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Repairing Adrenal Burn-Out

YOU DID IT AGAIN! You promised yourself you wouldn't commit to another committee or add another project to your already over-filled schedule. But here you are, scrambling to help others as your nerves become further frayed and your personal matters remain untouched. While you can't get that time and energy back, you can repair the damage. You can turn fatigue, irritability, sadness, and overwhelm into a grounded sense of solid energy and positive well-being.

First, however, it might help to understand what is happening in your body when you are overstressed. In life-threatening situations, stress hormones are important chemical messengers released by your adrenal glands, which allow us to physically respond in heroic ways. We've all heard stories of the 90-pound woman who lifts a car off her small child after a horrific accident. So in short bursts, these messengers are very useful. However, our bodies are not designed to circulate these powerful chemicals all day every day. Sadly, in our culture of constant stimulation and pressure … that is exactly what happens. This compromises our well-being.

Constant long-term exposure to these messengers is destructive to the health of every organ system in the body, especially the adrenal glands and the mind. Consistent levels keep us in that "wired and scattered" state. It makes a person feel nervous and worried about their responsibilities, yet not quite able to follow through on any of them. People in this state often say, "I have a million things to do, but I don't even know where to begin." Not very satisfying.

There is also the "ugly end," as I refer to it with my patients. These people have overproduced these chemicals for so long that their adrenal glands are no longer able to mount a response. People in this situation might see the house is on fire … yet do nothing! This is a condition known as "adrenal burn-out." No one wants to find themselves here.

What can you do to balance your energy and repair adrenal burn-out? First, consider healthful lifestyle choices: eating right (limiting alcohol and comfort foods, especially those high in sugar and fat), getting plenty of rest, and exercising regularly. Second, the proper use of dietary supplements can help reduce the cortisol levels associated with the over production of stress hormones, enhance your body's immunity, as well as increase and ground your energy levels.

Because stress takes such a toll on your immune system, choose nutritional supplements that support both the immune system and the adrenal glands. Vitamins A and C, as well as the mineral, zinc, help boost the immune system, which can be weakened during times of chronic stress. Vitamin C can also help reduce inflammation caused by stress and excess cortisol.

Other support includes licorice, which extends the life of the cortisol already released, thus giving the adrenal glands a break from having to produce more; and purified adrenal extract, a glandular nutrient containing vitamins, enzymes, and co-factors to help repair adrenal function. Fatigued to Fantastic! Adrenal Stress End, from Enzymatic Therapy, incorporates all these essential nutrients and glandulars in one formula.

For stress reduction, Rhodiola rosea, an herb native to Russia, has been shown to improve focus and energy while decreasing fatigue and irritability. Sixty-four percent of participants in a clinical trial reported that Rhodiola supplementation helped them gain energy, focus, and improve their mood. Enyzmatic Therapy's Rhodiola Energy provides the necessary support.

We know that taking B vitamins can be an important nutritional strategy for managing our stressful lives. The more stress we have, the more B vitamins our bodies use; therefore, we require more to maintain optimal health. Vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, thiamin, pantothenic acid, niacin, and riboflavin are crucial for building energy for they support the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose— the body's main source of fuel. They also play an important role in the function of the nervous system and in the development of healthy skin and hair. Pantothenic acid specifically is known to activate the adrenals, and a deficiency causes adrenal dysfunction. Being "water soluble," your body does not store B vitamins so you can take them every day. Your body will use what it needs and discard any excess. A good source is Multi-B Complex from Integrative Therapeutics.

By making smart choices and using appropriate dietary supplements, you can recharge your adrenals and your life!

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