Unfortunately, many of you are already suffering from “Adrenal Fatigue”, which is chronic fatigue issues from adrenal glands that are acting aberrantly and either is overproducing cortisol, producing it at the wrong times, or barely keeping up with the bodies’ requirements. What a year! Already we’ve been overwhelmed by all of the Covid worries and restrictions…. All we need are the additional stressors and expectations from the holidays along with the vast assortment of sugar treats and we can end up crashing!!
What many of you don’t realize is that “Adrenal Fatigue” is actually coming from a brain that has been overwhelmed and mitochondria that are under-functioning. The brain’s amygdala and limbic system, receiving input from all parts of the body as well as the external environment, gets stuck in the “on” mode keeping the body in fight or flight, sending dysfunctional signals to the adrenal glands. At first, the adrenal glands pour out cortisol to keep up with the adrenaline being dumped, however over time when precursors such as DHEA, progesterone, and pregnenolone get used up, the level of cortisol being made starts to decrease.
Cortisol is needed as an anti-inflammatory, to regulate blood sugar, and to promote healing and manage pain. If its production is dysregulated it can affect insulin and all sex and thyroid hormones, perpetuating inflammation, causing weight gain, disrupting menstrual cycles and libido, triggering depression, and exacerbating fatigue.
Some factors behind adrenal dysfunction include:
- Sleep disturbances.
- Blood sugar dysregulation
- Chronic stressors
- Gut Health
How to Heal? 10 tips to support your Adrenals!
By addressing each of these areas above we can help to lower the distress signals in the body and improve our adrenal balance.
- Work on getting adequate sleep– be in bed by 10 pm, no news or negative television, no electronics or phones by your bed, earplugs, and an eye mask. Helpful sleep herbs and nutrients are GABA, 5HTP, melatonin, valerian root, ashwagandha, magnesium, and calcium. Topical or oral progesterone can be very calming for the brain too.
- Sugar Cravings– eat protein for breakfast and with every meal along with some good fats like avocadoes, organic butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and nut butters. Proteins and fats can help with satiety. The herbal extract Gymnema can be bought as a spray to help curb sugar cravings. Adequate levels of zinc, selenium, and chromium along with B vitamins can help to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Eat a protein snack or smoothie before going to any holiday event where you might be tempted!
- Treat inflammation and Detox with an anti-inflammatory, non-GMO, green plant-heavy, Paleo diet- add Turmeric, Boswellia, and Fish oils and Vitamin D to help. If you haven’t done a detox protocol in the last year consider doing it right after the holidays! Sign up for Carpathia’s 6-week online Ultimate Detox program.
- Pain relief– the above items can be helpful along with topical and oral CBD, heating pads and ice, acupuncture, and an Alpha-Stim unit. Avoid NSAIDs and Tylenol if possible. Stretch every day to help muscles loosen up and not perpetuate muscle spasms. Epsom salt baths with 3 cups of salts can be lifesavers for pain!
- Turn on your Parasympathetic System– this is the “rest and digest” part of the nervous system that balances adrenaline and cortisol. Meditation, prayer, music, laughter, movement, and bodywork such as massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic can all help to turn on the calming influence of your vagus nerve. Put on your favorite holiday music and sing along!
- Gratitude and Laughter– on purpose look for things to be grateful for and to laugh about. Focus on YouTube flash mobs, comedies, nature, baby animals, and children’s wonder. You can’t be in fear and gratitude at the same time! Laughter, smiling and appreciation all help move your limbic system out of fight or flight and stops distress signals.
- Gut Repair– essential to decreasing total body stress! A paleo elimination diet is a place to start to decrease gut pain, inflammation and its related immune disturbances. Utilizing glutamine and colostrum along with probiotics and digestive enzymes. Minimize sugar in all its forms as well as alcohol.
- Alcohol substitutes– unfortunately, many folks turn to alcohol for stress relief not realizing that it can perpetuate leaky gut, impact blood sugars, disrupt sleep, cause hot flashes from disrupting sex hormone metabolism, and drive sugar cravings. At parties choose carbonated water with a splash of cranberry juice or kombucha.
- Chronic viral, bacterial, and fungal infections– consider using transfer factors along with botanical protocols such as found in Biocidin, along with Vitamin D3+K2, (5000units/day) and high dose Vitamin C (at least 3000mg/day in divided doses) rather than another round of antibiotics. IV nutritional therapies with Vitamin C, ozone, and B vitamins can be very useful in boosting immune system function to help the innate immune system naturally fend off infections.
- Adrenal supportive nutrients– Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Eleuthero, adrenal cortex extracts, B vitamins, ginseng, theanine. These are adaptogens that can help support the adrenals whether over or under-functioning. My favorite is A-Drenal by RLC labs. Low dose DHEA in the 5-10 mg range can be very useful along with a little topical progesterone.
If you’re doing everything and are still having challenges after the holidays are through, then consider utilizing advanced techniques on all of the latest ways to support adrenal health by watching the upcoming Adrenal Health Summit and DIY Detox Summits in early February of 2020. Dr. Christensen is a guest on both summits!