Fibromyalgia and Adrenal Fatigue:
Ten Steps to Optimal Adrenal Health
Adrenal fatigue is something that affects millions of Americans, and very often goes undiagnosed because the symptoms are so similar to other diseases, especially chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. The adrenal glands become exhausted when you are under a prolonged period of constant stress either physically, mentally, or emotionally. The constant release of stress-coping hormones like cortisol and adrenaline wears these little pea-sized glands down to the point where they no longer are able to respond properly to the messages coming from the brain.
While the best time to care for your adrenals is before they become exhausted, you can still restore them to good health by following these below 10 steps (or even fewer).
Reclaim your sleep. There are plenty of posts listed on my site that talk about how to get consistent, deep, restorative sleep each and every night. Believe it or not, this may be one of the only steps you need.
Take a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement. I have spent many years developing a formula specific for the adrenal glands. You can purchase it through my store, or you can talk with a homeopathic expert about a quality vitamin you can purchase at a whole foods market.
Take adrenal cortical extracts. These extracts work to normalize adrenal function and replenish hormonal stores. They are similar to the use of cortisol hormone replacement therapy medications, such as Cortef, but the advantage of using natural extracts is that you can discontinue them immediately after your adrenal function is restored. These extracts have been successfully used to treat not only adrenal fatigue, but symptoms of CFS and fibromyalgia. They help boost energy and immune function. These supplements are available over-the-counter without a prescription as adrenal cortical glandular supplements.
I have developed one that is available on my website store. My supplement is sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle from New Zealand, where there has never been a case of mad cow disease. As a side note, mad cow disease comes from cattle eating dead cattle, a twisted form of animal kingdom cannibalism.
Start with 500 mg of adrenal cortex glandular supplement two times a day with food. Improvements begin to show within two weeks, and if they do not, then you can double your dose. Don’t use whole gland adrenal or adrenal medulla supplements because they will increase adrenaline, which will put more stress on your glands.
If you have low blood pressure, then increase salt consumption. Increased salt intake will help decrease inflammatory markers. Despite what mainstream media will tell you, salt in moderation is okay. You don’t need to eliminate it completely. However, if you have underlying hypertension, congestive heart failure, or pulmonary hypertension, you should avoid this step.
Drink plenty of water. Aim for at least 70 ounces of purified, filtered water daily.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and never skip any other meals. Low adrenal function will probably cause you to not be very hungry in the morning. You may instead be going for the coffee or tea to get you going; however, while these will raise your blood sugar and serotonin levels, they will also raise your adrenaline and cortisol, putting even more stress on your adrenals and curbing your appetite. You need to break the at-least 8-hour fast your body has undergone because, most importantly, your brain needs to be fed.
Limit the things in your diet or behavior that rob your adrenal hormones. Start to remove things like caffeine, cigarettes, sugar, and alcohol from your diet. This can be the hardest thing you do, but these stimulants are doing you more harm than good, so if you truly want to feel better, these things need to go. Wean off of them slowly to avoid headaches and other minor withdrawal symptoms.
Try DHEA. If all the above steps fail to restore your adrenal function, try supplementing with DHEA. You will want to get these levels tested before starting any supplementation, especially if you are planning on taking more than 50 mg a day. DHEA can help boost your energy, libido, immune system, mood, stamina, and overall health. Most women will need about 10-25 mg a day, and most men will need 50-100 mg per day.
Increase vitamin C. This is probably the most important vitamin needed to help restore adrenal function. If you are taking my CFS/Fibro formula, then you are already taking 1800 mg, and I find that patients on this formula don’t need any more than that. If nothing else is working, however, then you can always take more. It will not hurt you. Start with 1800 to 2000 mg on day 1, then increase by 1000 to 2000 mg daily up to 10,000 mg, or until your bowel movement is loose. If bowels become loose, then reduce your intake by 1000 mg per day until stools are formed. This level is your ideal vitamin C level.
Treat any remaining blood pressure problems. If you continually have low blood pressure, this needs to be corrected. Even if you are feeling better, this still needs to be addressed. Try licorice root extract. This has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine and acts as aldosterone does, which is an adrenal hormone involved in salt and water metabolism.
Keep in mind that high amounts of licorice root can cause water retention, potassium deficiency and elevated blood pressure, so make sure you keep the dose low and take it slowly. I recommend this extract if BP is below 95/60 even after an adrenal cortical supplement.