Overloading your adrenals can feel pretty exhausting. From fatigue to mood changes, brain fog, and insomnia, sluggish and overworked adrenal glands have a real-world effect on our lives.
Maybe you’ve had to cancel too many social commitments in a row because you’re too tired.
Or maybe you’re not performing as productively at work because you just can’t seem to focus.
The good news is that there are many ways to improve your adrenal function and get your life back on track.
In this article, you’ll learn about 11 proven ways to boost adrenal function with strategies that are both preventative and prescriptive.
If you’re facing adrenal fatigue, these natural healing methods will help you turn your health around. And, if you’re simply feeling “run down” these practices will help you make a few well-timed improvements.
11 Ways to Boost Adrenal Function
The adrenal glands are two, triangular-shaped glands that sit at the tip of your kidneys. Their primary function is to produce and release essential hormones at the right times, in the optimal levels your body needs to function.
Hormones like cortisol, DHEA, epinephrine, and more regulate everything from our metabolism to immune system response, our moods, memory formation, stress response, blood pressure levels, fertility, sleep cycles, and more.
You can overwork your adrenals through poor stress management and compound this functional exhaustion through other lifestyle choices such as sleep, diet, and exercise.
Also known as adrenal fatigue, it brings on a host of symptoms such as:
- Chronic fatigue
- Brain fog
- Intermittent “crashes” of energy through the day
- Body aches
- Potential hair loss
- Weight gain or loss
- Cravings for salty and sweet snacks
- Decreased libido
- Overuse of caffeine or other stimulants to “keep up”
- A compromised immune system
With such an extensive list of problems related to adrenal fatigue, you can see why paying attention to adrenal health is the key to avoiding a whole host of related issues.
Use these 11 strategies to boost your adrenal function right away!
#1. Start With Testing
First thing’s first - before trying to improve your adrenal function, make sure that the adrenals are the problem in the first place.
There are a number of tests you can use to determine how your adrenal glands are functioning.
For example, you could opt for a metabolic panel, a urine test, an HTMA test, and an iron test to reveal cortisol, iron, and mineral imbalances in the body.
Running these tests could also be useful because, together, they’ll give you a more complete picture of your health.
However, for adrenal function specifically, it’s best to opt for a saliva cortisol panel. This test uses a sample of your saliva to track cortisol patterns throughout the day. In contrast, other tests only reveal where your body is at a discrete moment in time.
The pattern can help you get a better idea of whether your adrenal glands respond as they’re supposed to, or if they’re out of balance.
#2. Take Adaptogenic Herbs
Once you know where your adrenal health lies, you can start to use some or all of the remaining 10 strategies to boost adrenal function. The first is to begin a course of supplementing with adaptogenic herbs.
Adaptogens are nature’s medicinal answers to many issues we deal with today, including inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune system dysfunction. When taken over time, adaptogens make the body more resilient and adaptable.
These herbs naturally boost energy levels, so they’re ideal substitutes for stimulants like caffeine.
To boost adrenal function, you can rely on:
- Ashwagandha — a kind of “fix-it-all” Ayurvedic herb, ashwagandha reduces inflammation, calms the nervous system, improves mental health, helps you relax, and balances out cortisol and thyroid production in the body.
- Maca — used for natural energy boosts through the day, protects the immune system and returns the libido to its optimal state.
- Rhodiola Rosea — a natural plant “pick me up” that specifically fights stress and offsets fatigue through boosts in energy while reducing cortisol levels that are too high.
#3. Start an Adrenal Fatigue Diet
Following an adrenal fatigue diet is a fantastic way to boost adrenal function and your overall health and wellness. It’s surprising how just a few changes and substitutions can totally transform how you feel and how much energy you have through the day.
Follow these tips to boost adrenal function:
- Include lots of fresh veggies in your diet. If this is hard to do, you can use our “Get Your Greens” supplement. It includes all the nutrients you need from veggies & fruits.
- Opt for foods that are rich in vitamin C, magnesium, and B-vitamins. This includes flaxseed, tempeh, and almonds for magnesium, organ meats like liver, leafy greens and nutritional yeast for B-vitamins, and citrus fruit, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and potatoes for vitamin C.
#4. Drink a Glass of Water With Himalayan Salt Upon Waking
Speaking of waking routines, a great strategy to incorporate is salt-infused water.
As soon as you wake up, drink a glass of room temperature water that’s mixed with a fourth of a teaspoon of either Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt. Some people also choose to add a small squeeze of lemon juice (as it contains vitamin C).
You can also start to incorporate Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt in your daily cooking. The minerals will help naturally replenish what’s lacking in your system. It will also help balance the hormone aldosterone, which controls your body’s salt intake. This, in turn, can help bring your blood pressure back to its optimal state.
Take a look at this article to find out how alcohol can affect your adrenal fatigue!
#5. Diffuse Essential Oils Through the Day
A proven way to balance hormones is to use essential oils. Natural scents like lavender, black spruce, pine, and frankincense are highly potent ways to calm the nervous system and boost adrenal function.
The key is to apply these essential oils in ways that help directly affect your body. Inhaling them through a diffuser is the best way to get these calming scents in — but it’s not your only option.
Using a roller and carrier oil like jojoba, mix in a few drops of essential oils for adrenal fatigue. Apply this blend using the roller to the lower back. You can also roll some on the soles of your feet, known in reflexology as “Kidney 1 pressure point.”
#6. Take an Epsom Salt Bath a Few Times a Week
As you focus on boosting your adrenal function, another “prong” to address your health is through stress relief. Keeping your immunity up and adjusting your diet are great ways to start to heal from adrenal fatigue.
But you also need to find consistent strategies for de-stressing and releasing toxins that stress builds up in your body. To do this, draw a warm bath three times a week and mix in:
- 1 cup of Epsom salts
- 10 drops of your favorite essential oils
- A half-cup of baking soda
The Epsom salts will supplement your body with magnesium, while the baking soda helps balance your pH levels.
Adrenal fatigue occurs in different stages. You can find out which stage you're in using our informative guide to adrenal fatigue stages!
#7. Choose Low-Impact Exercise
Keeping your body active and moving through exercise is one of the best ways to counteract fatigue. Research shows that regular exercise actually increases energy levels, especially when compared to napping or resting.
It also helps your body naturally release endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that boost your mood and dull any physical pain.
However, overdoing exercise or performing really strenuous exercise can just send your body back into “stress” mode. That’s a bad idea when you’re trying to recover from adrenal fatigue.
The best exercises for adrenal fatigue include low-impact activities like:
- Brisk walking
- Jumping rope
- Low-intensity interval training.
#8. Use Meditative Breathwork
Time and again, research shows that meditation can offer positive total-body effects, including decreased blood pressure, improved mood, memory, and concentration, and even enhanced libidos.
However, sitting still and observing thoughts while focusing on your breathing may be a struggle for you in the beginning.
Meditative breathwork is just a bit different from meditation. The breathing techniques can help you calm your mind, feel more alert and awake, or relax.
See, in meditation, the “goal” is to clear your mind. Not so with breathwork.
Instead, breathwork uses specific counts of inhalation and exhalation, directed to specific parts of your body, to help you achieve these states.
For example, you can use six seconds of inhalation followed by two seconds of exhalation for five minutes to help you feel more awake instantly.
If you want to calm down following a stressful situation, you can use box breathing. Here’s how it works:
- Breath in for four seconds
- Hold your breath for four seconds
- Exhale for four seconds
- Hold your breath for four seconds again before restarting the cycle
#9. Avoid Intermittent Fasting For Now
Intermittent fasting is a great way to enhance your body’s metabolism and avoid issues like excessive bloating. However, when you’re trying to get your adrenal glands back to optimal levels, this strategy can deplete your energy.
Instead, avoid intermittent fasting for now. Eat a small snack like a banana (rich in potassium) or a handful of mixed nuts about an hour after waking up. You can also portion your food into smaller meals, eaten more frequently throughout the day.
This helps keep your energy levels up and won’t overload your digestive system.
#10. Create a Self-Care Routine
Caring for yourself is highly personal, and you get to decide what you want to make a part of your self-care routine.
For some, it’s cooking a great meal while listening to Bossa Nova and sharing it with friends and family. For others, it’s a solitary evening in, accompanied by a good book. And for others, still, it’s the commitment they made to themselves to keep bi-weekly therapy appointments.
No matter what your self-care routine includes, the only thing you need to do is figure out what helps you feel good. That means well-rested, de-stressed, and nurtured.
#11. Get to Bed On Time
Sleep quality and quantity can help boost adrenal function by supporting your body’s natural wakeful and restful states. Set a time to be in bed, which you know works for your schedule.
Initially, you may have trouble falling asleep. Work through it using a few effective hacks:
- Keep your room dark by using blackout shade or by wearing a sleep mask
- Lower the temperature as your body falls asleep faster when its cooler
- Rely on natural daylight or a daylight lamp to wake up
- Use natural herbs to help your body’s hormones reorient your sleep cycle, such as those included in Namastay in Bed.
Known for its use in Ayurvedic healing, Ashwagandha has been used for over 3,000 years to help reduce stress. It does this by:
- Normalizing your stress levels and mood
- Promoting speedier relief from cortisol and adrenal fatigue
- Boosting your immune system with this powerful adaptogen
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Of all the myriad ways our bodies support us, the adrenal glands are among the most significant indicators of your health. You can use any — or all! — of these proven practices to reliably enhance your sense of wellness in a way that gets better and stronger over time.