If you have ever been under stress, you probably know that it has a negative effect on your body. But just how it affects your health is a matter of debate. Alternative health practitioners believe that chronic stress taxes the adrenal glands, creating a condition called adrenal fatigue or insufficiency. Symptoms attributed to adrenal insufficiency include unexplained weight changes, fatigue, hair loss, body aches and dizziness. Dr. Todd Nippoldt of MayoClinic.com, however, disputes the validity of an adrenal fatigue diagnosis. Efforts to lose weight, such as diet and exercise, may nonetheless improve adrenal symptoms. Ask your personal doctor for his opinion.
Consult an alternative health practitioner about recommended supplements for adrenal fatigue. The supplements sometimes used for adrenal fatigue include DHEA -- a hormone whose long-term effects haven't been studied yet -- licorice root, calcium and magnesium. Your doctor may suggest antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C and E. A B-complex vitamin may increase your energy levels. Talk to your doctor about the possible side effects of DHEA.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Although nutritious foods are important for everyone, they are especially crucial if you have adrenal fatigue. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. According to Dr. Michael Lam, adrenal fatigue is often associated with hypoglycemia, which may be managed by consuming less sugar and refined carbohydrates and more protein and vegetables. Healthier food choices also promote weight loss.
Reduce your total intake of calories. Theoretically, cutting 500 calories from your diet each day will lead to a 1 lb. weight loss each week. Make small changes to cut calories, such as reducing portion size, eliminating dessert and drinking water instead of high calorie beverages. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, drinking more water can lead to weight loss by decreasing sensations of hunger.
Exercise at least five days a week for 30-minute intervals. Resistance training such as weight lifting will build muscle, which helps your body burn more fat. Along with aerobic and strengthening exercises, incorporate relaxation techniques from yoga or tai chi into your routine.
Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, get adequate sleep each night and take brief rest periods during the day.
- MayoClinic.com: Is There Such a Thing As Adrenal Fatigue?
- Dr. Lam: Adrenal Fatigue
- University of California San Diego: Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
- Natural News: Recovering from Adrenal Fatigue: How Your Body Can Overcome Chronic Stress and Feel Energized Again
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Common-Sense Strategies to Long-Term Weight Loss
- MayoClinic.com: DHEA