Healthy Adrenal Glands Through Diet
by N J Howell
Your Adrenal Stress Index
Symptoms of Syndrome X
This is part three of an article on adrenal gland health, and medical and alternative treatments for adrenal fatique or insufficiency. If you've come to this page directly, please read parts one and two first, to get a more complete picture on the health conditions known as as adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue.
Your adrenal glands release hormones that are responsible for the fight or flight reaction that might be vital in life-treatening situations. However, when the body is stressed repeatedly, the adrenal glands may be overworked and tired and can become deficient in certain hormones that are necessary for continued good health.
When we are deficient in adrenal hormones, the medical term for this condition is adrenal insufficiency. There may be chronic fatique preceding a diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency.
This type of fatique, though not recognized as a medical condition the way adrenal insufficiency has, is considered a real health challenge by the alternative medicine community. That term is "adrenal fatigue" and the other two parts of this article have a lot more information.
Eating for Healthy Adrenals
This part of the article covers beneficial dietary changes you can make to support adrenal glands health and is educational in nature. None of this information is intended to replace medical testing, treatment and evaluation. If you suspect you may have adrenal insufficiency, there are medical tests available that can confirm hormonal deficiency so avail yourself of that important technology.
One of the common dietary changes suggested for people with adrenal fatigue is to eat your breakfast early, as opposed to later in the morning. In other words, don't do what I have a habit of doing and work for several hours before you remember to eat anything! Also, several resources suggested eating a combination of fats, protein and whole grains to help your body combat adrenal fatigue.
One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is enjoy something for breakfast which contains all three food types that are suggested for adrenal glands health:
Eat oatmeal (organic if you can find it) with good butter (from grassfed beef if you can find it; at minimum, made without hydrogenated oils, soy or caonola oils or trans fats) and some walnuts sprinkled on top. I add a little organic agave to mine for a sweet taste.
Grazing vs. Stuffing:
I read a book decades ago (Eat Right to Stay Fit by Adele Davis) touting the benefits of eating small meals throughout the day, grazing so to speak, rather than stuffing ourselves three times a day with big meals. Grazing is a way of eating that I've maintained ever since I read that book. It always felt like the way my body wanted to eat anyway so I resonate with the information I found on adrenal fatigue which, like Adele Davis, suggested eating smaller meals through the day for adrenal glands health. I personally try to eat about every three or four hours and I consciously ask myself if I'm including whole grains, fats and proteins.
In my case, I absolutely do better if I remember to eat more protein, but each person's body is different so you learn by paying attention to yourself before and after eating, and noticing what the effects of your choices are after you eat. My body loves organic hemp protein where it does not like soy or whey protein at all. I rarely eat a big meal, unless going out to dinner with friends, being invited by my mom for dinner (she doesn't know how to cook a small meal and everything is soooooo good) or during holidays when I'm as big a pig as you'll ever see.
The Hauser Diet for Adrenal Fatique: I do not know anyone who has gone through this program, and it is quite pricey so I'd call and ask all questions before going, but it is created and facilitated by medical doctors to address adrenal gland health, as well as other health conditions, and to provide dietary protocols for specific situations. One potentially useful evaluation resource is the Hauser Diet Quiz, which you can request online. There's a book about the Hauser Diet too and you can get that on amazon or in bookstores.
Dr. Lamm's Adrenal Health Diet: In addition to the Hauser Diet, there is another doctor-created website I located that features online information on beneficial dietary changes that can assist the body in balancing adrenal fatigue. These are presented by Dr. Michael Lamm, MD. Dr. Lamm also has a page on the symptoms of adrenal fatique which may be helpful. Dr. Lamm echos the instructions I saw on other resources, about eating early as well as eating smaller, more frequent meals as well as giving very specific dietary information that I didn't find elsewhere.
Health Disclaimer: Even with those dietary changes that might be deemed beneficial for most people, you should always check with your doctor before adding a condition-specific diet because there are a wide range of drug interactions that have to do with certain foods so you want to be sure you rule that out. Also, I am a big proponent in monitoring your body's response to dietary changes for a few days and making adjustment if something doesn't seem to be working well with your particular chemistry or metabolism.