Adrenal Fatigue is a very complicated health condition. Thankfully, Jedha of Good Food Eating is back to help us make sense of this condition and get more on the road towards natural healing and having energy again.
Over the past weeks we've covered lots of ground in the Adrenal Health Series and today I'm going to answer a few of the questions that came through, and also a few of the interesting questions received as comments on some of the posts. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below and we'll answer them 🙂
Before getting started, here's what we've covered:
- Adrenal Health Series
- What Exactly Is Adrenal Fatigue?
- Adrenal Fatigue Treatment: 3 Steps to Prevention or Recovery
- Top 2 Physical Effects Of Stress
- Adrenal Health Q&A (This Post)
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Adrenal Fatigue: Q and A
Q: What tests should I ask my Doctor to run?
It is important to consider other possible health factors as well because it might not be your adrenals, so here is a list of some of the more common tests you can ask your doctor or health practitioner to run.
Tests to Rule Out Other Health Conditions
- Thyroid hormone levels
- Blood glucose
- Vitamin D
- Lipid profile
- Any other vitamin deficiencies
These are all pretty standard panels that doctors typically run. If you find no problems in any of these areas, you can move on and test adrenals directly.
To test the adrenals specifically you need to ask your doctor for a salivary cortisol test. Cortisol is the key stress hormone and that’s what will indicate if the adrenals are a bit out of balance.
The most accurate way to test is via saliva at 3-4 periods throughout the day so the test is often called a 4-point saliva test. Measuring salivary hormones shows the tissue concentration of the hormones – the active component. Doctors may offer a blood test but it is not accurate as it tests total hormones not the active component.
Along with cortisol you can also test other key hormones such as:
– pregnenolone, and
DHEA tends to be the most popular one after cortisol.
You can a order a test online over here and do it at home.
Q: I know Doctors are skeptical about adrenal fatigue. Do you have any suggestions as to how I shodietuld address the subject?
You could ask the doctor before going into the appointment if they have had any experience working with someone with adrenal fatigue and ordering required tests. If they answer “no”, then it may be wise to look for a different doctor.
If it's not possible to find another practitioner, then just tell them what you want. Ask them to run all the tests above – take the list in with you when you go.
Tell them you know something is not right and you want to be tested. Remember, YOU are the customer so you need to be assertive — the doctor works for you. People put doctors on a pedestal far too much. They are there to serve you, so get what you want out of the appointment.
Q: Can you cite the reasoning behind where you say that weight lifting is great for adrenal health? Every ND that I have spoken to, and every other “expert” on adrenal fatigue says to especially stay away from weight lifting.
Weight training does seem counter intuitive to adrenal fatigue. But we’re not talking about heavy weight lifting, cross fit, kettle bells, or body building here.
We’re talking about body weight training, light weights, or a resistance band with repetitions — these are all excellent forms of exercise. It’s anaerobic, meaning it does not need a lot of oxygen and energy from the body. Resistance training reduces oxidative stress and builds or maintains lean muscle mass, which is particularly important because high cortisol can ‘eat away’ your lean muscle (so to speak).
Q: What forms of magnesium and Vitamin C are best to take?
We talked about a few key supplements in this post.
One of the common types of magnesium that you may find on most pharmacy shelves is magnesium oxide. You want to steer clear of this one. Although it has the highest percentage of magnesium, this magnesium is not available for absorption to the body.
The better absorbed forms of magnesium include:
– magnesium amino acid chelate
– magnesium phosphate
– magnesium glycinate
– magnesium orotate, and
– magnesium citrate. Some supplements combine a couple of different forms of magnesium.
Try to get a vitamin C with bioflavonoids as this increases absorption. I prefer powders and mix my vitamin C and magnesium powder together. You can even put it in your water bottle and drink it throughtout the day.
Q: What should I do if I’ve had several different diagnoses? One doctor prescribed bio identical cortisol — another prescribed thyroid armour — another says I don’t need either. I feel no difference whether I take the meds or not. Tired, strung out, weak. How do you figure out what’s correct?
You need to have the 4 point saliva test for cortisol/ adrenal testing.
Without that test, I wouldn’t be taking bio identical hormones. The 4-point saliva test is the only test to measure your cortisol dynamic, this is what’s really important to find out about. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you take medications and you don’t notice any difference, then they are not the right medications. Stop taking them.
Sometimes it can be a challenge to get to the bottom of things. When your doctor is prescribing things, ask questions such as:
– Why am I taking this?
– Have you done appropriate tests?
– What is the expected outcome?
– What are the options?
In the end, I think you need to try to find one practitioner you trust and can work with for a longer term. The first place to start is ALWAYS with your diet. You can feel tired, strung out, and weak from a simple food sensitivity. And in any case your diet is the thing that will support a faster recovery no matter what your diagnosis. Following a good adrenal fatigue diet can help support your body.
When we find ourselves in trouble or struggling it often takes a few months to see results. We have to commit to this initial timeframe and do what’s required to see things change.
Q: Why is it that I hardly ever drank, never did drugs, was athletic, ate ok. But now after I have become very ill, I eat clean, I try to take vitamins, and am still ill and I know SOOO many people who eat like crap, drink all time, go out a lot and I barely have energy to get out of bed. Why is that?? Advice please??
This is such a difficult question to answer because this is such an individual thing. It all comes back to your individual immune system and inflammation. Our first line of defense in immunity is via our gut and more and more research is pointing to the importance of our gut microbes. But it is more than just food that can affect the gut microbes — stress, the environment, and toxins, etc. affect your gut as well.
The development of a healthy immune system also depends on so many things, including how you were born, if you were breastfed, your diet as a child and adult, etc. New research just came out in November showing that changes in the gut microbes can affect the blood brain barrier and this may affect hormones, neurotransmitters etc. So I think we will continue to see some very interesting developments in this field in the near future.
Then there is inflammation. Almost anything can cause inflammation and though it's a natural response of the body, how well YOU cope with increased inflammatory cytokines (molecules) circulating through your body is very different to someone else. People can develop low-grade systemic inflammation throughout their body and perhaps you are one of those people who has increased inflammation or a sensitive immune system.
Stress affects immunity, stress increases inflammation, and stress can come from many places.
It is all connected.
Things can seem like they creep up but often they have been developing for some time. Don’t ignore symptoms, even if they seem small and trivial. I’ve found that people often say things like ‘I am healthy' but then they list things like ‘I get headaches', ‘I have aches and pains', ‘I have constipation', ‘I have xyz’.
While these might seem inconsequential, they are still signs something isn’t right, signals from the body that shouldn’t be ignored. It’s things like these where we’re often not making the connection.
So that's our list of adrenal fatigue Q&A.
If you have another question, just leave it below and we'll answer it or point you to a resource.
What Should You Do Next
- Read back through the articles in this adrenal health series and implement EVERYTHING we’ve talked about.
- Start with your diet and really clean things up to help support your immune system and decrease inflammation.
- Take simple supportive supplements first because even this can lead to great improvements.
- Grab a copy of my Adrenal Fatigue Handbook – I'm running a special on it right now and it’s jam packed with helpful, practical information, a ready made meal plan, supplements guide, and offers some personal help too.
- Find someone to work with for an initial 3-month period
There are plenty of great practitioners out there so look for someone you can work with. Commit to a 3-month initial period and keep moving forward from there. Sometimes we see someone to get us started and then it might take a few people to help us to get to the bottom of things, that's just the nature of healing.
Most importantly, never give up. We can find a solution to help us feel better so keep on searching, reading, and implementing things into your life every day.
I wish you the best on your healing journey,
P.S. If you'd like to continue receiving info about adrenal health and nutrition for adrenal and stress reduction, please click here to subscribe for updates.
Jedha Dening is the Nutritionist and Health Coach behind Good Food Eating. She’s also a mom, passionate writer, and lover of good food that’s also good for your waistline. Jedha is host of the Good Food Eating Podcast, author of the Adrenal Fatigue Handbook, and creator of various other nutrition and health programs. With over 10 years experience in health and wellness, Jedha is passionate about taking care of people’s nutrition and health so they can feel fantastic everyday. When she’s not cooking, researching or writing about nutrition, she can usually be found in the great outdoors gardening, bushwalking, or kayaking.
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