Adrenal Fatigue and Bee Pollen

As a Holistic Nutritionist, I'm getting asked about a rather new phenomenon called adrenal fatigue more and more frequently.

It doesn't surprise me one bit.

It seems to me that pretty much everyone is stressed out these days. Don’t get me wrong, a little stress is okay and we need it – it's just when it starts to creep in and take over our life that it one ends up with adrenal fatigue and you really start to suffer...along with the people around you.

How Stress Effects Us

Cortisol is one of the main hormones that the adrenals produce.  The adrenals also produce other hormones such as DHEA, androstenedione, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.

It gets us up in the morning and keeps us sharp and able to handle our day. The problem is when we have too much stress from things like traffic, road rage, deadlines, kids, lack of sleep, over-exercise, overwork, financial worries, relationship stress, family stress, the go-go-go lifestyle, perfection/high expectations and the type “A” personality, and doing too much or just not saying “no."

When we are in this state, it is only a matter of time before we start to experience the effects of this. For example, I know when I am on the limit because I can’t sleep, my moods change, I get night sweats, I get irritable and I don’t want to talk to anyone!

Luckily these are the early warning signals to take a “chill pill.” (these are the times that you need to follow some of the suggestions below including dosing up on your Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly)

The adrenals are the stress glands (they sit right above our kidneys) and work with all the other glands, especially the thyroid. Because they work together as a team both need to be in good working order to maintain homeostasis (balance) within the body. Unfortunately, stress is the culprit for many disorders because it can block many other processes from happening in the body.

This is because the body goes into “fight or flight” and the body will go into natural preservation mode storing fat, shutting down any other non-life threatening processes in order to survive. But over time, this non stop state of “fight or flight” leads to uncomfortable symptoms, lowers quality of life, disease, and lack of zest for life. 

For example, in this state:

  • the liver needs to produce more cholesterol to make hormones which results in increased cholesterol
  • cortisol increase inhibits the conversion of T4 to T3 thyroid hormone (active form)
  • this results in low thyroid (not fun – this is when you gain tons of weight, have ZERO energy, hair falls out, no libido, infertility, cold all the time)
  • when under stress, progesterone is used to make more cortisol resulting in increased estrogen levels because progesterone is not keeping estrogen in check
  • this results in estrogen dominance (this can lead to fibroids, cysts, cancers, irregular periods, PMS, out of control emotions and more)
  • during Menopause, the adrenals take over as the ovaries decrease production, if the adrenals are exhausted, the worst symptoms of menopause will occur
  • major hot flashes, forgetfulness and mood swings (we are talking about losing a handle on life and feeling like there is nothing you can do to control it)

Symptoms of Adrenal Stress

Symptoms of overworked and under active adrenals can include: 

  • You crave salty foods
  • You have insomnia in which you fall asleep, but wake up several hours later and can’t go back to sleep
  • You feel exhausted when you wake up in the morning
  • Your fatigue is not improved with sleep
  • You lack energy
  • You feel like you are pushing yourself through the day
  • You have no libido
  • Little stressor's make you feel anxious and angry
  • You suffer from recurring infections
  • You have chronic respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies
  • You take longer than you should to recover from sickness
  • You have low blood pressure
  • You feel faint when you stand up quickly from a sitting position
  • You have low moods
  • You lack interest in things that used to make you feel happy
  • You need coffee or other stimulants to give you a boost of energy
  • You have extreme hot flashes, night sweats, or PMS
  • Your memory seems to be failing
  • You feel like you have cotton in your head
  • You are exhausted by walking up the stairs or doing simple tasks
  • You feel like you are dragging yourself through the day, but wake up after dinner
  • Your face and neck look suntanned, but you haven't been in the sun

Research now correlates chronic elevated cortisol levels with: memory problems, breast cancer, poor sleep quality, depression, infertility, blood sugar problems, decreased DHEA, fat accumulation, compromised immune function, bone loss and heart disease, Alzheimer’s, inflammatory conditions, osteoporosis.

Stress compromises hormone production leading to problems such as: PMS, menopause symptoms, decreased libido, infertility and exhausts the adrenals.

What to Eat to Treat Adrenal Fatigue

  • Eat a wide variety of whole, natural foods.
  • Combine fat, protein, and starchy carbohydrates (such as whole grains) at every meal and every snack. This combination provides a steady source of energy over a longer period of time because they are converted into glucose at different rates. Also, these three as energy sources put less strain on every part of your body—including your adrenals.
  • Eat lots of brightly colored veggies, which are especially rich in vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.
  • Salt food to your taste.
  • Eat mainly whole grains as starchy carbohydrate sources. 
  • Combine grains with beans, seeds or nuts to form a complete protein.
  • Avoid fruit in the morning.
  • Mix 1-2 tablespoons of essential oils into grains, vegetables, and meats daily.
  • Eat only the highest quality foods. Stay away from junk and processed foods and you'll begin to feel better in no time.
  • Increase your intake of vitamin C, magnesium, and pantothenic acid during times of stress.

Food sources of magnesium include: brown rice, beans, nuts, seeds, and sea vegetables such as kelp (the highest source).

Food sources of pantothenic acid include: brewer's yeast, organ meats, legumes, and eggs.

  • Include plenty of fiber. When you are experiencing adrenal fatigue, mild constipation can be present. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet not only improves bowel motion and re-establishes normal bowel function, but it also helps strengthen your adrenal function.

When your adrenal glands are fatigued, cortisol levels drop lower than normal. This makes it more difficult for your body to maintain normal blood sugar levels. As a result, people with adrenal fatigue tend to also have low blood sugar. If you have adrenal fatigue, when you eat is almost as important as what you eat. Low blood sugar is in itself a stressful situation that further drains your adrenals. Therefore, avoid letting your blood sugar levels drop too low by eating natural, high-quality food at frequent, regular intervals. This will make a difference to your adrenal health as well as to your energy level

Super Food Supplements That Fix Adrenal Fatigue

Bee Pollen - take 1 tablespoon 1-3 x per day

Royal Jelly - take 1000 mg 2-3 x per day

• Maca - a Peruvian root that is very effective at supporting and healing the adrenals.   I recommend Ultimate Maca by Brad King.  Maca is an adaptogen.  According to Brad, an adaptogen is a substance which brings the body to a heightened state of resistance to disease through physiological and emotional health. Adaptogens help increase the body’s natural resistance to environmental stresses. Maca is one of the most powerful adaptogen plants known.

Supplements That Support the Adrenals and Handle Stress

Read more about AdrenaSmart.

AdrenaSmart by Lorna Vanderheaghe. I highly recommend Adrenasmart along with Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly during adrenal recovery and during stressful times. Adrenal recovery can take anywhere from 3 months to over 1 year, so be patient. Take Adrenasmart in the afternoon with a protein snack. 2-4 caps per day. Start with 1 or 2, and see how you feel because it is very potent. A 150 lb adult can start with 2 caps per day.

Some people find that they have symptoms of low thyroid as well as adrenal fatigue. This is very common because the two go hand in hand. High cortisol (from the adrenals) can block thyroid hormone and result in symptoms of low thyroid (cold hands and feet, depression, no energy, hair falling out, night sweats, infertility and more)  In this case, use the product ThyroSmart.

Read more about SleepSmart.

Sleepsmart by Lorna Vanderhaeghe - I recommend Sleepsmart during the first stage of adrenal recovery. Sleep is most affected by fatigued adrenals; specifically the lack of falling sleep or disrupted sleep. Sleep will also help heal the adrenals. So the first stage is to give some extra (non-habit forming) natural sleep aids such as the herbs and nutrients found in Sleepsmart. Take 1 per day before bed.

Vitamins and Minerals That Support the Adrenals

  • B-Vitamin Complex (found in Bee Pollen or in a capsule)
  • Vitamin B5 (found in Royal Jelly)
  • Magnesium (found in Magsmart by Lorna Vanderhaeghe)
  • Vitamin C (1000-5000mg/day)
  • Multi-Vitamin with Minerals (found in Multismart by Lorna Vanderhaeghe)
  • EFAs (Essentials Fatty Acids)

Adrenal fatigue is a serious issue facing thousands and thousands of people today. Unfortunately, I've met people with complete adrenal failure, a point they're reached after many years of not supporting their adrenal glands with proper nutrition, supplementation and rest. It was not a pretty picture!

Don't forget to do some stress relieving activities such as yoga, meditation, going for a walk in nature, read a book, enjoy a vacation, dance, play with your children, laugh, go to the get the idea. A positive change in attitude and lifestyle is key to a long healthy life, and healing the adrenals.

So do yourself a favor and take some of my recommendations to heart - your adrenal glands will thank you.

Return from Bee Pollen for Adrenal Fatigue to Bee Pollen Buzz

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