Adrenal Exhaustion, according to Dr. Kalish ( begins when your stressors (various forms) begin to be present daily.  The causes of chronic stress could be from the food you eat or meals skipped or chemical stressors to non-stop pace every day.  Talk to a trained practitioner to evaluate your stressors in life (big questionnaire on all topics!) then begin to address those main stressors you can change to restore proper function to your adrenal glands (hopefully you are in stage 1)

The adrenal function declines in three stages of adrenal exhaustion … a brief overview from Dr. Kalish’s research:

The adrenal cortex produces and secretes more of the “stress hormone” called cortisol.  The increased amount of cortisol begins to “steal” from the hormone Pregnenolone that is required to produce other hormones as the DHEA.

STAGE ONE:  The daily cortisol levels are increased and DHEA levels begin to lower.  The role of DHEA hormone is to metabolize into our sex hormones (think about your need for Estrogen and Testosterone) and leads to hormone imbalances.

STAGE TWO:  The chronic stress continues to exhaust the adrenal glands and they begin to struggle maintaining the daily high levels of cortisol output.  Now the daily cortisol levels return to “normal” but the DHEA levels continue to decline even more.  The cortisol levels are usually low in the morning, noon and afternoon, but normal at night time for stage two adrenal exhaustion.

STAGE THREE:  As the chronic stress continues to break down the systems, cortisol levels are low and DHEA levels decrease even more.  Now there is a chance of low nighttime cortisol as well as throughout the day and the patient is possibly experiencing serious hormonal imbalances as serious fatigue and depression.   Blood sugar regulation, immune function, dextofication capabilities, tissue health and hormone balance are a few of the many health consequences from adrenal exhaustion.

Ben Greenfield, my mentor in our “Superhuman Coach” program talks about ways to de-stress during the day ( including:

  • Take time out!  Try lying down and closing your eyes during work breaks (I find myself needing to work on deeper breathing).  Yoga breathing and relaxation techniques to SLOW DOWN during your day.
  • Sleeping in as often as possible… not to wake up with alarm clock!  Monitor you sleep levels with the Jawbone UP, FitBit or other devices.
  • Laughing!  Find friends and family to spend time with who make you smile and laugh!
  • Exercise… to reduce stress, but the type of exercise depends on which stage of Adrenal Fatigue you are in.
  • Minimize stress… what do you really need to get done today?  What can you put off a week?  What can you delegate?
  • Spend five minutes or more meditating each morning.  Use this time measuring your “heart rate variability” (goal to be above 90).  I just order my heart rate strap that can be used with IPhone app “Sweet Beat” to monitor my HRV and detect improvements in my stress levels.
  • Spend time with positive people!  Avoid spending time with negative people!
  • Currently my way of reducing stress was to exercise…which causes your body to breakdown more.  Instead I need to switch my bike rides, running and swimming to easy 30 minutes a few times a week, add in more YOGA and relaxation exercise sessions, Pilates and more strength training to build up the muscles.

I am avoiding any foods that cause inflammation in the body as GLUTEN, COMMERCIAL DAIRY, SOY, PEANUTS, CORN and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.  Dr. Kalish prescribed my supplements as well as other natural supplements recommended by Ben Greenfield (www.bengreenfieldfitness).

I am taking fish oil supplement, liquid trace minerals, licorice root, Vitamin C, Niupure Essentials (B complex, D, E and more from and use Fitforward code for discount), blood sugar regulator (chromium) and other adrenal gland support.  Be sure to talk to your practitioner before doing any supplements.

Stage one recovery could take a few weeks, stage two 6-8 weeks or stage three 6 months or longer!  AHHHHH… no racing for me this year which is very difficult and very depressing as I LOVE to train, race and compete.

My new focus to heal my adrenal gland exhaustion includes:

  • To eat more healthy fats and protein.
  • Continue to avoid common allergens – gluten, commercial dairy, corn & peanuts.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Eat every 3-4 hours, even if not hungry.
  • Take my supplements three times per day as prescribed.
  • Try to get more sleep and add afternoon naps when possible!
  • Add strength training three days a week (slow training).
  • Add yoga and meditation when possible.
  • Measure my heart rate variability (HRV) and temperature each day to check recovery progress.
  • Limit cardio (as prescribed) to easy 30 minutes a few days a week.
  • Be aware of breathing… focus on deeper breathing.  (I find myself as a shallow breather now)
  • Spend time with friends who make me smile and laugh more often!
  • Hire an assistant to help me at Fitness Forward Studio.

I will share more research, tips and articles on Facebook or Twitter.  Stay tuned!

I am off to focus on deeper breathing, slowing down and smelling the flowers!

Coach Debbie