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The Lowdown on Adrenals

Changes in sleep, energy, mood, weight, and cognition could all be signs that your adrenal glands need a little TLC!

What Are The Adrenals?

Adrenals are endocrine glands that sit on top of our kidneys. They are an essential part of an adaptive system that regulate our response to stress. When the brain signals the adrenals, they release certain hormones (like cortisol) and neurotransmitters initiate a variety of physiological responses.

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Persistent stress can lead to adrenal dysfunction. This can wreak havoc on our health and quality of life. Causes of stress may be physical, psychosocial, or emotional. Similarly, exposure to toxins, poor diet, and insufficient sleep will stress our bodies. Symptoms include daily fatigue, anxiety, struggling with weight, persistent illness, difficulty concentrating, disturbed sleep and mood swings. It’s worth noting that these symptoms can be compounded even more by genetics and lifestyle, such as nutrition and physical activity.

Adrenal Health Tips | HUM Nutrition Blog

Five Areas To Focus On For Optimal Adrenal Health

1. Good Sleep Hygiene
Reduce artificial light exposure. Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom and do not read from a backlit device, such as an iPad, at night. Promote a positive sleep environment with a quiet, dark, and cool bedroom. Use lavender essential oils in a diffuser or on your pillow! Keep a regular bedtime and do not watch the clock. It could also help to limit caffeine late in the day, avoid alcohol and big or spicy meals before bed. You should also minimize liquid intake about an hour before bedtime.

2. Sufficient Nutrients
Eat a variety of whole foods to make sure you have plenty of vitamins and minerals. Then, if your diet is lacking any essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals – be sure to supplement!

3. An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Clean out the “junk.” In this case, added sugars, caffeine, and processed foods. In short, eat whole foods and more plants. Control blood sugars by eating carbohydrates that are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index. Sweet potatoes, barley, quinoa, and rolled oats all are excellent choices, for example. Combine your slow-burning carbs with healthy proteins. This includes such as legumes, poultry, or fish. Get more healthy fats from high quality sources like oily fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds. Lastly, cut down on poor quality saturated fats, trans fats, and omega 6 oils. Evaluate for gluten and food sensitivities in general.

4.  Work/Play Balance
Identify sources of stress in your life, then address them. Engage regularly in stress management techniques. Take time to exercise. Finally, take positive mental health and uplifting social support a priority in your life!

5. Supplement With Herbs and Adaptogens
Calming herbs like chamomile, lemon balm, valerian, skullcap, and passionflower can help sleep and anxiety. Meanwhile, adaptogens help stress and energy levels by supporting our adrenals. You can read all about our favorite adaptogens here or try our potent Big Chill  supplement with superherb rhodiola rosea

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Yoga Poses: Four Simple Moves to De-Stress

An Olympian’s Guide to De-Stressing & Healthy Eats

Big Chill | HUM Nutrition

Ana Jurczyk is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for integrative medicine and holistic approaches to health and wellness. Ana received her Bachelor's from the University of Connecticut and her Master's in Nutritional Science from California State University Long Beach.
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