Any sufferer of adrenal fatigue can testify to the sweeping effects the condition has on their energy levels, ability to think, immunity and sleeping patterns. Many can only fully realise the extent of these problems when they finally come out of this slump. At this point, one question is rarely far from their mind: can adrenal fatigue come back?
The answer is yes, it can. But it shouldn’t. In the same way that you can slam your finger in a door and break the bone, it will heal if u provide the right environment to do so. But, if you slam it in another door, you may once again find yourself with a broken finger.
It is no different with adrenal imbalance. If bacterial dysbiosis was a trigger for the issue first time out, then it would be unwise to subject yourself to multiple courses of antibiotics while guzzling back enough sugary drinks to put a horse into a coma. Equally, if excessive and sustained stress caused your initial crash, then it follows that you are asking for a repeat by readopting the 3-7am sleeping patterns and the six-coffees-a-day approach.
The key thing to remember is that adrenal issues do not arise spontaneously. If the crash is triggered by primary adrenal dysfunction, then this can only occur following a period of excessive loading, which changes the physiological structure (prolonged allostatic loads, or ‘stress’ as we often call it, actually increases the size of the adrenal glands, changes the levels of various enzymes and depletes cholesterol stores at the organ). If the root cause is a chronic infection that disrupts the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, then this too is measurable through cytokine essay. While it may be said that the cards we are dealt in life are very much to do with luck, there is nothing random about the occurrence of adrenal dysfunction per se.
From a physiological basis, someone who has successfully restored adrenal balance is no more or no less likely to suffer from adrenal fatigue than anyone else. However, realistically, someone who has experienced such a struggle very rarely repeats this journey. Recovery forces a person to listen to their body, gives them no choice but to get to bed on time and, invariably, means they appreciate feeling good more than they ever did before.
To this end, my advice to avoid adrenal issues remains the same for all; whether speaking to someone who has always felt good or an individual who has previously suffered from these problems, the key is to nourish the adrenal glands while avoiding any triggers that might tip them into a state of imbalance.
This means a diet that provides sufficient protein at regular intervals during the day (not just a token serving at dinner) and an array of micronutrients, particularly the B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium. This can be achieved with plenty of vegetables, fermented foods, a high-potency multivitamin and magnesium before you go to bed. Dips in your blood sugar levels can prove stressful on the adrenal glands; avoid them by eating every three hours. Get 8 hours of quality sleep each night. And go easy on the caffeine (coffee is not a food group!).
While the above suggestions sound like common sense, relatively few people can honestly say that they apply them. And there is one important factor that I didn’t include: psychological stress. This is undeniably a huge contributing factor in adrenal imbalance, but there is little point in advising people not to get stressed. People who put themselves through the mill do so for a variety of reasons, but all are linked by a single commonality; they don’t change their ways when someone tells them not to get stressed. However, it is still important.
In many cases, we only learn from excess. Things need to be particularly bad before we address them and start to take note of the feedback our body sends us. For those who are doing that, the key message is to ensure that you keep on top of the basic self-care instructions listed above. You can then relax in the knowledge that, by doing so, you are infinitely less likely to see a re-emergence of any adrenal issues than the rest of the population.