Some people experiencing adrenal fatigue may notice that they feel a little worse after beginning a dietary supplement program designed for stress and adrenal support. This can feel like a cold or flu that never quite comes to fruition, achiness or being “slightly under the weather.”
There are several reasons this can happen specifically when introducing high quality adrenal supplements. During both stress and adrenal fatigue some of the physiological processes modulated by adrenal hormones slow down, including immune function, detoxification and elimination of waste. When the supplements start supporting the adrenal glands and adrenal hormone production, these processes pick up again. It is the new spurt of detoxification and immune activity, not the supplements themselves, that produces the feelings of unwellness.
With enhanced adrenal function, the liver initially has to work harder to get rid of toxins that have built up throughout the body during the period of adrenal fatigue and stress. This means that the toxins are released from the cells and sent to the liver to be degraded and/or eliminated. Both the release of the toxins and the increased liver activity can create temporary aches, malaise and toxic symptoms.
As the immune system gets the signal to increase activity from the adrenal hormone, cortisol, it sends out white blood cells to find and eliminate any lurking pathogens (viruses, bacteria, aberrant cells and other harmful organisms) that have taken hold during the period of adrenal fatigue, stress and lower immune function. Just as during an illness, it is primarily the biochemical actions of the white blood cells that produce the symptoms of sickness. Hence, during the initial phase of adrenal support, the renewed immune activity can create temporary flu or cold-like symptoms and a low grade fever.
Therefore, temporarily feeling worse at the beginning of the adrenal supplement program may be a good indication that the adrenal support is effective. This typically happens the first time the supplements are used consistently and should only last about two to three weeks. During this period, continue to take the recommended dosage and make sure to drink a lot of water to promote healthy adrenal, immune and liver function, as well as facilitate elimination of toxins.
Start Low and Go Slow
Because it is often most beneficial to allow the body to slowly adjust to new chemistry, Dr. Wilson suggests the motto “Start Low and Go Slow” to those beginning an adrenal supplement program. Begin with a low dosage and increase the daily amount slowly over a period of time.
To assess how the new supplement may affect you, begin at the lowest recommended dose for a week and see how you feel. If you’re doing fine with that amount, increase your daily dosage by one supplement and maintain that level for another week. Continue on like this, assessing your tolerance weekly, until you reach the recommended daily dosage.
Depending upon the impact stress and adrenal fatigue have had, it can take anywhere from six months to over two years of consistently following an adrenal fatigue program to fully achieve optimal results. However, a successful outcome is both possible and probable, and during this whole recovery period there should be relatively steady progress, especially after the first month or two.
Although many people quickly experience an increased sense of wellness with the initial intake of dietary supplements, it is important to continue for as long as needed with a dedicated program that includes a combination of:
- Healthy lifestyle modifications
- Proper nutrition
- Correct dietary supplements
- Moderate physical exercise and daily movement
“Start Low and Go Slow” and you will get there.
Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team