INDULGE Interview | Adrenal Fatigue with Natalie Collier of Wellnicity

he INDULGE Interview Series are conversations with industry experts for the wellness curious. These interviews hit on hot topics, wellness tools, fitness trends and anything else that is of the wellness curious Sarah Buchanan, host of INDULGE Interviews.

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Hi All! As I have shared with you, I am on new supplement journey with Wellnicity. I went through testing with them a couple weeks back and I am not on my second month. The process has been a great learning experience for me. My favorite part of Wellnicity is that I get to work with my own personal clinician.

I am so excited to introduce you today to Natalie Collier, MScN. She is a nutritionist, believes in herbal remedies and I am learning is just an endless source of knowledge. Today, we are going to be talking about something that came up in my results, as no surprise, adrenal fatigue. I have a lot of dream chasers, goal getters, entrepreneurs and badass babes taking on the world that follow me. I think this is such a hot topic right now. So, let’s get started.

Natalie, anything you want to share about yourself that I have yet to mention?

For starters, thank you for having me on you blog, Sarah!

As Sarah mentioned, I’m a nutritionist, Master of Science in Nutrition, herbalist, health coach and a Clinician for Wellnicity. I combine diet and lifestyle changes with professional-grade supplementation (nutrients and targeted herbal formulas) to support overall wellness and health. Some of the best tests Wellnicity offers to test your stress levels include the My Stress Test and the Brain Balance Test.

And bonus, Wellnicity also offers free clinical guidance for our customers.

Let’s get down to it - What is Adrenal Fatigue and is it a real thing?

Your adrenal glands are two nickel-sized glands located above your kidneys in your lower back. The adrenal glands produce and control several hormones including our stress hormone, cortisol. The adrenals also produce norepinephrine, epinephrine, and DHEA. Adrenal fatigue is not currently accepted as a medical diagnosis, but a lot of functional doctors and integrative healthcare practitioners do recognize and treat tired or overstimulated adrenals.

The theory behind adrenal fatigue is that your adrenal glands are unable to keep pace with the demands of continuous fight-or-flight. As a result, your natural cortisol rhythm becomes irregular — sometimes you produce too much cortisol, sometimes not enough — and you can struggle to make other hormones like testosterone, DHEA, norepinephrine and epinephrine as a result. As these hormones become dysregulated you will notice increased belly fat (ugh) and other hormones like estrogen, testosterone and progesterone becoming imbalanced. The theory also suggests that adrenal fatigue is broken down into different stages. The earlier stages are like an alarm because your body is in constant fight-or-flight. In the later stages of adrenal fatigue there will be more symptoms of depletion, exhaustion and possibly insomnia.

So, let’s get down to the basics of tired adrenals. Three top responses for each?

What do you believe are the main causes of fatigued adrenals?

  1. Sleep dysregulation: Getting off track with our natural circadian rhythm. Think shift workers and individuals who stay up late (get their second wind after 10 PM). Practice good sleep hygiene, avoid using cellphone at night the blue light can trick our brain into thinking that it is daytime. Avoid having electronics in the bedroom. Shut off devices two hours before bed. Get between 7-9 hours of quality sleep at night.

  2. Diet: Eating foods we are sensitive to and mismanaged blood sugar can contribute to adrenal stress. Eat good quality fats and proteins throughout the day. Too many carbs, too much sugar and too much caffeine can be problems for some people.

  3. Stress: Anyone who has a major stressor or has chronic low grade stress. The stress can be physical from overtraining at the gym or an underlying infection, emotional from relationship problems, from chemicals in our foods and environments and even spiritual such as not knowing what your purpose in life is.

What are ways we can prohibit fatigue?

  1. Eat a nutrient-dense whole foods-based diet and fill in gaps with good quality professional-grade supplements to address deficiencies. Magnesium for example is becoming a very common deficiency because our soil is depleted of magnesium. Most of us can use a little magnesium in our lives.

  2. Limit stress in your life wherever you can. Sources of stress can be chemical, physical, emotional and/or spiritual. Some stress is unavoidable but if it can be avoided then make sure to avoid it! For example, if you’ve been using a lot of toxic household cleaning products switch to natural products that are less harmful for your body. Getting rid of chemicals with cleaning supplies (or in your makeup bag) is just one less stress your body has to deal with. I’m obsessed with this Meyer’s baking soda cream cleaner. I also LOVE the silver infused cleaning rags from Norwex. Omg, you don't need anything but water to get rid of bacteria with the Norwex rags.

  3. Add stress reduction to your daily routine!! Some examples of great stress relief might include acupuncture, meditation, massage, baths and daily exercise (my favorites are listed at the end of the interview).

What are sign/symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?

It will depend on the stage you are in but some common symptoms include:

  1. Belly fat

  2. Weight gain or weight loss

  3. Fatigue

  4. Sleep disruption

  5. Regular infections

  6. Anxiety and/or Panic attacks

What are foods to add to our diet if we suspect adrenal fatigue?

Eat a whole foods diet:

  • Wide range of colorful produce (mostly veggies and organic when possible, especially for the dirty dozen)

  • Healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, cold-pressed olive oil, olives, nuts and seeds

  • Good quality protein like wild fish, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken and/or pasture-raised eggs.

Also, don’t skip meals or do long periods of intermittent fasting.

What other issues can arise from adrenal fatigue?

  1. Depression

  2. Thyroid issues

  3. Low sex drive

  4. Lowered immune function

  5. Chronic fatigue

If you believe someone has adrenal fatigue and your run tests, what are you looking for? What did you see in my tests?

Wellnicity has a few screenings that are helpful to evaluate cortisol, DHEA, norepinephrine and epinephrine. The My Stress Test can get a snapshot of the cortisol rhythm which should be highest in the morning and then drop off in the evening. It also evaluates DHEA which is a precursor to other hormones like estrogen, testosterone and progesterone so we all want our DHEA to be in good shape for hormone balance and a good libido.

On the Brain Balance Test we can see the excretions of norepinephrine and epinephrine as well as five other neurotransmitters that can play a role in depression, anxiety stress and sleep issues.

What sort of supplements are you recommending for adrenal fatigue and what is their role in healing? (I believe for me this is GABA + Magnesium)

The correct supplements for adrenal support will really depend on the person, what their stressors are and where their nutrient imbalances are. At Wellnicity we always use professional-grade supplements which is important. The adrenals will benefit from a professional-grade fish oil and multivitamin. Other supplements we may include in a regimen for adrenal support include magnesium, vitamin C, probiotics, Vitamin D (if needed), GABA (if sleep is a problem), and gentle adrenal support herbs (adaptogenics).

Adaptogenic herbs can help the body adapt to stress. Adaptogenic herbs to consider might include Eleuthero, Rhodiola, Astragalus, Licorice, Maca and/or Shatavari. Also, medicinal mushrooms can be wonderful too!

What I have loved about working with you and Wellnicity is that you believe and share that wellness is more than a supplement plan. You make recommendation that are integrated with my supplement plan for healing. What are some practices to include with my supplement plan? (for me this looks like meditation, restore yoga, journaling)

  1. Don’t be afraid to rest! I’m sure someone needs to hear that. Resting can mean setting boundaries in your life when you need it. Take time out for yourself. Take time out to sleep when you are tired and don’t feel bad about it. I once had a patient that told me that they healed their chronic pain. I asked her how she did it and her reply was, “I slept for a year.” Sleep can be powerful!

  2. Eat a great whole foods-based diet: Reduce caffeine, sugar and simple carbs. Increase the good stuff like veggies and healthy fats. Remember food is your fuel.

  3. I love your recommendations for healing practices to support the adrenals. Some of my personal favorites also include acupuncture, Epsom salt baths, weight lifting, meditation and yin yoga.

  4. We all need to increase joy in our lives! Everyone, ask yourself, what brings you joy and then do more of that.

*Will include discount codes and links to my other blogposts