Doctors Share 7 Natural Ways to Fight Adrenal Fatigue

The adrenal glands produce a variety of essential hormones that are necessary for several aspects of the body’s functioning. The medical term “adrenal insufficiency” is used when the adrenal glands produce inadequate amounts of one or more of these important hormones. Adrenal insufficiency can be the result of an underlying disease or surgery.

However, it is now believed by many medical practitioners that chronic stress can also tax the adrenal glands to result in a somewhat milder form of adrenal insufficiency referred to as “adrenal fatigue.” In this article, adrenal health specialist Dr. Ruthie Harper explains the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue – and shares 7 “natural” steps patients can take to improve adrenal health and increase energy and vitality.

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue may include:

  • Fatigue / loss of energy
  • Unexplained body aches
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness / dizziness
  • Loss of body hair
  • In some cases, skin discoloration  

Diagnosing Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed by blood tests, including special stimulation tests that can reveal inadequate levels of adrenal hormone production.

However, while blood tests can identify severe cases of adrenal insufficiency, existing blood tests may not be sensitive enough to detect smaller declines in adrenal function. As a result, many physicians may miss cases of adrenal fatigue. This can be very frustrating for patients who have persistent symptoms that their doctor can’t readily explain.

Austin, TX functional medicine doctor Ruthie Harper, MD has years of experience assisting patients with identifying and treating hormone imbalance and insufficiency, and other causes of fatigue.

Can Stress Cause Adrenal Fatigue?

“Fight or Flight” refers to the two ways the human body reacts to stressful situations. When our human ancestors were faced with life threatening situations their bodies released  hormones either helping them to stay and fight, or run away and flee from danger. But in today’s society, humans rarely face life threatening situations on a daily basis. But, as modern-day humans, we often face chronically high levels of stress on a daily basis.

Daily life includes the stresses of work, finances, relationships, traffic (and even family and the pandemic!) almost every day. And chronic stress causes the body to release the same “fight or flight” hormones that saber toothed tigers caused early humans to release. But when the body releases these stress hormones on a daily basis, the theory is that the adrenals cannot keep up with production. As a result “adrenal fatigue” occurs and the body loses energy, drops weight, and develops other symptoms of hormone deficiency.

Natural Steps to Improve Adrenal Fatigue

Here are a seven healthy life style strategies that can  reduce stress on the adrenal glands to maintain sufficient hormone levels and help restore energy.

1. Follow the adrenal diet to reduce adrenal fatigue

The adrenal diet is comprised of lots of brightly colored vegetables, lean protein, and gluten-free, whole-grain carbs. But it’s important to note that a strict no-carb diet can stress the body even more, causing worse adrenal burnout. 

So skip empty calorie carbs like cookies and cakes, but include healthy carbs such as quinoa, lentils, and buckwheat.

2. Get to bed early to reduce adrenal fatigue

It’s not just how much sleep you get, but also when you sleep. Many people get a second cortisol surge after 11 p.m., which further taxes the adrenal glands and can disrupt sleep patterns. So, going to bed before 11 p.m. can be extremely helpful in easing adrenal fatigue. 

3. Supplements can also improve adrenal health

B vitamins are excellent food for adrenals health. B12 and folate, especially support the body’s energy production.

Supplements that reduce inflammation  – including omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, and vitamin C – have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit adrenal function.

And, sufficient levels of Vitamin D, selenium, magnesium, and zinc are all essential for proper thyroid and adrenal function.

4. Maintain hydration to reduce adrenal fatigue

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential for the health of all of the organs – including the adrenal glands. And, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or pinch of Himalayan sea salt can increase water’s hydrating benefits.

5. Build some rest into every day to reduce adrenal fatigue

For patients dealing with exhaustion, taking two 20-minute rest breaks a day. They don’t necessarily need to be naps, but timeouts alone to breathe and restore.

6. Stick to low intensity exercise to reduce adrenal fatigue

While high-intensity cardio is excellent for heart health, it can burn out the adrenals if overdone.  Instead, engage in low-impact, hormone friendly exercising such as yoga or Pilates.

7. Reduce stress to fight adrenal fatigue

Finding methods to cope with and reduce mental stress is by far the most important natural step patients can take to reduce stress on the adrenal glands. And while it’s much easier said than done, adjusting your perspective or changing your outlook can reduce stress.

Evaluating goals and behaviors that may be driving one too hard in the pursuit of “success” can often be helpful to lower one’s stress levels. Of course, some stressors – such as caring for an ill family member – may be unavoidable. But finding ways to maintain a balanced life can help ease the burden on the adrenals which will improve energy and help reduce symptoms.

Adrenal Fatigue Doctor | Austin, TX

If you think you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue, or another hormone imbalance, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ruthie Harper in Austin, TX today.

Through natural, integrative medicine she can help you take the steps to restore your energy and vitality, reduce symptoms, and help you live a long and healthy life.

Adrenal Fatigue Doctor | Austin, TX: (512) 343-9355