The terms “adrenal fatigue,” “adrenal exhaustion” or “adrenal burnout are often used interchangeably to explain not only fatigue and stress but a number of other symptoms including sleep disturbances, low libido, poor concentration, poor exercise tolerance and recovery, difficulty losing weight and weak immune function. The more recognized medical terms used to describe some of these symptoms are General Adaption Syndrome (GAS) or “ HPA Axis Dysregulation ((HPA-D)). Both touch on some underlying causes for adrenal burnout but do not yet hit the mark on the unrelenting tiredness and systemic response in the body. We will stick with the more mainstream names recognized through integrative medicine for this wellness article.
In isolation, each of the symptoms outlined can mean different things (including stress), but if you can check off most of the boxes, you most likely have “Adrenal Fatigue /Adrenal Burnout. Adrenal fatigue is best described in a state where the adrenal glands are overworked and unable to effectively perform their functions.
- Some symptoms are difficulty getting up in the morning, not feeling rested after sleeping
- Waking throughout the night
- Daytime fatigue even after a good night’s sleep.
- You may have increased energy as the evening progresses and unable to relax fully by bedtime
- You may be quick-tempered or impatient.
- You may get sick often or have illnesses that last longer.
- You may feel foggy or forgetful
- You may experience light-headedness when rising from a reclined position. (not attributed to low blood pressure)
- Adrenal fatigue can also cause an inability to lose weight, especially around the waist, even if eating healthy and exercising.
The adrenals are a pair of glands that sit on the kidneys and produce several hormones, including the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones are associated with the “fight or flight” response, stress management, regulating metabolism, sleep, blood sugar and inflammation. The constant over response placed on your adrenals affect your hormones, causing your adrenals to become less responsive to cortisol, causing irregularity and burn out symptoms to emerge.
Support Your Adrenals and Reverse Burnout
It has taken years of unmanaged stress on the body for the adrenals to get to the point of “adrenal fatigue” or “adrenal burnout.” It can take 6- 12 months of continued supplementation, food and lifestyle adaptations for your adrenals to heal and those much-needed adrenal hormones to balance out to more normal behaviour. Supplementation for adrenals usually involves balances with B Vitamins, adaptogenic herbs and minerals such as magnesium.
B Vitamins found in supplements such as Can Prev’s Synergy B play a role in improving the metabolic pathways that boost energy, reduce fatigue, and create adrenal hormones. Synergy B is an excellent choice as a B complex because it not only contains all of the essential B vitamins in their preferred form. It also includes an impressive 200 mg of L-Theanine.
L-Theanine is one of our personal favourites and provides so many benefits that it deserves a full article itself. L-Theanine is an extract from green tea that contains no stimulating effects. It is one of the few supplements that can cross the blood-brain barrier and positively affect the brain directly. When an element or nutrient can pass the ‘blood-brain barrier,” it means that it does not have to go through all the normal processes within your body to get to the brain. Rather than stimulating the brain, it produces a calming and relaxing effect without sedative, sleepy effects. L-Theanine also increases serotonin (the transmitter responsible for feelings of happiness) and dopamine levels (responsible for cognitive function, creation, and motivation). We like to say it “quiets the mind.” It is often found in sleep products because active minds are often a problem for sleep. When taken during the day, it can help reduce anxiety and nervousness.
Can Prev L- Theanine contains 250mg of L-Theanine, which works great as an evening supplement taken about an hour before bed. It includes a small amount of magnesium, which starts the relaxation process.
Consider taking additional magnesium before bed, such as Can Prev Magnesium Bis-Glycinate. This form of magnesium is gentler on the stomach highly absorbable. Magnesium is required for numerous chemical reactions within the body, but it is most recognized for its muscle relaxing effects. It is often used for restless leg syndrome and to reduce cramping and muscle spasms. It also produces a calming effect on all muscle tissue. For the adrenal glands to heal and cortisol levels to regulate, you need a good night’s sleep.
You can certainly take each of these supplements as stand-alone. However, we suggest a multi-ingredient adrenal supplement. This can help ensure you receive the full range of benefits from each of the different herbs in the correct ratios needed. Two more recognized Adrenal Specific Products are Can Prev Adrenal Chill and Can Prev Adrenal Pro.
Which one is Right for You?
In some cases, people have taken both of these products, one during the day and the other in the evening. We suggest a slightly different approach.
Adrenal-Pro is specially formulated to support the adrenal glands with a blend of nutrients and adaptogenic herbs. adaptogenic supplements are unusual because they modulate your cortisol and stress hormones based on what your body needs when it needs it. Adrenal Pro includes ashwagandha to help boost immunity and lower stress, Siberian ginseng to alleviate fatigue and depression, and astragalus to revive and rejuvenate. It also contains rhodiola, which is suggested for people with reduced physical energy due to stress and those that over train. Consider this supplement if you are getting enough sleep but yet still feel tired upon waking. It is also suggested if you lack the physical stamina to get through your day or have a low exercise tolerance. If you find that you cannot settle down at the end of the day, take the additional L-Theanine and Magnesium before bed.
Adrenal Chill is an excellent choice as a mid-afternoon and again in the evening supplement, especially if you start your day with Vitamin B. Adrenal Chill provides 600mg of KSM-66®, the highest concentration, full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha with an impressive and full dosage of L-theanine. Ashwagandha helps the body manage it’s stress responses by balancing the cortisol levels. Ashwagandha also has immune-modulating properties.
Consider a visit to the endocrinologist if your symptoms (listed above) do not alleviate after supplementation. Remember, it takes months and years of constant stress for your adrenals to get to this point. Stay committed to getting them back on track.
Ashwagandha is safe for most people, but if you are immune suppressant or thyroid medications, you should avoid it. You also need to monitor blood sugar and blood pressure medications while taken this herb as it may decrease the number of medications required. Review other supplements and herbs discussed in this article with your health care provider to ensure there are no interactions with prescribed medications.