morning. Preferred fruits are papaya, mango, plums, pears, kiwi, apples, grapes (only a few), and cherries. Avoid the following fruits: bananas, raisins, dates, figs, oranges, and grapefruit.
- Consume 6-8 servings of vegetables daily, especially those that are naturally highly colored (bright green, red, orange, yellow, purple). Make sure you have at least three highly colored vegetables with each of your noon and evening meals. Vegetables can be steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, deep-fried, baked, boiled, grilled, blanched or eaten raw. Combine a variety of preparation techniques when cooking vegetables.
- Mix 1-2 tablespoons of essential oils into grains, vegetables and meats daily. Combine grains with beans, seeds or nuts to form a complete protein.
- Chew every bite at least 30 times.
- The following supplements are necessary for recovery from adrenal fatigue: Vitamins C, E, B6, B-complex, Pantothenic acid, Magnesium, Calcium, Trace minerals (zinc, manganese, selenium, molybdenum, chromium, copper, iodine), adrenal cell extracts. You may purchase these supplements on your own or take those formulated by Dr. Wilson specifically for adrenal fatigue patients.
**All information derived from Dr. James Wilson’s book Adrenal Fatigue The 21st Century Syndrome.