Adrenal Fatigue and My Detox Journey
Earlier this year (in April) I went to see the doctor because I had been having terrible hot flashes for several months that were really impacting my quality of sleep. I went to this particular doctor because she specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement and I figured I should get my hormones tested. I’ve had all sorts of hormone issues for as long as I can remember and have been on and off many different medications for endometriosis since I was 20. She was wonderful and ended up testing more than my female hormones. She also ran an adrenal panel.
Turns out that my hormones weren’t as unbalanced as we both thought they would be, but she did start me on bioidentical progesterone to help with some estrogen dominance. The real shocker was that I was in the end stage of severe adrenal fatigue and was producing hardly any cortisol. She said she didn’t even know how I was getting out of bed in the morning, let alone making it through the day! I had just always thought of myself as a low energy person (a nice way to say lazy!) 😉 , but had never even considered the possibility of adrenal fatigue. I always thought that was just an issue for people who were super stressed or way over-trained.
Ok, so now what? I was already eating a very clean paleo diet and I quit my job (which was a major stressor) over a year ago and I was doing lots of things right for my health. What more could I do? Well, this is what I’m doing so far:
Specifically for adrenal support:
- Doctor recommended supplements that I now take every day: high dose vitamin C, Adrenal Cortex (by Thorne), ginko, ginseng, Stress B complex (with B5 by Thorne), Rhodeola Rosea, Maca. I also take vitamin D. Omega3, magnesium and throid medication.
- Cut down significantly on my coffee consumption from about 6-8 cups a day to one or two before noon. I didn’t realize how heavily I relied on coffee to keep me going until I started cutting back. I really struggled with significant fatigue during the first two weeks of cutting back. I like Dandy Blend as a coffee replacement.
- Started mindful meditation using the Headspace App. I don’t do this often enough and had trouble with falling asleep every time when I first started 😉
- I really try to get to bed by 10pm.
- I’m trying to cut down my evening screen time on social media (but I really am addicted to my instagram!).
- I drink this adrenal cocktail 2-3 times a week and licorice root tea a few times a week.
- I use pink himalayan salt very liberally. Funny thing. I had noticed for several months that I was really craving salt and couldn’t seems to get enough of it. Turns out that’s a symptom of adrenal fatigue. The doctor told me to be sure to eat lots of it.
In an effort to reduce my exposure to as many toxins as possible:
- A big glass of lemon water every morning.
- Dry brushing (read about dry brushing here). I love this! It feels so good, but I often forget to do it and need to be more consistent.
- Oil pulling. I haven’t done this consistently enough to know if it really is all it’s cracked up to be, but it certainly can’t hurt. You can read about what it is and how to do it here..
- Tongue scraping. This is another one that I sometimes remember to do and sometimes don’t. Again, it can’t hurt.
- I did a seven day detox with Spiralps. It’s an all natural drink with spirulina, which is great for detoxing. I love that it’s a Swiss product and it’s organic. It would be a great “jump start” for anybody looking to get back on a clean eating program. You can read about the use of spirulina in a detox program here. Once I finished the seven day detox, I started on their Vitality line.
One of my big questions is ‘How did I end up here?’ I don’t feel like my life is stressful at all so I don’t think the adrenal fatigue is a result of that. The doctor said I’ve likely been in this state for a long time, so I suppose some of it could have started when my life was more stressful. Could the way I eat have something to do with it? I do tend to eat fairly low carb and I eat Whole30 style paleo most of the time. I did start tracking my calories and macros recently to see if I’m under eating and it turns out I am most of the time. I actually struggle to get above 1200 calories. That could certainly be a contributing factor. At the moment, I’m trying to eat more and to add more carbs in to see if that makes a difference. I have to be careful with the kind of carbs I eat because I tend to have blood sugar fluctuations and cravings if I eat fruit other than grapefruit and berries. You can read a bit more about diet and adrenal fatigue here and Diane Sanfilip of Balanced Bites has a good podcast which talks about the link between undereating and adrenal fatigue (link here).
It’s a journey and my doctor told me recovery could take as long as two years. All of the efforts I’ve listed above have not really impacted how I feel (yet) and I’ll need to do some follow up testing every few months to see if I’m making any progress.
I’d love to hear any advice or to hear about your experience with adrenal fatigue, so be sure to share in the comments 🙂
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