We know that adrenal health is so important for many body functions, but I think what impacts us the most when our adrenals get depleted is the extreme fatigue that can come from it. I have talked about the impact of stress on the adrenals, and nutrition and the adrenals, now let’s have a look at a few of my favorite adrenal supplements.
Ideally, when choosing supplementation to support adrenals, we will be able to run a test to see what cortisol levels look like. High cortisol is going to require different treatment than low cortisol. I like the saliva tests where you do a saliva sample morning, noon, afternoon and night, to see the circadian rhythm. For example, if cortisol is within normal range in the morning, but drops low in the afternoon and then spikes high at night, that would explain someone who feels ok during the day but whose energy crashes mid-afternoon, but then gets wired at night and can’t sleep.
Without a test to go by, the safest way to approach herbal treatment for the adrenals is to choose adaptogenic herbs. They will help to balance cortisol whether it is low or high.
Supplements For High or Low Cortisol
Adrenotone (Designs for Health) – I love this formula because it is comprehensive. It contains some vitamin C and B2, B5 and B6, all which help to nourish the adrenals, and the herbs American Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, Eleuthrococcus and Rhodiola – great adaptogenic herbs. It does contain a small amount of licorice which tends to support cortisol production, and some tyrosine to help with energy. I think this is a great all-in-one product.
Energy Multiplex (Researched Nutritionals) – this is my very favorite product in terms of the tangible increase in energy people feel from it. It does contain adrenal balancers such as Rhodiola and Panax Ginseng, but it also contains mitochondrial support (the mitochondria are the little powerhouses in our cells that churn out ATP which is energy). It is a very comprehensive formula and people feel great on it. You won’t find it on Amazon as it’s a practitioner line, but we carry it in our dispensary.
Cytozyme-AD (Biotics) – this is a glandular, so it comes from animal source. I used to be a bit put off by glandulars, but I’m getting over it now and am seeing many people benefit from them.
Supplements for Low Cortisol
Licorice Plus (Metagenics) – licorice as a herb tends to build cortisol, so it’s great for people with cortisol depletion. It has a tendency to boost estrogen levels too, which can be good or bad depending on the situation, but important to keep in mind. It also contains Ashwaghanda, Rehmannia and Chinese Yam which are adaptogenic. I use Licorice Plus along with Adrenotone or Energy Multiplex is people with low cortisol.
ADB-5 Plus (Biotics) – this is a very comprehensive formula that I reserve for adrenal exhaustion. It contains various nutrients that tonify the adrenals such as C, B5, B6 and zinc, herbs to build and rebalance such as rhodiola, and also adrenal glandulars and other glandulars to help reset the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. I would combine ADB-5 with Licorice Plus in people with extra low cortisol.
Supplements for High Cortisol
Cortisol Manager (Integrative Therapeutics) – this products contains the adaptogenic herbs Ashwaghanda and Withania. However, it also contains Magnolia Bark and phosphytidylserine, which have been shown to reduce elevated cortisol. Certainly if someone has elevated cortisol at night, taking this around dinner time and again before bed can help reduce that excess cortisol that might interfere with sleep, making for a more restful sleep. It can be taken during the day if cortisol is high there too. I will often do an adaptogenic blend in the morning (such as Adrenotone or Energy Multiplex), then a dose of Cortisol Manager at night to help shut down the stress response.
There are many adrenal supplements on the market, these are just a few of my favorites and ones I use myself, and in my practice. Remember though, nutrition is equally important for adrenal health, and if your adrenals are on overdrive, or completely worn out, you must look at what caused that in the first place, and do your best to manage the stressors in your life to allow your adrenals to recover.