11 of the Best Supplements for Adrenal Support in 2023

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Best Supplements for Adrenal Support

In today’s fast-paced world, chronic stress is an all too common reality for many, wreaking havoc on our bodies and overall well-being. As a result, finding effective ways to support our adrenal health is essential for managing stress and maintaining optimal health. In this blog post, we will explore 11 of the best supplements for adrenal support in 2023, backed by scientific research and traditional wisdom. From adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha to essential nutrients like Vitamin C, these supplements offer a natural and targeted approach to help balance cortisol production, enhance stress resilience, and promote overall adrenal function. Join us as we delve into the world of adrenal support, and discover how these powerful supplements can help you combat stress and improve your quality of life.

How Does Chronic Stress Impact The Body?

Chronic stress is a pervasive issue in modern society, and its effects on the human body are far-reaching and multifaceted. Prolonged exposure to stressors can negatively impact various physiological systems, contributing to a wide range of health problems.

How Does Chronic Stress Impact Cortisol Production?

One significant consequence of chronic stress is its impact on cortisol production. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that play a vital role in stress response, metabolism, and immune function. Under normal circumstances, cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day, peaking in the morning and gradually decreasing throughout the day. However, when the body is subjected to persistent stress, it can disrupt this natural rhythm, leading to consistently elevated cortisol levels. High cortisol levels can contribute to a host of issues, including weight gain, insomnia, mood swings, brain fog, and impaired cognitive function.

How Does Stress Impact Immune Function?

Another detrimental effect of chronic stress is its impact on immune function. Stress activates the body’s “fight or flight” response, which includes the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

While these hormones help the body respond to short-term threats, their continued presence in the bloodstream can suppress the immune system. This suppression makes the body more susceptible to infections and illness, and can even exacerbate existing health conditions. Furthermore, chronic stress has been shown to impair the body’s ability to regulate inflammation, potentially contributing to the development of autoimmune disorders and other inflammatory diseases.

What Happens When Chronic Stress Is Left Untreated?

There are several serious consequences of a chronic stress burden on the body, which may manifest themselves both mentally, and physically. They may include:

Burnout

Left untreated, chronic stress can lead to a variety of serious health consequences. One such consequence is burnout, a state of chronic emotional and physical exhaustion often resulting from prolonged work-related stress. 

Although the term “adrenal fatigue” has been used to describe this phenomenon, it is not officially recognized by the medical community. Nevertheless, burnout can have severe repercussions on an individual’s mental health, productivity, and overall quality of life.

Nervous System Dysregulation

Chronic stress can also cause nervous system dysregulation, which occurs when the body’s stress response system becomes overactive and unable to return to a balanced state. 

This dysregulation can manifest in various ways, including persistent anxiety, insomnia, and even depression. The constant activation of the stress response can disrupt the normal functioning of other physiological systems, further exacerbating the negative effects of stress on the body.

HPA Axis Dysfunction

Lastly, chronic stress can lead to HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis dysfunction. The HPA axis is a complex feedback loop that plays a central role in the body’s stress response. When the HPA axis is functioning optimally, it helps produce stress hormones and maintain overall hormonal balance

However, under conditions of chronic stress, the HPA axis can become dysregulated, leading to imbalances in cortisol and other stress hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline. This dysfunction can have widespread effects on the body, contributing to issues like insomnia, mood disorders, and impaired immune function as mentioned.

How Can Adaptogens Support Balanced Cortisol Production?

Adaptogens are a unique class of plants that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to promote overall health and well-being. These natural compounds are believed to help the body adapt to various stressors by supporting physiological resilience and maintaining homeostasis. One of the primary ways adaptogens exert their beneficial effects is by supporting balanced cortisol production.

Adaptogens are thought to modulate the body’s stress response by interacting with the hypothalamic-pituitary gland-adrenal (HPA) axis, a complex network that regulates cortisol production. By supporting the healthy function of the HPA axis, adaptogens can help maintain balanced cortisol levels, even in the face of ongoing stress.

Adaptogens can help normalize cortisol levels, reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety, and promote overall vitality.

What Are The Best Supplements For Adrenal Health And Support?

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important dietary supplement particularly useful for helping to lower cortisol levels while asleep [1]. This can address insomnia in older individuals with cortisol dysfunction.

Vitamin C

The adrenal glands contain one of the body’s highest concentrations of Vitamin C. This essential nutrient plays a crucial role in the synthesis of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. Adequate Vitamin C intake is vital for maintaining proper adrenal function [2], particularly during times of stress when the demand for stress hormones increases. Additionally, Vitamin C possesses antioxidant properties that help protect the adrenal gland from oxidative stress.

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins, particularly B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), and B9 (folic acid), are essential for supporting adrenal function. They play a crucial role in the synthesis of stress hormones and the regulation of the stress response. Deficiencies in these vitamins can impair adrenal function and exacerbate the effects of stress on the body.

Kava

Kava is a traditional herbal remedy used for its calming and anxiolytic effects. It has been shown to help reduce anxiety and stress [3], which may indirectly support adrenal function by reducing the demand for stress hormones. However, concerns regarding liver toxicity have limited its use in some countries.

Lavender

Lavender is a popular herbal remedy known for its calming and relaxing properties. Studies have shown that lavender supplementation can help reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and lower cortisol levels [4], which may indirectly support adrenal function. 

Agmatine

Agmatine is a compound derived from the amino acid L-arginine that has been shown to help reduce anxiety and stress. Its potential adrenal-supporting effects may stem from its ability to modulate the stress response and influence the release of stress hormones.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb known for its stress-reducing properties. It can help lower cortisol levels, enhance stress resilience [5], and improve overall adrenal function.

Inositol

Inositol is a sugar alcohol that has been shown to help reduce anxiety and panic attacks. Its potential adrenal-supporting effects may be related to its ability to modulate the stress response and reduce the demand for adrenal hormones.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is a calming herb that has been shown to help reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and lower cortisol levels. Its adrenal-supporting properties may stem from its ability to reduce the demand for stress hormones and promote relaxation and a sense of calmness [6].

Passionflower

Passionflower is an herbal remedy known for its calming effects. It has been shown to help reduce anxiety and stress, which may indirectly support adrenal function by reducing the demand for stress hormones.

Rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb that has been shown to help reduce stress, improve mental performance, and lower cortisol concentrations. Its adrenal-supporting properties may stem from its ability to modulate the stress response and promote healthy cortisol levels.

How Do I Choose The Best Supplements For Me?

Choosing the best dietary supplements for yourself requires careful consideration of several factors, as individual needs and responses may vary. First, it is essential to assess your specific concerns and health goals, such as addressing anxiety, sleep issues, or general stress management.

By identifying your unique requirements, you can narrow down the list of supplements to those that specifically target your concerns.

Next, it’s crucial to research each supplement’s safety, efficacy, and potential side effects. Some supplements, like Kava, may have safety concerns that require additional caution. 

It’s also essential to be patient and realistic about the effects of these supplements. While many of them have been shown to provide benefits in managing stress and supporting adrenal function, results may vary from person to person, and improvements may take time. 

Keep in mind that these supplements should be used as part of a comprehensive stress management strategy, which may also include lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, along with other stress-reduction techniques like mindfulness or meditation.

Who Should Not Take Adrenal Support Supplements?

There are certain individuals for whom adrenal support supplements may not be appropriate or could potentially cause harm. Individuals with specific medical conditions or those taking certain medications should exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before considering adrenal support supplements.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also be cautious when considering adrenal support supplements, as the safety and potential effects on the developing fetus or infant are not well-established for many of these compounds. 

Finally, individuals with a history of substance abuse, addiction, or mental health disorders should approach the use of adrenal support supplements with caution. Some supplements, such as Kava, may have addictive properties or exacerbate existing mental health issues.

Adrenal Support Supplements: Wrap Up

In conclusion, supporting adrenal health is crucial for managing stress and maintaining overall well-being in our fast-paced, stress-filled world. The 11 supplements discussed in this blog post offer a natural, targeted approach to help balance cortisol production, enhance stress resilience, and promote overall adrenal function. When choosing the best supplements for your individual needs, consider your specific concerns, health goals, and always research the safety, efficacy, and potential side effects of each supplement.

Remember that these supplements should be used as part of a comprehensive stress management strategy, including lifestyle changes and stress-reduction techniques. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding. By incorporating these adrenal support supplements into your routine, you can effectively combat stress, improve your quality of life, and promote overall health and vitality.

References

[1] Held, K., Antonijevic, I. A., Künzel, H., Uhr, M., Wetter, T. C., Golly, I. C., Steiger, A., & Murck, H. (2002). Oral Mg(2+) supplementation reverses age-related neuroendocrine and sleep EEG changes in humans. Pharmacopsychiatry, 35(4), 135–143. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2002-33195

[2] Padayatty, S. J., Doppman, J. L., Chang, R., Wang, Y., Gill, J., Papanicolaou, D. A., & Levine, M. (2007). Human adrenal glands secrete vitamin C in response to adrenocorticotrophic hormone. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 86(1), 145–149. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/86.1.145

[3] Cropley, M., Cave, Z., Ellis, J., & Middleton, R. W. (2002). Effect of kava and valerian on human physiological and psychological responses to mental stress assessed under laboratory conditions. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 16(1), 23–27. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.1002

[4] Takahashi, M., Yoshino, A., Yamanaka, A., Asanuma, C., Satou, T., Hayashi, S., Masuo, Y., Sadamoto, K., & Koike, K. (2012). Effects of inhaled lavender essential oil on stress-loaded animals: changes in anxiety-related behavior and expression levels of selected mRNAs and proteins. Natural product communications, 7(11), 1539–1544.

[5] Lopresti, A. L., Smith, S. J., Malvi, H., & Kodgule, R. (2019). An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine, 98(37), e17186. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000017186

[6] Cases, J., Ibarra, A., Feuillère, N., Roller, M., & Sukkar, S. G. (2011). Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances. Mediterranean journal of nutrition and metabolism, 4(3), 211–218. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12349-010-0045-4

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Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler has dedicated 20+ years to serving patients, first to a small number of individuals as a successful surgeon and then to thousands of people worldwide as the CEO of a digital health startup. After overcoming her own struggles with a dysregulated nervous system, she created Heal Your Nervous System (HYNS) to empower others in their healing journey. Her combination of neuroscience and somatic work helps those struggling with overwhelm, trauma, burnout, and anxiety to heal their dysregulated nervous systems and thrive.