By Terry Lemerond
Imagine awakening every morning feeling completely inadequate to meet the demands of the day. How would you feel if just a little physical or mental stress left you feeling drained? Problems such as these have an enormous negative impact on relationships, careers, and personal happiness. And the root cause is very often impaired adrenal and/or thyroid function. In fact, I have probably been asked more questions about the adrenal and thyroid glandular systems, and the symptoms of underactive adrenal and thyroid function, than just about any other health topic. So many people feel helpless in dealing with their exhaustion following any "fight or flight" stress response. We know that adrenal burnout and an underactive thyroid can have longterm, serious consequences. We also know the symptoms can be confusing regarding whether the issue is with thyroid or adrenal. Are you wondering if your adrenal glands are less than optimal? You may be surprised on just how widespread adrenal dysfunction really is.
Adrenal insufficiency is probably the number-one factor underlying the many health disorders for which no one has answers. It usually begins after a period of prolonged stress, either emotional or metabolic. Severe fatigue in the morning is the main symptom. Usually, people with adrenal insufficiency describe themselves as "slow starters."
Interestingly, the ability to resist infection is an adrenal function even more than the immune system. People with exhausted adrenal glands typically have recurrent minor infections. Post-viral fatigue is common in this case as well. In fact, more than half of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome cases begin after significant stress such as surgery, viral infection, trauma, or accident. This inability to recover is in large part due to adrenal exhaustion that has developed from underlying stress such as poor nutrition, mental and physical stress, overwork, and lack of sleep.
Allergies are very often a manifestation of adrenal insufficiency, too. Recurrent sneezing can be a subtle clue of adrenal weakness. In nearly every case of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome, low adrenal function has been the underlying cause. Those who have less severe sensitivities likely have proportionately less severe adrenal insufficiency. Because their condition began with a viral infection and/or other stressful challenges to the adrenal glands, people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome generally start to improve when their adrenal glands rejuvenate.
Low Thyroid (Hypothyroidism): Similar, but Not the Same
Hypothyroidism can also play a significant part in this complex condition. Fatigue, depression, low temperature, and stiffness upon rising, especially of the low back (which resolves with a hot shower), are some of the common complaints. Sore throats in the morning are common as well, usually resolving later in the day. Do these sound like symptoms you have been experiencing that don't have other specific causes? Then, you may want to consider supporting both the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland with two important steps.
Step 1: The Right Diet
The ideal diet for someone experiencing adrenal insufficiency would be similar to the diet for the hypoglycemic person – or almost anyone, really. It should be low in carbohydrates (no refined carbs and no sugar) and emphasize whole, unprocessed proteins and highquality fats, including olive oil and butter. For adrenal repair, sodium is a critical factor and should not be avoided. However, the salt should be of high-quality and not refined white salt or white sea salt. I would highly recommend Celtic sea salt, usually ½ teaspoon of salt to a quart of water, three quarts of the salt and water combination per day.
Step 2: The Right Nutrients
I recommend specific nutrients to help repair adrenal insufficiency. For instance, B vitamins, particularly B6 in the form of P5P, the biologicallyactive version of the vitamin, and pantothenic acid are a must. The amino acid L-tyrosine helps produce the adrenal hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. You need vitamin C because the only place in the body that vitamin C is temporarily stored is in the adrenal glands. DHEA and pregnenolone are two adrenal hormones that are also precursors for all other hormones. I believe it is critical to support the adrenal function with freeze-dried adrenal extract. There are also two herbs to rely on to support adrenal function: licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa). Both support liver function and restore adrenal function. They also facilitate the body's normal response to stress and help keep adrenal hormones active longer.
With these nutrients and the right diet, you can bounce back from adrenal exhaustion and begin living a vibrant, full, and fearless life!