I had an interesting question today from a reader of my book, about the role of the adrenal glands in hypoglycemia.
Here is the question and then my answer following:
“I just finished reading your excellent book. One factor which you allude to in the book is the fatigued adrenal glands. I feel this may be the missing link for my full recovery. What is your position on this? I note that you include coffee and tea in your own diet.
“All the websites I have looked at say that it is difficult if not impossible for a vegetarian to cure fatigued adrenals and say that one requires a host of vitamins including magnesium, calcium, b5, siberian ginseng etc etc. I also note that you do not advocate dietary supplements.
“Was adrenal fatigue a factor in your own case and if so how did you combat this?”
Here is my answer:
Regarding fatigued adrenal glands, yes it is a risk if you are vegetarian. The main foods that help to build up the adrenals are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, butter and salt. So you should at least eat eggs, butter and salt but even better to eat meat, poultry and fish as well.
There are two main glands that affect your energy levels – adrenals and thyroid. The adrenals are stimulated by the foods I mentioned above. They give strong, steady energy over a long period of time. The thyroid is stimulated mainly be carbohydrates, sugars, fruit, juices etc. It gives short bursts of energy. So if you eat a lot of those thyroid stimulating foods (which vegetarians tend to do) you will be relying on your thyroid for quick bursts of energy all the time, which is why you need to keep on eating all the time. If you eat adrenal stimulating foods like meat, eggs, butter, salt etc you will have much steadier energy through the day.
I don’t recommend supplements because it’s better to get everything from food. If you have a specific deficiency, then take a supplement. But otherwise it’s not necessary. It’s very difficult to get unbiased advice about supplements. Pretty much everything written about supplements is by someone with a vested interest in selling them. Even the nutritionists and naturopaths will generally make money out of selling or recommending supplements, so of course they will recommend them.
So, it comes down to a sensible balanced diet with enough proteins and fats to build up the adrenals and minimising sugars and refined carbohydrates. Regarding coffee and tea, I think they are OK in moderation. (By moderation I mean two or three cups a day and not too strong – and always drink them with a meal or food.)