Most of us deal with stress on a regular basis. When stress does not let up, however, it could lead to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). Even worse, symptoms of adrenal fatigue will continue to persist and worsen over time unless you do something to relieve them. Fortunately, using natural remedies for adrenal fatigue may help address the symptoms associated with the condition as well as address the root causes.
While conventional medicine does not acknowledge adrenal fatigue as a health issue, alternative medicine does. Conventional medicine practitioners tend to only address the symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue, while alternative medicine looks at the root cause of the condition.
Many people suffering from adrenal fatigue find the condition impacts their daily lives. This results from the vast variety of possible symptoms.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is a condition characterized by a group of symptoms that may seem unrelated. Yet all have one thing in common - overworked adrenal glands. This results from a constant need to increase cortisol production to combat stress.
This stress, first identified in the brain, causes the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis to send chemical messengers to various parts of the body, thereby activating the body’s NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response. An activated NEM will see an increase in stress hormone production, typically cortisol production, in the adrenals. This leads to major changes in different bodily functions. Body functions needed for imminent survival may increase their activity, while those deemed unnecessary see a decline in activity. Your heart rate may increase, for example, while the production of sex hormones may decline. This can further exacerbate the fatigue experienced as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are protective against stress. 
While the change in different body activities usually returns to normal once a stressful period stops, this is not the case when stress persists.
As a result, your body functions may continuously operate as they would in a state of heightened stress. This could have serious repercussions that manifest as symptoms that seem unrelated. Furthermore, the longer the situation persists, the more symptoms may manifest. Existing symptoms may also worsen. Your adrenal glands may finally reach a state of exhaustion, as one often sees in the latter stages of adrenal fatigue.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
The main cause of adrenal fatigue is stress. But we tend to think of stress as something that affects us on an emotional level only. This is not the case. Injuries and health issues also cause the body to go into a state of stress.
Examples of stressors include:
o Prolonged stress from your work situation
o Emotional trauma carried over from childhood
o The death of a loved one
o A car accident
o Inadequate Diet
o Too little sleep
o Food sensitivities
Symptoms Associated with Adrenal Fatigue
The symptoms of adrenal fatigue differ from one person to another. They also differ depending on the stage of adrenal fatigue as does their intensity. Common symptoms associated with the condition include:
o Moodiness, irritability, anxiety, brain fog, and depression
o Weight gain
o Loss of libido
o Hair loss
o Muscle and/or bone mass loss
o Cravings for sweet or salty foods
o Dizziness or lightheadedness
o Insulin resistance
o Heart health issues
o Blood pressure issues
These symptoms may seem unrelated, but they all can be caused by the stress response and adrenal fatigue.
Natural Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue
Alternative medicine acknowledges adrenal fatigue as the root cause of many health issues experienced today. As such, it tends to promote an integrated approach that provides adrenal support while attending to the symptoms at the same time. It does this by making use of natural remedies for adrenal fatigue.
Natural remedies for adrenal fatigue include Ayurvedic medicine remedies, traditional Chinese medicine, and more modern naturopathic remedies along with healthy eating habits.
The kidneys are your source of yin and yang. When you are in excellent health, the relaxed yin state is in balance with the adrenal yang state.
When you experience an excess of yin or yang influences, the problem may be in the kidneys. Any chronic imbalance can eventually cause a deficiency in the kidneys.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the kidneys are your most important organs. They regulate your internal qi (chi). If you are strong physically, and sound mentally and emotionally, you have abundant kidney qi.
Kidney yang provides heat for digestion and other metabolic functions. Kidney yang deficiency is associated with cold hands and feet, abundant-clear urine, edema and night urination. You may be pale, with back and knee pain, low libido, aversion to cold and general apathy.
Western chronic conditions of adrenal fatigue, back pain, depression, hypothyroidism, kidney inflammation and sexual dysfunction parallel kidney yang deficiency.
In traditional Chinese medicine, kidney yang involves the reactive sympathetic nervous system and the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, produced in the adrenals. A kidney yang deficiency causes endocrine (hormonal) dysfunction.
To correct the imbalance of kidney yang deficiency, you must warm the kidneys. Stay away from cold or raw foods, sugar and antibiotics, which deplete yang.
Kidney yin involves the parasympathetic nervous system and the hormone cortisol, produced in the adrenals. Cortisol reduces the effects of stress. During times of stress, cortisol production rises.
If stress is too prolonged or becomes chronic, cortisol production drops. Kidney yin deficiency may be considered a lack of cortisol.
Kidney yin deficiency is associated with sore back, leg weakness, tinnitus and vertigo. You may have a dry throat, a feeling of fever in hands and feet, a flushed face, and feel anxious with a fast pulse. You may have insomnia, with night sweats, menstrual irregularities, and inflammation.
The body's inability to repair and maintain itself is kidney yin deficiency. Parallels in western disorders might be diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, lumbago and some psychological disorders.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the adrenals are associated with kidney energy.
Using adrenal fatigue as an example of how the seeming opposites of kidney yang deficiency and kidney yin deficiency are intricately intertwined, adrenal fatigue is a kidney yang deficiency. If the condition of adrenal fatigue should continue without treatment or improvement, its progression can lead to a kidney yin deficiency.
Natural Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue: Chinese Medicine
Doctors of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine work at restoring your body’s energy flow.
In ancient Chinese practice, acupuncture is a form of therapy that manipulates the flow of energy or qi inside a person. This is done through the insertion of needles along certain vital points located on the body. Doing so activates the internal energy in the body. This energy then travels to the extracellular matrix network to locate the pathological areas of the dysfunction. Once located, the energy would then initiate self-healing.
Moreover, acupuncture has also been found to help lower stress levels.
In traditional Chinese medicine, tai chi is a practice that can help generate internal energy, serenity, and mindfulness. Its primary purpose is cultivating the qi from within the body and allowing it to flow powerfully and smoothly. Hence, this practice can be vital in restoring proper qi to the kidneys to combat adrenal fatigue.
Moreover, tai chi has proven effective in reducing stress levels. This gentle form of exercise is also ideal for someone dealing with adrenal fatigue. It helps strengthen core strength and muscles without causing the stress associated with a strenuous workout.
People with adrenal fatigue should not engage in any strenuous exercise.
If tai chi is not something you wish to participate in, you could try yoga, qigong, or Pilates. All provide benefits similar to tai chi.
Natural Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue: Diet
Many people with adrenal fatigue lack certain nutrients in their diets. To combat this, they may resort to using supplements as natural remedies for adrenal fatigue. But while supplements have their place, you should try to get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs from your diet.
When using food as a natural remedy for adrenal fatigue, you should cut certain foods out of your diet while incorporating more of others. Foods to avoid include sugary foods, high-fat foods, and processed foods. They can increase your adrenal load.
Foods to incorporate in your diet include, amongst others, organic fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, healthy proteins like organic chicken, turkey, and lean beef, and oily fish like mackerel, sardines, salmon, and tuna.
With regards to carbohydrates, whole grains are best. These include quinoa, brown rice, barley, and cracked wheat.
You should also limit your caffeine intake, as this stimulant can cause an energy spike followed by a low. This is not healthy for those with adrenal fatigue.
Natural Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue: Herbal Supplements
Many supplements can help address the symptoms of adrenal fatigue while providing adrenal support. In particular, apoptogenic herbs can help restore balance while helping your body to manage stress. We can find you one with a blended form based on your specific pattern of symptoms.
§ Ashwagandha: May have a stress-relieving effect via the HPA axis.
§ Holy Basil: Helps address cortisol levels and inflammation.
§ Rhodiola Rosea: Has a positive impact on energy levels in those with adrenal fatigue.
§ Licorice Root: Has long been used for issues involving the digestive system and for helping with coughs, bronchitis, sore throat, and infection. It may also help protect your body against oxidative stress.
§ Astragalus Root: A known immune booster, astragalus root may help relieve stress and its various symptoms, especially stress-induced anxiety.
§ Schisandra Berry: May help improve heart and cognitive functions. It may also help combat the effects of stress due to its strong antioxidant activity. The berry may also help improve mental performance and increase your endurance.
Vitamins and Minerals: Natural Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue
People with adrenal fatigue usually have a shortage of certain vitamins and minerals.
§ Vitamin C: Plays a role in managing cortisol and blood pressure levels.
§ Vitamin B Complex: Certain B vitamins provide adrenal support, play a role in cortisol production, and help reduce excess cortisol levels during stress-inducing events.
§ Vitamin D: Helps to manage the effects of continuous high cortisol production. It is also important for phosphate and calcium regulation, both of which are essential for bone, teeth, and muscle health.
§ Magnesium: It has a relaxing effect on the body and helps lower cortisol levels.
§ Selenium: Supports adrenal health.
Deciding on the correct remedies, supplements, and dosage can prove challenging.
Please note, however, that you should not take any supplements without the advice of your healthcare practitioner. Many supplements can interact with medications you currently use or are not suitable for use at a certain stage of adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue, especially in the latter stages, together with its wide variety of possible symptoms, can have a debilitating effect on your health. Yet you can reverse adrenal fatigue by enlisting a set of protocols and using the correct supplements or supplement combinations. Please, however, only use the supplements with the advice of your healthcare provider.
If you would like to know more about natural remedies for adrenal fatigue, Elaia Integrative Healthcare can help.
We offer virtual consultations and can privately discuss your concerns.