It’s Time to fix your adrenals.

Tired of being tired? The adrenal glands may be small, but they play a lead role in our mental and physical wellbeing. A weariness sleep doesn’t remedy or an unexplained craving for sugar might be your adrenals telling you that they’ve been working overtime. Exhaustion, stress, common colds and weight gain are just a few of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, but what are the causes?

Adrenal glands produce hormones, such as cortisol and aldosterone, that regulate energy production, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable us to cope with stress. When we’re experiencing high stress, whether that’s a personal trauma or stress at the office, the adrenals might not be pumping out enough hormones like cortisol that help our bodies deal with it.

“It’s what I call feeling ‘wired and tired,’” says Stephanie Hayman, a noted Los Angeles acupuncturist with an MS in Chinese Medicine. “I use a simple saliva test that checks cortisol levels at different times of the day. Balanced adrenals are very important for how we deal with stress. If a patient's adrenals are imbalanced, I treat them with acupuncture and whole food herbal formulas to rebalance and tonify their adrenals so they can respond more appropriately to stress and life's everyday challenges.”

Experts agree that a good night’s sleep is key to adrenal function, but nutrition also plays a major role in adrenal balance. “Food is the raw material that runs all systems in the body, including energy,” says Kathie Madonna Swift, a leading integrative dietitian and author of four books, including the best-selling The Swift Diet: 4 Weeks to Mend the Belly, Lose the Weight, and Get Rid of the Bloat. “We often talk about what we eat. Let’s back it up to talk about when we eat. When we think about hormone production, we need to think about the rhythm of our lives and eating. We’re so busy working with lunch meetings and such, it’s important to bring some pause to our plates, to eat mindfully and consciously so we better digest our food and get more out of our food.”

In addition to daily exercise and a good night’s sleep, Swift says that incorporating foods high in magnesium, zinc and Vitamin C into our diets, as well as upping our vegetable, protein and healthy-fat intake is the key to getting fatigued adrenals back on track. “Think of these foods as the spark plugs that drive our energy production,” Swift says. “Everyone’s looking for more energy and our diets play a big part.”