Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD Written by

Push the Pause Button on Adrenal Burnout

Push the Pause Button on Adrenal Burnout

This week’s question is, “Why am I always so tired? What about adrenal burnout? How do I get my energy back and heal my adrenals?”

First you need to know what your adrenal glands do, why they malfunction, and what can you do about it?

Your adrenals are really important, because they help you respond to stress. If you have chronic stress, your adrenals get beat up, and it is difficult to manage your life, and your energy plummets.

You feel tired and wired. You get palpitations. You feel anxious. You have trouble sleeping. You might crave salt. You may get dizzy when you stand up. You might have low blood pressure. You might even have sugar cravings, because your blood sugar can’t be regulated. All these are clues that you could have adrenal problems.

So, why do we get adrenal burnout?

We get it from the chronic, unremitting, ongoing stresses of everyday life: stresses of our families, stresses of relationships, stresses of work, the stresses of constant interaction with Facebook and Twitter and the online world, and all these inputs that never let us pause.

Now, how many of you know where your pause button is? I bet you don’t. I bet you haven’t found it yet, and you don’t know where to go to turn it on or how to turn it on.

Understanding your body’s response to stress

It’s really important to understand how the whole stress response works, why it goes wrong, and why, over time, your adrenal glands, which are these little glands that sit on the top of your kidneys, are not able to compensate for the chronic stress that you have in your life.

So, how do you know if you have adrenal burnout or if you’re on the way to adrenal burnout? It’s very simple. You ask yourself a set of questions, which are in my adrenal stress quiz that’s on my website. To take the adrenal stress quiz and other quizzes, please register here for the UltraWellness Community. Once registered, simply login here and go to your profile. Then, select Available Quizzes and choose the Adrenal Quiz. If you are already a member of The UltraWellness Community, just login here and follow the link to Available Quizzes.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

  • Are you feeling tired and wired?
  • Are you irritable?
  • Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep?
  • Are you having trouble with low blood pressure or low blood sugar?
  • Are you craving sweets?
  • Are you craving salt?
  • Are you just feeling kind of overwhelmed?

If you have any of these symptoms, you might just have adrenal burnout.

At The UltraWellness Center, we do saliva testing to measure cortisol levels throughout the day. When you have adrenal burnout, your cortisol starts to go down, you can’t respond normally to the stresses of life, and you end up just feeling tired and crummy most of the time. We push ourselves with coffee. We push ourselves with stimulants. We push ourselves to feel better using things that don’t really work.

So, what does work? How do you heal your adrenals and regain your energy?

Find your pause button

It’s quite simple. You find your pause button. That’s the first thing to do, and I’ve found lots of different pause buttons that I like the push. You need to find yours.

I do it through yoga—that’s one of my favorite pause buttons.

I also use a hot bath at night. I call it the UltraBath, where you take two cups of Epsom salt, half a cup of baking soda, 10 drops of lavender oil, and you soak for 20 minutes. You end up with a really decreased stress response. In fact, they put lavender oil in babies’ baths, because it lowers cortisol and helps to balance their whole hormonal system.

Also, there are other things you can do. Massage is great, as is meditation and deep breathing. There are all sorts of tools and resources available for you everywhere—online, on my website, where you can actually be guided through the experience of how to do this.

In fact, one of my friends, Susan Piver, has something called the Open Heart Project, where you can join her online in a weekly guided meditation.

Very simple things have profound effects. Exercise is also really important—gentle, regular exercise like a morning walk, a light jog, a little bike ride. Do something out in the fresh air to get natural light that affects your pineal gland and helps reset your brain and the stress response.

I also recommend regular rhythm. Rhythm is key, because your hormones are balanced in rhythms. So, waking at the same time every day, going to bed at the same time every day, eating at the same time every day—these are the rhythms in life that help to reset your natural balance. Following your natural rhythms of work and rest during the day is also essential. Take natural breaks when you are tired. Our bodies function best on ultradian rhythm cycles of 90 minutes of activity punctuated by a few minutes of rest or zoning out! Naps are also a great way to reset. If you are all over the place, your adrenals are going to burn out.

Try my UltraCalm CD for more on how to create stress resilience learn several guided meditation and relaxation exercises.

Boost Your Stress Resilience with Supplements

Then, of course, there are some really simple things you can do with supplements. We use a lot of really wonderful herbs at The UltraWellness Center. We call them adaptogens, because they help you adapt to stress.

  • Try Siberian ginseng or Rhodiola or Cordyceps. These are wonderful herbs that you can use to help balance your adrenal and stress response. I use Adreset, one to two caps, twice a day with my patients.
  • Vitamin C 500 to 1000mg a day, zinc 30mg a day, B complex vitamins, two a day, especially vitamin B5: all these things help to balance your adrenals.
  • Ashwagandha, magnolia, theanine (from green tea), and phosphatidyIserine can help calm an overactive stress response and improve sleep. The combination I use successfully with my patients is Cortisol Manager, one or two at night.

So, if you have any of these symptoms, if you’re worried about your adrenal stress response, if you’re thinking that you might have adrenal burnout, I encourage you to take some time, find things you like to do to hit your pause buttons, get into rhythm, try a few vitamins and herbs, and reset your life.

So, now I would like to hear from you…

  • Have you ever experienced adrenal burnout?
  • What’s worked? What hasn’t?
  • How did you overcome it? Or maybe you haven’t.

Please share your experience with us in the comments section.

And if you like this house call, sign up to receive one every week. Share them with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, and please submit your questions, so that, next week, I may make a house call to you.

Learn more

5 Ways To Never Be Stressed Again

Effects of Stress on Your Mind

Stress Tips: Calm Your Mind, Heal Your Body

Stress Tips: Calm Your Mind, Heal Your Body [Video]

Magnesium: Meet the Most Powerful Relaxation Mineral Available

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.