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Got Stress or Adrenal Fatigue? You’re Going to Need Good Food


April 1, 2013 | Published by

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Got Stress or Adrenal Fatigue? You’re Going to Need Good Food

As much as we sometimes wish otherwise, proper diet and lifestyle play a critical role in adrenal support. As your adrenal glands respond to stress, the metabolism of your cells speeds up, burning many times the number of nutrients normally required. Good nutrition and well-timed meals and snacks can significantly relieve the strain on your adrenal glands.

Timing Your Meals and Snacks

Even as we sleep, our body has a constant need for energy. One of the jobs of cortisol, the stress hormone, is to act as a blood sugar moderator, making sure it remains ample between meals, and especially at night. Long periods without food and nourishment make your adrenals work harder, which means more cortisol release to help the body function normally. Having 3 nutritious meals, plus 2-3 snacks spread throughout the day, is a great way to help balance blood sugar and decrease the workload on your adrenals. Adding protein to every meal and snack, especially in the morning, can also help balance blood sugar, which in turn can help with cravings for sugar and caffeine.

Choosing the Right Foods

Stress makes it easy to make poor decisions, especially with food choices. For example: crashing hard and running out of energy at work, then reaching for foods like chips, doughnuts, cookies, candy bars, or junk-filled energy bars for a quick fix. These foods contain refined flours and sugars, which our bodies use for a short-lived energy spike. The trouble begins shortly after the spike, with an even greater drop in energy and you feeling worse than before.

Meals and snacks consisting of fresh whole foods — grown without chemicals, hormones or preservatives — are best. Get locally grown and/or organic when you can afford it, and if you have the space at home, grow your own! Home gardening saves money, puts you in control of the growing process, and can be done just about anywhere. Stressing out over preparing and cooking all that food? Consider this: prepare your food on the weekends or in bulk so you have things ready. Being prepared and armed with nutritious foods and snacks will make it a lot easier to avoid making poor food choices and going for quick fixes. Also, don’t let yourself feel guilty if you don’t have perfect homemade meals every day. What’s more important is avoiding junk and foods bad for your adrenal glands, no matter where you eat. Guilt is one of the last things stressed adrenals need!

Enemy, Thy Name is Caffeine

Many men and women use caffeinated beverages like go-go juice, something to keep them propped up and going all day. Caffeine can provide a short-lived boost, but much like refined flours and sugars it can also send the adrenal glands into overdrive, leaving you feeling more drained than before.

Like what you eat, what you choose to drink will either support or put a strain on your adrenals.
People with adrenal fatigue should avoid drinks like coffee, black tea, alcohol, sodas, and energy drinks. Some drinks that can be beneficial are certain teas (green, barley, bancha, herbal blends without black tea), fresh vegetable juices, and water. Staying properly hydrated is a must for anyone, and if you’re dealing with adrenal fatigue, you’ll want to keep close watch on your water consumption.

In order to battle adrenal fatigue and maintain your overall health, you need to stack as many things in your favor as possible. One big factor you can easily stack on your side is choosing foods and eating in a way that supports your adrenal glands. A healthy diet is a foundation of wellness, and an essential part in beating adrenal fatigue.

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  • michele merrigan says:

    I have a question regarding cortisol. My husband has been diagnosed as hypopituitary and recently started immunotherapy (allergy shots). In the seven weeks of therapy he has gained 20lbs. He is on the paleolithic diet and the only change has been the shots. He looks like a cushings patient. Could the provocation of the shots be causing a cortisol overload? He is also experiencing poor sleeping problems.

  • Kathy W. says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful information it sure helped me!!!!

    Kathy W.

  • Christina Pongracic says:


    I read your article with interest. I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. The problem is that I had already had a good, healthy diet, drank pretty much only water, exercised regularly. I’ve been put on a protocol involving lots of vitamin C via different delivery systems (liquid, powder, gel form), I do adrenal breathing, but I feel as if I’m not getting much better than I did about a couple of months after beginning the protocol. There’s got to be something else that can be done. Have you considered dessicated adrenal gland for your clients/patients? If so, how well does that help them?

  • Heather says:

    First off, I want to thank you for all the research you have done! It has been a tremendous blessing to me! I am currently 19 weeks pregnant with my 5th child. The beginning of this pregnancy was extremely difficult, and after falling upon your blog and studying more on the topic, I believed very strongly I have adrenal fatigue. I began taking your supplements (excluding the herbal formula) about 8-10 weeks ago and have noticed wonderful results! However, after my midwife looked over the supplements I was taking, she said she was very leery of my taking the adrenal rebuilder, with it being hormones. Is this something I should be concerned about? I was basically operating from the standpoint that if my body needs the hormones, it would do more harm not to take them. I know there haven’t been many studies done regarding this, scientifically, but what are your thoughts? Thanks again!

    • Hi Heather,

      Thank you for the kind words! Sorry to hear about your difficulty, but we’re happy to know you’ve noticed positive things withe supplements. Adrenal Rebuilder is a glandular extract supplement, and many glandular supplements contain varying amounts of hormonal content. The difference with Adrenal Rebuilder is that the glandular extracts used are processed to remove hormones. Adrenal Rebuilder was formulated by Dr. Wilson to work naturally along with the body’s own processes, not act as a stimulant or hormone boost. I hope this helps alleviate your concern. Thanks for your question!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Hi,I have hypothyroid and take Armour 45mg and feel worse than I did before I started the medicaton. I believe I have Adrenal problems and took the Saliva Test. Results showed mid range normals except a 12 noon when my Cortisol was low. Do you think Dr. Wilson’s supplements would work for me? I do not think I can take Vit. C because of Gerd and B Vit’s make me Very wired so I am not sure what to do?

  • Halee says:

    This article talks about needing food when you have adrenal fatigue. Does the food requirements change for people in different stages such as high verses low cortisol? Who needs more? And as far as calories, I am pretty much sedentary due to being exhausted. Should I eat more as if I was exercising?

    • Hi Halee,

      Those are great questions! The guidelines in this article are good general advice for people all along the spectrum of adrenal fatigue. Regular exercise and/or physically demanding work cause the body to burn more calories and need more fuel to keep going, so your lifestyle can certainly have a great affect on your diet/caloric intake. For a general idea of how many calories you need per day, you can use the American Cancer Society’s calorie calculator, which can be found here: For more specific recommendations, consulting with a nutritionist or other diet specialist is ideal. Hope this helps–thanks for writing!

  • Cynthia says:

    I’m processing through moderate adrenal fatigue, that has improved from severe. By a process of observation, I’ve found that sodium chloride IVs help alleviate my symptoms for several weeks (in addition to the supplements I’m taking) if I lay low and eat regular healthy meals. If I am too sedentary though I have depression. What is the appropriate balance of exercise during this stage?

    • Hi Cynthia,

      That’s a good question. The general answer is whatever you can do without being overwhelmed. For some, this could be very light floor exercises, stretching, or light yoga. Walking/hiking can be great too–the difficulty and length of your walk will depend on your energy levels. Any level of exercise can be beneficial to those with adrenal fatigue, and can also help alleviate stress and depression. Hope this helps!

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