By Dr. Sarika Arora, MD
If you’re under chronic stress and find yourself exhausted all the time, you might be wondering — what are the best supplements for adrenal fatigue?
Understanding how to support your adrenals starts with understanding the type of stress symptoms and intensity of adrenal imbalance you are experiencing. Are you “burned out” and exhausted all the time — or do feel you “tired and wired” and can’t get to sleep at night?
Table of contents
- How do you know if you have adrenal fatigue?
- Natural supplements and herbs for adrenal support
- The best supplements for adrenal fatigue
- Tips for taking your supplements
How do you know if you have adrenal fatigue?
Stress in women triggers many different physical and emotional effects. While it’s one thing to be tired after a long day, feeling fatigued every day for no apparent reason can be an indication of a larger problem. Are you experiencing adrenal fatigue? Look at the list of symptoms below:
- Brain fog
- Ongoing sleep disturbances
- Inability to cope with stress physically or emotionally
- Jumpiness and anxiety
- Mood changes (depression)
- Digestive issues
- Lowered immunity (you catch colds and flu viruses easily)
- Body aches
- Low libido
- Light headedness
- Low blood pressure
- Weight gain and belly fat
- Hair loss
Natural supplements and herbs for adrenal support
Chronic stress and fatigue are important signs your adrenals are overworked and in need of repair. If you’ve ever attempted to “fix” your symptoms with caffeine and sugar or even sleeping pills, you already know there’s a big problem with that approach — any momentary relief you get is followed by feeling even worse. There’s got to be a better way, and there is!
According to a growing body of research, key vitamins, minerals and herbs and other plant-based compounds offer powerful help to restore underlying adrenal function and protect the body from stress.
Some of these natural substances nourish adrenal glands and provide raw materials for healthy cortisol production. Others go a step further, interacting with the central nervous system and immune system to balance the body’s “fight-or-flight” response and make it easier to return to equilibrium and calm after a stress challenge.
Let’s take a closer look at these compounds and how natural adrenal supplements can help.
The adrenal glands require Vitamin C to produce stress hormones and maintain their balance. When you are under chronic stress, Vitamin C can become depleted. Vitamin C is water soluble and is not stored in the body, so replenishing your supply daily through a high quality multivitamin supplement is an important step to keep the adrenals and all your tissues nourished.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid):
Vitamins in the B complex family improve cellular energy. Certain B vitamins, including Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) provide targeted support to the adrenals. As studies show, B5 supports balanced cortisol production and helps reduce levels of excess cortisol triggered during stress events.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine):
An overactive stress response can disrupt the nervous system and neurotransmitter production, often leading to depressed mood, jumpiness and anxious feelings. Vitamin B6 helps restore equilibrium to your nervous system by supporting the manufacture of key neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E supports hormone production and stress recovery by protecting adrenal tissue from free radical damage that impairs function.
The mineral calcium acts like a shock absorber for the adrenals during times of stress by assisting in restoring calm to the body after the stressor has passed.
Magnesium supports balanced blood glucose metabolism and neurotransmitter production, helping stabilize mood and increase feelings of calm. Most of us don’t get anywhere near enough magnesium in our diets. Chronic stress further depletes magnesium, leaving you at much higher risk of deficiency. Studies show daily magnesium supplementation can improve sleep and promote relaxation.
Adrenal imbalances can trigger and/or worsen other problems, like low thyroid function. Zinc, manganese, selenium, and iodine are trace minerals needed to keep your entire endocrine system humming along and your hormones balanced. It’s important to supplement with these trace minerals since it’s difficult to get enough through diet alone.
Nature has a few other tricks up her sleeve to help us deal with our stress, whether it’s physical, emotional, or environmental. Here are some adaptogenic substances which are especially useful for maintaining a healthy stress response and keeping you calm and focused.
This staple of herbal medicine enhances the body’s natural ability to adapt to stress, bolstering the immune system so that you stay well. Astragalus root even helps maintain normal blood sugar levels and alleviates insulin resistance.
This wild fungus, found in the high altitude Tibetan Plateau, is part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to adrenal health. Cordyceps helps support physical stamina, energy levels and immune health during times of stress. Cordyceps also assists in balancing the body’s inflammatory response and helps stabilize blood sugars.
Formerly called Siberian ginseng, Eleuthoro acts to limit excess cortisol in your system by inhibiting the cortisol-boosting enzyme C-Jun N-terminal kinase. Through this action, Eleuthoro helps to shorten recovery from acute stress, decrease stress-related fatigue, improve stamina, and regulate blood sugar.
An amino acid found in green tea, L-theanine helps the brain enter a more relaxed state, lowering stress hormone levels. In one study, participants given L-theanine one hour before undertaking a stressful task reported lower levels of stress while performing the task. Through saliva testing, researchers even detected lower levels of stress hormones after the stressful task for up to three hours later.
Also known as “golden root,” Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that helps protect against stress-related fatigue and “burnout”, encouraging a balanced response to stress throughout the body. Rhodiola increases mental clarity and offers immune and blood sugar support. Studies show that added benefits of Rhodiola are its antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties.
This wildflower from South America is a calming herbal agent shown to reduce excess cortisol levels. Passion flower is also believed to bind to GABA receptors to ease restlessness and improve mood and sleep.
This phospholipid is an important blocking agent that protects against the harmful effects of cortisol at the cellular level. Phosphatidylserine is also important for brain health, helping with focus and mental clarity.
The best supplements for adrenal fatigue
In an ideal world, we’d get all the nutrients we need to restore adrenal health from a well-balanced diet. However, adaptogenic herbs aren’t typically part of everyday foods, and no matter how well we eat, a stressful day can really burn through all our nutrient stockpiles. The best supplements for adrenal fatigue are those formulated to address fatigue and stress symptoms by delivering key nutrients in therapeutic amounts.
Adaptisol is formulated with the adaptogenic herbs astragulus, eleuthero, cordyceps and rhodioloa to address symptoms of adrenal fatigue and restore energy levels. Adaptisol aids the body’s natural ability to adapt to stress, enhances mental clarity, and supports healthy immune function.
Adaptogens help to protect the body from the effects of excess cortisol and prevent cortisol overproduction in the first place. Adaptisol is designed for women whose symptoms cluster around the “tired” end of the adrenal spectrum, including extreme fatigue, brain fog, lack of focus, mood changes and weight gain.
Serinisol is formulated with minerals and natural adaptogenic compounds to restore your calm and ease sleep disruptions. When stress is ongoing, cortisol does not return to normal levels as intended and instead can stay high for long periods. This will affect your body negatively, leading to symptoms like anxiety, sleeplessness and impaired memory.
Ingredients in Serinsol, including magnesium, L-theanine and passion flower specifically aid in the reduction of excess cortisol and help to promote relaxation, ease racing thoughts and improve sleep.Serinisol is best for stress symptoms that leave you feeling “wired” and restless.
Tips for Taking Your SupplementsLast Updated: November 15, 2022
— Update: 10-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article The Complete Guide to Adrenal Fatigue Supplements from the website www.drlamcoaching.com for the keyword benefits of adrenal support.
One of the most frequent questions AFS sufferers ask is: “What adrenal fatigue supplements should I take?” This is a very good question that we hear often from our nutritional coaching clients, but unfortunately, the answer is not simple.
First, if you are asking this question, you need to consider how you are expecting supplements to fit into your overall health goals. Do you only want fast relief? Does it seem easier than changing your diet? Or do you truly do have a strong foundation for recovery and supplements will just be an added support?
As you consider taking supplements, make sure that you are not taking the shotgun approach. This is by far one of the most common yet biggest mistakes we see people make in their effort to feel better faster. It’s basically where you take a bunch of different supplements, without planning or research, hoping that some combination will work. This poses two problems:
- If it does work, you will not know which supplements helped and which didn’t, so you can’t isolate those you need from those you don’t. You’ll just have to keep taking a lot of pills and herbs and hope you don’t get a paradoxical reaction at some point.
- You get worse. You end up taking supplements that put more pressure on your system, add to your toxic load, and cause sensitivities or crashes. You may feel better for a short while, but unless the root issue is addressed, the benefit is often short-lived.
As we get into the different types of adrenal fatigue supplements listed in this article, we’ll point out what kind of paradoxical reactions they might have on you in more detail. But in all cases, we strongly advise against the shotgun approach.
If you’re looking to take adrenal fatigue supplements because you don’t want to make the dietary changes necessary for recovery, then you’ll get nowhere. One of the main pillars of adrenal fatigue recovery is the adrenal fatigue diet, and without proper nutrition, there is no way to get better. Supplements may be used to fill in nutritional gaps from time to time, but they are not a proper substitute for healthy, well-rounded, nutritious meals.
So, that leaves us with the last possible motivation for taking adrenal fatigue supplements: you already have that strong foundation for recovery consisting of the adrenal fatigue diet, lots of rest and sleep, stress management, and some form of mild exercise suitable for your condition, and you just want to give yourself that extra boost. In that case, supplements can be very useful, depending on your needs and condition. This is something we address with clients in our nutritional coaching sessions.
Don’t Supplement For Every Symptom
Your symptoms, and indeed every system in your body, is connected. The adrenal glands are part of the hormonal circuit of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response, and they function as part of the hormone cascade called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. When you are faced with stress, whether physical or psychological, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain signal to the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol, the body’s main anti-stress hormone.
Cortisol is responsible for functions such as blood pressure and blood sugar regulation, heart and blood vessel maintenance, suppressing the immune system, and neutralizing inflammation.
Chronic stress overworks the adrenal glands because they have to keep secreting more and more cortisol. This marks the beginning stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). But after a while, the adrenals become exhausted, and they can’t produce cortisol anymore. At this point, the rest of the NEM circuits are left to compensate for the loss of its most important anti-stress hormone.
Symptoms of AFS include fatigue, easily gaining weight and difficulty losing it, insomnia, brain fog, hair loss, frequent colds and flu, food and drug sensitivities, anxiety, mild depression, PMS, low libido, infertility, heart palpitations, hypoglycemia, sugar and salt cravings, and many others.
In the beginning stages of AFS where symptoms are mild, adrenal fatigue supplements can be quite useful, because your system is still strong enough to metabolize and utilize them. But once you get to the more advanced stages, your adrenals and your body in general are very weak, and so taking supplements might be too much on your system.
This is especially so because, in the advanced stages of AFS, your NEM is overloaded, and most likely, its circuits are beginning to dysregulate as well. The adrenal glands are part of the hormonal circuit, along with the thyroid and the reproductive organs (female ovaries and male testes). As soon as the adrenals weaken, the thyroid’s function can slow as well. This adds to the fatigue.
There are supplements that help regulate hormones and support the adrenal glands, but do you take those or do you also need something for the other circuits?
Many ask this question. But taking supplements for each symptom could lead you to take a lot of supplements, with no real plan for healing, as you will see.
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Right along with the hormonal circuit, the bioenergetics circuit is engaged. It is composed of the thyroid, pancreas, and liver. And, because it has such a huge effect on metabolism, with the thyroid regulating the basal metabolic rate, the pancreas controlling glucose metabolism, and the liver clearing out metabolic byproducts, if it dysregulates, your metabolism and energy levels will start to wane.
At this point, should you take supplements that are meant to help with blood sugar control and thyroid function?
But the liver is also affected, slowing the detoxification response, which is composed of your liver, extracellular matrix, and immune system. This means toxins and metabolites will accumulate and your body’s toxic load will rise. This creates inflammation in your body, which is part of the inflammation circuit that is composed of your immune system, gut, and microbiome.
So now do you take herbs to help with detoxification or supplements to strengthen your microbiome and immune system? And what about the rest of the NEM, such as the cardionomic and neuroaffect circuits? Do you need supplements for them as well?
As you can see, if you keep chasing each issue, you will end up with a lot of supplements and no clear path to recovery. You can avoid this with expert advice from our nutritional coaching team.
Tailoring Supplements to Your Body’s Needs
At this point, you may feel discouraged and wonder whether you should just take a multivitamin and hope for the best. While it’s true it can be a little overwhelming at first to figure all of this out, rest assured that it’s worth the time and research you put into it. By the end of this article, you will have a good enough understanding to take your first step.
Depending on your condition, taking supplements may be exactly what you need to increase your vitality and support your recovery from AFS. Adrenal fatigue supplements can help stabilize your HPA, strengthen your adrenal glands’ ability to produce hormones again, reduce inflammation, rebalance the microbiome, and increase brain function, among other things.
There are tons of supplements out there, with different potencies, delivery systems, forms, and quality. Adrenal fatigue supplements can range from gentle to potent. Generally, we like to classify them into the following categories:
We’ll cover all of these and tell you how they can help with AFS. But, we have to warn you of another mistake some people make when they are thinking about supplementing: taking the strongest, or highest potency adrenal fatigue supplements in the hopes of getting a big push in recovery.
There are very potent supplements that can give you a huge energy boost, but this increase in energy is not only short-lived, but it can also come with its fair share of side-effects, such as anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, a feeling of being “wired and tired,” and adrenal crashes. They might stimulate your body unnecessarily and actually cause more physiologic stress than they help.
That’s why it’s all about context. In the right context, a supplement taken at the right time and in the right dosage, at the right frequency, and with the right delivery system can make such a huge difference to your recovery and your day to day wellbeing that it would make up for all the time you have spent learning about how to supplement properly. It is very important to find an experienced practitioner who understands your body’s constitution and knows how to titrate the supplements to your individual body, as no two people are the same. This is what our nutritional coaching team does, designs individual plans based on the constitution of each client.
Primary Adrenal Fatigue Supplements Toolbox: Vitamins and Minerals
Let’s start with the more mild adrenal fatigue supplements, which include a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are gentle enough to be taken if your AFS is in early stage 3 (also called adrenal exhaustion) or earlier. However, for most people in the late phases of stage 3, any kind of supplement may be too much. What works for one person may backfire in another.
Subclinical vitamin C deficiency is probably the most prevalent deficiency we see in AFS. The adrenal glands actually contain one of the body’s highest concentrations of vitamin C, and so, if there’s deficiency, that’s also where it’s needed the most.
For healthy individuals, the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 75 mg for women, and 90 mg for men. But, if you have AFS, you will need much more, generally speaking. However, depending on the person, vitamin C can also trigger adrenal crashes if not properly used. So do be careful. There are also various delivery systems and potency that has to be individualized. Over-reliance on vitamin C and using a one-size-fits-all approach is a common recovery mistake.
One of the symptoms of AFS is lowered immunity, and often, AFS is triggered by the presence of concurrent infections, especially stealth viruses that destroy tissue. These can include the Epstein Barr virus and Lyme co-infections. Vitamin C is known to be an immune booster that can help fight off such infections and inflammation.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Oxidative stress is a huge health hazard, and it can trigger or aggravate adrenal fatigue. Oxidative stress occurs when the number of free radicals in the system overwhelms the number of antioxidants that can neutralize them. Free radicals are unstable molecules that steal electrons from stable molecules, destabilizing them in turn. Antioxidants are compounds that can lend electrons to free radicals, helping them become stable, and thus neutralizing them. One of the reasons vitamin C is a great antioxidant is because it is water soluble, which makes it more available to the cells that are in danger of oxidative damage and death.
Vitamin C also helps in the formation of collagens that are needed to keep the vascular system healthy and well supplied, and thus it helps prevent heart disease. Perhaps most importantly for AFS, vitamin C is a cofactor needed to make adrenal hormones like cortisol.
Dosage: Vitamin C supplements come in various forms, and so the dosage we recommend for those with AFS will vary accordingly:
- Liposomal form, such as LipoNano® C from 200-2000 mg.
- For mineral ascorbates, we recommend a blend of sodium, calcium and magnesium ascorbates in the range of 200 to 2000 mg per day
- For fat-soluble vitamin C with bioflavonoid, anything between 200 to 1000 mg per day
- Effervescent and chewable vitamin C is not usually recommended
- Plain ascorbic acid is not recommended.
Vitamin C is best dispensed in a cocktail format using various forms and delivery systems timed and doses to give a sustained delivery.
Cautions: Although vitamin C is one of the safest and most frequently recommended adrenal fatigue supplements, there are a few cases where you may need to take care, such as those who have hemochromatosis, those taking high doses of calcium supplements, the elderly, those with kidney problems, and those with G6PD deficiency.
Although some symptoms of AFS – such as anxiety, diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain, and heart palpitations – may worsen with vitamin C supplementation, it’s important to understand that these are not side effects of the vitamin C itself. It’s just that, due to the slowed breakdown and clearance of metabolites from the body that usually happens with AFS, vitamin C may add to the metabolite load circulating the body. These symptoms begin to lift once liver function improves.
Still, if you find that your AFS or anxiety is getting worse when taking vitamin C, you should stop taking it and consult your doctor.
Next up on the list of gentle yet powerful adrenal fatigue supplements is glutathione, the mother of all antioxidants. Oxidative stress isn’t just a problem for adrenal fatigue – it is also implicated in chronic degenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and premature aging.
Glutathione is also an excellent detoxifier. It helps clear out toxic metabolites, xenobiotics, lead, mercury, and pesticides.
Your cells make glutathione, but under certain conditions, their glutathione production drops, exposing them to damage and death. That’s why, if you have AFS or any other chronic condition, it’s important to ensure your body is making or getting enough glutathione.
Glutathione works on an intracellular level, while vitamin C works on an extracellular level, and together they work synergistically. And because glutathione is a recycler, once vitamin C has donated electrons to free radicals, glutathione will then help recycle it in order to enable it to donate again. That’s why we put these two together in your primary adrenal fatigue supplements toolbox.
Dosage: Because the regular form of glutathione will break down in the stomach before it has a chance to enter the bloodstream, we advise taking the oral liposomal form, such as LipoNano® Glutathione. 100 to 800 mg per day is good.
Pantothenic Acid and Pantethine
Pantothenic acid, which is vitamin B5, and pantethine are two of the most important adrenal fatigue supplements we know of. When you ingest pantothenic acid through food or supplementation, your body will turn it into a more stable and metabolically active form, pantethine. Pantethine is then converted into coenzyme A, a very important enzyme that is a cofactor in over 70 different enzymatic pathways.
Coenzyme A plays an active role in the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in order to turn them into energy. If you have AFS, you can see how that would be helpful. Your body is in dire need of more energy. Coenzyme A also helps in the synthesis of cholesterol and all of its metabolites, including sex hormones and adrenal hormones, and it is an anti-inflammatory agent.
Dosage: Between 300 and 1200 mg per day of a pantethine and pantothenic acid blend, since both forms have useful effects. One brand we like is Pandrenal®. In some cases of AFS, we sometimes have a client take much higher doses, but only under supervision.
NADH (Coenzyme 1)
Your body naturally makes its own NADH from a form of niacin, or vitamin B3, called niacinamide. But with aging and the presence of chronic diseases, this conversion can be slowed. NADH is important for the energy-production pathway – it plays a role in how all the cells in your body get their energy.
NADH helps the brain’s neurons make dopamine, which is a chemical precursor to norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline). Norepinephrine and epinephrine, like cortisol, help your body deal with stress, but too much of either can worsen AFS and reactive sympathoadrenal responses, which is common in adrenal exhaustion.
Dosage: If you are very weak or sensitive, you may not be able to tolerate this supplement. But, with the right dosage, this intolerance can be avoided. Anywhere from 2.5 to 20 mg per day is usually safe and well tolerated.
Another powerful antioxidant, vitamin E helps neutralize free radicals found inside the adrenal glands. This is why it is one of the great adrenal fatigue supplements. Also, like glutathione, it helps recycle vitamin C, and so combats oxidative stress from many different angles.
Vitamin E is metabolized through the liver, so if you have advanced adrenal exhaustion and trouble clearing toxins from the body, you need to be careful with it.
Dosage: We recommend a mix of tocopherols in 400 to 800 IU per day, and you’ll need to take it consistently for three months to see the benefits.
Cautions: Please be aware that it has blood-thinning properties, so if you are on blood thinning medication, you need to take care, and it’s best to have a health professional’s advice.
Inositol is a natural relative of B-complex vitamins, and it helps to relieve tension and to encourage better sleep. It is also a mood lifter and can help those suffering from depression, anxiety, and even OCD. If you have AFS, you are likely to be battling with bouts of mild depression, insomnia, anxiety, and nervousness, so inositol may be a useful addition in your primary adrenal fatigue supplements toolbox.
Inositol is naturally found in fresh produce, red meat, and whole grains, but because a lot of it can be in the form of fiber, it is sometimes not fully absorbed. That’s why we recommend supplementation.
Dosage: 500 to 2000 mg per day at bedtime to help with sleep and anxiety. But if you have blood sugar imbalances, you may be more sensitive, so stay aware of how it might affect you and adjust accordingly.
D-ribose plays an important role in the pentose phosphate pathway, which helps synthesize energy and produce genetic material. It is also essential for the production of fatty acids and hormones. It helps improve energy, and it supports heart function.
Taken with CoQ10 and L-carnitine, D-ribose will really help with energy levels for those with AFS. It’s also useful for those whose cardionomic circuit is dysregulated, as it will support heart health.
In adrenal fatigue recovery, D-ribose is very useful in getting over adrenal crashes specifically, and to give you more energy in general. It’s also very good before and after exercise.
Dosage: 1 to 10 g per day will help those with AFS and cardionomic circuit dysregulation. We recommend taking it with cofactors such as L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, and CoQ10. The most common and bioavailable form of D-ribose is powder.
Cautions: Although it’s generally very safe, we do not recommend it to pregnant women, nursing mothers, young children, or for those with blood sugar issues.
Collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body. It maintains blood vessels and connective tissues and supports the musculoskeletal system. There are 20 different types of collagen, but the most abundant are types I and III.
Type I collagen is found in skin, artery walls, scar tissue, and the organic parts of bones and teeth. Type III collagen is found mainly in tissues that are elastic. These two types of collagen begin to decline after age 35, which is why you start to see the signs of aging accelerate thereafter, including the formation of wrinkles and the loss of elasticity.
Those with advanced AFS complain of losing muscle mass. That is because by then, the body has started to break down the collagen and muscles for fuel, since energy levels are so low. This collagen needs to be replenished for the body to recover, and you can do this with collagen supplements.
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Dosage: Take 3 to 15 g per day of types I and III blended together. Hydrolyzed, powdered, 100% pure collagen is best since it’s easier to absorb. If you get gastric discomfort or constipation, that means the dose is too high for you.
Dysbiosis (the imbalance of the gut’s microbiome) is a very common affliction, especially in those with AFS, since the gut flora is very sensitive to stress and unhealthy diets, both of which are prime causes of adrenal fatigue as well. When the gut’s microbiome is not balanced, inflammation tends to follow.
Chronic inflammation, which usually originates in the gut, is one of the biggest causes of chronic conditions. And so the importance of a strong and healthy microbiome cannot be overstated.
Bringing the microbiome back to a state of health and balance means you need to feed the good bacteria in the gut. This can be done with a healthy diet that is rich in probiotics, such as raw yogurt, kefir, fermented vegetables, and miso. In the meantime, taking a probiotic supplement can be an excellent support.
Dosage: Take 1 to 4 tablets daily before meals. There are many different probiotic supplements on the market, with varying potencies. So follow the instructions on the packet, and make sure the product is stored properly.
Poor assimilation is a big issue in AFS, and with it comes the buildup of toxins. Digestive enzymes help with the breaking down of food and the delivery of nutrients. Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, need fat to be absorbed, and this fat needs to be broken down by the enzyme lipase. If lipase is lacking, the fat will remain intact and the vitamins will not become bioavailable.
In cases like this, you might be taking the right adrenal fatigue supplements, but due to your inability to absorb them properly, they won’t have an effect. That’s why taking a digestive enzyme can be very useful in early recovery, until your digestion is back to full power. Plus, with better digestion, you’ll also notice much better skin.
Dosage: Take a digestive enzyme tablet before your heaviest meals. There are different brands with different potencies though, so it’s best to follow the instructions on the packet.
The importance of vitamin B12 has taken center-stage lately in health and wellness communities. That may be due to the rise in vegan and vegetarian diets, which usually lack B12. But, what’s interesting is that even people who eat animal products, which are good sources of B12, seem to also suffer from a deficiency in B12. And if you have AFS, you may need to limit your intake of animal products, so a B12 supplement may be necessary.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is extremely dangerous, and it can eventually lead to symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Because vitamin B12 is a stimulatory compound by nature, it is widely used to increase energy. Improper dosage can lead to a sense of being “wired” and adrenal crashes can be triggered.
Dosage: 100 to 1000 mcg per day. If you are weak you may need to be careful with the dosage so as not to over-stimulate your system. If you decide to stop taking the supplement, you must do so gradually. You can also get advice and support with this process from our nutritional team to avoid side effects and help retain your health.
Vitamin B Complex
We’ve covered the two main B vitamins that you need in your primary adrenal fatigue supplements toolbox, but in practice, you need the entire B complex so that the different B vitamins can support each other. However, since adequate amounts can be found in a balanced diet, only those that are nutritionally depleted will need to take a B complex supplement.
Dosage: If you are nutritionally deficient, consider taking a vitamin B complex formula with 60 to 120 mg of B3, 50 to 100 mg of B6, and 100 to 300 mcg of B12.
Subclinical magnesium deficiency is one of the most prevalent mineral deficiencies, and that’s quite a health hazard since it plays a significant role in so many bodily functions. It is a cofactor in over 300 enzymatic reactions, and it is crucial for the utilization of ATP, the energy currency of life. It works synergistically with vitamin C and pantothenic acid in steroid synthesis.
Although found in nuts, whole grains, and legumes, most people (around 75% of the North American population) are still not getting the recommended daily allowance. Symptoms of deficiency include things like restlessness, muscle tics and spasms, osteoporosis, fatigue, weakness, vasospasms, cardiac arrhythmia, PMS, irritability, depression, migraines, noise sensitivity, insulin resistance, and pain sensitivity.
For those with AFS, paradoxical reactions ranging from irritation to more fatigue to constipation to anxiety are common, so you have to be careful with this supplement. Magnesium oil is particularly prone to this problem. There are many forms and delivery system, and not all are the same. Talk to a health professional to make sure you are making the best choice for your body.
Dosage: 400 to 1000 mg per day. You may want to start small and gradually build up to see how your body reacts. A harmless loose bowel movement may result if you take too much.
Quercetin is a wonderful natural antihistamine. It’s also great for those with rheumatoid arthritis and colitis because it interrupts the action of the inflammatory substances generated by their autoimmune responses. If you have AFS, you might be suffering from increased food and chemical sensitivities, and so quercetin can really help with the inflammation these sensitivities trigger.
What’s also great about it is that, unlike over-the-counter antihistamines, it will not make you drowsy. Usually, you can get enough of it by drinking unfermented green tea or red wine, but these are not recommended for those with AFS. Alternatively, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli are good sources.
But, since you will likely need a large amount to really see a good effect, supplementation is recommended. And be sure to take it with the digestive enzyme bromelain, which we’ll get into next.
Dosage: 600 to 6000 mg per day, divided throughout the day. Take it on an empty stomach.
Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple stems. It has been shown to be an excellent anti-inflammatory agent that promotes healing in muscles and joints. It also helps in managing inflammatory conditions such as colitis, asthma, allergies, and arthritis. High-potency and high-quality bromelain supplements are best, and they should be taken with quercetin on an empty stomach.
Dosage: 600 to 4000 mg with at least 2500 to 3500 GDU units.
Phosphatidylserine is an element of nerve cell production and it’s good for enhancing memory. It’s also used to reduce cortisol levels when the body is under stress. It is especially useful for those who suffer from sleep onset insomnia due to high nighttime cortisol. Not everyone can tolerate phosphatidylserine. Paradoxical reactions are common, especially in adrenal fatigue. The dosage frequency also is challenging, as for many, multiple doses timed throughout the day are necessary, depending on how fast the body metabolizes this chemical.
Dosage: 200 to 1000 mg per day. But be careful if you have advanced AFS as exaggerated responses may occur.
Other Gentle Supplements to Consider
The adrenal fatigue supplements we listed above are what we most frequently recommend for those starting their adrenal fatigue recovery journey. But, from time to time, when more specific types of support are needed and the body is ready for them, we may also suggest one or a combination of the following:
- Vitamin D – 1000 to 5000 IU helps in hormonal synthesis.
- High potency fish oil – 1000 to 5000 mg DHA/EPA to support anti-inflammatory action.
- Chromium polynicotinate – 400 to 1200 mcg helps to stabilize blood sugar.
- Lysine – 1 to 2 g supports collagen synthesis.
- Proline – 500 mg to 1 g supports collagen synthesis.
- Glutamine – 1 to 5 g helps to stabilize blood sugar and the GI tract.
- Chlorella – 1 to 2 teaspoons as a natural chelating agent.
- CoQ10 – 300 to 1000 mg helps support cardiac health.
- Superoxide dismutase – 100 to 1000 mg to support liver detoxification.
- GABA – 200 to 1500 mg can help reduce anxiety and promote better sleep.
- Betaine hydrochloride (HCL) – for those with deficient gastric acid.
- Zinc – 25 to 50 mg can help support metabolism.
- Lithium orotate – 5 to 15 mg to help stabilize mood swings.
- Malic acid – 50 to 200 mg to enhance the flow of energy.
- Activated charcoal – a gentle detoxifying agent and to fight diarrhea.
- Calcium D-Glucarate – 200 to 1000 mg supports liver detoxification.
- Soluble fiber – helps stabilize blood sugar and intestinal motility.
- Taurine – 200 to 2000 mg has a natural diuretic effect.
- Colostrum – 100 to 500 mg to strengthen immunity.
- Iodine – 3 to 50 mg helps support thyroid function.
- Lipoic acid – 300 to 600 mg to support liver function.
Secondary Adrenal Fatigue Supplements Toolbox: Glandulars and Herbs
Glandulars and herbs should be used as adrenal fatigue supplements in very specific situations or if the more gentle supplements did not fully bring about the required effect. Glandulars are made with the organs and tissues of animals, while herbs come from plants.
Glandulars should be used during the milder stages of AFS, and they serve as adaptogens that can help your body adapt and to boost your energy reserves. If used in more advanced stages, they tend to have a stimulatory effect, which adds to the pressure on your adrenals and makes the condition worse.
Due to the nature of herbal and glandular supplementation, we don’t recommend their use without the guidance of an experienced medical professional, since they are medicinally potent and lack research and standardization, which can lead to their misuse.
However, with the correct use, herbs and glandulars can be a helpful part of your adrenal fatigue supplements regiment. Following are some of the glandulars we find most useful for our nutritional coaching clients.
Desiccated Thyroid Glandular
This supplement is derived from the thyroid glands of pigs, sheep, or cows, and is usually given for those suffering from hypothyroidism. Some of the more popular brands include Armour® thyroid (porcine) and Thyrolar® (bovine). They are both FDA approved.
Many people with AFS tend to also have slowed thyroid function, so this could be a good option for you if that is the case. But if you are already taking thyroid medication, do not take a thyroid glandular as well, since that may lead to hyperthyroidism. However, if you take these thyroid glandulars and still don’t feel better, you should take a look at your adrenal gland function before continually increasing the thyroid dosing.
An adrenal glandular can be quite useful in early recovery for those with milder AFS. It can help boost your energy and calm your feelings of anxiety.
However, there are two big issues we see often happening with the use of an adrenal glandular.
The first is that it is used when the adrenals are too weak and instead of having a calming effect, it has a stimulatory effect, which can trigger paradoxical reactions.
The second is that sufferers rely on them for long periods of time, stalling the natural recovery process for longer than necessary. The adrenals are stimulated to pump out more cortisol, and the body has to deal with the increased stimulation from the glandulars.
There are a few other glandular products out there that claim health benefits, such as thymus glandulars to help with immune system regulation, hypothalamus and pituitary gland extracts to help with adrenal fatigue, and testis and ovary glandular extracts to help with libido and male or female hormones.
Overall, however, we don’t recommend any of these since in our experience there are better and safer ways to support these functions.
Herbal Adrenal Fatigue Supplements
A lot of people think that since herbs are natural and plant-based, they are safe and easy on the system. This is another common mistake that we’d like you to avoid making. Herbs can cause strong reactions, both positive and negative. For all the following herbs, you should not take them if you are pregnant or have a serious health condition. Also, they should only be taken in the earlier stages of AFS, as in later stages they may be too stimulatory, which can increase fatigue, anxiety, and other symptoms.
Licorice is an anti-stress herb that helps with endurance and vitality. It is one of the most commonly used herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and it can help block the conversion of cortisol into cortisone. It is also used to ward off feelings of low blood sugar, which is a common symptom in AFS. And it helps increase the production of another commonly deficient hormone in advanced AFS – aldosterone.
Ashwagandha Root and Leaf
This ayurvedic adaptogen is also a cardiotropic and cardioprotective herb. It has direct effects on adrenal function and helps you get more strength and energy. It’s also used as a mild aphrodisiac. Ashwagandha is one of the few secondary adrenal fatigue supplements that may be tolerated in advanced stages of AFS, but if that is the case, it needs to be taken under medical supervision.
Another adaptogen, Rhodiola can help relax muscles, regulate blood flow, and boost energy. It helps in the early stages of AFS to support cortisol production while also slowing its secretion. This keeps cortisol more evenly distributed throughout the day rather than in spikes and drops.
Gingko is a powerful antioxidant that has been used in Chinese Medicine for millennia. It’s excellent in fighting off the mental symptoms of adrenal fatigue, such as brain fog, mental fatigue, and memory loss. Its antioxidant properties also help protect different organs and system from free radical damage.
Maca root is the fertility herb par excellence. It also helps boost energy and increase libido. In the earlier stages of AFS, it should be used as part of a holistic nutritional approach rather than on its own. However, keep in mind the stimulating properties of maca root and only use it with a supervising provider’s guidance.
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Ginger root is an adaptogen that helps regulate cortisol levels, burn fat, increase the rate of metabolism, normalize blood pressure, and boost energy. It also stimulates the release of enzymes that break down proteins, and so can help with digestion.
There are two types of ginseng root that can be used to help those with AFS. Korean ginseng can help boost energy, but it is only recommended for men and in small doses. It can have unwanted side effects for women, such as increased facial hair and acne. Siberian ginseng can be used by both men and women, and it can help with energy levels, stamina, mental alertness, and mood.
Hormones as Adrenal Fatigue Supplements
The final category of adrenal fatigue supplements is hormones. Hormone replacement in general needs to be the last resort, and must be handled with a lot of care. People experience different side effects from taking hormones, and so we do not advise you try any of the following without proper guidance from a medical professional experienced in AFS or your particular condition.
Pregnenolone is sometimes referred to as “the mother of all hormones” because it is the chemical precursor to so many other hormones, such as DHEA, androstenedione, testosterone, and estrogen. For AFS recovery, it can help improve energy levels, memory, libido, mental clarity, and even vision. It can also ease PMS and hot flashes. For dosage, 10 to 50 mg per day is the usual recommendation.
DHEA mimics the actions of pregnenolone, but with more intense effects, whether positive or negative. It can elevate mood and lower cholesterol. But beware that it has blood-thinning and hair-loss properties as well. It is usually taken along with pregnenolone, and in the dosage of 10 to 50 mg per day.
Hydrocortisone, or cortisol, has been conventionally used for Addison’s disease for quite some time, though some health professionals use it for AFS as well. It should only be a last resort in very severe cases, as the bulk of recovery should come from nutritional and lifestyle changes. We have found the most effective dosages to be 5 to 10 mg in the morning, 0 to 7.5 mg at noon, and 0 to 2.5 mg at 4 p.m.
Generally, testosterone and estrogen are not used in adrenal fatigue recovery. Progesterone may be useful for those whose recovery is already well underway, and their adrenals are strong again.
Once you have the most important pillars of AFS recovery in place (diet, stress management, sleep, and mild exercise), you can use adrenal fatigue supplements to fill in any gaps or give an extra therapeutic push. However, it can be difficult to design an adrenal fatigue supplements toolbox of vitamins, minerals, and other gentle nutrients that are designed to improve your unique health needs.
Our nutritional coaching team can help you design this AFS toolbox. With extensive experience in AFS recovery, they can suggest supplements based on your unique body and condition. This will help you avoid side effects and ensure you get the best results possible from your efforts.
— Update: 14-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Why You Should Take Adrenal Support Supplements from the website uscriptives.com for the keyword benefits of adrenal support.
Are you among the 80% of Americans that experience adrenal fatigue? Dr. James Wilson’s pioneering book, says that most physicians aren’t aware of or don’t know how to diagnose adrenal fatigue, resulting in it being the most misunderstood and underdiagnosed disease out there today.
If you notice any of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, you should consider taking adrenal support supplements. In this article, we will share valuable information about your adrenal glands and why you should take adrenal support supplements.
What Are Adrenal Glands, and What Do They Do?
Too many people nowadays are completely misinformed about the functioning of the various glands in their bodies. We’re here to help clear up some of that confusion. Two of the primary hormones that circulate throughout your body are adrenaline, also known as the fight or flight hormone, and cortisol, also labeled the stress hormone. These both originate from your adrenal glands.
Adrenaline makes your heart beat faster and your lungs breathe more efficiently. It’s released in the body when your body thinks you need to be more alert and when you need additional sugar in your body to get things done, like running to catch a train or dealing with the aftermath of a car accident.
How Is Adrenal Function Affected?
Many people are so stressed out that burnout, depression, and anxiety have become a common part of everyday life. As a result, our daily stress wreaks havoc on our biological systems.
When the adrenal glands are forced to produce adrenaline and cortisol for extended periods of time on a consistent basis, they “learn” that we are living in a constant state of emergency. This changes the baseline of their hormone production and introduces a new “normal” of constant adrenaline and cortisol production.
These hormones circulate through our bodies causing our blood pressure to rise, and our sugar levels to become unbalanced; this change in chemical production can also contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, as physical fight or flight responses are triggered throughout the body. Our brain and nervous system are always in a constant state of alert, even when there is no actual need for alarm.
Over time, your adrenal glands can’t maintain the high level of hormones in your body, and they become ‘fatigued.’ This is common in people who experience chronic levels of stress, be it emotional or physical.
Once your adrenal glands become fatigued, they become burnout and can’t function as efficiently as they once could.
This leads to a wide variety of symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Needing caffeine or other stimulants to become alert in the morning
- Energy slumps in the afternoon but ‘waking up’ again in the evenings
- Feeling run down
- Needing salty or sweet snacks to keep you going and craving them incessantly
- Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Weakened immune system
- Lower libido
Have you experienced any of the symptoms listed above? Then it may be time for you to add our adrenal support supplements to your daily vitamin routine.
How Can Adrenal Support Supplements Help?
Uscriptives’ Adrenal Support formula contains plant-based herbs like Ashwagandha and Holy Basil to help reset your adrenal glands and boost your adrenal function.
- Ashwagandha supports immune vitality
- Holy Basil supports emotional wellbeing
- Vitamin C helps the metabolism of cortisol and other stress hormones
- Vitamin B6 helps in adrenal function and stress response
- Panax ginseng can modulate fatigue
- Licorice root helps breakdown cortisol
Adrenal support supplements are made up of many plant-based herbs that work together to rebuild your adrenal glands and improve their function. Taken alongside additional stress management practices, adrenal support supplements can help reduce stress levels and support the healthy functioning of your adrenal glands.
Some Lifestyle Changes to Incorporate
Your body cannot healthily sustain a highly stressful lifestyle for an extended period of time. As the effects of stress set in, our bodies begin to break down and suffer from the aftereffects of stress; chronic diseases can take root, and other biological systems start malfunctioning.
That being said, the sooner you can begin to address your adrenal fatigue, the better.
Incorporating exercise into your daily or weekly routine can help reduce and manage stress levels while simultaneously releasing feel-good hormones into your system.
Practicing meditation can allow you to practice mindfulness and focus. With enough patience, this can help you learn to manage racing thoughts, regulate anxious breathing, and release stress being stored in the muscles.
Working to establish healthy boundaries in your life can also help manage stress. Taking purposeful distance from people and situations that are toxic for you is one example. Another is learning to say “no” to additional responsibility when your to-do list is full. These actions can help you manage and avoid stress in your everyday life.
Therapy is also a fantastic option for managing stress. Speaking with a trained professional about the stressors in your life can help you confront, examine, and address the causes and achieve an overall healthier outlook on life.
These methods above are just a few of the habits you can incorporate into your life to help reduce stress and give your adrenal gland a much needed rest.
Now You Know Why You Should Take Adrenal Support Supplements
If you were confused about or contemplating what to do about your adrenal fatigue, you now have a better understanding of why you should take adrenal support supplements. They provide one of the best ways to get your adrenal function back on track so you can start sleeping, eating, and living well again.
Check out our Adrenal Support formula on the Uscriptives website. Your body will thank you.
— Update: 14-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Adrenal Fatigue and Adrenal Support Supplements: Do they work and are they safe? from the website www.consumerlab.com for the keyword benefits of adrenal support.
Supplements promoted to increase energy, reduce stress and other symptoms caused by “adrenal fatigue” may contain a variety of ingredients, including vitamins and minerals, herbs, and/or dehydrated adrenal gland tissue from animals (typically from bovine source, i.e., cows). While some of these ingredients have individually been shown to reduce fatigue or symptoms of stress, there is currently little evidence that “adrenal support formulas” do the same or improve adrenal gland function. Additionally, an analysis of popular adrenal support supplements on the market found that all contained small amounts of thyroid and steroid hormones, which could potentially cause adverse effects or interfere with blood test results.
The adrenal glands secrete the “fight or flight” hormones adrenaline, cortisol (to increase blood sugar) and aldosterone (to increase blood pressure). “Adrenal fatigue” is the concept that in people who experience chronic emotional or physical stress, the adrenal glands can become overburdened and stop working efficiently—leading to symptoms such as difficulty waking in the morning, tiredness during the day, and salt and sugar cravings. However, while stress and fatigue can have very real effects on physical and emotional health, there is not enough evidence to prove that these effects are caused by improperly functioning adrenal glands (Cadegiani, BMC Endocr Disord 2016; Endocrine Society 2018). [Note: Adrenal fatigue should not be confused with adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease), a rare but potentially life threatening endocrine disorder].
Herbal adrenal support formulas often contain a combination of herbs such as ashwagandha, ginseng, holy basil, rhodiola, and schisandra. There is preliminary evidence that some (but not all) of these herbs may help to reduce symptoms of stress or anxiety. For example, several small clinical studies suggest that ashwagandha can help to reduce anxiety and fatigue in people with mild to moderate anxiety. Holy basil may also help to reduce anxiety, and rhodiola may improve mood in people with depression, although research does not suggest it is helpful for anxiety or fatigue. However, there do not appear to be clinical studies on the effects of taking these herbs in combination, or their effects on adrenal gland function.
Adrenal support supplements can also contain freeze-dried adrenal glands or adrenal gland cortex (the outer layer of the adrenal gland) extract from cows. Once used to treat Addison's disease, adrenal gland extract was found to be low in potency and removed removed from the drug market in 1978 as synthetic medications became available (U.S. Government Accountability Office 1981). There were also safety concerns with injectable and imported adrenal gland extracts (Galil, Emerg Infect Dis 1999; FDA 2011). Adrenal gland extract is available as a dietary supplement ingredient; however, supplement labels do not list their potency or how much of each adrenal hormone they contain.
Concerningly, an analysis of the twelve most popular adrenal support supplements (six herbal, three bovine-derived, and three herbal-bovine combination formulas) sold on a well-known online shopping website found that all of the products contained small amounts of thyroid and steroid hormones (pregnenolone, budesonide, androstenedione, progesterone, cortisol and/or cortisone) that were not listed as ingredients on their labels. Six of the herbal formulas contained the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3), as did all three of the bovine-derived products and all three herbal-bovine combination products (Akturk, Mayo Clin Proc 2018).
Pregnenolone is a hormone that is used in the body to make other hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen, and it is legally permitted as a dietary supplement ingredient. Only trace amounts of this hormone were found in the adrenal support supplements — less than 0.0012 mg per daily recommended serving, compared to a typical 30 mg daily dose available from pregnenolone supplements. Small amounts (0.00000725 mg or less) of androstenedione, a hormone that is not legally permitted in dietary supplements, was found in two bovine-derived supplements. Amounts of T3 found in the products ranged from approximately 0. 06 mcg to 1.3 mcg, which is relatively small compared to a typical prescription dose of 25 mcg to 75 mcg. However, the researchers warned that exposure to these hormones “without health care provider oversight may be associated with serious adverse consequences,” and that “consumption of these supplements may also alter clinical laboratory results, thereby leading to an additional unnecessary testing or even an incorrect diagnosis.” (Akturk, Mayo Clin Proc 2018).
The bottom line:
There is little evidence that symptoms attributed to “adrenal fatigue,” such as feeling stressed, tired, or having salt or sugar cravings, are caused by improperly functioning adrenal glands, or that combination formulas promoted for adrenal support improve these symptoms.
Certain herbs, like ashwagandha and rhodiola, found in “adrenal support” supplements may help reduce stress and fatigue, or improve mood. However, you are likely better off trying these as single-ingredient products rather than within “formulas” to be sure you are getting the proper quality and dose. Be aware that supplements promoted for adrenal support and adrenal fatigue may contain undeclared thyroid and steroid hormones that could cause adverse effects or interfere with blood test results.