I have just found out that I have some problems with my adrenals, luckily not to the point of Addison's Disease but still they are under-performing. According to testing, my thyroid is fine, so luckily I don't have to worry about this, but when it comes to helping my adrenals recover I am looking for advice. I don't want to follow the CW diet advice (which, naturally, involves several small meals a day and whole grains), so I was hoping that someone could give me some anecdotal accounts of paleo eating and making an improvement with this lifestyle. I don't have such a severe deficiency that I need to take medication, but I also don't want this to degenerate into a full-blown disease. Of course, "adrenal fatigue" isn't recognized as a disease or syndrome by most doctors, and I don't want to get to where they decide I have one! I have no problems with the other advice (stop with the caffeine, bedtimes, etc) but I need help with the food! Is just a paleo/primal lifestyle enough, or is there anything I should add? Any other advice?
Thanks in advance!
Speaking from experience, the important factors for me to avoid, in order of importance, were:
Stay Paleo by not eating the most harmful neolithic poisons, but adjust the other variables like macronutrients, exercise, etc. as you see fit by listening to your body for feedback.
If you are looking to supplement your diet to help with adrenal fatigue, you may want to add more sea salt. This will help balance sodium at the cellular level - most people with adrenal fatigue are sodium deficient (I think). Get a good quality sea salt and salt your food to taste.
I think using a good quality sea salt is important, as adding regular table salt to your diet might not have the same beneficial effects. Refined table salt is altered chemically by the refining process and is ~98% sodium vs. unrefined sea salt which is ~85% sodium with the other 15% being trace elements and minerals that are good for health.
I don't think adding more sea salt to your diet will be the end-all, be-all cure for your adrenal fatigue, but it could be an important part of healing your condition in a paleo way.
I have experienced adrenal fatigue (as a distance runner), and when looking for ways to combat it I realized that I was still scared of salt in my diet and consuming very little. I think low sodium intake coupled with too much running and not enough sleep is what lead to my adrenal fatigue. I have since increased my salt intake a lot (I'm not sodium sensitive and have no problems with blood pressure) and am slowly feeling better.
In addition to the avoidances mentioned by Haig (which are great!), I'd recommend dietary supplementation for adrenal support. This is not a long term solution, but rather something to help "jump-start" your adrenals by picking up some of the slack so that they can recover, having a long-term effect. Drenamin, produced by Standard Process, is a great supplement. It does contain a small amount of wheat germ, but since this is a short-term assistance, I think it can be overlooked.
If you disagree, though, and would rather not take such a supplement, I'd say get plenty of Vitamin C, all B vitamins, and Magnesium. Here is a more extensive list of vitamins, minerals, and herbals that will help with adrenal fatigue, explaining what each one does.
As mention coffee, sleep and less stess mentally and physically worked for me. And just simply sticking to the paleo lifestyle. Eat no grains, legumes, or dairy and get outside in the sun as much as possible.
Also, I did a ton of mindfulness meditation. If would pick up some books or cd's if interested. Stuff really works!