I used to read this board (adrenal fatigue) a lot, desperate to find answers for my various health issues. If you search for hapoel you can find my older posts.
At least in my time, there were not that many success stories of successful recovery from severe adrenal fatigue (or candida), so I decided that when I get better I would come back and post here.
What causes adrenal fatigue: anything that that requires your body to constantly pump out large amount of cortisol for an extended period of time. In short, for me the root cause was un-diagnosed autoimmunity (which is usually caused by gut dysbiosis) and I believe it to be one of the most common causes of AF, although most folks will probably never realize it.
My symptoms included, but were not limited to:
- chronic fatigue
- constant social anxiety and panic attacks
- wild blood Sugar swings
- adrenal issues: waking up at 4 AM to my heart pounding like crazy and not being able to get back to sleep, or difficulty getting sleep at night
- unregular bowels, either constipated or too runny
- thyroid disregulation, always either too hot or too cold
- asthma, chronic sinusitis
- always either wildly overstimulated or dead tired
- many symptoms of candida overgrowth, such as athlete's foot and coated tongue
- overall muscle weakness
- at my worst I could not exercise more than 10 minutes of walking without losing my nights sleep
- I am highly energetic and rarely tired
- I exercise quite vigorously almost every day
- visible candida symptoms are gone, my tongue coating used always return after eating carbs or sugar, but no longer
- My sleep is very solid, I no longer wake up at night and can't get back to sleep
- Body temperature is always regular
- Anxiety is completely gone
- I quickly lost a noticeable amount of bodyfat and am now very lean for the first time in my life
I'm down to living a completely normal life, with one caveat: I have to be very strict with my diet(I'll explain more later), or I will see my symptoms creeping back again.
Like I said, my cortisol surges were caused my autoimmunity. You might say, oh well I don't have a diagnosed autoimmune disease so this post doesn't concern me.
It has been estimated that 1 in 12 people have an autoimmune issues today. Few of us are actually diagnosed, and the average autoimmune disease takes 12 years to diagnose. There are about 200 different symptoms that can be traced to autoimmunity.
So why is autoimmunity almost synonymous with adrenal fatigue? When someone's immune system becomes over activated, it reacts to a whole bunch of foods that normal people can eat. Eating food that one is sensitive to produces a large surge of adrenal hormones. When someone has autoimmunity and they don't follow an appropriate diet, their body is constantly pumping cortisol until the adrenals begin to shut down.
The first step in my recovery was leaving out gluten. I realized this after I noticed that I had a panic attack every time after eating spaghetti at work. Leaving gluten improve my health a lot, but after that many years went by with very slow improvement. I was still nowhere close to normal. I went further to follow the paleo diet, and again got slightly better, but was not anywhere near good health.
The key was going on a so-called autoimmune paleo diet (AIP). This is even stricter than paleo and leaves out eggs, nuts and seeds for example. Having been on this diet my recovery quickly jumped from 50% to about 90% in the first two months.
Not only that, I also found to be sensitive to histamine triggering foods (another symptom of gut dysfunction) and many foods that are allowed on the AIP diet, such as some herbs, spinach, avocados, citrus fruit, and especially anything fermented, like anything with vinegar or sauerkraut.
I had to go down to eating really basic food: most greens (but not spinach or avocados because of the histamine), broccoli, cauliflower, olive oil and olives (olives that are in olive oil and not in vinegar) basically all coconut products (with no additives), carrots, onions, all meats and fish, basically only salt as seasoning early on. I was able to add some spices like rosemary, garlic and basil, but was sensitive to oregano and thyme, both allowed on the AIP diet.
It's easy for me to test for food sensitivities now though because I can clearly feel the adrenaline reaction. My heartbeat is elevated, hands can start shaking, my neck and other muscles will get stiff, I become anxious and I might have a hard time sleeping at night. The reaction is so strong now that I know when I've eaten something wrong, whereas before it was my normal state.
I'm not gonna lie. The diet is not always easy to follow. It's really strict and sometimes very repetitive and quite boring. However, I'll take it any day over the horrible health problems I used to have. There are so many resources for AIP recipes these days that it's not too bad.
It takes a long time for the body to heal, but once I got my diet fixed my recovery has been nothing short of amazingly fast. The diet is perfect for candida as well as it heals the gut. The recovery will continue for months and years to come.
My body is still hypersensitive to a ton of different foods and most supplements. It takes a while for the immune system to completely calm down and the gut to heal. I can include many foods back in the future as my body continues to heal.
I used to try almost every supplement out there, and frankly my closet looked like a pharmacy. I know realize that most of them were hurting me by further stimulating the immune system and I actually feel best without any supplements. Pantethine/pantothenic acid was a big help back in the day though when my adrenals would not allow me to sleep at night.
If you want to know more about the AIP diet, there are several books and over 50 blogs already about the diet, as well as a podcast.
I will write another post about my recovery in the months to come as I continue to get better.
If this does not help you, I have one more thing to add. What lead me to my cure was my subconcious mind. I simply gave it a command and it gave me the answer. Yes, I know this sounds hippie and completely ridiculous.
I read a book called "The power of your subconcious mind" and the book completely convinced me. Every night I made it my meditation to say silently in my mind "I am completely healthy" for 15-20 minutes.
After having done this for two weeks my mind completely out of the blue gave me the answer: your problem is autoimmunity. It is only after that I began to search what diet suits autoimmune disease. This was without me hearing/reading it from anywhere else, after about 7 years pondering and constantly searching what my problems were. The subconscious is that much more powerful that the conscious. If the diet doesn't help you, feel free to try this technique.
Bless everyone out there struggling to get through. My heart and my prayers go out to you. Just don't ever give up. Seek and ye shall find as it says in the bible.