You probably already know that stress is a killer. Just about every major disease has stress as one of its contributing factors. Whether it’s heart disease, cancer, or memory loss, stress can cause it or make it worse.
But what can you do to avoid the effects of stress? Most of us can’t just stop what we’re doing. Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to protect yourself.
Most people are under a lot of stress. And stress causes exhaustion and fatigue. When you’re feeling so overwhelmed you can’t seem to function right, your stress is eating you up. What’s more, your stress is changing your body. One of the primary ways it’s doing this is that stress just flat wears out the adrenal glands.
Adrenal fatigue, as we call it, is the most common problem doctors see. In fact, I have the saying that if you have good adrenal function, you probably are not going to feel the need to see a doctor. Or to put it another way, it’s when your adrenals start to fail that it's time to get some help.
That’s because it is your adrenal glands that keep your body balanced when it’s under stress. When I say “stress,” I’m not just talking about worry and mental stress, I am also talking about infections, pain, insomnia, allergies, deficiencies, toxicity — all the things that make us sick in the first place. As long as your adrenal glands are working well enough to offset the stresses in your life, your boat will keep on floating, and you will feel fine.
But if your stresses are great enough, and if they last long enough, eventually the adrenal glands will become exhausted and unable to support you. And when that happens, your boat will start sinking, and your body will start to unravel.
The Damaging Effects of Stress
The first thing you will notice is that your symptoms will start to intensify. The allergies, insomnia, and anxiety, will become worse. And then the fatigue will set in.
Adrenal fatigue is a special kind of fatigue. Probably all of us have felt this at some point in our lives. It’s a fatigue that becomes really noticeable around 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. And it’s a fatigue that isn’t just about feeling tired or sleepy. It’s a form of fatigue that causes you to feel drained and exhausted.
I remember very well one afternoon about five years ago. I had been working too hard, sleeping too little, drinking too much coffee, and exercising too hard for a few weeks. It was also that time of year when the sage was in bloom, and I am very allergic to sage. I remember sitting on the couch just feeling exhausted. But it was a different kind of feeling than I had ever felt before. It was a profound exhaustion.
The TV was on a program that I did not want to watch. I couldn’t stand the program. The channel changer was right on the coffee table before me. Not a problem right? But it was a problem. I was too tired to pick it up and change the channel.
So I just sat there and stared out the window. I wasn’t sleepy. I was just feeling too drained to even push a button. I’ll never forget that feeling. And when I tell my patients that story, they always say, “That’s just how I feel.” That kind of fatigue is the key indicator of adrenal exhaustion.
How to Reverse Adrenal Fatigue
There are two basic directions of therapy that will clear up adrenal fatigue.
First, in order for your adrenals to fully recoup, you have to remove or decrease as many of the stresses as possible that caused them to become exhausted in the first place. That means having a very clean, highly nutritious diet with no sugars or stimulants. It also means reducing pain, clearing up infections, getting enough sleep, eliminating allergies, etc. This reduces the burden on the adrenals and allows them to heal.
Second, you have to take an adrenal supplement that supports adrenal function directly. That means it provides ingredients that will help to take the load off the adrenals, and also provides the nutrients that the adrenals need to eventually get back on line. For over 15 years now I have been using the original formula of Adrenal Factor to do just that. Adrenal Factor contains the following nutrients to boost your adrenal glands:
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5) — Pantothenic acid forms the key enzyme that creates cortisol. The problem is, today’s high-stress lifestyle depletes your pantothenic acid levels. How fast you deplete your pantothenic acid varies from person to person.
Licorice herb (licorice root) — You might know licorice herb as a popular ingredient in cough medicines. But licorice herb also helps you maintain healthy cortisol levels. Licorice herb does this by preventing your liver from breaking down the cortisol you do produce.
Adrenal gland extract — One of the best ways to strengthen your adrenals is with adrenal gland extract from other animals. When you take the complete extract rather than just a single hormone, you get all the other natural substances that maximize effectiveness. That’s why I prescribe adrenal gland extract if your own adrenals aren’t producing enough hormones.
The nutrients in Adrenal Factor support adrenal function unbelievably well. They are balanced, and they work well together. And the doses are high enough to be effective. I never thought I would be able to improve on this formula. But now I have.
Other Nutrients to Take
I started by leaving the original formula intact. None of the ingredients have changed. I didn’t alter their dosage or take any of them out. It still fully supports and rejuvenates the adrenals like it always has. But now, I’ve added three new herbs that act to reduce the overall effect of stress on the adrenals. So unlike the original formula, which exclusively focused on rebuilding the adrenals, the new formula also focuses on the first part of the equation — reducing the stress load.
The first new ingredient is well known to herbalists. It’s called ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is an East Indian herb that Ayurvedic medicine has used for more than 2,000 years. Although like most strong herbs, it has a number of healing properties, and is best known for its direct beneficial effects on adrenal function.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. An adaptogen is any substance that helps the body function more toward its normal level. For example, if your blood pressure is too high, it lowers it; and if it is too low, it raises it. This makes it an ideal remedy for reducing the effects of stress. Ashwagandha is such an effective adrenal stimulant that in very high doses it has put some people into a state of adrenal excess.
The next new addition is the mushroom cordyceps. Cordyceps has specific effects on energy, stress, and physical performance. In a study published in “Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin” in 2003, researchers from Dongduk Women’s University in Korea studied the effects of cordyceps mushrooms on fatigue and stress in rats. They noticed that when they took extracts of cordyceps, the animals were able to tolerate much higher levels of stress before becoming fatigued.
In another study published in the same journal in 2005, researchers fed cordyceps extract to a group of rats and measured a significant increase in their cortisol levels. You have heard me talk about the importance of cortisol (also called hydrocortisone) before. Cortisol is the stress hormone that the body depends on most to help it deal with all of the negative effects of stress.
Increasing this hormone will help your body deal with the stress load you have.
The third new ingredient is another adaptogen called eleutherococcus senticosus. Try saying that fast! You probably know it better as Siberian ginseng. I’m not sure how it got that name. It’s not from Siberia and is not strictly a ginseng. Studies from decades ago showed that it helps support and rejuvenate adrenal function and increase resistance to stress. It also regulates the neurotransmitters that are important in decreasing anxiety and the stress response, as well as improving sleep and lessening irritability.
Russian Olympic athletes use Siberian ginseng for better performance and cosmonauts use it for stress and disease resistance. Russian studies have shown that it consistently counteracts mental fatigue and increases and sustains energy levels, physical stamina, and endurance.
Because it has this new added dimension of decreasing the overall stress effect, I think this new formula will actually prove to be even more effective than the original. The new formula is called Advanced Adrenal Factor. It is available only from Advanced Bionutritionals.
You should consider taking Advanced Adrenal Factor if you are under a lot of stress, especially if you are feeling tired or run down. And if you aren’t already taking QuickStart, I recommend that my patients take Advanced Adrenal Factor in the morning and at noon along with one scoop of QuickStart for an even faster effect. And, of course, work to decrease some of the stresses that you can. Eat better. Cut out the coffee for a while. And go to bed earlier.
This formula works so well that if you aren’t feeling noticeably better within one to two weeks, your adrenals are probably so exhausted that you are going to need some pharmaceutical-grade hydrocortisone in addition. That you will have to get from your doctor.