Adrenal burn out and how to treat it naturally

Submitted by Trinity on Wed, 05/27/2015 - 09:01

The adrenal glands are best known for their fight-or-flight ability to produce adrenaline in stressful or challenging situations. They also support the body by secreting other hormones that are vital for everyday function. Without healthy adrenal glands, our whole quality of life goes on a rapid downward spiral.

Unless we live in the remote hills far away from the modern world, it is highly likely that our adrenal glands are on over-load with a on-going threat of burn-out. The modern world is so ridiculously full of distractions, unnatural stimuli, mechanical background noises, gadgets, pollution, toxic foods, toxic body products, negative media, loud machinery, engines, pressure to make a living, people trying to sell us stuff, lack of community support, perpetual negative thoughts, unrelenting busy-ness and stress, stress, stress! Our bodies weren’t designed to handle that much stimulation, and as adaptable as human beings can be, it all creates an insane build up of stress that leads directly to adrenal burn-out. If the adrenal glands are overstimulated for a long period of time, they eventually become so depleted, that when we really need them, they stop working properly.

What are the adrenal glands? (in a nutshell)

We have two adrenal glands, each one sitting right on top the kidneys. They are about 1.5 inches in height and 3 inches in length. Each gland has the adrenal cortex (the outer part) and the adrenal medulla (the inner part).

Adrenal GlandsThe Adrenal Cortex

The most noteworthy adrenal cortex hormones are cortisol, aldosternone and adrenal androgens…
Cortisol is involved in the stress response as well as regulation of the body metabolism. This hormone is an anti-inflammatory and is also responsible for glucose production by mobilising amino acids and free fatty acids.
Aldosterone maintains the body’s salt and water levels, which is an important factor for healthy blood pressure. Without aldosterone, the kidney loses extreme amounts of salt, and then water, leading to serious dehydration.
The adrenal cortex also produces adrenal androgens. They create the main difference between men and women, ensuring the development of the male sex organs in childhood, and in women during puberty.

The Adrenal Medulla fight-or-flight centre

The adrenal medulla comes into action as soon as there is any emotional, physical or mental stress to our system. This is the ‘fight-or-flight’ response (which, in our modern, highly stimulating world, is activated a lot!). It produces adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. Adrenaline works with noradrenaline to stimulate the heart-rate, dilate blood vessels, enlarge the pupils, widen the air passages to prepare and re-distribute the blood to the muscles for fight-or-flight. In ancient days, the fight-or-flight response might have activated when being chased by a pack of wolves or the like; in today's world, it could be an angry boss/customer/partner; a traffic jam; too much invasive music/sound; demanding situations or a violent action film.

How do you know if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue?

People feel adrenal fatigue in different ways, although there are lots of common factors. You might have your hands full and feel consistently under stress; you might experience a decreasing ability to handle stressful situations or maybe you even feel like you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Other symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Depression
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Severe PMS or menopause issues
  • Sugar cravings
  • Lack of energy
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased libido
  • Struggle to get out of bed even after long sleep
  • Inability to get to sleep at night
  • Perpetual frustration
  • Can't function without your coffee
  • Mental fogginess

Does any of this sound like you? With our busy modern world, it's no wonder! Let's do something about it...

Reducing adrenal stress

The good news about adrenal fatigue is that it is a lifestyle problem, completely curable by making a few conscious changes in your every day life. Whilst it can take a while to re-set the balance, there are things that can really help you rapidly turn around. Here are some of the things that can help…

  • Eat a balanced, healthy, conscious diet, everyday.
  • Avoid junk foods.
  • Drink good quality spring water (or filtered with good quality filter).
  • Spend time in nature. The pulse of the earth is like plugging into a cosmic recharger.
  • Meditate or take time for quiet reflection and letting go (check out our guided meditations HERE).
  • Always make time for whatever brings you joy.
  • Laugh, have fun regularly.
  • Get quality sleep and develop a regular sleeping cycle.
  • Drink fresh veggie juices.
  • Include raw organic plant based foods in your diet.
  • Have a short power nap if you feel tired.
  • Do conscious exercise like walking, pilates, yoga, tai chi regularly.
  • Listen to gentle music to soothe your senses.
  • Steer clear of people who pull you in to negativity.
  • Go on a healing retreat or vacation in nature.
  • Find a good massage therapist and treat yourself regularly.
  • Find what really stirs your soul and make it part of your life.

Eating consciously to combat adrenal fatigue

Highly nutritious organic, plant-based foods have powerful healing qualities, are loaded with vitamins, minerals, proteins (amino-acids), essential fats, phytonutrients, anti-oxidants, fibre and have a myriad of health benefits to nourish and rejuvenate every cell of your being. With these vibrant foods, the body isn’t fighting against anti-foods (like junk food, refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, processed foods, meat, dairy, alcohol and coffee), so it naturally frees up your energy to focus on health and repair. ‘Trinity’s Conscious Kitchen’ way of eating is an excellent method to prevent adrenal fatigue, whilst encouraging a life of good health and longevity. It focuses on fresh, organic, plant based foods and super foods. For recipe ideas check out my book here: Trinity's Conscious Kitchen Recipe Book

Juicing for rapid adrenal rejuvenation

Juicing fresh, organic vegetables is one of nature's greatest modern day healing techniques. It's easy and ANYONE can do it! Juice has an awesome way of flushing out toxins, cleansing the cells and recharging them with the most readily available form of nutrients to energise your body. Fresh veggie juice can taste surprisingly delicious and is light years ahead of coffee (which maybe nice, but is really just a drug to trick the body into waking up). If you can, then I’d recommend incorporating juicing into your rhythm of life; this alone would improve your quality of life so much. If you are really blessed, you might even pass a fresh, organic juice bar every morning on the way to work. Beets, celery, greens and ginger are all wonderful at combating adrenal fatigue. Here’s a video I created to get you in the mood…

Meditation for relaxation and healing

Taking time out to relax is essential for all of us. Walking in nature and taking time to appreciate the sounds, fragrances and the feel of the earth underneath your feet, can heal immeasurably. Meditation, conscious movement (like yoga and tai-chi) and conscious exercise can be very restorative too. Having someone guide you in meditation can often take you a lot deeper than you'd go on your own, especially if meditation is new to you. I've been a meditation guide for many years now, and have seen it make a huge impact on people's lives. You can check out one of my downloadable guided meditations, designed especially to relax and unwind amidst a busy, frazzled world here:

Supplements and superfoods for adrenal fatigue

Remember that in the long term, nothing can substitute a healthy, organic diet (which is naturally rich in superfoods anyway). Superfoods, herbal supplements, extra vitamins and minerals can however, give us much needed support along the way. Always buy the best quality supplements that you can, from a reputable brand. When it comes to your health, quality can make a massive difference. Absorbing quality nutrients is a powerful form of health insurance (and a lot cheaper in the long run!). A good quality multi-vitamin formula would cover lots of bases. Here are a few specific suggestions that work particularly well at rejuvenating the system…

High strength Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is crucial for healthy adrenal function. It is a powerful antioxidant vitamin directly involved in the production of cortisol. The highest levels of vitamin C are in the adrenal glands and we excrete vitamin C during stress - extra reasons for topping up. Supplementation should start at a minimum of 500mg per day for optimal health.

High strength Vitamin B-complex: can be an invaluable support for adrenal fatigue. B vitamins burn up like there is no tomorrow when your adrenals are charging out. These vitamins are well known for relieving stress and mood disorders. So, be sure to regularly supplement with a B complex.

are really helpful to ensure that we properly absorb nutrients in our gut. People suffering from adrenal fatigue often have poor digestion, resulting in a depleted immune system all adding to depleted adrenal function and decline in health. Probiotics are often overlooked, but can be super helpful at helping us to rebalance an overloaded system. Buy them from the fridge in a good health food store.

Maca is an amazing plant: it grows at extremely high altitudes (7000ft and above) in the Peruvian Mountains. It has a delicious malty flavour, along with some very noteworthy adaptogenic properties. An adoptgen is something that helps you cope in stressful situations – physically, mentally and energetically. It supports, whilst helping to nourish and recharge you at the same time. This works a treat in smoothies and healthy sweet treats. Here’s one of my delicious smoothies using maca in it: Malty Maca Smoothie Recipe

Rhodiola rosea (“golden root”): this is another potent adaptogenic herb, with a long and helpful history of increasing the capacity to be physically active through demanding situations. It is also said to strengthen the nervous system, fight depression, improve immunity, help muscles recover after serious exercise and support serotonin production to help against depression.

Ashwagandha:this is an adaptogenic herb with powerful rejuvenating properties and has been used since ancient times. It helps you cope with stressful challenges, is an excellent anti-anxiety herb and is known to help reduce cortisol levels. It is a a top contender for adrenal fatigue and stressful situations.

Self empowerment and being the change

Reducing adrenal fatigue is all about taking better care of yourself; making the space to let go and relax as well as nourishing your self with foods that will support and nurture you. It’s all about Loving You! And when you do that, the wonderful thing is that everyone else around you benefits. So, start putting yourself first and remember that when you take care of yourself, it’s the greatest gift you can give to the world, because you'll really start to shine.

with love

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There is so much to talk about when it comes to adrenal health. I'd like to give voice to empaths and highly sensitive people (HSP) and adrenal fatigue. Speaking from personal experience as a super sensitive, cosmic soul!

Jen echoed my feelings exactly when she commented (I posted this article on Trinity's Kitchen last night) about having a lifestyle of good, clean eating, meditation, conscious exercise, time in nature (all things to support adrenal health) YET still experiences an overactive fight or flight response. YES! I totally and utterly get that one, so, I thought I'd bring the discussion over here for a deeper spiritual exploration.

Being a highly sensitive person is something to be celebrated. It means that you are aware of all the little nuances in life, the small things that often get missed; you might be aware of how people feel at a deep soul level (often before they even realise it themselves). You feel energy (which can be positive or negative) far more amplified than the average person. It's a gift - but, it is like a double edge sword and requires a great deal of mastery to full appreciate the strength of it.

I experience my adrenals going into fight or flight over the smallest things. That might sound totally bizarre if you aren't a super sensitive - but hey, it's what we have to deal with. I've spent my whole life learning to surrender into it and manage it all.

The point is, if you are a super sensitive, then your adrenal gland are going to act like shock absorbers for constant sensory overload - and those shock absorbers are probably worn out! It's essential that you eat conscious foods, juice, meditate, relax and all that, but you will probably have to make an extra special effort to realign with your natural flow in the process.

So much more to share. Over to you...

with love

I think this is a very important article, Trinity.

I also had adrenal fatigue a few yers ago. I was (literally) guided to find natural remedies for it then. Herbs and methods listed in your article proved very useful for me in the treatment of adrenal burnout. I have found Rhodiola Rosea particularly helpful (combined with a lot of pumpkin/flaxseed oil, spirulina, wheatgrass, garlic and other supplements also recommended by you.)

On the other hand, speaking from personal experience adrenal fatigue can also be a precursor to the awakening of kundalini energy: sometimes it is like an ’ebb’ of energy before the coming tidal wave.

Thanks for your kind words Mark.

Interesting observation about kundalini energy. The reason that adrenal fatigue relates to kundalini energy is this...

    If a person who is ready for kundalini activation runs their self down to the point where they have no option but to let go; then the this 'surrender' and 'letting go' creates the space for kundalini energy to flow. Finally. If a person is is on a place on their spiritual journey where they are ready for it, then it can flood through the whole being.

Thanks Trinity this is great info. When I forget to support my adrenal system - I tend to suffer. Like now :( but i have printed your list and I'll be on to it. Thanks for the prompt - I also like Goto Kola tea which seems to help, and I find it quite grounding :) much love Kx

I chuckled at the "Out of Order" photo accompanying your article, Trinity, but didn't miss the message in the mirror. That's pretty much how I'm feeling these days, out-of-order, burned out, totally exhausted, run down. Your article helps me to tune in and recognize what's going on. I did not connect my burn out to adrenal fatigue. I bought a high quality multiple vitamin, B-Complex, and Vitamin C a while back, but I've been feeling so lethargic lately that I let my regimen slide, and I stopped taking them. I also started taking Chlorella and Vitamin D3, but I let that slide, as well. I continue eating an organic, vegan diet, but lately I've been craving comfort foods such as pasta, potatoes, and rice and haven't been eating enough greens, veggies, and fruit. Even cooking feels overwhelming for me these days. Thanks for inspiring me to be more vigilant about looking after my health. Your point is well taken that we benefit others so much more when we look after ourselves.

I frequently respond to life here in the matrix with fight-or-flight hyper vigilance and body tension, ever ready to escape. That in itself is so fatiguing. I relate to your comments about being a highly sensitive person. I often feel depleted because of all the energy I pick up and feel into. It overwhelms my tender heart. That's why I choose to be alone as much as possible even though I truly do love people. I appreciate your viewpoint that being a highly sensitive person is a gift to celebrate but is also a double edged sword that needs to be surrendered to and managed. Looking after one's health is indeed paramount.

Your article is packed full of helpful information. It's very much welcomed and is just the ticket I need. Thank you, Trinity!

xxx Catherine

Thank youTrin for this awesome article and everyone else for your posts!

Catherine I can SO relate with what you share here : "I frequently respond to life here in the matrix with fight-or-flight hyper vigilance and body tension, ever ready to escape. That in itself is so fatiguing. I relate to your comments about being a highly sensitive person. I often feel depleted because of all the energy I pick up and feel into. It overwhelms my tender heart. That's why I choose to be alone as much as possible even though I truly do love people."

For me, it's a constant amped up feeling with no caffeine at all! I wake up that way, though my body is tired at the same time. Years of yoga and meditation practice (which helps me greatly!) also became a way of escape as well...because that was what I was seeking...a way out of this constant electricity. So I used it for a time to cut off from all feeling and be somewhere above my body watching it all with no feeling at all. Since coming more and more into the body, my escape mechanisms are in full tilt these days...sometimes it is the authentic pull to spend time alone and sometimes it is just escape from the reality of the body mind I am working with!! I have found that allowing the feelings to be there is one GIANT step in the right direction...much energy is wasted trying to stop the feeling, to hide it from others and to appear like I am all cool inside! So if my heart is pounding out of chest, I let be there and allow my heightened awareness to show me all that I can feel in the moment...what is there for me to see? I am also finding it helpful to just be honest with what I am feeling (with discernment of course), but if I feel overwhelmed or out of sorts, I will let my partner and kids know how I am feeling. All the things that Trin has mentioned above help me tremendously, and above all acceptance that this is how it is...that these feelings may always be here, but my relationship to them can change.

Much love to you all!

Thank you for your sharing Catherine. It's just really good to get it all out on the table :) I am glad to know the article helped out.
Picking up energies and feeling run down seems to make us want to eat denser foods - like creating a bit of a buffer. When I'm on overload, I sometimes need to summon up a strong will to go and juice or eat something lighter. Other times, I just eat something heavier and then make up for it later ;) Not perfect but hey.

Great to see you here Katie. Goto Kola - I've heard that is good for mental clarity. Yes please!
Love to ya.

Beautiful to read your sharing Jen. I always love your up front honesty; you have such great experiences on the journey; looking at what works, what doesn't and observing all the steps in between.

I agree completely - it's not getting rid of the feelings, but allowing your relationship with them to naturally change. In that way, whatever no longer serves the journey, falls away. Beautiful.

Jen, It's always a great comfort connecting with someone who relates through direct experience with what I'm going through. Thank you for your generosity and openness about sharing parts of your own empathic journey and what works for you. Your perspective is very helpful and is a timely reminder to allow the feelings to flow without attaching to them rather than looking for ways to escape from them. Then I am free to continually adapt and let go of what no longer serves my journey. Trinity and Open shared a recent post on Facebook about being empathic that "clicked" with me. Allow the feelings one picks up in the surrounding energy field, confront others when necessary (i.e. take no bullshit), but also be honest about one's reaction/response in the spirit of accepting the co-creation of those experiences. Little by little, I'm progressing with becoming more honest about how I am feeling in the moment and expressing from that place of true authenticity. I'm wading through massive amounts of conditioning that made it feel unsafe for me to do so. A big shout out to Kim for helping me with this as a result of her wonderful facilitation coaching.

For much of my life, I "efforted" to socialize beyond my comfort level as a result of my family conditioning and societal pressure to appear popular and not be viewed as a weirdo. I'm comfortable talking to all sorts of people from kings to marginalized outcasts, but I don't truly "connect" with many people. More and more, I'm honouring who I feel to be rather than what others want me to be. And if that means I'm viewed as a weirdo, so be it! As Rhett Butler says in "Gone With The Wind," "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

Trinity, yes, it feels good to "out" myself as out-of-order as I am! Thank you for your kind encouragement without pressuring me to be perfect (I know you never would)!

xxx Catherine

Much love to you all!!! Yes, in this times i feel it totally in my body, there is really a great shift, and a lot of the time, i am staying in my bed, to give the body the chance to integrate... But... It is not really my decision, nothing seems to work anymore in the „old“ way... In present time it feels for me so, if there would be a stream of 1000 Volt wanting to flow in my body, but the body is only permeable for max. 250 or so (not too long ago, it was not more than 3%) The transition feels sometimes very challenging. I am so thankful for everything written on the openhand. So there is, on the one side, this amazing stream wanting to flow through my body, and on the other hand, there is a voice like: „oh no, please, not so fast, i am not able to come along...“, and this force wants to prevent the fastnest and searches for distraction... But then, letting go happens, currently it is like a permanent shift back and fourth, fourth an d back, i am barely able to put it in words, thanks for everything that is shared on the website, so wonderful... and thank you Jenny, my experiences are very similar to yours and because of your graduation it becomes clear to me, that i am not fully crazy, everything is allright, all processes comes and go, what a challenge...
from my heart to yours, Melanie

Dear Cynthia,
thanks for answering me, Yes it is sometimes very intense, the experience feels very strong and then it can be also soft and peaceful... i have a question, and perhaps, there is anybody who can answer me. What is it with this "per-son"? In circles of satsang and advaita they say, that there is no person, but we have one. So my question is, how to handle with it, because in this person, there are these strong feelings of being separated and divided from the rest. It is not really the solution for me to say that this is only an illusion, because this feelings are always here, so highly visible and painful, thoughts are coming up, telling me that i am disconnected and that hurts. Is it the way to feel this feelings and to go "through" them? To stay with them, deep in it? When these feelings appears i am not longer able "to do" something and then the wish comes up to escape from then and to run away. Can anybody tell me something about it?
With love, Melanie

In reply to by Melanie K

Hi Melanie! I can really relate with what you are sharing. Earlier in my own journey I was given similar information...from the non-dual teachings. For me there is truth in aspects of what is shared there in that everything is one and separation is an illusion. However without the relative experience of you and me there would be no experience at all. And what is the purpose of the experience? For the soul to realize itself as the one. But that can't happen unless everyplace that the soul has gotten attached, identified with the experience of separation is explored, and felt to the point where the soul releases this identification and remembers itself as the One .

For me, it caused me great pain and frustration when I could certainly feel a separate experience but those around me were advising me that it's an illusion and basically I just need to drop my sense of needing to be someone. I certainly worked toward this with the resultant feeling of never feeling like I was enough because I could not let go of my individual experience. In addition, I ended up cutting off the feelings and just resting in this pseudo peace, connected up to a more ethereal space but numbing this rock of distortions down below.

So it sounds to me like you are on the right track...realizing that it is being fully in the relative experience, not dropping it or denying it that is the way to knowing and being who you truly are. So, you will be confronted with the places that the soul is identified with the separation, where it has forgotten that it is the One. Being with those feelings, going into them - not pushing them away is the way through. You may at times need to ease off as well if it gets really intense then it is helpful to boost your endorphins with some conscious movement, walk in nature, etc.

Others may have more to add but this has been my experience.

Here is a link to an awesome Openhand video on transcendence.…

Much love,

Great article thanks Trinity. Thank you to you Catherine - I could identify with a lot of what you said, its comforting to know that I am not in this struggle alone -its such hard work and any tips are greatly received.
Trinity, does Earth Fayre sell the Rhodiola Rosea and Ashwagandha? Thank you. with love Myra x

Dear Jen,

thanks so much for your response. It helps a lot. All these implications and conditions wants to be seen and dissolved, and this is only possible to go in and go through... yes, that is the way, so often heard, so many times read, but... if it comes up, it is always new, feels awful, makes fear and often causes pain... If i have written my words and sent them up, my mind came in, told me how could i be so stupid to ask this question because it is so obviously and that i should have known this and so on and so on... So i said to myself: "Ok, i am ready to feel stupid, i am ready to feel the shame about sharing my doubts...", and then it becomes a little bit easier. It sounds so easy, but it is really a process, day by day, moment to moment. Thanks a lot to openhand for your wonderful support!!!

With love, Melanie

Hi Melanie,

Oh, I can really feel what you are saying here..."if it comes up, it is always new, feels awful, makes fear and often causes pain... If i have written my words and sent them up, my mind came in, told me how could i be so stupid to ask this question because it is so obviously and that i should have known this and so on and so on."

Many, many times, I recall writing things on here and before anyone even responds, it activates all these triggers inside...and so like you mention in your post, it is the perfect opportunity to be with how that feels inside and yes when you stop fighting feeling it, then you can move into it and through it. I find these forums a great catalyst for growth in this way!!

Awesome that you shared and are willing and committed to working with what that brings up for you, I know it's not easy! Many people feel very similarly to what you are sharing - so awesome to bring it out there!

Much love,

Thank you so much for reposting this. I've been having these symptoms and I now understand adrenal fatigue must be playing a huge role. I can't really deal with being a hsp, I get so confused. Especially when I can sense how a person feels deep down on a soul level (I can often feel a deep sadness about not following one's heart and this huge tightness around trying to make it in the matrix), but what they say and do contradicts it 100%, acting like they're fine. I need to find a way to let go of this because I now realise this is burning me out, literally ;)

Re-post much appreciated, Trinity. Yup, feeling burned out with the urge to run away as a highly sensitive person overwhelmed with it all. I so appreciate the reminder on how best to maximize body/mind/spirit health when adrenal fatigue kicks in.

x Cathy

Hannah - indeed, life as a HSP really invites us to take extra special care of ourselves. I know that I wouldn't be able to function at all if I didn't embrace the tips I've listed. For me it has to be a way of being. Thankfully it's a way of being that also accelerates my evolution.

Lot's of inner surrender and letting go when it comes to the conflict between what we feel people saying on a soul level and the image that they'd rather project in a matrix sense.

Catherine - delighted to hear that! It can all make such a massive difference. The reminder is good for us all ;)