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The MSN Healthcare Health Blog offers news and analysis on weight loss, fatigue, personal health, and health news. It includes contributions from Dr. Mark Neumann and others. Click now.


9 Best Supplements for Adrenal Fatigue

Mark Neumann

It’s one thing to be tired after a long day of work, but if you are regularly experiencing chronic stress and fatigue, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. Chronic fatigue can impact your daily life, making it hard to even do the simplest of tasks. It’s a crippling disorder that is characterized by constant, persistent exhaustion despite getting enough rest. 

Researchers have yet to determine exactly what causes chronic fatigue, yet recent studies have shown that adrenal function plays a significant role. Results from over 50 studies on chronic fatigue found that most patients who had chronic fatigue also suffered from abnormal adrenal function. 

Read on to learn exactly what adrenal fatigue is and how you can help mitigate your symptoms with specific supplements recommended for improving overall energy levels and adrenal gland function.

What are Adrenal Glands?

The adrenal glands are small, crescent-shaped organs which sit atop your kidneys. They’re in charge of releasing important hormones including cortisol, DHEA, aldosterone, androgenic steroids, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Each of these hormones plays an important role in regulating your immune system, blood pressure, metabolism, response to stress, and other essential bodily functions. For example, cortisol is a primary stress hormone that also helps regulate energy levels. It usually rises in the morning when you wake and slowly goes down throughout the day. When you’re feeling stressed out, the adrenal glands release cortisol, which responds to a slower immune system and a change in blood pressure. However, chronic stress or anxiety can over-work your adrenal glands so that they may not be able to produce enough cortisol. This phenomenon is called adrenal insufficiency. Adrenal fatigue is thought of as a milder form of adrenal insufficiency. 

Adrenal glands can cause problems when they start to produce too little or too much of certain hormones. If you find yourself often waking up in the morning feeling tired and feel like you need a nap in the afternoon, yet can’t sleep at night, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

We live in a society that values hard work, but this can often translate into a lack of sleep and a reliance on substances like caffeine. When we’re exhausted, we also tend to reach for sugary foods to keep us going. Chronic fatigue may be more common than the average person realizes. In fact, over 1 million people in the United States suffer from extreme cases of chronic fatigue. This feeling of being exhausted or “burnt out” may be caused by adrenal fatigue, which can occur as a result of chronic stress and adrenal insufficiency. 

Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

●     Feeling exhausted all the time

●     Nervousness

●     Digestive issues

●     Body aches

●     Lightheadedness

●     Low blood pressure

●     Weight gain or loss

●     Hair loss 

In more severe cases of adrenal insufficiency, you may experience:

●     Depression

●     Nausea

●     Vomiting

●     Diarrhea

●     Low blood pressure

●     Hyperpigmentation 

9 Best Supplements for Adrenal Fatigue

Studies have shown that stress management is a key factor in reversing the damage caused by abnormal hormone production in the adrenal glands. Several supplements have been proven to help support healthy adrenal gland function and help ease mental stress and anxiety. 

Here is a list of our top supplements for adrenal fatigue:

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1. Orthomolecular - Adren-All

Andren-All is the nutrient cocktail your body will love. It’s a combination of nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Niacin, and Pantothenic Acid. These nutrients help adrenal fatigue by protecting the body against stress and supporting healthy energy levels. This in turn will help you stay focused throughout the day. Vitamin C is found in high concentrations in the adrenal glands, and studies have shown that, as a response to stress, the glands secrete vitamin C. Taking vitamin C may help manage the adrenal stress response and prevent depletion of vitamin C in the glands. 

Adren-All also contains eleuthero root, rhodiola root, schisandra berry extract, and licorice root. Licorice root has been found to regulate cortisol and improve energy levels. Rhodiola is known for its ability to alter hormones and has been proven to improve energy levels and mental performance and decrease cortisol levels. 

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2. Orthomolecular - DHEA Capsule

DHEA (which stands for dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone that is naturally produced within the adrenal glands. It effectively balances out the catabolic effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Several studies have shown that DHEA supplements can help people with lupus, depression, obesity, and adrenal insufficiency. Low levels of DHEA are tied to a number of diseases including type 2 diabetes, anorexia, and HIV. 

The Orthomolecular DHEA supplement contains either 5 or 25mg of DHEA , which is derived from the wild yam. It helps promote healthy hormonal balance, while supporting mood regulation and balancing the stress response system by improving the cortisol to DHEA ratio in your body. 

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3. Orthomega - Omega-3

Research has found important connections between omega-3 fatty acids and stress. In one study, researchers monitored the stress response of participants before and after feeding them fish oil supplements for three weeks. The results were astonishing – the participants’ response to stress, including elevations of epinephrine, cortisol, and fats, was dramatically reduced thanks to the omega-3 supplements. They concluded that omega-3 fatty acids could inhibit adrenal activation.

Multiple other studies have come to the same conclusion: if a person eats enough of the right fats, their brain will not respond excessively to stress. Fats are so important to brain health and adaptation because they are incorporated into the brain itself. 

Ortho Molecular’s Omega-3 Supplement supports cognitive function and healthy brain development, and also helps to support cardiovascular health and blood sugar metabolism. This supplement also supports healthy skin, joints, and connective tissues while strengthening immune function and helping to maintain a healthy inflammatory response.

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4. Orthomolecular - Seleno-Iodide

When the thyroid gland, located in the lower front of the neck, is functioning poorly, you may develop a number of symptoms including depression, forgetfulness, and fatigue. If you have an underactive thyroid, you may notice dry skin, thinning or coarsening hair, and even constipation. People who have hypothyroidism tend to also have weak adrenal glands. The adrenal glands and the thyroid gland work together to produce and deliver essential hormones to key areas throughout the body. The combination of a thyroid problem with adrenal glands that fail to produce enough cortisol can make your symptoms much worse. 

Iodine and selenium are vital for healthy thyroid function.People who are suffering from hypothyroidism commonly develop an iodine deficiency. This can make it very hard to fall asleep because the liver has a difficult time producing glycogen under conditions of low thyroid hormone production, which can lead to low blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar can make you feel tired yet wired and trigger a stress response in which the adrenal glands release cortisol into the bloodstream. The cortisol raises blood sugar levels, but also keeps you alert no matter how tired you are, which leads to fatigue. 

Iodine is an essential trace mineral that can be found in nature and is essential for human growth and development. You may find iodine in dietary sources such as seafood, navy beans, seaweeds such as wakame and nori, potatoes, and iodized salt. In a healthy body, the thyroid gland contains roughly 15 to 20 mg of concentrated iodine. Necessary for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, iodine is also an important element of hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The most active thyroid hormone is T3, which binds to receptors in the brain and liver to regulate gene expression. Iodine not only supports a healthy thyroid gland and thyroid hormone production, but also acts as an antioxidant by protecting tissues such as mammary tissue, the eyes, and the gastrointestinal lining. 

The production of important compounds like thyroid hormone metabolism and enzymes involved in antioxidant mechanisms require the trace mineral selenium. Selenium can be found in food sources including eggs, peas, poultry, meats, and Brazil nuts. Selenium is crucial in supporting thyroid health, and selenium deficiency has been tied to an under-functioning thyroid. 

To support your thyroid gland, we recommend the Orthomolecular Seleno-Iodide supplement which provides a synergistic blend of the trace minerals selenium and iodine to help maintain iodine levels and lessen oxidative stress. This helps promote optimal thyroid and breast health, and helps avoid making your adrenal fatigue any worse. Orthomolecular Seleno-Iodide contains 3 mg of iodine with 100 mcg of selenium sourced from SelenoExcell, which is a highly bioavailable, high quality, organically bound selenium.

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5. Ortho-biotic - Probiotic

Probiotics are all the rage right now – and for good reason. Probiotics are live yeasts and bacteria that are essential for good digestive and gut health. Research shows that these “good” bacteria can help boost your energy levels, weight loss, and healthier looking skin. 

Probiotics can help with symptoms of adrenal fatigue due to the connection between the brain and the gut. If you’ve ever had nervous butterflies in your stomach, then you’ve already experienced this connection. In instances like these, your brain is diverting energy away from digestion while your body attempts to deal with a perceived threat, which in this case would be whatever is making you feel nervous. People who have adrenal fatigue may experience this frequently, meaning that the body is in a constant state of fight or flight. This undoubtedly compromises digestive function. Supplementation can help but will not entirely be able to fix this on its own. 

Constant worrying and anxiety can also affect the way food is broken down and assimilated by the body. Whenever we feel stressed, our muscles respond by tightening up. If you eat even the highest quality of food while in this state, the muscular movement that allows food to smoothly pass through the digestive tract will be compromised and impaired. This can lead to undigested particles of food being passed into the gut, which results in a range of issues from constipation to dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in the intestines of good and bad bacteria. Probiotics can help restore balance and order throughout the digestive tract to help ease digestion and battle issues like constipation. 

Try Ortho Molecular’s Ortho Biotic Capsules, which include a carefully assembled line up of probiotic organisms to support microflora balance and maintain a healthy environment for optimal immune function and vitamin uptake.

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6. Multivitamin - Healthycell BioActive Gel

Multivitamins are an easy way to get most of the vitamins and minerals that adrenal fatigue sufferers should be taking. If you’re someone who isn’t a fan of pills, the HealthycellBioActive Gel might be right for you. It makes it even easier to get all the nutrients you need by offering all the health benefits in gel form, making it easy to swallow or even mix into a smoothie. Plus, it’s berry-flavored! 

The Healthycell BioActive Gel contains vitamins B5, B6, and B12, all of which are essential for people who have adrenal fatigue. These B vitamins play a vital role in cell metabolism. A great way to reduce fatigue caused by adrenal fatigue and boost your energy levels is by improving your metabolic pathways. Vitamin B5 helps your body produce co-enzyme A, which is a key contributor to cellular respiration and the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Vitamin B6 is active in a number of the pathways that are used to create adrenal hormones. B12 aids with cell repair, the maintenance of red blood cells, and energy production. 

This gel also contains vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that is directly involved in cortisol production that takes place in your adrenal glands. Vitamin C is an essential part of the recovery of your adrenals, while also providing a slew of other health benefits including boosting the immune system and protecting your body against free radicals. 

In addition to B vitamins and vitamin C, the Healthycell BioActive Gel also contains a broad spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, D3, E, K2, Thiamin, B1, Riboflavin, Niacin, B3, Folate, B9, Biotin, B7, Pantothenic Acid, and B5. Minerals include Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese, Chromium, and Molybdenum. It also contains phytonutrients and botanical antioxidants from premium ingredient sources. 

What doesn’t it have in it? Common allergens like dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, shellfish, and artificial flavors don’t make their way into this supplement. That means that the gel is non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, and vegetarian. The prebiotic Bioactive Gel allows for maximum absorption into the body by releasing tiny ultra-bioavailable nutrient particles in specific locations within the digestive tract where they can be properly absorbed. We also love it because it offers a more natural way to supplement your diet – it doesn’t include ingredients like fillers, binding glues, coatings, and anti-caking agents that can be found in other supplements. 

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7. Standard Process - Drenamin

Drenamin contains a variety of whole food ingredients including wheat germ, nutritional yeast, oat flour, buckwheat, alfalfa, mushroom, and carrots. These ingredients provide a wealth of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytochemicals, all of which provide the body with the nutrients and resources it needs when you get stressed. When you’re under constant stress, energy metabolism increases which creates a greater need for these nutrients. Both vitamins C and E are found in the adrenal glands and support the production of adrenal hormones. 

Drenamin also contains bovine adrenal extract, which are the extracts of dried adrenal glands derived from slaughtered cows. This adrenal extract is used to help combat fatigue, stress, low adrenal function, severe allergies, skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is said to also help boost a compromised immune system. The idea is that the adrenal extract taken from animals, like cows and pigs, will function like the body’s adrenal gland to help minimize symptoms of adrenal fatigue. 

This supplement contains allergens like wheat, meaning it is not gluten-free. It is also not vegetarian friendly. However, Drenamin supplements encourage a healthy response to environmental stresses, support immune system function, promote healthy adrenal gland function, maintain energy production, and support a balanced mood. 

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8. Standard Process Thymus PMG

The thymus gland is located close to your thyroid gland, under the breastbone. This gland reaches its full size during early childhood and has a large part in immune function, especially with a developing child. The thymus gland produces T-lymphocytes, as well as a range of hormones that are vital to a developing child. Studies from 1986 discovered that the thyroid gland plays an important role in regulating the activity of the thymus gland.

Many people who suffer from adrenal fatigue supplement with thymus glandular extracts sourced from calves. These extracts work by increasing the output of white blood cells (lymphocytes) and boosting the immune system. Bovine supplements can help the recovery from adrenal fatigue and lessen the symptoms, including fatigue, depression, brain fog, inability to tolerate stress, and more. 

Standard Process Thymus PMG is designed to help support healthy thymus function, by providing your body with a unique profile of nucleotides, peptides, and minerals. Standard Process is known as a leader in whole food nutrient solutions. The company applies elements and perspectives from holistic nutrition to empower individuals to take control of their health. 

The majority of the ingredients that Standard Process uses are locally grown in their certified organic farms, and may require dicing, chopping, drying, and/or juicing for use in their supplements. These whole food ingredients are then added to a recipe that can include animal tissue extracts and concentrates, whole food extracts, botanicals, and whole food isolates. These complex combinations are designed to trigger trophic effects which promote healthy balance and wellness within the body. 

9. Eating Well

Although this isn’t a supplement, but rather a lifestyle, we included eating well because it is by far the most important aspect to healing from adrenal fatigue. 

Your diet is the first line of defense against adrenal fatigue. Adding high-quality healing foods to your diet that support adrenal health, and reducing or avoiding those that may exacerbate adrenal-depletion symptoms are the most effective ways you can start recovering from adrenal fatigue. 

The adrenal fatigue diet is a natural approach to lessening the stress on the adrenal glands. You may experience adrenal fatigue when your adrenal glands cease to function properly. The adrenal fatigue diet is a food-based strategy that promotes proper functionality of the adrenal glands, increased healthy nutrients in the body, improved stress levels, and a healthy blood pressure. The goal of the adrenal fatigue diet is to naturally increase your energy levels so your body doesn’t burn stored nutrients. The adrenal fatigue diet is an attractive solution because it does not require a trip to the doctor or naturopath, will likely not cost more than your current diet, and will benefit your overall health in a number of other ways. 

This diet is similar to many whole-food diets as it recommends consuming high-protein foods, vegetables, and whole grains. As doctors continue to research adrenal fatigue, the adrenal diet continues to be tested. However, eating a healthier diet and adopting a healthier lifestyle has been proven to make you feel better both physically and mentally. 

An adrenal fatigue diet involves two basic principles. First, avoid any foods that will worsen your adrenal fatigue. Second, try to eat foods that will help your recovery. This also means eating at the rights times, consuming nutritious whole foods, and avoiding any foods that you have intolerances or sensitivities to. 

The key elements of an Adrenal Fatigue diet are:

●     Identifying food sensitivities and intolerances

●     Eating at the right times of day

●     Eating nutritious whole foods

●     Enjoying fermented foods like kimchi

●     Eating less sugar (including natural sugars)

●     Cutting out caffeine

●     Eating more protein and fat

●     Staying hydrated

●     Avoiding processed foods

RELATED ARTICLE: 11 Best Foods for Adrenal Fatigue + Adrenal Fatigue Diet Plan

For more information on the Adrenal Fatigue, check out this article: What is Adrenal Fatigue? Adrenal Fatigue Definition 


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