To be clear, “adrenal fatigue” is not a real medical condition. It’s actually called HPA-D, which you can learn about here. This post is about healing HPA-D.
You can’t medicate or supplement your way out of HPA-D
I wish you could take a magic pill for this! But alas, it takes lifestyle work. Give yourself permission, time, and space to do this. The lifestyle aspects to assess and balance are stress, sleep, nutrition, exercise, and social support. The basics, right?
Supplements and herbs can certainly help your healing process, and with your HPA-D test results, you can be accurate about your treatment. For example, do you need to support more cortisol production or do you need to lower it, and when? Do you need to help your body metabolize it? I don’t recommend supplements without knowing what you’re treating. With one exception….
There are herbs shown to help your adrenals adapt to the demands of stress. These herbs protect your body from the effects of stress chemistry and help your resiliency. You may have heard of these adaptogenic herbs. Examples include ginseng, rhodiola, and ashwaganda, among many others. We herbalists tend to have our favorites from this category. Some are energizing, others are sedating, and source and dose matter. HPA Adapt is a safe neutral blend (neither stimulating or sedating) that also includes maca, a hormone adaptogen.
But but but … In order to fully heal, you need to do the lifestyle work as well. I can’t outline that work for you here in a blog post, because it’s incredibly individual. But I can help you see what you need to do, and give you tools and direction to do it. I can analyze your DUTCH test and make supplement recommendations based on the results. I did heal myself from wicked HPA-D, and it took a full year to turn my DUTCH test around. It’s doable!
My HPA-D story
In 2016 I was a certifiable case of adrenal burnout (HPA-D). And I knew exactly why it happened. Four straight months of relentless STRESS. And this was years before the Pandemic.
In the fall of 2016 these things happened:
- My special needs son got abruptly kicked out of a private school right after the start of the 6th grade. Long story short: the teacher was an asshole and this experience was traumatic for my family.
- We found an appropriate school but needed to move to another city to go there.
- House put on the market, we moved into a rental, and spent every weekend looking for a home in the new town.
- During this time I was suddenly forced into homeschooling (for the first time), while working.
- On November 4th Trump was elected.
- During the winter we moved to the new town, over Christmas, in the middle of record-breaking rainstorms, in which the bridge to our new home collapsed.
No wonder I gained weight, stopped sleeping, got inflamed, and was exhausted! Have you had times in your life like this, when everything explodes (or implodes) for months on end? Times like this are when the HPA can take a hard hit.
My 2016 DUTCH Adrenal test:
What looks wrong with this picture? My cortisol diurnal rhythm was literally upside down. At night it was high and during the day it was low. This explained all my symptoms and made perfect sense.
I did a course of focused treatment (lifestyle and supplements) to restore my adrenal function, which always involves working with the nervous system as well. Adrenals don’t have their own intelligence, they are instructed by signals from the brain, specifically the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.
My 2017 DUTCH Adrenal test:
Look at this beautiful curve. It took roughly six months to recover from that four-month period of massive upheaval and trauma. With deep, focused healing, I managed to fix my diurnal curve. I felt so much better – with my stress low and manageable, deep sleep, and steady energy.
Do you want my help healing from HPA-D? This is my specialty! You can first book a new patient appointment with me and get a coupon for 20% off any DUTCH test. Then you’ll have your test results ready at your appointment – efficient use of your time and money. Book your appointment for 3-4 weeks out, as it takes about three weeks to receive and complete your test and for the lab to process it. If you choose a panel with the sex hormones (the Complete and the Plus), you do these on day 19-21 of your menstrual cycle (roughly 7 days before your next period), so factor that in. Not sure which test to order? Email me and ask!