Healing from adrenal fatigue is no small feat. It requires a complete lifestyle transformation. If you want to know how to reverse adrenal fatigue, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve healed from adrenal fatigue 5 times (after each one of my kids), and in this article I’m telling you exactly how I did it and how you can, too.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is the all-too common “mystery” diagnosis that more and more women are experiencing. It’s caused by chronic stress and dysregulated cortisol levels, which lead to HPA axis dysregulation, otherwise known as adrenal fatigue or adrenal dysfunction.
When you are chronically stressed or burnt out, your body’s stress system (HPA axis) downregulates your adrenal glands, which are in charge of regulating stress hormones (among a ton of other things!).
When this happens, you can feel fatigued, moody, unclear, unmotivated, and just completely unlike you.
Adrenal insufficiency/ primary adrenal insufficiency is also known as Addisons disease and means that your adrenals can’t produce the adequate amount of the hormone cortisol and sometimes aldosterone—also known as your stress or adrenal gland hormones. This is different from adrenal fatigue, but if you don’t address AF soon enough, it can lead to adrenal insufficiency.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
There are 10 key symptoms of adrenal fatigue. If you resonate with these symptoms below, then all I can say is I’m glad you clicked on this article. Keep reading to learn how you can start healing.
- You’re still tired even after a full night’s sleep
- You crave salty foods
- You experience an afternoon slump daily
- No sex drive or low sex drive
- Inability to handle stress
- Slow healing time
- Mood struggle
- Increased PMS symptoms
- Dependence on stimulants
- Lack of mental clarity
How to Reverse adrenal fatigue
When I talk about reversing adrenal fatigue, I am talking about taking a functional medicine approach in order to get to the root and heal from there. These tips allow for exactly that.
At the root of adrenal fatigue is stress-physical, mental, emotional, chemical, environmental. Stress doesn’t only account for relationship problems and too-long-to-do lists. Stress also means inflammatory foods, chemicals in drinking water, endocrine disruptors in cosmetics, etc.
When you have adrenal fatigue, you also have hormone imbalance. Getting hormones in check is essential for healing. We want to focus on a couple of different hormones here as a foundation: cortisol, your stress hormone, and estrogen, a sex hormone.
First up: cortisol. Our stress hormone is essential for survival, but too much or too little and we feel crazy and burnt out. We can help regulate cortisol levels by practicing breathing exercises (left nostril breathing or 5:7 ratio breathing are some of my favorites), meditation, grounding outside, journaling, and taking a bath with essential oils.
Second: estrogen. When estrogen levels are out of whack due to estrogen-mimicking chemicals, it increases stress in the body, wreaks havoc on mood, libido, beauty, and more. It’s crucial that you take time to swap out conventional cosmetic products with non-toxic ones. It’s also important to avoid conventional agriculture products that are sprayed with pesticides or injected with hormones.
Fostering a strong stress response might be the best thing that we can do—not just for adrenal fatigue warriors but for everyone! If you have adrenal exhaustion or chronic fatigue syndrome, take one of the suggestions above that resonates with you and try it for a week. You’ll be amazed how much your nervous system appreciates you.
Up next, sleep. Prioritizing your Z’s is essential for healing from adrenal fatigue. When I was on my healing journey, I got sleep in wherever and whenever possible. My motto is, you gotta do what you gotta do-and sleeping is what you’ve got to do.
Oftentimes, women suffering from adrenal fatigue can’t get a full night’s rest in. Whether it’s insomnia or waking up every hour, your body is not reaching the deep delta wave state where it’s able to flush toxins from the brain and body.
You can help regulate your REM cycle by practicing sungazing, when you stare at the sun during sunrise or sunset for a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes.
You can also prioritize sleep by shutting down electronics at sunset or putting on a good quality pair of blue light glasses after sunset.
If it resonates with you, drink a calming tea (chamomile or passionvine) before bed to help you drift off. A good magnesium supplement is also a great option to help relax the body and help you stay asleep throughout the night.
If possible, go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Once you get your sleep down, the rest comes much easier.
80% of people are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it! Dehydration is the number one cause of exhaustion. In our coaching business, we’ve seen dehydration as a root cause of fatigue over and over again.
If you crave salty foods (a key sign of adrenal fatigue) it’s a sign of dehydration. For the adrenals and your endocrine system to function properly, an adequate amount of electrolytes is essential.
For proper hydration, drink half of your body weight in ounces of good water per day. Yes, the quality of your water matters! Most water is either full of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and lacking in the mineral department. I love to wake up in the morning and drink warm water with lemon and pink salt. Throughout the day, I’m obsessed with our Hydration Superfood Energy powder. It’s a delicious strawberry-kiwi flavor and packed with B vitamins and superfoods for energy, gentle detoxification, and ultimate cellular rejuvenation.
Food is medicine! I know you’ve heard it, but I want you to live it. Treat your meals like medicine and your adrenals will love you for it. The adrenal fatigue diet requires a couple of things:
- Foods that support blood sugar balance. To keep blood sugar levels stable, it’s important that you eat first thing in the morning (coffee doesn’t count!) more on this in a bit
- Consistent eating
- Whole foods over processed
- Elimination of trigger foods to support gut health
- An addition of foods for good gut health and, in turn, the immune system
- Eliminate caffeine and coffee if possible! If not, do not drink it on an empty stomach
I did a whole podcast episode on the best diet for adrenal recovery, listen to it here. I’ll break it down a bit below.
How to stabilize blood sugar:
- Eat within one hour of waking up in the morning
- Make sure to have balanced meals with complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and healthy protein
- Support optimal hydration!
The Best Foods for Adrenal Fatigue
- Bone broths for gut health
- Sweet potatoes
- Low glycemic fruits, berries
- Dark leafy greens
- Nettles tea
- And other hormone balancing food like bell peppers, kale, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, seaweed
Unfortunately, we can’t get all of our vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from our food anymore. Our soil is not the same as it was when our Grandparents around, and with the continuation of pesticides, herbicides, and monocropping, our soil is depleted more than ever. It’s not only extremely sad to think about but it’s also terrible for our insides!
Conventional foods wreak havoc on our gut microflora, which means that we need to supplement with collagen and probiotics to improve gut health and gut lining integrity.
Supplementing with Adaptogens like reishi, ashwagandha, and schisandra found in our Beauty Collagen Complex and Organic Immunity Greens is essential for helping tamp down stress and support adrenals. Our Hydration Superfood Energy is also packed with B vitamins and superfoods as I previously mentioned, which we need for proper adrenal function. Other vitamins you’ll find in our line are vitamin d and vitamin c. Plus, getting outside in nature for some all-natural vitamin D is crucial for healing.
Beyond that, everyone is super unique and requires a personalized nutrition and supplementation plan. Because I went through it, I know this to be fact! That’s why we’re providing lab testing and personalized nutrition and supplementation plans in our Group Coaching Program. Get on the waitlist here. I know how hard it is to be on this journey of healing-especially without a support group. I want to help women that were in the same place as I was. If you feel like a watered down version of yourself and fear if you will ever feel vibrant and alive again, I want you to know that I’ve been there. It is possible to feel like the best version of yourself, and I hope to help you on that journey. I can’t wait to meet you.