Originally featured in the New Beginnings Nutritionals December 2017 newsletter.
I want to talk about a critical topic, caring for the caregiver. As parents, family members and even practitioners who are taking care of medically fragile children and/or adults, our lives inherently can be more stressful than most. Often times we are dealing with medical and mental health issues ourselves. This all puts a large strain on our bodies, and especially our adrenal glands. And with the holidays here and the stress it brings, you can see where this is going.
The adrenals are are two thumb-sized organs that sit above your kidneys and are part of the endocrine system. They are involved in producing over 50 hormones that drive almost every bodily function, many of which are essential for life. The adrenal glands play a huge role in stress response. Adrenal fatigue is a condition where your body and adrenal glands can’t keep up with the tremendous amount of daily stress many people experience.
Integrative physicians and practitioners believe that prolonged, chronic stress can contribute to adrenal fatigue. Other things that can contribute include:
- Stressful experiences like death of loved one, divorce or surgery
- Exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
- Prolonged stress due to financial hardship, bad relationships or work environment, and other conditions that entail feelings of helplessness
- Negative thinking and emotional trauma
- Lack of sleep
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Food sensitivities
- Reliance on stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks
Common Signs of Adrenal Fatigue
- Autoimmune conditions
- Chronic fatigue (always feeling tired)
- Brain fog
- Hair loss
- Hormone imbalance
- Weakened stress response (inability to handle stressful situations)
- Insulin resistance (carb intolerance and higher insulin levels in the blood)
- Decreased sex drive/libido
- Moodiness and irritability
- Muscle or bone loss
- Skin ailments
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight gain
- Sweet and salty food cravings
Do any of these sound familiar? So what can you do to support adrenal health? There are several supplements which have been studied to provide adrenal support. Adaptogenic herbs and superfoods have been used for thousands of years to naturally raise the body’s resistance to environmental stress, anxiety, toxin exposure, emotional trauma, mental fatigue and mental illnesses.
Some of the most important herbs include:
Rhodioloa Rosea, a Siberian plant also known as Golden root, has been used traditionally for hundreds of years in countries including Russia and Siberia. Identified as an adaptogen through extensive research, Rhodiola Rosea has demonstrated a number of versatile properties including support for occasional mental and physical stress, cardiovascular and metabolic function, and cellular health. This herb is included in our single ingredient Rhodiola Rosea, and also part of Adrenal Stability, and Adrena-Mate.
- The Adaptogens Rhodiola and Schizandra Modify the Response to Immobilization Stress in Rabbits by Suppressing the Increase of Phosphorylated Stress-activated Protein Kinase, Nitric Oxide and Cortisol
- Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue–a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty.
Eleuthero root is an adaptogen herb used to support cognition, alertness, immune function, and physical stress. It helps heal and rebalance your adrenals. As a result, you can combat the negative effects of stress and become more energized throughout the day. Studies have shown that supplementation enhances endurance capacity, elevates cardiovascular functions, and helps with fatigue resistance. One study even looked at the cardiovascular benefit of taking Eleuthero root when subjected to a stressful cognitive task. This herb is included in Adrenal Stability and Adrena-Mate.
- Effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus Cortex on Recovery from the Forced Swimming Test and Fatty Acid β-Oxidation in the Liver and Skeletal Muscle of mice
- The effect of eight weeks of supplementation with Eleutherococcus senticosus on endurance capacity and metabolism in human.
- Eleutherococcus senticosus reduces cardiovascular stress response in healthy subjects: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial
Schizandra (or also known as Schisandra) has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. Thanks to its high concentration of antioxidant compounds, schizandra helps fight free radical damage and lowers inflammatory responses. Known as an adaptogenic agent, schizandra helps balance hormones naturally and therefore improves our ability to deal with stressors, both physical and psychological. One study looked at how Schisandra can reduce the levels of cortisol and glucose and protect the structure of the adrenal cortex. In another study it was suggested that adaptogens have not only specific therapeutic effects in some stress-induced and stress-related disorders, but will also have an impact on the quality of life of patients. This also holds true as we age as these adaptogens appear to maintain our health status on a normal level, improve our quality of life and may even increase longevity! This herb is included in Adrenal Stability and Adrena-Mate.
- [Effects of schisandra on the function of the pituitary-adrenal cortex, gonadal axis and carbohydrate metabolism in rats undergoing experimental chronic psychological stress, navigation and strenuous exercise].
- Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity
Licorice Root Extract supports adrenal health blocking 11-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, the enzyme responsible for the conversion of cortisol to the inactive cortisone. When taken in small doses, licorice root extract can be used to maintain cortisol levels. This herb is included in Adrena-Mate only.
Vitamin C is a critical nutrient for adrenal health. In fact, the adrenal gland is among the glands with the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the body! This powerful antioxidant vitamin is directly involved in the production of cortisol in your adrenals so maintaining adequate levels is critical. Getting adequate fruits and vegetables in your diet as well as taking additional supplemental vitamin C can ensure you get enough. Vitamin C is included in Adrena-Mate (as part of a micro-nutrient blend) to support the synthesis of adrenal hormones and production which is essential for the production of energy.
Using an Adrenal Concentrate, an additional option for supporting adequate energy levels, is a treatment that has been used for thousands of years to rejuvenate the adrenal system in a balanced and efficient manner. These concentrates use animal glandulars which are extracts of dried adrenal glands from healthy New Zealand cows. These extracts provide the necessary hormones such as DHEA and cortisol which are helpful to reduce fatigue and give the needed energy to get through the day until your adrenal glands have recovered. However, for people showing advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, it is recommended that products containing adrenal extracts are best taken under the supervision of your healthcare practitioner. Adrena-Mate is our new product that contains a blend of key micronutrients, adaptogenic botanicals and adrenal concentrate specifically formulated to strengthen the body’s stress response and support healthy energy cortisol, and DHEA levels.
Last but not least, making sure your diet is nutrient dense and filled with vegetables and some fruits is also important. Don’t forget that mindfulness is also a component for healing and recovery. Meditation, journaling, taking a walk outdoors, even a phone call with a friend can lower your stress level and support your adrenals. Reducing your stress levels, getting adequate sleep and being realistic with your to-do list is also important. Obtaining healthy adrenal functioning is not a quick fix – but will take time and discipline which includes the necessary lifestyle changes, as well as dosing with adaptogenic botanicals and/or adrenal concentrates.
New Beginnings has come up with multiple options to support the common issue of adrenal fatigue. We can assure you that these high quality physician grade products will help those suffering from this common issue get back on the road to health. Don’t miss a single episode of the New Beginnings Nutritionals newsletter. Sign up here to get it monthly. And if you do decide to try these products, for the month of December, use code HOLIDAY2017 and save 20% off of your purchase (some exclusions apply but all of the products mentioned here are eligible!)