Do you feel exhausted all the time? Feeling tired all the time is the number one symptom of adrenal fatigue syndrome.
In addressing your adrenal fatigue, the best thing is to find the root cause and adopt a healthy lifestyle and also incorporate adrenal support supplements.
Certain supplements can support your adrenal glands and help restore balance to your body.
so in this post, I will discuss some of the best supplements for adrenal fatigue
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
According to Mayo Clinic, adrenal fatigue is not yet recognized as a medical diagnosis by the mainstream medical community.
Instead, it is a lay term used to describe nonspecific symptoms such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, and sleep disturbances.
However, alternative health practitioners and naturopath practitioners suggest that adrenal fatigue occurs when chronic stress places excessive demands on the adrenal glands, leading to an imbalance in hormone production.
The adrenal glands are two bean-shaped organs located on top of the kidneys that release hormones such as cortisol, which helps regulate metabolism, blood pressure, and immune response.
When stress persists over time, the adrenal glands may struggle to meet the demand, resulting in adrenal fatigue.
What causes adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands, responsible for producing stress hormones, become overwhelmed and depleted.
The result is a variety of physical and mental symptoms that can significantly impact your quality of life.
Thankfully, there are supplements available that can support your adrenal health and help restore your energy levels.
In this article, we will explore what adrenal fatigue is, its common symptoms, and the best supplements to combat this condition.
How does the body respond to stress?
It is important to understand the stress response and the HPA axis. So when the body perceives a threat, the brain releases chemical compounds that prepare the body for the challenge ahead.
This is the fight-or-flight response. Now this was supposed to help the early human to run away or fight danger such as lions or marauding tribes.
But what exactly happens when we encounter a stressor?
An article published in Harvard Health Publishing explains it as follows…
Well, when you sense danger or a threat, a message is sent to the amygdala which then sends the alarm signal to the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus then sends a signal to the autonomic nervous activating the sympathetic nervous system through the adrenal glands.
Then the adrenals pump out the stress hormone epinephrine or adrenaline which tells the heart to beat faster to pump out more blood, and the lungs to get in more oxygen sending more oxygen to the brain for greater alertness.
Your senses become sharper. More glucose and fat are released to supply extra energy. All this happens instantaneously and so you don’t notice it.
Unfortunately, many people experience this over and over due to daily stressors that may eventually overwork the adrenals leading to fatigue and an inability to handle stress.
And when that happens you begin to experience signs and symptoms such as these listed below.
What are the common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue can manifest in a variety of ways, affecting both the body and the mind. Here are some common symptoms associated with this condition:
1. Fatigue and Low Energy: Persistent fatigue, even after getting adequate sleep, is a hallmark symptom of adrenal fatigue. You may feel exhausted and have difficulty mustering the energy to carry out everyday tasks.
2. Sleep Disturbances: Individuals with adrenal fatigue often experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. This can contribute to a vicious cycle of fatigue and exacerbate the condition.
3. Cognitive Issues: Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and poor memory are frequently reported by those with adrenal fatigue. Mental clarity and focus may become compromised due to hormonal imbalances.
4. Mood Swings: Adrenal fatigue can affect your emotional well-being, leading to increased irritability, anxiety, and even depression.
Fluctuations in hormone levels can disrupt the delicate balance of neurotransmitters responsible for mood regulation.
5. Weakened Immune System: Chronic stress and adrenal fatigue can compromise the immune system, making you more susceptible to frequent illnesses, infections, and slower healing times.
6. Brain fog
7. Sugar and salt cravings
These are just some of the symptoms you may experience in adrenal fatigue. Others may include, reduced immunity, weight gain, and hair loss.
Fortunately, adrenal fatigue can be reversed with proper care including the use of supplements listed below. However, always seek the guidance of your medical provider before starting on any new supplement.
The best supplements for adrenal fatigue
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to help with stress, to boost energy, and cognition, stop insomnia, and many other health benefits.
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha is one the best supplements for adrenal fatigue because it helps to regulate the stress response. Per a 2020 double-blind controlled study, ashwagandha reduces levels of cortisol and stress by its moderating effect on the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis.
And by regulating cortisol levels, ashwagandha promotes a sense of calm and overall well-being which in allows you to deal with stress better.
2. Rhodiola Rosea
Another adaptogenic herb, Rhodiola Rosea, helps increase resistance to stress and fatigue. It supports mental clarity, improves energy levels, and enhances physical performance.
Several studies such as this 2018 study on the effect of Rhodiola on stress found that Rhodiola improved stress levels by influencing the release of stress hormones while boosting energy metabolism.
This 12-week study on subjects experiencing burnout found a clear indication that rhodiola supplementation improved symptoms of burnout.
Rhodiola rosea has many other health benefits including calming anxiety, improving depression, and boosting physical and cognitive performance as well(source). Rhodiola also boosts mental clarity and boosts immunity.
3. Holy basil
Holy basil is so revered in Ayurveda medicine that is referred to as the queen of herbs and the elixir of life due to its many health benefits.
Holy basil also known as Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb known to relieve stress, lowers cortisol levels, improve sleep, and boost mood (source).
4. Asian Ginseng
Asian ginseng has been used for thousands of years in Asia to maintain body balance or homeostasis, and to enhance vital energy.
Studies show that ginseng contains various beneficial compounds such as ginsenosides, polysaccharides, peptides, and polyacetylene alcohol.
But the ginsenosides are the main active ingredients that provide antioxidant, antiinflammatory, even anti-cancer and antiapoptotic benefits.
And according to research, Panax ginseng administration had a positive effect on subjects suffering from chronic fatigue. Researchers attributed this to the antioxidant properties of Panax ginseng.
5. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Vitamin B5 is a member of the complex vitamin B family and all these vitamins play a role in energy and metabolism.
Vitamin B5 also plays a role in red blood cell synthesis and plays a crucial role in adrenal function and the production of adrenal hormones.
However, a deficiency is rare but if deficient symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, and fatigue can occur (source). Supplementation with vitamin B5 can support healthy adrenal gland activity and energy production.
6. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 protects nerve cells and helps in the synthesis of neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, and GABA.
And as such B6 is important in restoring balance to an exhausted nervous system.
Keep in mind that in adrenal fatigue the nervous system is constantly wired through the over-activation of the HPA.
B6 helps improve anxiety, irritability, and depressed mood as well as improved energy metabolism.
Generally, all B vitamins help energy metabolism in the brain and the body, which is important in alleviating adrenal fatigue.
And vitamins B6, B9, and B12 play an important role in the health of nerve cells and function.
Plus B 6, 9, and 12 also help in the production of Gaba, a neurotransmitter known to regulate cortisol and stress levels (source).
Magnesium deficiency is quite common which predisposes so many people to chronic illnesses. That is because magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.
Magnesium is crucial in energy metabolism and utilization of ATP the energy molecule of the cell.
Magnesium is known to have a calming effect on the nervous system making it one of the best supplements for adrenal fatigue.
Also, magnesium helps to regulate cortisol levels, reduce stress, and promote restful sleep.
According to an article published by NIH, “magnesium status is highly associated with stress levels with both stress and hypomagnesia potentiating each other’s negative effects. ”
Furthermore, research finds that low magnesium levels “predispose one to conditions such as photosensitive headache, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, audiogenic stress, cold stress, and physical stress, amongst others.”
Magnesium protects against stress but magnesium is also needed in stressful situations.
So if you are deficient in magnesium, you are not adequately able to handle stress and, when you have low magnesium you become more prone to stress.
And that is why, magnesium is one of the best supplements for adrenal fatigue.
It is important to note that different forms of magnesium differ in their bioavailability. Plus excess amounts can lead to gastrointestinal upsets and diarrhea.
Magnesium glycinate is easily absorbed and great for the nervous system while magnesium oxide is harder to absorb. Check with your medical provider for the right magnesium and dose.
8. Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and acts as a cofactor in many biological processes. Vitamin C’s role in the immune system is well known. But vitamin C is also crucial in stress response.
Vitamin C also plays a role in neurotransmission and neuromodulation (source). Chronic stress depletes vitamin C levels in the body.
According to research published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease, vitamin C is found in large amounts in the adrenal glands and is released in response to ACTH which shows that vitamin C plays a role in the stress response.
Furthermore, research finds that when the HPA is stimulated the level of vitamin C in the blood increases. These observations and various animal studies have found that the liver and the adrenal glands contributed to increased vitamin C in stressed animals showing that vitamin C is needed during times of stress.
Therefore it follows that supplementing with vitamin C can support adrenal gland function, during stress. And vitamin C also boosts the immune system and combats oxidative stress.
Calcium is crucial for bone health but has other functions in the body as well. Calcium is needed for muscle movement and assists in nerve transmission.
Calcium is released from the bones and teeth in reaction to stress to neutralize cortisol the stress hormone.
The problem though is that chronic stress leads to too much calcium leaching out of bones causing osteoporosis. And that is why a calcium supplement is essential for adrenal fatigue.
10. Vitamin E
Vitamin E refers to plant-derived tocopherols and tocotrienols that are fat soluble. vitamin E is a powerful free radical scavenge antioxidant.
As an antioxidant vitamin, it fights free radicals that cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the adrenals and the body as a whole.
Inflammation anywhere in the body causes stress and the adrenals produce more cortisol to deal with it.
So a vitamin E supplement can help prevent this oxidative stress and inflammation and fight adrenal fatigue.
However, if you are on a blood thinner be sure to seek guidance from your provider as vitamin E can potentiate blood thinning.
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid comprised of fatty acids and amino acids required for healthy nerve cell membranes and myeline- the sheath that protects nerve cells.
Phosphatidylserine is essential in the brain and helps nerve communication, memory cognition, and mood.
Research also shows that phosphatidylserine supplementation may help regulate the HPA, and is effective in reducing both physical and mental stress.
As such phosphatidylserine may be an appropriate supplement for adrenal fatigue.
12. Licorice root.
Licorice root has been being a plant native to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor and is known to possess several biological and endocrine properties.
Licorice has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years. Licorice contains a saponin compound called glycyrrhizic acid which prevents cortisol break down into cortisone, thus keeping levels up.
This then helps the body be better able to handle stress and increases energy levels boosting endurance.
Only use this supplement with a doctor’s guidance as side effects including high blood pressure and low potassium can occur.
13. Maca root
Maca is a root vegetable that grows in the high altitude in the mountains of Peru and Bolivia.
Maca is considered an adaptogen and has many health benefits both as a vegetable and as a medicinal herb. Given its nutritional profile, maca is a great herb for adrenal fatigue.
Maca is a rich source of protein, fatty acids, and vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamins B1 and 2, and is also rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
Studies such as this 2022 study on young women experiencing fatigue found that supplementing with maca significantly decreased fatigue. And a 2016 study found that supplementing with maca boosted energy and mood as well as general health in the study subjects.
Conclusion on the best supplements for adrenal fatigue
Adrenal fatigue can be a debilitating condition, affecting both your physical and mental well-being.
And while adrenal fatigue is not officially recognized as a medical diagnosis, its impact on individuals experiencing chronic stress cannot be ignored.
The symptoms of adrenal fatigue, such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, cognitive issues, mood swings, and a weakened immune system, can significantly reduce the quality of life.
And while addressing the underlying causes of stress and making lifestyle changes is essential, incorporating supplements can be a valuable addition to the journey of healing and recovery.
The best supplements for adrenal fatigue. can provide much-needed support to the adrenal glands and help restore hormonal balance.
These adaptogenic herbs and essential nutrients can aid in reducing stress, enhancing energy levels, and promoting mental clarity and emotional well-being.
However, before starting any supplement regimen, it is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare professional. They can assess your individual needs, provide personalized recommendations, and monitor your progress.
So, take charge of your health, and make the necessary lifestyle adjustments. Also, consider incorporating these supplements to support your adrenal glands.
By following a holistic plan of care, you can replenish and restore your energy, reclaiming a balanced and vibrant life.
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