The adrenal glands are small and sit above the kidneys. The glands help the body burn fat and protein and regulate sugar, blood pressure, and stress response. They create, release, and regulate hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Conditions like chronic fatigue, brain fog, and burnout cause individuals to be exhausted during the day and unable to fall asleep at night. Symptoms can also include hair loss, weight fluctuation, increased cravings, and difficulty recovering from illness. Nutrition support plays a major role in healing adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue nutrition support is a food-based approach to optimize adrenal gland function. The objective is to increase energy levels naturally, so the body doesn’t burn stored nutrients. Adrenal gland optimization involves learning ways to reduce and manage stress, getting healthy sleep, and making lifestyle adjustments.
When stress activates, the adrenal glands release cortisol. Researchers theorize that when the body experiences high levels of chronic stress, the adrenal glands may not be able to produce enough cortisol to maintain healthy function, which can lead to adrenal fatigue.
- Adrenal fatigue should not be confused with adrenal insufficiency, a verified medical condition where the adrenal glands cannot produce enough hormones.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Chronic low energy levels
- Difficulty waking up
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Increased cravings for salt or sugar
- Dependence on stimulants like caffeine
Other health conditions could also cause symptoms.
Foods to Avoid
Decreasing foods and drinks high in refined and processed sugar and unhealthy fats are recommended. Some foods to limit include:
- Processed food
- Fried food
- Granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Artificial sweeteners
It’s also recommended to time meals to help manage blood sugar levels. Skipping meals forces the body to burn stored nutrients that can reduce energy levels. Maintaining breakfast and lunch and regular balanced snacks can help maintain energy levels throughout the day. Maintaining hydration is also important, as dehydration can influence stress levels and cause the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
Doctors and nutritionists recommend balancing nutrient-dense sources of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Nutrition support foods include:
- Lean meats
- Fatty fish – Salmon and sardines are great protein sources as they are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and promote improved brain health.
- Leafy greens – These vegetables contain magnesium, like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. The body needs magnesium to carry out various functions, which also helps the body relax and manage stress more effectively. When there is trouble falling asleep, it could be a deficiency in this mineral.
- Colorful vegetables
- Whole grains
- Fruits low-sugar
- Sea salt – Individuals with adrenal fatigue experience electrolyte imbalances. This is caused by a deficiency in the steroid hormone aldosterone. Adding sea salt will help balance electrolytes and minimize symptoms, specifically those related to blood pressure.
- Olive oil
- Avocado – The body needs a good amount of healthy fat to help the body heal. A low-fat diet is not ideal for dealing with hormonal issues like adrenal fatigue, as the body needs fat and cholesterol to produce hormones. Avocados contain high monounsaturated fats and fiber that help the body detox and digest food more efficiently.
A nutrition plan addressing adrenal fatigue can increase energy levels, regulate blood pressure, and promote healthier eating habits. Talking with your doctor and a nutritionist is recommended for optimal results, as they can develop a personalized health plan that addresses the following:
- Lifestyle adjustments
- Healthy sleep schedule
- Managing stress
- Physical activity
We are here for you at Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Wellness Clinic to learn more about adrenal fatigue and how to manage it. Contact us for more information on our services or to schedule an appointment for a consultation.
Adrenal Dysfunction Patterns
ABDULLA, Jehan, and B. DJ Torpy. “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” Endotext, edited by Kenneth R Feingold et al., MDText.com, Inc., 20 April 2017.
Allen, Loyd V Jr. “Adrenal fatigue.” International journal of pharmaceutical compounding vol. 17,1 (2013): 39-44.
Galland, Leo. “The gut microbiome and the brain.” Journal of medicinal food vol. 17,12 (2014): 1261-72. doi:10.1089/jmf.2014.7000
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