Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Adrenal Gland Treatments

Nutrients for the Adrenal Gland

The adrenal gland relies on a several nutrients. Vitamin C is found in significant quantities in the adrenal gland. In his classic study of native cultures, Weston Price described how the Native Americans of the northern parts of Canada avoided scurvy or vitamin C deficiency [Source: Price]. Without any significant fruit or vegetable sources of vitamin C for much of the year, these tribes prevented scurvy by including the adrenal glands of the moose in their diet, somehow knowing that it prevented the deficiency. The adrenal gland also needs B complex vitamins, especially B-5, chromium and magnesium. Typical dosing could include:

  • Vitamin C: 1,000 mg twice a day
  • B complex: 1 capsule twice a day
  • B-5: 100 mg a day in addition to the B complex
  • Chromium: 200 mcg twice a day
  • Magnesium: 200 mg twice a day

Ginseng, licorice, ashwagandah and rhodiola can all be helpful when the adrenal gland is out of balance. Licorice should typically be avoided by those who are treated for high blood pressure. The herbs rhodiola and theanine can be useful for stress. Healing herbs like ginseng often help with fatigue and low stamina that can come from low adrenal output. The vitamins are helpful and are pretty simple to start. Clinically, these herbs have good safety and are tolerated quite well. Dosages are typically 1 capsule twice a day. Everyone will not need the same treatment, and it is probably best to seek counsel on which herbs can be right for a given set of symptoms.

Sleep is a common problem when the adrenal gland is out of balance. Unfortunately, poor sleep will perpetuate fatigue, which often makes it harder to remain on schedule at work and still get adequate rest that night. Make time for good quality sleep. Sleep in a dark room. Keep the cell phones and computers out of the bedroom and try to keep alarm clocks a few feet or more away from where your head will be resting.

For some, even the above treatment strategies will not be enough. In some cases, test results for the adrenal gland can be very low. Individuals in this group might have to be treated with hydrocortisone or Cortef. Cortef is essentially like hormone replacement for the adrenal gland. It is not for everyone. In fact, if the adrenal gland is overactive, Cortef will aggravate the problem. If the adrenal gland is very low, Cortef can be very helpful and can provide fairly prompt relief. This is a prescription medication recommended after tests through blood, urine or saliva. Saliva testing is becoming a popular method because it is cheap, done at home and the patient can easily obtain several samples throughout the day.