I began my life with adrenal fatigue, among many other health conditions. My mother was diabetic and my father was hypoglycemic. Both were major sugar consumers, and so was I during my first 25 years of life, then less so later as I explored several "natural" sugar alternatives (most of which are also not supportive of adrenal and pancreatic health due simply to the fact that they are sugar concentrates, thus disruptive to the human biological terrain).
It has taken over 68 years of life experience and an avid search for solutions to come up with what you are about to read.
What is shared, is shared from personal experience, research, and a lot of trial & error.
As we age we tend to get more sensitive to dietary compromises, yet due to the application of the following principles, I have grown less reactive to some foods, yet more aware of when a food or food combination is taking me down a notch.
I count these as blessings, for even though I am slow at times to make changes, feeling healthier and more vibrant from the program outlined below has created such a contrast between what is good for me and what is not, that it has become easier to take that next step up.
When the medical profession failed me back in High School (2 years on antibiotics for acne) leaving me far worse in health, energy, and memory than before, I began a search for answers.
I lived with insomnia, poor memory, digestive problems, throat and sinus congestion, caffeine addiction, low blood sugar, loss of drive, chronic fatigue, depression, heart and spleen dysfunction, sluggish circulation, loss of libido, sensitivity to cold, poor immune response, reclusiveness, and high to low hormonal swings during my entire formative years and into my 20's, 30's & 40's.
Slowly the causes became evident, and with the corrections outlined below, I slowly gained a stability I never knew as a child or young adult.
Answers, dietary changes, and remedies came to me one by one over the decades. I made my changes slowly, but in sync with my readiness and new found knowledge.
My first step into the world of health remedies began in 1976 after (barely) graduating from college and finding myself in a state of extreme chronic fatigue.
I dove into the study of herbal medicine in 1981 after discovering that a Chinese herbal formula restored my energy levels to a place I had never known my entire life.
In 1999 I began to make my own herbal remedies to solve the myriad of health problems I still faced.
I tend to make my changes slowly. I recommend the same for others. Change when you are good and ready, when you are inspired to change. Change because it finally makes sense to do things differently and discover the better alternatives that replace the need for the old pattern. Forcing a change usually results in going back to the former pattern. You will know when you are ready.
The following is a synopsis of what has been gleaned from the last 6 decades about this one subject – Adrenal Health.
It is offered to increase your own understanding, and suggest ways to make adjustments in your own time and way.
Adrenal fatigue, or the more extreme case of adrenal exhaustion, is often at the root of insomnia, allergies, and hormonal imbalances, along with numerous other health complaints.
Why is this so? The adrenal glands produce over 50 different hormones which are involved in significant life-sustaining functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, thyroid regulation, blood sugar regulation, energy production, heart and lung health, kidney functions, allergy response, inflammation reduction, sleep/wake cycles, immune system response, etc.
Poorly functioning adrenal glands can result in any of the following complaints (I know most of these intimately from personal experience):
High & low cortisol levels, the stress hormone, produced by the adrenal cortex, (and is responsible for most cases of insomnia)
Reduced melatonin production (from the pineal gland), often caused by high cortisol levels from caffeinated food or beverage, toxic loads, and/or stress & worry
Light, unfulfilling sleep, or a nocturnal sleep pattern (awake at night, sleepy during the day), or difficulty getting back to sleep in the middle of the night (exhausted adrenals remain in fight or flight mode (high cortisol) interfering with the pineal gland's melatonin production)
High & low blood sugar levels (regulated by the adrenals & the pancreas), and made worse by a high fat diet
Sleepiness after a meal (related to blood sugar levels regulated by the adrenals/pancreas/spleen/liver)
Irregular heartbeat (heart rate is regulated in part by mineral electrolytes and adrenal hormones)
high & low thyroid function (regulated in part by the adrenals)
Mood swings, anxiety, depression, or bipolar tendencies (often related to low & high adrenal output, and/or an overworked spleen, both of which are aggravated by sweets, stimulants, and alcohol)
Unpleasant period and menopausal symptoms (the adrenals manufacture some reproductive hormones and serve as the backup hormone producer during menopause)
Underweight and overweight conditions (spleen/adrenal/toxic liver related). Adrenal corticosteroids regulate how the body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
Diminished immune response powers (high & low sugar levels interfere with the normal immune response in the body). Concentrated sweets depress the immune system
Inflammation (the adrenal cortex manufactures the body’s required supply of natural cortisone involved in inflammation responses)
A diminished ability to produce antihistamines (the allergy fighters) manufactured by the adrenal medulla
Lung congestion, sinus congestion, and low oxygen exchange (regulated in part by the spleen & adrenals)
Cold hands and feet and a tendency to chill easily in cold weather, regulated in part by the spleen & adrenals, and made worse by a high fat/high sugar diet, (especially common among raw food and high fruit vegetarian diets consuming high amounts of nuts). This is also common among keto dieters due to the excessive amount of fat in the diet.
The disruption of numerous hormone functions in the body, among other symptoms
Restore power to the adrenal glands and numerous health issues may improve or disappear entirely.
elimination of allergies
normal heart function
improved respiratory function
natural sexual drive & performance
a strong immune system
and numerous other areas of importance.
1) Life stress (the adrenals are one of the body's main worry/fear/life stress responders).
2) It is important to note that if a life event or diet stresses the spleen, the adrenals will also be affected. The spleen generates the energetic properties that help regulate and empower adrenal production
3) Sugar and other concentrated sweeteners (both natural and artificial). This includes concentrated stevia drops or white stevia powder concentrate, agave, maple syrup, and even an excess of honey or fruit in some instances, especially when combined with oils or fats.
Sugar excesses stress the spleen, overwork the pancreas & adrenals, and increase bacterial/fungal overgrowth.
If you get spacey, jittery, have to clear your throat frequently, become hyperactive, become depressed, or get drippy sinuses after a fruit or sweet intake, you have had too much.
4) Regular use of caffeinated beverages (especially coffee, mate´, and green/black/matcha tea). Caffeinated beverages also overstimulate the nervous system leading to nervous system exhaustion (which promotes shaky hands), and spleen/adrenal depletion (which increases chronic fatigue).
5) Caffeinated stimulants artificially raise the cortisol levels (your fight-or-flight stress response hormone). Cortisol excesses are a prime food source for viruses and mycoplasma. These pathogens are central causes of the inflammation and chronic fatigue so rampant in the world today.
6) Use of sugar, alcohol, stimulants, and recreational drugs exhaust the adrenals and deplete the kidney jing essence (the subtle energy that serves as your foundational life power).
Depletion of kidney jing results in lowered vitality, lower immune response powers, greater susceptibility to disease, loss of fortitude and drive – in general, a lower quality of life.
7) Fungal/viral overgrowth, one of the most prevalent contributing factors to adrenal stress, is activated initially by:
a. The first dose of antibiotics ever taken (even as an infant)
b. Immunization shots laden with mercury (Thimerosal) or aluminum and other toxic substances (like formaldehyde)
c. Silver/mercury amalgam tooth fillings
d. Drinking and cooking with chlorinated/fluoridated water
e. Playing with mercury as a child
f. Mercury elixirs (mercury was once used as a medical treatment until the connection was made between mercury triggered neuron degeneration and numerous other health problems)
g. Exposure to farm and garden/household chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, chemical cleaners, etc.)
h. Exposure to radiation from nearby nuclear power plants, munitions factories, or nuclear testing facilities (airborne or water supply)
i. Use of birth control pills and other hormone replacement therapies
8) Fungal/viral overgrowth is subsequently worsened by such things as:
a. The use of concentrated sweeteners on a regular basis (like agave, honey, cane sugar, xylitol, barley malt, high fructose corn syrup, etc.)
- especially when combined with an oil or a fat (i.e. desserts)
- especially when combined with dairy products (i.e. latte)
b. The consumption of fried foods (like chips, french fries, fried chicken, etc.)
c. Regular use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy (even bioidentical and glandulars)
d. High consumption of nuts, seeds, and nut/seed butters (nuts and their butters feed the shingles/herpes/EBV pathogens)
e. Daily consumption of meat resulting in sluggish digestion/over acid condition/putrefaction in the gut/viral-parasite proliferation (from animal flesh moving slowly through the intestines at 98.6ºF)
f. The use of most vinegars which are very hard on the liver (except for moderate amounts of umeboshi vinegar & coconut water vinegar)
g. Consuming any soy product (due in part to GMO contamination of organic soy) and over-estrogenation of the body (similar to birth control pills) when taken in moderate to large amounts, acting like a hormone replacement chemical (thereby atrophying the estrogen producing function of the body)
h. Exposure to Roundup herbicide (a genetically modified soy derivative and hormone disruptor now in almost every conventionally grown & many organic food sources today)
i. Regular use of kombucha (made of theobromine, tannins, sugar, and alcohol, all of which reduce probiotic count in the gut, stress the spleen, and promote yeast/fungal overgrowth, especially when consumed with a fatty meal)
j. A general acid condition in the body (shoot for 7.35 pH saliva and urine midday). Seaweeds and algae are your fastest and most effective alkalizers
k. Undigested food in the digestive tract often due to low bile production, low stomach acids, and/or low digestive enzyme production (produced by the pancreas, liver, stomach, and intestines). Solutions can be found here: Q&A: What Everyone Ought to Know About Digestive Enzymes, HCL, and Bile Supplements
l. Exposure to plastic fumes/off-gassing (creates an estrogen replacement effect)
m. Alcohol (depresses spleen function which plays a central role in your antibody immune response)
n. Most breads due to RoundUp use on grains and genetic modification of the gluten, although organically grown Einkorn & Emmer breads are original grains worth exploring that may provide a safer alternative
o. The more than moderate use of liquid oils and animal fat in recipes (consider olives, avocados, and foods/seeds that contain oils (oils are found in most fruits & vegetables) rather than the oil extracted from them. Coconut oil in moderate amounts is an exception to this rule
p. Consuming fruits or sweets within 1-2 days (depending on one's digestive powers and bile production) of consuming a meat, an oil, or a fat can result in high sugar levels (insulin resistance) leading to bacteria/yeast/fungal overgrowth
This is due to the time it takes oils and fats to leave the bloodstream and their impedance effect on sugar metabolism
q. Numerous other causes
9) General environmental toxicity and many other factors play into the stresses placed on our adrenal glands due to the fact that the adrenals are one of the body's first responders to toxins or allergens (thus the importance of a daily detoxification/adrenal repair program).
Adrenal repair (and hormonal restoration in general) is accomplished in 8 basic ways:
1) An improvement in diet (OK, So What Foods CAN I Eat?) with an emphasis on ensuring oils & fats are fully digested before consuming sweets, and ensuring pancreatic enzyme production is at peak performance:
Digestive Bitters with every meal (stimulates bile production & pancreatic digestive enzymes)
Herbal C taken separately or as a component of a green superfood drink to boost immune powers, detox the body, and improve digestion
2) High earthen mineral ingestion daily (necessary building blocks for hormones) the most highly recommended being:
Mineral Manna (AM & PM use) (Contains Ancient Mineral Blend, Sacred Clay, Himalayan Salt, Humic/Fulvic Earth, and Ormalite.)
or the components, if taken separately:
Ancient Mineral Blend (AM & PM use)
Sacred Clay (AM & PM use)
3) Daily consumption of a comprehensive green superfood (also helps to maintain an ideal 7.35 pH). Taken in the morning or midday, and again just before bed (to improve the depth and quality of sleep). This is one of my most favorite ways to improve sleep quality and quantity, in addition to Day Calm & Deep Sleep. (See Trouble Sleeping? – 12 Most Common Causes of Sleep Disorders and 6 Secrets to Sleeping Well)
Sea Vegetable Blend (contains only seaweeds and algae plus Moringa)
4) Implement a daytime endocrine (hormonal) rebuilding program with adaptogenic herbs (convinces the body to turn off cortisol and turn on melatonin at the right times):
One or more options from this list will add a boost to your innate natural hormone production powers:
Kidney & Adrenal Builder (daytime only, although only 1-3 caps before bed improves sleep by assisting the the reduction of cortisol)
Stamina! (supports calm, sustained, natural energy without caffeine)
Spleen Builder (AM & PM) (the spleen powers adrenal function)
Thyroid Balance (AM & PM)
small amounts of Licorice Root powder one pinch at a time (generally 1/2 teaspoon or so over the course of a day)
Adaptogen & Mushroom Blend (daytime only)
5) Implement a daily detoxification regimen.
Toxins are being taken in daily (and for most, have been for decades now), thus the importance of a program that removes toxins (hormone disruptors) from the body gradually, yet daily. Such a program will include:
Daily or frequent Sacred Clay baths, foot baths, all night foot poultices, or shower slurries to draw as many toxins out as possible from the blood and lymph through the skin, thus easing the strain on the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system in general (Sacred Clay Instructions for Use)
A sweat therapy approach of infrared or steam saunas, or sweat-inducing spices (ginger, cayenne, habaneros, etc.), or simply working out to induce a good sweat, cleanses the lymphatic system (the body's sewer system), thus easing the strain on the liver and kidneys
6) A 3-10 day pathogen reduction program to build immune system powers and restore vital energy:
Immune Power (24-48 caps per day for 3-10 days). Pathogen overgrowth (bacteria, yeast, viruses (exosomes), parasites, etc.) is one of the most common causes of that lethargic, run down feeling and fuzzy brain. This is the body's way of reducing energy expenditure so the body can place its energy reserves on dealing with the pathogens.
A short period on high levels of Immune Power assists the immune system to get ahead of the pathogen growth. Gentle, yet effective
Herbal C (1-3 tablespoons per day). Can be slightly laxative for some when taken in volume. Moderate accordingly. Vitamin C, especially in its whole herbal forms, is known to boost immune response powers, assist in detoxification, and support improved digestion
Friendly Flora (8-16 caps per day). Based in humic/fulvic earth as a nutritive and protector of probiotics, the soil-based organisms in the formula support digestive function and improved immune response
7) Build internal kidney & adrenal energy (qi) with simple qigong practices:
Heart Balance Qigong Simple standing (or sitting) exercises that concentrate the life energy (kidney jing essence), thereby restoring adrenal function over time
8) Address internal stress factors (fears, limitations, resentments, worry, etc.) utilizing The Gentle Art of Self-Healing:
Adrenal production is central to overall health. To build adrenal powers is a multi-fold process ranging from reducing adrenal stress from the diet, toxicities, the lifestyle, and from internal stress factors.
Adherence to the wise application of these principles will gradually restore adrenal function, and therefore reduce the multiple symptoms caused by weak or imbalanced hormonal output from the adrenals.
Detoxification of the body provides a significant boost to adrenal function, given its central role in responding to stress from toxins. Consider the detoxification protocols mentioned above to be of utmost importance, as most all chemical and EMF sensitivities, allergies, digestive complaints, methylation issues, gene disorders, mental focus, and energy levels are centrally influenced by toxins in the body coupled with an overwhelmed liver.
Improvements in diet cannot be overemphasized, especially in the areas of concentrated sugar consumption, caffeine, alcohol, and recreationals, all of which deplete kidney jing faster than most other factors.
With attention to the points referenced above, the body, with its inherent wisdom, will be given the resources and rebuilding power it needs to clean house and boost overall levels of energy & health.
Many blessings of health & success,
Enjoy the simple gifts from Nature!
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