June 23, 2012

Adrenal Fatigue: I am now a believer

I have endured a really awful late winter/early spring bout of illness. In the fall, my office moved into a brand new wing of our old building, and soon winter closed in and sealed us up inside all this recent construction. I believe my illnesses were caused by "sick building syndrome."

I got pneumonia, and then a wicked sinus infection. I required three courses of antibiotics back to back. I "got well" without really getting well, because I could not get my energy back.

When every destination is too far
Adrenal fatigue is not an officially recognized medical condition. Yet my doctor checked me for anemia, thyroid, and other common causes of fatigue, without finding any solution.

It made sense to me that this added stress, on top of all my other stresses, could have "exhausted" my adrenals, which was what had made me exhausted too.

Before I asked him for a saliva test as outlined in the link above, I figured I would try to treat it myself with various strategies I had researched.

And... they worked. I am finally feeling my usual cheerful, creative, passionately-enthused self again. Here is what I did:

Dropped coffee. If that wail of "Nooooooooooo" could be heard on Venus; mine could too. I have my coffee fresh-ground and shipped to my door from a local coffee roaster. I use a French Press and heavy cream and I love my giant cup of coffee in the morning.

But that might be the problem. If we have gotten used to goosing our adrenals into action with a dose of caffeine, from whatever source we use, we could be drawing our reserves too far down. Then, when confronted with extra stress, like my illnesses, they don't have any reserves to draw on, either.

When I stopped, at least I didn't get headaches; which is another sign we are relying on caffeine too much. I did get an overwhelming urge to nap more, and these naps were more refreshing than before. This convinced me I needed this healing sleep.

I still drink coffee. But it's not a daily or a constant thing; it's a treat.

Stress reducers. Now I start my mornings with peppermint tea, which has soothing effects on our digestion which can spread to our whole body. Other de-stressing herbal choices are chamomile, lemon balm, ginseng, and even catnip. I've discovered that a spoonful of rosemary in the tea blend acts as an excellent mind energizer and tastes deliciously different.

It's a scientifically supported fact that meditation relieves stress. So why not give it a try? Here's an excellent video which describes the Chakra Balancing method, but there are many to choose from.

I've also discovered Rhodiola rosea, which is also known as arctic root. This is a traditional herbal remedy which helped Scandinavians and other High North dwellers cope with their challenging climate. I really like the effect, which is gentle, but definitely there.

Upgraded my supplements. I had cut back on my D3 because I had improved my blood level of 36; much too low. But it turned out, the constant assault on my system from the chemicals in our new office meant I needed more D3, not less. Upping my dosage made me feel better quickly.

I also increased my chelated magnesium, which not only helps the D3 work better, it's a vital mineral which is depleted in most topsoil. Over 300 bodily processes use magnesium; I would like them all to work properly.

Since the highest concentration of Vitamin C in the body is stored in the adrenal glands, I followed the online advice to take supplemental Vitamin C; and also began feeling better soon after. While I do eat fruit, I obviously wasn't getting enough Vitamin C for my healing needs.

After any antibiotic therapy, it's important to refresh our body's supply of probiotics; which not only help us digest our food, but turn out to be important players in our immune system. My pharmacist told me I need to keep it up for six months, at least. I added a B complex to my daily regimen, too.

Toxin-removal strategies. I was taking kelp a couple of times a week; now I increased it to daily, and added spirulina tablets. These sources of sea minerals have toxin-purging effects. I also got out perhaps the biggest gun of all; I am eating an entire clove of organic garlic every evening after dinner.

Well, I chew it up somewhat and then wash it down. It's too large to swallow like a pill, and while it's a bit "lively" it also is a great way to purge heavy metals and PCB's from our bodies, along with its many other health-supporting effects.

I have also made a point of lowering my exposure by taking my full lunch hour, elsewhere. While we have a lovely new kitchenette for helping us bring lunch from home, and a big empty conference room to eat it in, I can no longer stay in the office all day without a break. This behavior probably contributed to some of us getting sicker than others, whose job duties led to them being out of the office more with meetings and site visits.

Fortunately, the new construction type of "sick building syndrome" gets better with age and airing-out; unlike mold, which gets worse. I am convincing the rest of the office that abundant fresh air in the new place this summer will pay off for us with health benefits next winter.

  • Ordering supplements from iHerb? Use the coupon code WAY903 to get $5 off your first order!


  1. Good job, Pam, on being your own health advocate! Glad to learn that you're on the mend.

  2. Oops — forgot to sign my comment.


  3. I would have passed on this website if I'd seen it was about weight loss rather than cats. Reading your posts, though, I see you've been doing some powerful thinking about changing your life in positive ways.
    I think whe importance society places on a woman's thinness is an unhealthy habit so ingrained in all of us that nothing but nothing can make us okay if we are a few pounds over some bogus idealized proper weight.
    well, I look forward to reading you posts.
    Anna (and cats Gita and Sita)