So you already know why Adrenal Health is so important and why you need it. Now I'm going to give you my top 5 tips for keeping your Adrenals happy and healthy. These are things I tell most of my patients to do.
1. TAKE WHOLE FOOD VITAMIN C
We all know vitamin C is so important for immune health, it's also incredibly important for adrenal health. Did you know that the greatest storage of vitamin C in the body is in the adrenal glands? When you are under an increased amount of stress you body produces more cortisol. Vitamin C is needed to produce cortisol and if you don't have an adequate amount it's adds more stress to the little glands. I usually suggest my patients add 1000mg of a whole food vitamin C supplement to their diet if they are looking to increase adrenal health. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, that means that if you get too much in your diet you will just urinate it out. If you are taking too much vitamin C it can cause some loose stool, if you have this reaction you can back off to 500mg per day. An added benefit, your immune system will be happy too!
2. TAKE WHOLE FOOD B VITAMIN COMPLEX
Surprise, Surprise, my first two suggestions are nutrition related! With the common American diet, we aren't getting all the nutrients our bodies require. In addition, soil quality and manufacturing processes can also equate to food not being as nutrient dense. Add increased stress to this and that is a perfect storm of not getting all the stuff you need to function at an optimal level. B vitamins, like vitamin C, are required for many of the different hormones produced by the adrenals and used up in common stress responses. I love whole food vitamins, rather than synthetic, because your body uses them just like food and they assimilate easier to your body. Here are the ones I like and are easy to get online or at Sprouts Farmers Market.
3. LAY OFF THE CAFFEINE
This may be the suggestion you like the least but I need you to wrap your mind around this. Caffeine is a stimulant, every time you drink caffeine your adrenal glands secrete epinephrine. Think about that. Your adrenal glands are working every time you drink coffee! That means that over years of drinking a cup (or two!) a day, this can be depleting and exhausting to your adrenal glands. When my patients are trying to repair their abused adrenals I always suggest to give up caffeine. It doesn't have to be a permanent thing, but you aren't doing yourself any favors if you follow all my other tips but still drink coffee, energy drinks, or even black tea daily.
4. BALANCE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR
Like we talked about in my last blog, your adrenals produce cortisol and cortisol raises your blood sugar. So . . . tips to balance your blood sugar include: eat within a half an hour of waking daily, eat meals at the same time every day, make sure you're getting enough protein in your diet in order to be a source of energy that sustains your blood sugar. Also, in addition to too much caffeine, too much sugar is a burden on the adrenals too. In Chinese medicine we were always taught to eat like a king in the morning, eat like a working man at lunch, and eat like a peasant for dinner (or something along those lines). In other words, eat the most in the beginning of the day and eat less and less as the day goes on.
5. GET ADEQUATE REST
A sign of adrenal fatigue is that you are exhausted in the morning but have tons of energy at night, when you should be sleeping. This is an indication that your cortisol production is not happening at the right times of day. So, trying to get to sleep around the same time every night and getting at least 8 hours of sleep is so important! In addition, night time is when your body does the best restoration and healing. If you aren't getting deep or an adequate amount of sleep you aren't able to repair and heal your tissues the way that you were meant to (If you have a hard time sleeping . . . Acupuncture is amazing for regulating this).
That's it folks! Most of these are easy things that you can start doing immediately in order to get your adrenal health back on track. If you become one of my patients I would also consider putting you on a Chinese herbal formula or some western herbal adaptogens to help accelerate healing, along with Acupuncture . . . Of Course! I'm passionate about adrenal health and you should be too!
-Jennifer Niemeyer L.Ac. Sign up for my Wellness Newsletter