By Andrea Wick EBS Health Columnist

We live in a community centered around extreme sports and adrenaline, therefore adrenal fatigue or “hypoadrenia” is a condition I treat often. The adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and have the important job of secreting epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol and other critical hormones.

Epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol are part of the fight-or-flight response. In a Paleolithic setting these hormones aided human survival by encouraging running away from a bear or life-threatening event. However, in modern times, life stresses that are physical, chemical or emotional can trigger a similar response. The problem is when these hormones run through the body chronically, until the body completely “crashes and burns,” and “burn out” sets in.

Other factors associated with adrenal fatigue or burn out are over-consumption of caffeine or alcohol, vigorous exercise (specifically cardiovascular), lack of sleep, poor diet, stressful life event (losing a loved one), and prolonged stress.

Adrenal fatigue symptoms include extreme fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, sleeping but never feeling rested, weakened immune system, hair loss, decreased sex drive, and light headedness.

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar to you? Here are some tips to help recover your body.

The best way to start is by eating a clean diet and removing any food that taxes the adrenals, such as caffeine, sugars and sweeteners; carbohydrates (specifically wheat and corn), processed foods/meats; and hydrogenated oils (soybean, canola, and corn oil).

Adrenal support supplements are very important; adaptogenic herbs help support and nourish the adrenals. These herbs include ashwagandha, rhodiola, schisandra and holy basil. B-complex vitamins along with vitamin C, D and magnesium help to give the immune system an added boost along with natural energy.

Lastly, it’s important to decrease stress as much as possible. This means doing moderate exercise, such as walking and yoga. Keeping the heart rate low is key. Take time to relax and practice self-care through mediation, massage, and other healing activities. Establish a regular sleep schedule of 8-10 hours and go to bed at or before 10 p.m. every night. Reduce caffeine intake, and avoid caffeine past noon. Adopt a routine that helps mitigate emotional stress, such as going to a counselor or practicing emotional release techniques. And be sure to make time to have fun!

Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors. Her practice, Healing Hands Chiropractic, is located in the Meadow Village Center. Visit drandreawick.com to learn more.