Show 1347: How to combat adrenal fatigue

You’re probably familiar with adrenaline, the hormone that travels through your body in an emergency. As a result, your heart beats faster and harder, your hands shake, your pupils dilate and your muscles move to make quick work. This is very useful in a crisis. But what if your body went into crisis mode every single day, whether or not there was an actual emergency? What happens to your adrenal glands that release your stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline? Can you get adrenal fatigue?

What is adrenal dysfunction?

When endocrinologists talk about diseases of the adrenal glands, they think of Addison’s disease. In this condition, the immune system attacks the adrenal glands and stops the production of cortisol and aldosterone. Doctors diagnose the opposite condition, Cushing’s syndrome, when glands secrete too many of these hormones. President Kennedy may be one of the most famous people with Addison’s disease.

Your body is a system, and all of the glands that make hormones communicate with each other. When you take that into account, it seems unsurprising that someone with an autoimmune thyroid condition like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis would be prone to problems with the adrenal glands. Dr. Isabella Wentz says this happens more often than we can imagine.

Recognizing adrenal fatigue:

Dr. Wentz suggests that some of the symptoms that indicate that the adrenal glands are having problems may be non-specific, possibly common. She suggests that anxiety and brain fog could be tip-offs. Other symptoms include inability to tolerate bright light, unexplained pain, libido problems, and fatigue even after sleeping through the night. Of course, sleeping through the night is often a problem. Sufferers may have difficulty getting the sleep they need. Other symptoms: craving for salt and a tendency to feel dizzy if you stand up too quickly. (Doctors call this orthostatic hypotension.)

When we asked Dr. Wentz about a diagnosis of adrenal dysfunction, she suggested a series of saliva tests to determine cortisol levels. Normally, you start the day with a relatively high level of this hormone, which gradually decreases throughout the day. If the levels fail to decrease, or if the pattern is declining, you may need to take steps to correct it.

What can you do about adrenal fatigue?

For those who have trouble sleeping, Dr. Wentz recommends making sure you have enough magnesium in your system. Instead of taking the supplement, she suggests soaking in a hot epsom salts bath before bed. The skin will absorb some of the magnesium you need, and a hot bath will help you get the much-needed sleep.

Maintaining a good balance of blood sugar, neither too high nor too low, is another good way to help get the body out of a state of chronic stress. Avoid high-carb breakfasts like bagels or pancakes, and instead make sure you get enough protein by eating eggs or drinking a smoothie with a good dose of whey protein, for example.

The other recommendations will sound familiar. Spend some time in nature when you can. Do some physical activity daily – but not too much, and not too late in the day. Practice relaxation or meditation. Read Dr. Wentz’s book.

This week’s guest:

Isabella Wentz, MD, FASCP, is an internationally acclaimed thyroid specialist and licensed pharmacist who dedicated her career to addressing the root causes of autoimmune thyroid disease after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in 2009. She is the author of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: lifestyle interventions to discover and treat the root causeAnd Hashimoto’s Nutritional PharmacologyAnd The New York Times best seller Hashimoto Protocol. Her latest book is The Adrenal Transformation Protocol: A 4-week plan to de-stress and go from surviving to thriving.

Isabella Wentz, MD, FASCP, expert in adrenal fatigue

doctor. Isabella Wentz

Listen to the podcast:

This program’s podcast will be available on Monday, July 17, 2023, after broadcasting on July 15. You can stream the show from this site and download the podcast for free.

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