Adrenal fatigue is a term that has become more common over the last decade to describe a particular flavor of burnout. Yet, it is still quite misunderstood. Some even ask “is adrenal fatigue real?” If you were to understand what the adrenals do and how they are affected, it would quickly become obvious just how real it is.

Let’s start with the fact that the vast majority of humans on this planet are in a chronic state of stress. Rushing from one thing to the next. Depriving themselves of the right food to nourish or not consuming it frequently enough. And, if you are also suffering from a chronic condition like an autoimmune disease, the adrenals are already in a weaker state. So whether it’s caused by a busy lifestyle, a traumatic event that takes a long time to recover from, or chronic illness, prolonged periods of stress are supremely hard on the adrenals.

What is Adrenal Fatigue? Is it Real?

The adrenals produce essential hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones play a vital role in getting the body through stressful situations. But, when we experience stress day in and day out and neglect to nourish the body in the right ways, the adrenals can become fatigued. This causes them to act erratic and pump out either too much hormones or not enough. Further, when this happens long enough, we can experience what’s referred to as a nervous breakdown.

In addition to an overly busy lifestyle, not eating frequently enough can also contribute to exhausted adrenals. Makes sense that these two go hand in hand when you think about being “too busy” to eat or “forgetting” to eat. When you go long stretches without eating, the adrenals are forced to pump out adrenaline as a fuel source. This strains the adrenals and doesn’t give them a chance to recover. 

Add to that, you are eating low-carb on something like the keto diet or paleo diet. Even if you are grazing throughout the day, avoiding carbs will eventually contribute to adrenal exhaustion. Carbs like glucose are critical fuel for the body. The adrenals, nervous system, brain and liver all run on glucose! Eating low carb can literally starve the body and kick the adrenals into overdrive. 

Lastly, engaging in adrenaline-junkie activities is also a strain on the adrenals. This also applies to high intensity exercise routines like cross-fit and heavy weight lifting. When you take part in these, adrenaline is released in excess. Add these daily choices to not eating enough and living a fast-paced amped up life, and you have a recipe for adrenal fatigue disaster.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms List

The symptoms listed below are the most common ones, but certainly not the only ones.

  • Weakness, lack of energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Easily confused
  • Forgetful
  • Trouble completing basic tasks
  • Poor digestion
  • Depression
  • Blurry vision
  • “Crash” early in the day
  • Tired all day, but energized at night
  • Exhausted yet have trouble sleeping
  • Tired after a full night’s sleep
  • Easily sweat when doing light tasks
  • Can’t seem to quench your thirst, have dry mouth, or crave salt
  • Crave stimulants like cigarettes, caffeine, and/or sugary snacks

Coffee and Adrenal Fatigue

Whether it’s coffee, black tea, green tea or even matcha, caffeine is doing the adrenals no favors. Caffeine causes the adrenals to react in such a way that causes “fight or flight”. This state of the body was designed to be short-lived and life saving, not a common occurrence. Essentially, consuming caffeine tells the adrenals that there’s a crisis. This causes them to excessively pump out adrenaline, which can contribute to adrenal fatigue.

Not only that, but this particular blend of adrenaline is highly acidic and corrosive to the nervous system and organs. Remember, it’s designed to be utilized on special emergency situations, not day in and day out. 

When someone is addicted to caffeine, it’s a constant cycle that can lead to various issues down the road. Issues like early aging, brain fog, concentration issues, hair loss, weight gain, blood sugar problems, insomnia, anxiety, and of course, adrenal burnout, among so much more. This “fight or flight” adrenaline blend also burns the liver which is foundational to the strength and vitality of the entire body.

If you are wanting to wean off caffeine try these suggestions:

  • Use lemon balm tea or tincture daily to help heal and calm nervous system
  • Eat plenty of glucose throughout the day (fruits, raw honey, potatoes, sweet potatoes)
  • Take melatonin to help heal nervous system
  • Drink at least 2 liters of lemon water throughout the day
  • Drink celery juice and coconut water to restore electrolytes

Recovery From Adrenal Fatigue

In order to recover from the very real adrenal fatigue, you need to provide the adrenals with what fuels them. It’s also necessary to reduce activities or lifestyle choices that cause you to experience high stress or adrenaline rushes. 

Adrenal Fatigue Recipes

The food combinations listed below are particularly beneficial in restoring critical nutrients to the adrenals so they start to function properly again. These simple adrenal fatigue recipes, also known as adrenal snacks, have the right balance of potassium, sodium, and glucose to restore the adrenals.

  1. Apple, celery and dates
  2. Orange, avocado and spinach
  3. Dates, banana and romaine lettuce
  4. Coconut water, banana and spinach
  5. Pear, mache and berries
  6. Berries, honey and celery juice
  7. Apples, dates and kale
  8. Grapes, banana and red leaf lettuce
  9. Cauliflower, apple and cucumber
  10. Watermelon with lime juice and celery juice on the side

Adrenal Fatigue Tips

Below are suggestions that can get you on track to recovering your adrenals. 

  • Drink 16 ounces of celery juice daily on an empty stomach
  • Graze every 1 ½ to 2 hours with the above adrenal snacks
  • Slow down and reduce the stress in your life wherever possible
  • Cut out toxic relationships and habits
  • Keeping a quiet environment
  • Focus on eating more sprouts, asparagus, wild blueberries, bananas, garlic, broccoli, kale, raspberries, blackberries, romaine lettuce, and red-skinned apples.
  • Eat any of these suggested healing food right before bed
  • Ground regularly

Exercise with Adrenal Fatigue

Intense exercise can cause adrenaline releases. For this reason, sticking to gentle activities is best if dealing with adrenal exhuastion. So gentle walking is great. But also, activities like rebounding can be beneficial as well. Rebounding helps get the lymphatic system circulating, too! Yin yoga is another great option to keep things moving while staying gentle. Lastly, the Pocket Gym is wonderful. This method is an easy way to work every muscle in the body while maintaining a lightness that can help reduce anxiety.

Even though some are asking “is adrenal fatigue real”, don’t let that distract you from this genuine condition. Being aware of it can help you address it. Though, it took time to get into a state of adrenal burnout, so be sure to be patient with yourself. Give yourself time and the nourishment needed to reverse it and recover from it. With enough time and commitment, you will begin to feel relief from your symptoms. Maybe this a great opportunity to start easing up on yourself and everything you think you need to be doing.

Your body is always working for you, so help it do what it’s designed to by giving it the best tools you can! I realize life might not seem quite as fun without all of the thrill seeking, but you might find that living a quiet, calmer life supports your body in feeling strong and well. And then, once you recover your adrenal health, you can participate in more exciting activities from time to time. Just make sure to eat extra adrenal snacks those days!