“Adrenal fatigue” is a general term that has come to mean that the body is not dealing with stress well.
You can visualize this phenomenon as your adrenal glands struggling to lift a heavy weight. They are weighed down with stress and begin to have trouble fulfilling their role in the body.
This stress can come from many directions. It can be emotional tension, overwork, too little rest, overtraining, etc. If you're an emotional wreck, are constantly worrying, sleep little, or even over-exercise, you could be loading up your adrenals with too much work and stressing them out.
10 Supplements to Support Adrenal Health
Tyrosine is an amino acid (building block of proteins) that can boost your energy in a number of ways.
Stress can deplete your body of feel-good energizing hormones like norepinephrine and dopamine. And researchers note that tyrosine can “reverse” this depletion so that you’ll feel energized once again 32! Tyrosine also appears to enhance brain function when we’re under stress 32.
Tyrosine helps create thyroid hormones that energize your cells. This amino acid combines with iodine to make thyroid hormone, and studies have shown that “reductions in tyrosine levels” are tied to lower thyroid hormone levels in humans 33.
Chronic stress can reduce thyroid hormone output as well, and tyrosine supplementation may reverse the lack of thyroid hormone 34.
This ancient Indian herb is a magic bullet against stress, and it’s great for building stamina. Ashwagandha is hailed as a superstar herb because it has been used for thousands of years, and modern science has shown how impressive it works against stress.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it balances out your body, especially your body’s hormones. And when you’re anxious, stressed, or have adrenal fatigue, your stress hormones are out of whack.
In numerous studies on humans, ashwagandha significantly reduced stress hormones in stressed people 35,36. But here’s the crazy thing … ashwagandha can also gently increase stress hormones in those who aren’t producing enough 40! So it’s a truly balancing herb.
Importantly, ashwagandha also has anti-anxiety effects on our brains, as it can mimic the calming neurotransmitter GABA, which is similar to some anti-anxiety medications 37.
Along with de-stressing, ashwagandha boosts energy and your capacity to thrive in spite of stress. It helps your cells produce energy and increases energizing thyroid hormone levels 38,39 more efficiently, and many studies have shown that it boosts the endurance of athletes 40,41.
3. Vitamin B6
Keeping a handle on stress is important for not becoming fatigued, and vitamin B6 is another tool against stress.
Stress depletes vitamin B6 in the body, and supplementation with vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce stress 42. B6 is involved in the maintenance of the nervous system and in the synthesis of anti-anxiety neurotransmitters 43.
In ancient China, astragalus was revered and said to extend lifespan and boost immunity. It turns out, it also boosts energy.
5. Ginseng Panax
Ginseng is another adaptogen that has had a long history of use in Asia, where it was used to “improve energy, physical and emotional health” 48.
In 2018, researchers looked at dozens of studies related to ginseng and fatigue, and they found that ginseng does indeed fight fatigue . Researchers have many theories about why ginseng works, but the important fact is that it does! Ginseng also increases the amount of feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain and fights the low mood symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Ginseng boosts thyroid hormone levels and has been shown to reduce levels of the thyroid hormone-inhibiting factor, “reverse-T3” 49. Reverse-T3 puts the breaks on your thyroid function, so anything that lowers it will enhance thyroid.
6. Acerola Berry
Extracts of this tropical berry are used in supplements. Acerola is extremely rich in vitamin C.
Vitamin C is crucial for healthy adrenal glands and the generation of healthy amounts of stress hormones. The adrenal glands can’t produce energizing hormones without adequate vitamin C 50,51. On modern processed food diets, many of us don’t eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables.
7. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosus)
There are different types of ginseng, and Siberian ginseng is one type. Like ginseng panax, there’s evidence that Siberian ginseng is effective against fatigue and low mood.
Researchers have high words of praise for rhodiola’s stress-busting effects, and they say that the herb can help “prevent chronic stress” 54. Many studies show that people feel the stress-reducing effects of rhodiola 55.
Rhodiola also gives you the much-needed kick of energy. Research has shown that feelings of positive “arousal” and “pleasure” increase after rhodiola-supplemented workouts 56.
9. Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Tulsi is an ancient Indian herb that when consumed as a tea is referred to as “liquid yoga” because it makes you feel chill and balanced. Tulsi can balance you out when you’ve overdosed on stress, and it reduces the cortisol stress hormone when necessary 57. Several studies have noted its anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties 57.
10. Licorice Root
Often used in teas, licorice root has a delicious sweet flavor. Compounds in licorice root can speed up the creation of energizing adrenal hormones 58. Licorice is also used for its antioxidant content and for cleansing the liver.