Adrenal fatigue (sometimes referred to as a nervous breakdown) occurs when your body is unable to cope with the excessive amounts of stress that many of us face in our daily lives. There are a number of factors that lead to adrenal fatigue and although this ‘disease’ was once a very uncommon occurrence, in this day and age, it has become quite common. In fact, it is believed that at least 70-80 percent of the world’s population faces adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives.
The adrenal glands are responsible for the regulation of a number of hormones and when they get burnt out, our hormones go out of control and this can lead to a number of symptoms.
Some of these are:
- Decreased libido
- Decreased testosterone
- Irregular spikes in cortisol
- Weight gain
Clearly, nothing that you want, especially if your goals are anything related to health and fitness.
Here are a few ways to get your adrenal glands back in working condition
Cut out caffeine
I know, I hated finding this out but, caffeine raises your cortisol levels and while this isn’t so much a problem in healthy individuals, if you are already chronically stressed out, the caffeine will only make things worse. Cut out any and all kinds of caffeine for at least one month and then you can slowly introduce it back in to your daily diet and even then, make sure not to overdo it. A cup a day is plenty.
Rest as much as possible
This should go without saying but you need to start making some time for yourself. Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep EVERY night and always take a few breaks when you’re at work. 5-10 minutes every few hours to yourself should do it. Go for a light walk and get some fresh air or just do a few light stretches.
Fix your diet
This is a time when your body is severely depleted of nutrients. The worst thing you can do is feed it more junk like processed sugar, hydrogenated oils and microwave meals. Make sure to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, quality lean meats and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, etc. Your body needs all the nutrition it can get in the form of essential minerals and vitamins.
Speaking of minerals and vitamins, there are a few that you can take to help your body speed up the healing process.
Vitamin C – vitamin C is known to effectively reduce the excess levels of cortisol within the body. Aim for at least 2-3g of this vitamin daily.
Ashwagandha – is an herb that is quite commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is known to promote a sense of calm and wellbeing and is a very useful herb to combat stress.
B-Vitamins- Specially vitamins B5 and B12. In most patients with chronic fatigue, the levels of B vitamins are severely depleted. Make sure to supplement with them, if possible.
Others- Some other supplements that are known to help combat adrenal fatigue are: Magnesium, vitamin D, Zinc and Omega 3s (fish oil, flax seed oil, etc.).