Jill has been with the Dr. Axe and Ancient Nutrition team for five years. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Fairfield University, followed by a certification as a Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Jill takes a “non-diet” approach to health and really enjoys teaching others about mindful eating, intuitive eating and the benefits of eating real foods.
Best Supplements and Foods for Adrenal Support
Posted by Ethan Boldt on
By Jill Levy
There’s no doubt about it — our bodies physically, as well as mentally, feel the effects of stress. Ongoing stress can impact the body in a variety of ways, in part because of how the adrenals naturally respond to stressors.
What is the best supplement for adrenal support? As explained more below, at Ancient Nutrition we’ve formulated an adrenal support supplement that features botanicals and herbs such as organic ashwagandha, reishi mushroom and rhodiola, which can help to boost energy, reduce fatigue and promote a healthy response to stress.
Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to starting any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including dietary supplements.
Are Your Adrenals Stressed Out or Tired?
The adrenal glands are two small organs that are located on top of each kidney. Their main function is to produce and distribute dozens of important hormones, including the types we call “stress hormones” such as cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline).
These hormones are released in direct response to activation of the sympathetic nervous system (part of the autonomic nervous system). We call this our “fight-or-flight response” that is triggered when we encounter stress. “Stress” in this case can include a variety of things including physical threats, sleep deprivation, over-exercising or emotional distress.
When high amounts of stress hormones such as cortisol are released on an ongoing basis, this directly affects the body’s ability to cope with demands, and can lead to lower energy levels and more. Essentially, this can impact how the body responds to stress.
This can also affect the secretion of certain hormones such as cortisol (known as the “stress hormone”), including those that intersect blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, muscle function and more. This is exactly why it’s important to support your overall adrenal health, since it impacts almost every system in the body.
Benefits of An Adrenal Support Supplement
What do adrenal support supplements do? They generally support your body’s ability to continue to handle stress in a healthy way. They can also boost energy and reduce stress-related fatigue.
Ancient Nutrition’s Adrenal Capsules feature ingredients including proprietary, clinically studied organic ashwagandha root and leaf extract, as well as the herb called rhodiola rosea and reishi mushrooms.
Overall, ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that traditionally has been used to help the body adapt to fight the effects of stress, including the stress hormone cortisol. Simultaneously, ashwagandha has been able to help bolster DHEA levels to balance cortisol out. (DHEA is often referred to as a healthy aging hormone.)
As an added bonus, ashwagandha has positive effects on overall body health. It’s long been used in the Ayurvedic tradition that originated in India thousands of years ago due to its ability to support homeostasis (balance within the body).
Additionally, it’s brimming in antioxidants and nutrients including flavonoids and steroidal lactones such as withanolides. These compounds are generally believed to help support a healthy response to stress, bolster a positive outlook and boost energy levels, among other benefits.
Rhodiola rosea is another adaptogenic herb that, generally speaking, has been traditionally used to support healthy energy levels, support a healthy response to stress and support healthy levels of serotonin— often described as a “feel good” hormone. Having healthy amounts of serotonin is associated with perks such as improved outlooks, appetite control and sleep.
Another botanical you’ll find in this adrenal formula is reishi mushroom, a beneficial fungus known as the “King of Mushrooms” that has been used in Traditional Chinese Method (TCM) to support a healthy immune system for thousands for years.
Adults can take two Adrenal Capsules daily with water or another beverage. These capsules may be taken with or without food. Always follow label directions for use.
Best Foods for Adrenals
A healthy, balanced diet is key to supporting proper adrenal function. To make the most of adrenal supplements, and for the best results when it comes to boosting your energy, focus on eating a variety of whole, unprocessed foods.
Nutrient-dense foods that are low in sugar and that provide healthy fats, protein, antioxidants, probiotics and fiber can all support your nervous system and healthy immune system.
The best foods for your adrenals include:
- Healthy fats such as coconut and coconut oil, olives and olive oil, avocado, grass-fed butter and ghee
- Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables (spinach, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.) and other veggies like peppers, mushrooms, carrots, etc.
- Fatty fish (e.g., wild-caught salmon)
- Free-range chicken and turkey
- Bone broth
- Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
- Seeds, such as hemp, pumpkin, chia and flax
- Kelp and seaweed
- Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
- Fermented foods rich in probiotics
Worst Foods for Adrenals
To help your body cope with stress, work on cutting out hard-to-digest foods and processed ingredients from your diet. Some of the worst offenders when it comes to fatiguing your body include:
- Too much caffeine — Caffeine can interfere with your sleep cycle and make it hard for your adrenals to recover. Limit yourself to one beverage daily, ideally in the morning or before noon.
- Sugar and sweeteners — Seek raw honey or stevia as alternatives, and always moderate your use of sweeteners of any kind.
- Refined carbohydrates — Limit how much processed wheat flour and gluten you consume to see if this helps with cravings and increasing your energy levels.
- Ultra-processed foods — Skip foods made with preservatives and fillers that are often hard to digest and low in nutrients.
- Processed meats — Stick to grass-fed beef and free-range chicken or turkey, and eat these protein-heavy meats only in moderation.
- Hydrogenated oils — Vegetable oils like soybean, canola and corn oil tend to be added to processed foods and are not as good for your adrenals as fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, organic butter or ghee.