Use this checklist to find out and learn what you can do
How do you feel? Do you find it a struggle to get through the day feeling sane? Stress is a key factor for all health issues, and it may be driving you crazy. Working on stress management seems like an easy answer, but there isn’t anything easy about it. People who suffer from issues due to chronic stress can present with many symptoms. The problem we face is whether we are suffering from overactive adrenals and high cortisol or underactive adrenals and low cortisol.
A salivary hormone test will help to determine this- click here to find out more info on testing. Use this checklist to help you determine whether you’re dealing with overactive or underactive adrenals. You can have one or the other or be somewhere in between.
This means that some days you’re pumping too much cortisol, making you feel anxious and irritated. In contrast, some days you may be suffering from low cortisol, leaving you feeling sluggish and blue.
Strategies need to be able to support overall adrenal health. Underactive adrenals will take time to correct – two months to a year – depending on the person, the condition of the adrenals, and the nature of the diet and lifestyle. Overactive adrenals can respond more quickly with proper diet, supplement and lifestyle suggestions.
Strategies for Underactive Adrenals and Low Cortisol:
- Check for digestive issues and support good digestive function with proper nutrition. Try one of our menu plans here.
- Supplement with Active B Complex.
- Try an adrenal adaptogen such as Adrenomend.
- Try foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium as these can be helpful such as avocados, dark leafy greens, bananas, raw nuts and seeds.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time and get at least 7–8 hours of sleep each night.
- Rest when your body signals you to do so.
- Try adrenal glandular like Adrenplus 300 or reishi, Schisandra, licorice (contraindicated for those with high blood pressure), or Maca. Try this blend - Exhilarin (my favourite).
- Get counselling for emotional issues as this can be helpful.
Strategies for Overactive Adrenals and High Cortisol:
- Practice deep breathing exercises throughout the day. Breathe in for the count of 4. Hold for 7. Breathe out for 8. Repeat 4 times twice daily.
- Supplement with Stress B-complex vitamins and Vitamin C
- Reduce and eliminate sugar and caffeine.
- Try Magnesium Glycinate to counter feelings of agitation, especially before bedtime.
- Try adrenal adaptogens – Relora, Rhodiola, Ginseng, Schisandra, Holy basil or Ashwagandha. Try Exhilarin.
- Focus on getting a better-quality sleep. For difficulty sleeping try all-natural Insomnitol Chewables.
- Try any of these supplements to help you relax at night – GABA, 5HTP, Valerian, Hops, or passionflower. Raw honey with cinnamon is also helpful.
- Develop a lifestyle to combat stress. This can include counselling, developing time management skills, reframing or just doing activities you enjoy.
Foods That Help Balance the Adrenals
Supplements are helpful but foods can also help balance cortisol. The following can easily be added to smoothies, soups, baked dishes or salad dressings.
- Reishi mushrooms – dried or powder
- Maca root - powder
- Schisandra berries – powder or dried berries
- Goji Berries – powder or dried berries
- Holy Basil – powder or grow your own in an herb box
- Ashwagandha – powder
Supporting the Gut for Adrenal Health
Studies have found that both prebiotics and probiotics help support the adrenals and help manage cortisol levels. GOS, a prebiotic found in foods such as artichoke, dandelion greens, leeks, garlic, onions and asparagus, is helpful for stabilizing moods and lowering cortisol. Probiotics, found in supplements and fermented foods, help lower cortisol and anxiety. Try Ultra Flora Balance.