Stage III Adrenal Fatigue and the Primal Diet
Just wondering if anyone else has been diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue, I have been battling with this for a couple years all the while trying to find a good program to help me heal. It is suggested that people with Adrenal Fatigue should not fast, (too stressful on the adrenals), also eating small meals or snacks throughout the day for blood sugar regulation is necessary since Adrenal Fatigue can also cause symptoms of hypoglycemia, also one has to be careful not to over do it on the exercise. All this being said, I would be interested in any information about the Primal Diet and Adrenal Fatigue, does there need to be any modifications to the program?
I'm in a similar boat as you. Just started a more primal lifestyle about a month ago, but at the same time am trying to get my adrenals back to normal (my cortisol levels start out waaay at the bottom of the barrel in the a.m. and just keep going down). I have found that the higher fat/moderate protein/low carb does seem to keep the dips in my blood sugar less extreme. Still not sure what to do about the fasting thing -- I can't go more than the 12 hrs overnight at this point.
What resources have you looked at so far? This blog might be helpful, though maybe doesn't tell you stuff you don't already know....
Last edited by AutumnP; 05-13-2010 at 05:11 PM.
Thanks for your reply and the link, I found it informative. I have been following Dr. James Wilson's protocol for Adrenal Fatigue and I think it maybe working along with staying away from the carbs. I am somewhat afraid to over do it on the exercise, I have a tendency to do too much when I feel a little better, I take a couple of steps forward and several back. I definitely will not be fasting until I have a clean bill of health, I will do another Saliva test after this summer to see where I am, I just can't risk messing myself up more than I am already, so I am taking it slow. I am not sure but I think the fasting is recommended to those who do not already have an Adrenal problem. Do you do any special protocol for healing your Adrenals? It sure has been a wild ride...
Glad you liked the link -- DrBG's whole blog is really good!
I have Dr. Wilson's book though haven't read it all. Trying to create a program that blends the best of both worlds. Have bought his Adrenal Rebuilder and am just waiting (not too patiently!) for it to arrive. Which, if any, of his products have you tried? If any, what did you think? Any other supplements you use? What does your current regime look like? Would be great to have someone to compare notes with -- and celebrate successes!
A wild ride -- and a sucky one. I hate being tired all the freakin' time. Yeah, the IF likely isn't the best for adrenal fatigue, so I think I'm going to cross it off my list for now (do you know the PaNu blog -- IF is really recommended there, too -- it's a very interesting blog, though the approach is a little more extreme than PB/MDA). The exercise is a tough one -- I think that's part of what got me to the adrenal fatigue in the first place (i.e., chronic cardio). Trying to do a better job of listening to my body, and that meant a whole bunch of days off from sprints, weights, yoga, last week. Felt so crappy that all I could do was walking -- frustrating. My new goal is 1x/wk swimming, 2x/wk weights, and 1x/week sprints, plus lots of walking. As far as food goes, the only dairy I have is butter, heavy cream, and goat cheese; completely cut out reg coffee and teas (including the matcha I had been consuming copiously -- miss it!) but once in a while have decaf -- I think the heavy cream buffers any residual caffeine or theobromide; eat very little fruit, though am thinking of adding a little back in so my carbs aren't too low (had been targeting 50 grams per day so I could shed a few pounds, but I think that needs to go on the same 'wait until later' list like IF and get it back up to 75-100). Try not to snack to keep insulin/blood sugar low, and if I need something to tide me over between meals, I have fresh ginger slices in hot water with heavy cream. Hmmmmm... I think those are the biggies. Supplement with vit D3, vit C, vit B complex, cod liver oil, and magnesium. Sleep is a challenge, but am trying to do some better sleep hygiene things (i.e. cut out TV for an hr before bed). Plan to start meditating sometime in the not-too-distant future. My period is really whacked out, too -- haven't had one for 2 months (my estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are also bottom of the barrel).
Hope this helps... would be interested in hearing your 'story,' too!
I've battled adrenal fatigue for about 15 years (to varying degrees). 2 years ago I started acupuncture and my practitioner (very experienced) told be I was so depleted it would take up to two years to "fix" me! I actually quit my job in order to heal and STILL had a heck of a time making any progress.
It wasn't until I started eating Primally that I made ANY significant progress! I was formerly a vegetarian (which I know think is a huge no-no for adrenal fatigue!) My diet was working against me. Hang in there- you will make progress, but it takes awhile. I've ben Primal on-and off since last summer and then strictly since Jan. It wasn't until I got strict (NO grains!) that my hormones really started responding positively (they were low and I wasn't ovulating very often).
I'm happy to report I can now intermittent fast with no problems, I have enough energy to work out (kettlebell a few x/week and daily 30 min. walking) without getting completely worn-out! Be easy on yourself. I didn't do much more than a few 15-20 min. walks a few x/week for a long time because I would end up very weak after.
BTW, fasting isn't something anyone needs to worry about doing. It's a minor part of the program and I wouldn't do it until your adrenals are stronger and you have no blood sugar issues. I used to be hypoglycemic and I no longer am, so an 18 hour fast (from evening until the afternoon the next day) is doable for me now. I would hold off for a long time on that, though.
I've read Wilson's book and I feel like it's excellent and I use a lot of the recommendations. I add Real Salt to all my beverages (it's made a day-and night difference in my low blood pressure and heat intolerance!). My one stumbling block is getting to bed before I get a cortisol spike. Naughty night owl, I am!!
Other things that have helped a lot are:
Qigong (similar to Tai Chi but more restorative/healing). I started out with this dvd and felt a difference very quickly- it only takes 9 min. to do the routine after you learn it: http://www.amazon.com/Gong-Cleansing.../dp/B000AYELB0
Rhodiola- a great adaptogenic herb. Himalaya Stress Care is also excellent.
Coenzyme B complex (I like Jarrow B-Right or Country Life Coenzyme B Complex)
Avoiding caffeine/chocolate for a long time (I can handle a bit now).
Last edited by hazyjane; 05-16-2010 at 01:27 PM.
Thanks so much, hazyjane. This is helpful and gives me some hope. Did you find the acupuncture helpful at all? Nice to know the IF isn't a core factor at this point but that it is doable down the road. Isn't Real Salt wonderful? People rave about celtic grey and the himalayan stuff, but Real Salt is totally my fave. Will also check out the Himalaya Stress Care, too.
I LOVE Real Salt and I think the celtic salt is a bit hyped (not to mention not as clean of a source, since the ocean isn't exactly pristine!) The Himalayan is so $$.
The acupuncture only helped to a degree because, at the time, I was on maybe the most wrong for adrenal fatigue diet I could've been on: raw vegan (shudder!) so I feel my diet was working against my progress. It helped me with things like allergies and insomnia years ago, so I do believe it works, though.
One thing that really helped big time were medical qigong treatments. I got into those after I had changed my diet and I felt that they addressed deeper levels of imbalance than even the acupuncture did. It addressed the emotional, as well as the physical.
Medical qigong is still fairly unknown here in the US, but it's used extensively in hospitals in China. It's like an energy work version of acupuncture but on steroids, lol! Very powerful and effective. I felt a big difference immediately. I liked it so much I started training. It's a very thorough and highly developed model of medicine.
Here's a directory of practitioners around the country, if you're interested:
Mmmmmmm....Real Salt! Always happy to hear others love it, too!
Thanks for the medical qi gong suggestion. There isn't a practitioner in my area (bummer), but I will look into it further. And the 9 minute routine you mentioned.
Will also work on totally eliminating the coffee and chocolate. Though, I am a little puzzled by the caffeine in chocolate -- there really isn't that much, and I never eat more than a small square (likely not more than 5-8 grams) once in a while. And the green tea -- it's got caffeine, too.
My Adrenal Rebuilder from Dr. Wilson just arrived, and I bought the Stress Care yesterday. Hopefully these will help.
Anyway, thanks again for your words of wisdom through experience.
Hi Autumn, Hi Hazyjane,
I too like Real Salt, been using it for years, even before I knew I had Adrenal Fatigue. I was a vegetarian for a couple of years but still ate dairy and eggs so I thought I was getting what I needed, though I ate a lot more carbs. I used to drink fresh orange juice every morning and I use to eat a lot of bananas too, both are very high is sugars and according to Dr. James Wilson should be avoided, especially in the mornings....I tried fasting a couple of times and felt very faint almost passing out, I became very week and tired and so I researched the Adrenals and that is when I found out I had very low Cortisol, DHEA, vitamin D levels... I could have had this problem long before I ever tested, I always was drained but I also drank a lot of diet pepsi and coffee over the years, even anti depressants, high carb diet too...now I eat very clean, primal as can be. I am on Dr. Wilson's protocol: Adrenal Rebuilder, Adrenal C, and most recently the Herbal Adrenal support.... I am starting to feel better, I am wondering have either of you developed any allergies while having the Adrenal problem? I have never had an allergy in my life but now at 47, I have this condition called Burning Mouth Syndrome, some doctors say that it could be hormone related. It all started with a trial of bio-identical hormones that I took for a couple of months, that was a big mistake for me, they didn't do what they were supposed to do at all, but just throw me over the top. I have tested and my Adrenals seem to be the only problem, my sex hormones are doing fine and I am like clock work, even though I am approaching menopause. I have read so often that cortisol is a anti-inflammatory in our body and low levels can cause allergies to flare up. I am hoping that if I repair my Adrenals I will also get rid of the mouth problem. I got onto the PB because it was also suggested to go low carb so here I am, I am doing okay on it but wounder too about milk, I drink raw milk and make raw butter, eat farm fresh eggs and grass fed beef, staying away from grains, high starch veggies, I hope I am doing it right, all the while wanting to loose about 10 lbs. I guess I need to be patient and let it work...
Thanks for your input and link information
Oh! I wanted to tell you, I am not sure who you bought Dr. Wilson's formula from but if you are interested I am getting it much cheaper than from his site. Let me know and I will give you the link...