The adrenals are two small glands that sit atop the kidneys. They are responsible for the production of our sex hormones, stress hormone (cortisol), adrenaline, and more. This means that our adrenal glands play a crucial role in our metabolism, reproductive cycles, immune system, blood pressure control, stress response, mood, and sleep.
When we go through some kind of extreme or prolonged stress – which can refer to the mental/emotional kind of stress, the post-infection physiological kind, the physically-overexerting-yourself kind, the drinking-too-much-coffee and overdoing it kind, among others – our bodies become less capable of handling our normal day-to-day functions properly.
Our adrenal glands start struggling a bit to meet the demands of our bodies, especially if we’re not supporting the body adequately with all the things that it needs. This may result in symptoms like:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Food cravings
- Feeling unrefreshed after an adequate amount of sleep
- Mood swings
- Menstrual changes and fertility issues
- Weight change
- Weak immune system
- Hair loss
- Loss of libido
- Skin changes
- and others
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to help support the adrenal glands:
This means getting adequate sleep and also not overdoing it. Say no to more responsibility if possible, indulge in an activity that you enjoy, laugh, relax, turn the volume down on long and intense workouts, and opt for walking (in nature), gentle yoga, stretching, short workouts, swimming, etc.
2. Get your minerals
The adrenal glands need minerals like zinc and magnesium, so make sure you’re getting those into your system. If you’re experiencing adrenal fatigue, you most likely want to incorporate supplements to get therapeutic dosages of these minerals.
3. Take some vitamins
The B vitamins and vitamin C get used up very readily by the body when it’s under stress (and especially if you’re on the pill), so getting a good B-complex and lots of vitamin C is important. Also, make sure your iron, B12, vitamin D, and thyroid hormone levels are adequate.
4. Avoid or cut down on the caffeine
You’re running on empty, try not to overstimulate your adrenals and nervous system with caffeine.
5. Use adaptogenic herbs
Adaptogens are a group of herbs that help regulate the body’s response to stress. These can include licorice, holy basil, reishi, ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng, rhodiola, and more. Finding the proper fit for your symptoms and body is important, so consult with someone who knows what they’re talking about!
6. Optional but effective: take a vacation!