Hangry? It Could Be Stress-Induced Adrenal Fatigue. Here's How to Fix It.

Published: January 29, 2024

Stressed Woman

Given our cultural environment of endless fear mongering and divisiveness, it's no surprise we're seeing an epidemic of our stress handling adrenal glands being exhausted. But this isn't an all or nothing kind of problem. It occurs in varying degrees of severity.

I find that many, if not most, people with severe fatigue, brain fog, achiness, and trouble sleeping have adrenal fatigue as a contributing factor. How to confirm it? If you get irritability when hungry (“hangry"), have low blood pressure, or seem to catch every bug that goes around.

Fortunately, adrenal fatigue is very easy to resolve. Just take 1-2 Adrenaplex® each morning. Like even more help? Two recent studies I completed showed that you can also increase energy and stamina by 60-80% with HRG80™ Red Ginseng and Smart Energy System.

Want more information on healing your exhausted adrenals? Here's more…

Resolving Adrenal Fatigue

When you're under stress, your adrenal glands put out high levels of adrenaline and cortisol, which raises your blood pressure and keeps your blood sugar from dropping. And that's a steady fuel source to help you deal with stress.

Historically, severe stress reactions typically happened only once every few weeks or months, for example if a bear wandered into the village. But in our modern environment, our adrenal stress hormones are getting triggered countless times practically every day. (Just think how you feel after watching the daily news!)

Effects of Severe Stress

Severe stress leaves you:

  • Fatigued and often exhausted.
  • Irritable, especially when hungry. Called "hangry," this is the most specific symptom of adrenal fatigue, as the other symptoms can be caused by multiple problems.

The low blood sugar level caused by adrenal fatigue can also trigger:

  • Anxiousness, sometimes with bouts of feeling blue, and even panic attacks with hyperventilation that causes paresthesias (numbness and tingling in the hands and feet).
  • Getting recurrent infections that take forever to go away.
  • Sometimes getting lightheaded when standing.
  • Brain fog.
  • Difficulty falling asleep (you can be exhausted all day but with your mind wide awake and racing at bedtime).

So What Do You Do?

Resist the Big Sugar Craving

In the short term, many of the symptoms of anxiety and irritability are caused by low blood sugar. When you're feeling this way, eat something. You'll feel better! What you'll crave will most likely be sweets, and eating a lot of sugar will help you feel better for about a half hour. After that, unfortunately, it'll probably make you feel twice as bad. Putting you on an emotional roller coaster.

So, avoid the temptation to have that 48 ounce "Big Burp" soda with its 36 teaspoons of sugar. Instead, break the attack by pouring the contents of a sugar packet or one half to one teaspoon of sugar under your tongue. Let it absorb there, where it goes directly into the bloodstream in seconds and breaks the low blood sugar attack. But then switch to high-protein foods that maintain a stable blood sugar for hours. For example, eggs, cheese, meat, fish, or anything high-protein. This will keep your blood sugar stable. Bear in mind though that this is only a short-term fix.

The Cost of Getting Hangry

Protect your relationships. When your blood sugar drops your emotional fangs come out. And you are likely to attack anybody who gets near you or tries to help you. This is why adrenal fatigue is such a major cause of people being in marital counseling or even getting divorced. So, give the people you love a little card that says "When I get irritable, please simply feed me! :-)" After you have eaten, then they can console you without your clawing their eyes out.

Heal Your Adrenals

Once you've dealt with the acute problem, here are easy and powerfully effective ways to heal your adrenal and the associated symptoms:

  1. Consider a low-sugar high-protein diet. If you're up for it, a keto diet is excellent for avoiding blood sugar fluctuations. Also, eat as much salt as your body wants, enjoying your saltshaker or grinder. Salt restricting if you have adrenal fatigue is a good way to crash and burn. You will need more salt than normal to support adrenal function.
  2. This is a situation where simple nutritional supplementation can make a massive difference in healing the adrenal glands, and the emotional stresses caused by low adrenal. This can be done by taking:
    • Adrenal glandulars, which gives the glands the raw materials they need for healing.
    • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and vitamin C. The key adrenal nutrients
    • Licorice extract (glycyrrhizin), which slows the breakdown of your own body’s natural cortisol.
    • DHEA (low levels so you don't grow facial hair) and pregnenolone, which are two key adrenal hormones.
    • Tyrosine, which is the key raw material for the energy hormones norepinephrine, dopamine, and thyroid.

Fortunately, all the above can be found in optimal levels by taking 1-2 inexpensive capsules a day of a supplement called Adrenaplex®. Taken each morning, this will quickly smooth out many of the low adrenal symptoms within a week.

Address Low Blood Pressure by Drinking More Water

Sadly, some doctors think there is no such thing is too low of a blood pressure. They are, of course, wrong. Occasionally feeling lightheaded upon standing can be a sign of low blood pressure, and this can contribute to fatigue and even brain fog. So, if you experience these symptoms (once you have been checked out by your doctor), start by increasing water and salt intake.

Many people with these conditions, when I ask them to drink more water, say "But I already drink like a fish!" And they often do. But because their salt and water retaining hormones are low, they also "pee like a racehorse" and so they need more water and salt. The Adrenaplex discussed above helps this as well.

Be sure you don't also POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). This is easy to screen for at home with the short Orthostatic Intolerance Quiz and also the 10 minute standing pulse test. These two free home tests, and information on how to recover, can be found in the free (and excellent!) Orthostatic Intolerance and Treatment information sheet.

Other Supplements That Can Help

Adaptogens that balance cortisol when they are too high or low are outstanding in helping your adrenal glands recover. This includes the supplement HRG80™ Red Ginseng, which our recently published study showed dramatically increased energy by an average of over 60%.

We completed another study that we are preparing to submit for publication. This study showed that six key herbals and nutrients, present in a mix called Smart Energy System, were also remarkable for energy. It helped over 60% of people who had a greater than 50% loss of function, increasing stamina an average of over 80%. One of the six nutrients is S.H.I.N.E.® D-Ribose. (Some people become overly energized or develop low blood sugar from taking ribose. This suggests the presence of adrenal fatigue. If this happens, you can typically resolve both, and feel a lot better, by simply adding the Adrenaplex, and then if needed lowering the ribose dose and taking it with food.)

There are certainly other things that can be very helpful for adrenal fatigue. But the above are the ones I find to be outstanding. Meanwhile, start to turn off or tune out those things that leave you feeling badly or anxious. If you’re watching something that leaves you feeling badly, and your presence is not required, turn it off!

Hope this is helpful.

Love and blessings,

Dr. T

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. His newest book (June 10, 2024) is You Can Heal From Long COVID. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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