by Marcelle Pick, OB-GYN NP
In an ideal world, we’d get everything we need from a well-balanced diet, but no matter how well we eat, a stressful day can really burn through our nutrient stockpiles. So in addition to the small (but important!) changes you make in your eating and lifestyle habits, there are several natural supplements to consider for addressing weight gain rooted in adrenal imbalance.
Start with the basics: a well-rounded, high-quality multivitamin/mineral complex that includes the full B-complex group, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium, as well as an omega-3 supplement, is essential for countering stress. I know how hard it is to get all of the nutrients our bodies require in today’s world of processed foods, and eating on the go! Give your body and your adrenals a hand with a solid nutrient base.
For further support, there are a number of medicinal herbs to consider. Traditional cultures have been drawing on botanical medicine for millennia, and today, research is bearing out the healing power (and safe use) of these herbs. I’ve had great success in restoring adrenal health with the following:
- Astragalus root. Studies show that Astragalus helps provide an increase in energy and endurance, as well as bolstering the immune system so you stay well when you’re under stress. It also aids healthy weight regulation by making cells more receptive to insulin and exerting an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to protect against insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
- Cordyceps. This “anti-aging” medicine is not actually an herb at all, but a fungus. And plenty of research documents the ability of Cordyceps to modulate the immune system, naturally lower high blood-sugar levels, support energy levels, and aid the body’s natural ability to adapt to stress.
- Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng). Eleuthero is sometimes called Siberian ginseng, but it shouldn’t be confused with “true” ginseng (herbs from the genus Panax). Eleuthero is a much gentler herb that functions as an adaptogen, meaning that it naturally augments the body’s resistance to stress. Studies indicate that it increases performance, concentration, and endurance during fatigue. Eleuthero also protects the cells of your brain and increases cell sensitivity to insulin.
- Rhodiola rosea. This herb is well-known for its ability to help the body respond to stress efficiently, while offering an increase in energy. Rhodiola extract additionally has a neuroprotective effect, increasing the ability to concentrate in people who report feeling “burnt out,” as well as natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- Licorice root. Probably the best known herb for supporting adrenal imbalance, licorice root increases energy, endurance, and vitality. It can also increase blood pressure, but most women with adrenal dysfunction have low blood pressure, so this can be helpful. If you are among the few who have adrenal imbalance with a history of hypertension, however, do be sure to monitor your blood pressure regularly.
I always take pleasure in learning more and sharing about the healing power of herbs. For my readers, I highly recommend you work with an integrative or functional medical practitioner to decide on the best course of action for you.