On the road to healing my adrenals!

Adrenal fatigue is a decrease in the adrenal glands ability to carry out its normal function.  If you feed tired, fatigues, dressed and gaining weight you should learn more.  The cause of adrenal fatigue is a result of chronic stress that builds up from one or combination of events over time including work stress, emotional stress, and physical stress, mental or environmental stress.  Our bodies can only tolerate so much stress for so long- suddenly the stress management systems  reaches capacity to keep up with the constant demands then gradual gets exhausted (broken faucet).  No longer can the cortisol level output (“fight of flight- sympathetic system) keep up with the constant stress (faucet that keeps running).  The cortisol is high too long then drops down.  Now we have to take the hormone Pregnenolone away from its daily job to help keep up with the constant stress (Pregnenolone Steal)…. More on that on the next blog!

Basic self –treatment for adrenal fatigue:   proper rest, nutritional supplements, and removal of stressors are the key to recovery the adrenal fatigue. 

This week I signed up for a month unlimited yoga at my favorite yoga studio near my studio.  After one month of trying to start the long road to adrenal recovery and a week in Hawaii, I noticed I am still shallow breathing, uptight and gaining fat (everyday!).   I had a talk with one of my mentors Ben Greenfield last week and talked to a local naturopath Dr. Sage Wheeler on Tuesday.  I need to make changes for 30 days to get my sympathetic system to slow down and activate my parasympathetic system.  I seem to be in constant “Fight or flight” stage and always tense…shallow breathing and uptight.  This is a vicious cycle as I can’t be depressed or emotional about my constant weight gain and muscle loss which I can’t control unless my cortisol returns to the ideal “Goldilocks” position (not too high, not too low).

After lots of reading online, books and consultations with functional practioners, I have had the various lab tests and blood work to determine why I am having so many odd symptoms.  I did the lab test for cortisol (saliva test), gut test, food sensitivities, thyroid, vitamin deficiencies and hormones test.  I am waiting for the results from my fasted blood work and picking up the hormones replacement for the “Whiley Protocol”.  Adrenal fatigue is not only compromising the adrenals but also causing deregulation with the hypothyroidism, insulin resistance and estrogen.   Cortisol is low…DHEA & Pregnalone is low -> every body function seems to be dysfunctioning and dysregulated!

My lab results:

  • Cortisol and DHEA levels are low
  • Liver detox system is off
  • Thyroid levels are low
  • Low hormones as Estrogen
  • Metabolic down regulation as my blood sugar irregular (cortisol controls blood sugar level) = gaining fat

My Symptoms:

  • Poor sleep (trouble falling to sleep and waking up 1AM-3AM)
  • Weight gain and muscle loss even with clean eating (low carb/sugar) and exercise
  • Low energy levels
  • Tired body and poor recovery from exercise
  • High heart rate at low speeds/pace
  • Muscle weakness
  • Frequent headaches after eating (blood sugar problems)
  • Emotional, frustrated and tense
  • More!

My Prescribed Supplements: talk to your practioner before taking any supplements.  This is my prescription for my imbalances.

  • Bone broth daily or collagen supplement to heal gut
  • Detox Protein shake in the morning (Sage MD created mix to help liver function)
  • Oil of Oregano 2x per day drops (does not taste good)
  • Red Ginseng (drops)
  • Licorice Root
  • Adrenal gland support
  • Magnesium Calm
  • Liquid Minerals (yuck)
  • Pregnenolone and DHEA (first month-drops)
  • Fish Oils with Vitamin D (morning and evening)
  • Blood sugar balance supplement (before meals ideally)
  • Neurotransmitter support (improve memory loss/brain fog)
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
  • Vitamin C
  • Glutamine (add in my protein drink) to help avoid muscles loss
  • Niupure Essentials (especially Vitamin E and the B complex for energy)
  • Cortisol Manager in evening to help regulate my Cortisol (high cortisol levels 12pm-3am cause to have difficulty sleeping).  Cortisol should be highest in the morning and lowest in the evening.

My Adrenal Fatigue Recovery Food Plan:

  • Low carb, higher fat, moderate protein food plan (combine fat/protein/carb meals to provide steady energy release
  • No coffee or alcohol
  • Tea:  liver detox tea and blood sugar balance tea in the day.  Evening- digestion or calming sleep tea
  • No sugar-> headaches -> increases blood sugar levels -> up insulin- fat storage. 
  • Avoid fruit – raises and drops blood sugar too quickly (combine with fat if needed)
  • No Gluten, commercial dairy, soy, corn or peanuts (for sure no Gluten)
  • Eat upon 30 minutes of waking (protein), eat every 2-4 hours to avoid low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the evening (mix with Cinnamon!)

Lifestyle changes for the next four weeks:

  • DE-STRESS & LAUGH more!  Chronic stress mode won’t shut off so I have shallow breathing all day long (anxious, uptight)
  • Easy walking “nature walks” without cell phone or music.  Focus on nasal breathing
  • Basic yoga- restorative, deep breathing (going to Shakti Yoga Studio)
  • Learn how to relax with deep breathing and mind-body exercises- create awareness all day
  • Morning sunshine (ideally but at work!)
  • Basic mobility- range of motion exercises (tissue mobility/lymph)
  • Test Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to be over 80. (Trying to use Sweet Beat on my IPhone if I can get it to work!)
  • Sleep when dark:  9-10pm bed and wake 6-7am (ideally but I am at work by 5am and to bed by 9pm)
  • Exercise is not for weight loss- it is to get fit or train for an event. 
  • MOVEMENT, Stress management and low-carb eating helps weight loss.
  • Take NAPS!
  • Change work schedule- cut back on teaching group classes and use that time to catch up on work projects so not always catching up on my list.

Most adrenal fatigue recovery takes on few weeks or months if stage two (this is why I want to help educate people to be aware of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.  Stage three takes six to twelve months to repair.  Adrenal fatigue is not a recognized condition in the mainstream medical community.  There is lots of misinformation and confusion in the medical communities on treatment.   I suggest doing some research on the internet- search Dr. Kalish, Dr. Lam or Dr. Gottfried web sites for information on symptoms and research articles then find a local practioner. 

I probably have had stage two for over five years but the fertility clinic (Seattle Reproductive Clinic) and my acupuncturist were not aware of adrenal exhaustion as I was trying to improve my fertility.    My temperature was always low and the fertility medication treatments never worked for me.  The SRM clinic did my blood work to find out my estrogen was low and I could only get pregnant from the IVF treatments.   Unfortunately, my stress levels were probably always too high back then (2008) as I own my own fitness studio by myself and train for triathlons (therapy time).   I probably could have fixed my adrenal fatigue and balance my hormones with the proper treatment and practioner over six years ago and even got pregnant!

For more information check out Dr. Lam’s website plus read Dr. Kalish’s book and Dr. Sara Gottfried’s Hormone Cure book.