3 Natural Steps To Combat Adrenal Fatigue

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3 Natural Steps To Combat Adrenal Fatigue
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Kidney image © stockshoppe – Adobe Stock (under license)

According to research done by the American Psychological Association, people in general have reported better stress levels in the recent years, but there are members of the population who are significantly more stressed than others. Did you know that the most stressed-out groups overall are parents, younger generations (termed Generation Z and Millenials), and those in lower-income households? While the sources of stress are varied, the end result is quite an alarming thing to realize – we worry about how to pay our bills, but we are paying for it with our health. [1]

What Are the Adrenal Glands?

The adrenal glands are a set of organs residing on top of the kidneys. They are responsible for the production of a variety of hormones, the most important of which is adrenalin or epinephrine. When the body experiences stress (either physical or emotional), the adrenals send out adrenalin which causes the heart to pump faster and blood pressure and blood sugar to rise – contributing to a boost of energy seen in the “fight or flight response”. However, like all other organs, the adrenal glands also become tired and can be damaged – especially by ongoing stress. [2]

Recognizing Adrenal Fatigue

When the adrenal glands fail to function, you can expect the body to react negatively to stress. Instead of a boost of energy, a person experiences the complete opposite: [3]

– Easy fatiguability and low energy
– Generalized weakness
– Appetite loss
– Low blood sugar
– Slowed heart rate and low blood pressure
– Slowed reflexes/response
– Depression
– Avoidance of social interaction
– Irritability

3 Natural Steps To Combat Adrenal Fatigue:

#1: The “Fight Adrenal Fatigue” Diet

What to avoid:

• A high sucrose (sugar) diet has been associated with fat deposition in the adrenal glands, leading to metabolic syndromes like diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, and problems with hormone production and regulation. The same outcome has been found in high fat diets. [4][5]

• In research, caffeine has been found to stimulate the adrenal glands, causing an influx of adrenalin in the bloodstream. However, caffeine also increases oxidative stress, which can damage the delicate tissue of the adrenal glands. [6]

• Think twice when you pick up soybean, canola, or corn oil in the supermarket. These ultraprocessed, hydrogenated oils have been linked to generalized systemic inflammation in the body, a process that damages the adrenal glands. [7]

What to eat:

• Virgin coconut oil is a potent substance that fights oxidative stress and inflammation, and is regarded as able to reduce the weight of the adrenal glands (increased weight is linked to stress and fat deposition). [8]

• Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain a substance called DIM (diindoylmethane) that research indicates may able to fight against adrenal cancer. [9]

• Because too much fat is bad for your adrenal glands, ditching junk food and substituting healthy fats from avocado and nuts is a better option. The fat content of these natural foods is highly bioavailable meaning they are easily processed by the body and will not easily be deposited in blood vessels and other organs.

#2: Adrenal Health Supplements & Herbs

Ashwagandha is an Indian medicinal herb part of the Ayurvedic system of medicine, able to regulate the production of hormones by the adrenal glands. A study found that ashwagandha was able to control stress levels effectively, reducing the risk for adrenal fatigue. [10]

• Holy basil, eleuthero root, and rhondiola have all been linked to improved adrenal health, able to manage stress, fatigue, and problems with memory, sleep, and exercise tolerance. These help prevent adrenal damage and eventual insufficiency. [11]

• Another effective supplement in the management of stress if fish oil. Instead of activating the adrenal glands’ fight or flight response, the body is able to manage stress after fish oil intake. [12]

#3: Stress Management Techniques

The last is the most important – stress management. While managing adrenal health through diet and supplements may be beneficial, the natural management of stress can do wonders as well. Here are a few tips to avoid getting stressed out (and stressing out your adrenal glands too!)

• Deep breathing exercises for ten to fifteen minutes can easily reduce stress by introducing a period of calm and silence to an otherwise busy day or activity. This can also be a good starting off point for meditation which promotes stillness of the mind in order to be effective in reducing stress.

• Massages can also be therapeutic in reducing stress.

• Regular exercise can burn off excess energy during stressful situations, as well as increasing the production of endorphins in the body which can improve your mood.

• Regular sleep schedule allows your body to recharge completely for the day ahead, preventing unnecessary stress as well as helping boost your body’s immune system.


[1] American Psychological Association (2014). Stress in America: Paying With Our Health. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2014/stress-report.pdf

[2] University of Utah, Health Sciences. How Cells Communicate During Fight or Flight. https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/cells/fight_flight/

[3] Alghadir, A. & Gabr, S. (2015). Physical activity and environmental influences on adrenal fatigue of Saudi adults: biochemical analysis and questionnaire survey. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4540814/

[4] Diaz-Aguila, Y., et. al. (2015). Consumption of sucrose from infancy increases the visceral fat accumulation, concentration of triglycerides, insulin and leptin, and generates abnormalities in the adrenal gland. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25834995

[5] Swierczyska, M., et. al. (2015). Changes in morphology and function of adrenal cortex in mice fed a high-fat diet. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24919565

[6] Tauler, P., et. al. (2013). Effects of caffeine on the inflammatory response induced by a 15-km run competition. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23299767

[7] Bendsen, N., et. al. (2011). Effect of industrially produced trans fat on markers of systemic inflammation: evidence from a randomized trial in women. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3173005/

[8] Yeap, S., et. al. (2015). Antistress and antioxidant effects of virgin coconut oil in vivo. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4247320/

[9] Sanderson, J., et. al. (2001). 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and diindolylmethanes differentially induce cytochrome P450 1A1, 1B1, and 19 in H295R human adrenocortical carcinoma cells. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11294972

[10] Singh, N., et. al. (2011). 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and diindolylmethanes differentially induce cytochrome P450 1A1, 1B1, and 1An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda9 in H295R human adrenocortical carcinoma cells. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/

[11] Stansbury, J., Saunders, P. & Winston, D. (2012). Supporting Adrenal Function with Adaptogenic Herbs. https://ingentaconnect.com/content/aarm/jrm/2012/00000001/00000001/art00008

[12] Delarue, J., et. al. (2003). Fish oil prevents the adrenal activation elicited by mental stress in healthy men. https://diabet-metabolism.com/article/S1262-3636(07)70039-3/abstract

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