by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Adrenal fatigue is not something new. In fact, this condition is well known to people who use stimulants heavily for things such as pre-workouts or fat burners. Many times, they start with one scoop, notice the effects over time aren’t as strong, so they double the dose. It’s a slippery slope and a leading cause of adrenal fatigue in avid exercisers who utilize certain stimulant-based supplements.
In a nutshell, adrenal fatigue is when your adrenal glands are emptied and unable to create adequate quantities of hormones, mostly cortisol, due to infections, chronic stress, or stimulant abuse. It is when you feel extremely lethargic, fatigued, and insomnia hits you hard.
Additionally, if you go through stressful situations continuously for a long time, you might experience adrenal fatigue. This is actually quite common in the military due to the stress they are put through.
In this article, we will discuss some ways you can get over adrenal fatigue.
The 3 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue
The three stages of adrenal fatigue are the following:
1. Alarm Stage
The first stage of adrenal fatigue shows symptoms of tiredness, anxiety, and suffering from distractions or foggy thoughts. You may even notice that you have put on some extra weight. If you have any such symptoms, be sure to speak to your doctor to get things back on track.
2. Resistance Stage
In this stage, there are two or more cortisol measurements that are out of balance. Many people wake up early in the morning and are unable to go back to sleep. Later, some stressors start kicking in, and they feel more awake. The cortisol level peaks early and then flattens out, but it can go through midday or early evening.
3. Burnout Stage
In this stage, you feel completely drained and exhausted. The cortisol curve would be flat, and in some cases, low thyroid hormone levels and DHEA would be seen.
8 Steps to Help Fix Adrenal Fatigue
Here are some ways you can get over adrenal fatigue:
1. Adrenal diet
The adrenal diet contains a lot of vibrant vegetables, whole grain gluten-free carbs, and lean, clean protein. A strict no-carb diet can put stress on your body even more, which can worsen the condition of adrenal fatigue. The adrenal diet focuses on foods that can help replenish your adrenal glands, such as leafy greens, healthy fats, and probiotics. So, skip the cakes and cookies, and start eating healthy and clean. Reach out for lentils, buckwheat, and quinoa.
2. Eat your meal within an hour of waking up
If your body is still digesting food when you go to sleep at night, it will be unable to access the fuel it needs to function during the day. This could lead to low energy levels and fatigue throughout the day.
3. Start taking B vitamins
B vitamins are great food for the adrenals. They help to get rid of excess adrenaline, which is one of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Vitamin B12 and B9 (folic acid) can be found in eggs and liver, so these foods should be consumed more often if you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue.
4. Focus on hydration
Hydration is one of the most important steps to combat adrenal fatigue, and it’s also a good idea to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water helps flush out toxins from your body, which is a good thing if you have high levels of cortisol or other stress hormones in your system.
5. Avoid high-impact exercise
High-impact exercise such as CrossFit or heavy weightlifting can be very taxing on the body, especially for those with adrenal fatigue. Instead, opt for low-impact exercises such as yoga or Pilates if you want to get your heart rate up without putting too much stress on your body.
6. Rest is important
Sleep is crucial for our health, happiness, and energy levels — and it may be even more critical for people with adrenal fatigue. Sleep helps restore the balance between cortisol and adrenaline so that your body doesn’t constantly produce too much cortisol.
7. Try to reduce stressors
Stress can cause the body to produce more cortisol than it normally does — which is why people who are chronically stressed often feel fatigued. Try to find ways to reduce your stress level by exercising regularly, practicing mindfulness meditation, and getting enough sleep each night.
8. Include protein in your diet
Protein contains amino acids such as tryptophan, which calms your body and contributes to less stress. It reduces cortisol levels, which helps combat adrenal fatigue.
Protein, such as organic turkey, has amino acids such as tryptophan, which calms your body, contributes to less stress, and reduces cortisol levels, which help fight adrenal fatigue.