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5 Steps to Rebuild Your Adrenal Health

5 Steps To Rebuild Your Adrenal Health:

Since many sufferers of adrenal fatigue also have a thyroid imbalance, it is recommended that you test for and treat it accordingly.

The five steps to rebuild the adrenal health include:

  • Heal the gut
  • Diet changes
  • Supplements
  • Stress reduction
  • Emotional healing

Improve digestion. Poor digestion wears the adrenals out. It is vital to focus on diet as one of the most important factors in healing the adrenals. Essential minerals in particular help to nourish these organs.

Cleanse toxins. Cleansing can have a huge impact on the adrenals. An overburdened liver may make it almost impossible to bring the adrenals back into balance. To support the adrenals, we must give the liver the extra detox support it needs.

Conquer infection. It is interesting to note that microbes in the body pick up on stress. Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline can make bad bacteria and yeast like Candida even more virulent and toxic to the body. Displacing the harmful microbes with the help of good, probiotic microbes is one of the best ways to get rid of long-term infection.

Rebuild the gut. Rebuilding the gut with friendly probiotics can not only prevent adrenal fatigue in the future, but it can improve whole-body health. It can boost immunity, control inflammation, support weight loss, clear the skin, aid detoxification, and even reduce the risk of disease.

Replenish good bacteria. Restoring good levels of friendly bacteria in the gut (e.g. Bifidus) will aid recovery. This will allow better food digestion, nutrient assimilation, and strengthen immunity. When the body can easily digest and absorb, it can create energy more efficiently.


Diet is a huge factor in every case of adrenal recovery. It is important to first remove any hard to digest foods and any toxins. Then, we add in nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest, low in sugar, have healthy fat and fibre and have healing qualities.

Food to avoid:

  1. Sugar and sweeteners

too-much-sugarThe stress response increases sugar and junk food cravings. It is important to avoid sugary foods, cereals, sweets, etc as much as possible since they are “empty” calories, anti-nutrient and they elevate insulin.The excess insulin causes blood sugar levels to crash, often leading to hypoglycemic symptoms and more cravings, creating a dangerous cycle.

A third of sugar comes from soft drinks, two-thirds from hidden sources including: lunch meats, pizza, sauces, breads, soups, crackers, fruit drinks, canned
foods, yogurt, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc. So always read the labels.

Seek the benefits of raw honey or stevia as alternatives.

Eating a low-carbohydrate diet also is essential since fluctuating sugar levels stress the adrenals. It is important to go lightly on fruits, especially in the morning. Fruits contain a significant amount of fructose and potassium, which is a detrimental combination for those with exhausted adrenals.

  1. Caffeine

plaatje-blog-cafec3afneThis can interfere with sleep and make it hard for the adrenals to recover. Caffeine remains in the body for an average of 8 to 10 hours. If you must drink coffee or a caffeinated drink, then have a limited amount in the morning before noon.

  1. Excess animal protein

protein2Since most people don’t have enough stomach acid to fully digest animal protein, relieve the burden on the adrenals by following the rule of 80/20 – eat 80% vegetables and 20% protein.

Aim for quality protein rather than just quantity.

Also, ensure you only eat grass fed and free range meats instead of grain fed meats, which contain too much omega-6, along with pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and hormones.


  1. Processed foods

junk-food-and-healthy-eating-shutterstock_800These nutrient-poor foods strip the body of vital minerals, making the blood acidic and weakening the adrenals. Also, avoid microwaveable foods which have many preservatives and fillers that are hard to digest and wear out the body’s energy and digestion cycle. Put simply, “just eat real food” instead.


  1. Soft drinks

soft drinksChemical-laden, sugar loaded and often caffeinated, soft drinks can contribute to inflammation and nutrient deficiency, making the state of the adrenals even worse.




  1. Hydrogenated oils

Crisco_veg_oil.jpg.644x0_q70_crop-smartVegetable oils like soybean, canola, corn, sunflower and safflower oil are highly inflammatory and can lead to adrenal inflammation.

Most deep-fried foods are fried in hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats. They contain toxic free radicals formed when the oils break down with heat that can cause oxidative tissue damage throughout the body.

Try to only use good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, organic butter or ghee.

Top superfoods to add:

superfoods (1)

  • coconut
  • olives
  • avocado
  • cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts etc)
  • fatty fish (e.g. wild-caught salmon)
  • chicken and turkey
  • nuts (e.g. walnuts and almonds)
  • seeds (e.g. pumpkin, chia and flax)
  • kelp and seaweed
  • Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
  • berries (e.g. blueberry, goji)

Ideally, eating the right foods to heal the body is recommended. However, due to soil depletion (from over-farming and unhealthy farming practices), much of the fruits and vegetables don’t have the same amount of nutrition that they did even 50 years ago.

Certain adrenal-boosting nutrients are therefore needed and include:

  • withania (or ashwagandha)
  • holy basil
  • rehmannia
  • stinging nettle
  • siberian ginseng
  • licorice root
  • rhodiola
  • fish oil (EPA/DHA)
  • CoQ10
  • magnesium
  • vitamin B5
  • vitamin B6
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin D
  • zinc

It is important to reduce the effect stress has on the body by making the appropriate lifestyle changes which include:

  • Rest when you feel tired
  • Sleep 8-10 hours each night
  • Avoid staying up late (ideally in bed before 10 p.m.)
  • Laugh and do something fun everyday
  • Address any work and relationship stress (communicate your feelings)
  • Eat regular meals and reduce caffeine & sugar addiction
  • Moderate exercise (gentle walking, yoga, qigong)
  • Avoid negative people and self-talk
  • Take time for yourself and do something relaxation (no “guilt”)
  • Seek counsel or support for any traumatic experiences (recent or past)

It is vital to learn to say no! In order to heal from this condition, you must stop giving your power away to others and to your ideals and beliefs in order to prevent further kidney leakage. Your “environment” is one of the most important components.

Act according to your truth and by how you feel. Be more self-loving and kind, and stop doing what you know is bad for you.

Address the underlying energy instead of burying the ill energy deeper into your body. It will only arise again in the future with a greater force and thus more severe symptoms.

Some energy healing modalities include chakra balancing (especially root chakra for kidneys), emotional freedom techniques (EFT), trauma release exercises (TRE) and reiki treatments. Daily meditation and deep breathing exercises may also calm over-active adrenals, giving the body time to rest and heal.

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How To Test Your Adrenals

How To Test Your Adrenals

Some of the tests that you can do for the adrenals are:

  1. The blood pressure test.

Take 2 measurements, one seated or lying down and one standing. Compare them. If there is a big difference, this may point to adrenal problems.

  1. The pupil test.

Point a light at your pupils. Watch it constrict, then watch it return to normal. If it gets small and quickly goes back to normal or flutters, then this could suggest a problem.

  1. The saliva test.

It is the most accurate method for assessing adrenal function. This useful and comprehensive laboratory test involves obtaining samples of saliva at four intervals throughout the day and tracking your circadian rhythm.

Adrenal-Fatigue-PatternsIt is very helpful, not only for identifying the problem, but also for tracking your progress in fixing it.

Stages of Adrenal Fatigue

Stages of Adrenal Fatigue

There are three stages of adrenal fatigue which include:

Stage 1: Alarm Reaction

This happens in normal life. It is characterized by abnormally high cortisol levels and low DHEA levels. High cortisol levels decrease serotonin and melatonin levels which may cause depression and insomnia, respectively. It is also an immunosuppressive which may result in a compromised immune system, resulting with frequent infections and illness.

High cortisol also inhibits the metabolism of T4, a thyroid pro-hormone produced by the thyroid gland, into the active T3 form. This can create a thyroid imbalance known as reverse T3 dominance. Circulating levels of T3 and T4 can test normal, despite hypothyroid symptoms being present.

Stage 2: Resistance Stage

Prolonged stress forces the body to “steal” pregnenolone from cholesterol to make cortisol.


Cholesterol levels begin to rise in compensation. However, hormonal imbalances can arise if there isn’t enough cholesterol to make them.


DHEA remains low whilst cortisol levels hover in the low-normal range, leaving you feeling tired and stressed, but functional.

Stage 3: Exhaustion Stage

At this point the adrenals can no longer adapt to stress and lose their ability to even produce adequate cortisol levels. Cortisol levels finally fall to low levels throughout most of the day just like DHEA, resulting in low adrenal function and exhaustion.

The adrenal gland sometimes offers adrenaline as a substitute for cortisol, released at the same times that cortisol levels have previously peaked. This makes people wake up at 2, 3, or 4 a.m., Not just slowly, but they wake up in a panic.

Common Adrenal Fatigue Signs & Symptoms

Common Adrenal Fatigue Signs And Symptoms

The adrenals and the thyroid are “partners”, and as a result many adrenal fatigue signs and symptoms are so similar to hypothyroid symptoms that the two are often confused.

Signs and symptoms can vary considerably from person to person, but some of the more common ones include:

  • General and continued exhaustion
  • Increased effort to do everyday tasks
  • Decreased ability to handle and tolerate stress
  • Tiredness during the day (peaking around 3-5 pm) and alertness in the evening before bedtime
  • Trouble falling asleep at night, sleeping lightly, or waking early or often
  • Waking from sleep not feeling refreshed and having difficulty getting out of bed
  • Weight gain, especially around abdomen and waist area
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Difficulty regulating blood sugar
  • High cholesterol
  • Gut problems, poor digestion and loss of appetite
  • Craving high sugar or high salt foods
  • Dependent on stimulants (e.g. coffee) to get going
  • Feeling dehydrated and thirsty
  • Frequent headaches
  • Wrinkles and hair starting to grey, thin out, and become dry
  • Difficulty recovering from infections and prone to colds/flu
  • Increased susceptibility to allergies/hay fever
  • Changes in mood, such as depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty relaxing, since nervous or hyperactive
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Light headed when standing up
  • Low body temperature
  • Increased menstrual problems, PMS and menopausal symptoms
  • Infertility and PCOS
  • Night sweats, hot flushes and excessive perspiration
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Swollen ankles
  • Breathlessness
  • Palpitations and tremors
  • Spacey or foggy thinking, even memory loss
  • Weight loss or anorexia

What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?

What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is caused by stress whether it be emotional, mental or physical stress including injury. Physical stress can include allergies/intolerances, heavy metals, pathogens and biochemical imbalances.

Energetically, adrenal fatigue is due to giving your power away to others or to ideals/beliefs which create stress in your life.

Saying “yes” to others when you really don’t want to, is giving your power away to others. Other examples include working too long and too hard to be a “good” provider at your own or family expense (i.e. juggling career and family), or even sacrificing yourself for your children to be seen as a “good” parent.

Doing things that you know are not good for you also contribute towards adrenal issues as you are not honouring your body and in complete disregard of yourself.

These can include:

– eating foods you know are not good for you (leading to poor digestion)
– skipping meals
– using stimulants (e.g. coffee)
– drinking too much alcohol
– taking drugs
– smoking
– going to bed late
– not getting adequate rest and relaxation
– over training at the gym
– frequent travel

Every time you do these things, you “leak” kidney energy which is needed to fuel your adrenals.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

What Is Adrenal Fatigue?

The adrenals, two walnut-sized glands that sit on top the kidneys, are your “lifesaving” organs because they control your body’s hormones and help you survive stressful situations.

They act as control organs for the fight-or-flight response, engaging the sympathetic nervous system and withdrawing the parasympathetic nervous system.

They also secrete many of our most important hormones, including: pregnenolone, adrenalin (or epinephrine), oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol.

Cortisol has many life-giving tasks, which include:

– prepare your body for survival in stressful situations
– metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy
– slow the immune system’s inflammatory response
– regulate the balance of insulin in breaking down sugar for energy
– maintain your cardiovascular health and blood pressure

Cortisol becomes the “stress” hormone when levels remain too high, which it does under chronic stress. The human body was designed to respond effectively to stress and then have periods of rest in between. Unfortunately, our modern-day society is so full of constant stressors that we are no longer having that time to rest.

When your adrenals are constantly stressed, this sets off an autoimmune, inflammatory response throughout your entire body. The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA-axis) feedback loop regulates the secretion of cortisol. All of your organs and your immunity are impacted negatively by the resulting constant assault of cortisol.

The second adrenal hormone of importance that declines during periods of stress is DHEA. DHEA helps regulate metabolism in addition to other actions through conversion into other potent hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. A deficiency of DHEA can result in a hormonal cascade effect leading to deficiency of these hormones, producing problems such as PMS, menopause, andropause and hypothyroidism.

Under constant chronic stress, the sympathetic nervous system also becomes over stimulated, due to excessive adrenaline release.

To complicate things further, adrenal fatigue also triggers thyroid imbalances since the thyroid gland and adrenal glands work hand in hand regulating metabolism and energy production.

During periods of stress when the adrenal function decreases, the thyroid responds by producing more thyroid hormones in order to overcompensate for under active adrenals. This produces typical “wired but tired” symptoms.

As time progresses, the thyroid gland also eventually burns out producing less thyroid hormones and leads to hypothyroidism, which further exacerbates fatigue and exhaustion.

Stress & Fatigue

A cropped shot of a handsome businessman under strain as colleagues request various things from him

CLUE #1: You feel stressed out and constantly fatigued

Today’s fast paced lifestyle and endless time constraints are seeing so many people over-worked and exhausted. If you’re stressed out and lacking vitality, chances are your adrenals are in need of attention.

Adrenal fatigue, also known as adrenal exhaustion or hypoadrenia, is one of the most under diagnosed illnesses in western society.

It is estimated that 80% of the adult population are suffering with adrenal fatigue to some degree, a condition most health care professionals overlook or deny even exists. This outlook can be discouraging when you are trying to get to the root of your health problem, since it may be brushed off by your doctor.

Luckily, not all medical professionals agree with the adrenal fatigue “myth”. Countless studies and years of research support the importance of the adrenals.

Adrenal fatigue is an underlying factor in just about every physical, emotional and spiritual problem we are suffering from today.

When the adrenals have lost their life force, many systems also suffer, including digestion, brain (e.g. hypothalamus and pituitary), thyroid, liver, heart, sexual organs, endocrine system, and central nervous system.

Treating Adrenal Fatigue

Recovery from adrenal fatigue takes time, patience, vigilance and devotion. After all, it took months, maybe years, to wear out your adrenals; so it takes a little time to build up their strength again. You can expect full recovery to take:

  • 6–9 months for minor adrenal fatigue
  • 12–18 months for moderate fatigue
  • Up to 24 months for severe adrenal fatigue