Let’s get one thing straight before we get into how juicing for adrenal fatigue will work out for you. There are many different levels of stress in the body, and as a result many different levels of severity when it comes to adrenal fatigue.
Someone dealing with mild levels of stress or in turn, mild or moderate adrenal fatigue has very different needs to someone dealing with severe or worse still, extremely severe adrenal fatigue.
When it comes to juicing, the severity in which you are being affected by stress will determine the juicing style that is going to be best for you but before you decide there are two really important things to understand.
1. Your Ability to Handle the Effects of Detoxification in Your Body
If you are severely stressed or fatigued, your body will already be in an unbalanced state in terms of the chemistry of your body, and there will be many vitamin and mineral levels that will be off.
A process like juicing creates a detoxification process, which in a healthy body can be a very positive thing, but in a stressed and “struggling” system can just be a further drain.
The biggest thing is to understand the extent to which stress has affected you and just how unbalanced the chemistry of your body may have become. This is what will determine the type of juicing program that is right for you or whether avoiding juicing totally until your symptoms improve is a better option.
Dr Michael Lam in his book “Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome”, points out that
“excessive juicing is not recommended in advanced adrenal fatigue syndrome because of the risk of developing re-toxification or die-off reaction as toxins tend to recirculate in the body.”
So, while juicing may sound like a great choice, if stress has affected your body in a severe way, detoxifying your body too quickly can be a recipe for disaster.
My experience was that doing anything too quickly had the potential to send me into a “crashed out” state, where I needed a lot of bed rest and was unable to function easily with everyday tasks, often for a few days. Whether it was
- too many juices
- too many major food changes all at once
- a sudden increase in exercise
- or doing too much in a day (even if enjoyable)
it was the “too much” or “too quickly” factor that was the common factor.
One of the main things to consider with juicing is that you need to introduce this slowly, and if your adrenal fatigue (or stress issues) are severe, you are better off waiting until there is an improvement in your symptoms or start with very small amounts and build up slowly.
If your symptoms are more in the mild or moderate category and you have decided to go down the juices route, always notice how you feel. If you notice a worsening of any symptoms, stop it or slow down the integration of the juices into your diet.
Remember, that a healthy body can tolerate these more dramatic changes, especially if your body has a lot of detoxing to do. A body that is affected by stress has many compromised systems and is already having to adapt in all sorts of ways. Go slowly and carefully.
2. Your Blood Sugar Stability
Back in 2010 when I was at the worst stages of severe adrenal fatigue, I was having severe blood sugar issues. Within 2 hours after eating a good meal with protein, complex carbohydrates and fats, my blood sugars would often drop and drop quickly and unexpectedly.
I had previously used juices as a fairly regular part of my diet (mostly vegetable juices), but I found that this was not sustaining me at all and was actually making me feel worse. My body needed protein with every meal and snack to have any chance of feeling stable and having a juice on its own felt too unsubstantial.
While yes, there are a lot of great nutrients in juices and there are many benefits to juicing if your system can tolerate it, at this stage in my adrenal fatigue process, I couldn’t tolerate them. They were too “light” for me and sent me on more of a topsy turvy balance with my blood sugars constantly going up and down.
Even if your adrenal fatigue symptoms are not as severe as mine were back then, you may still find that you are experiencing some blood sugar issues even with mild symptoms of adrenal fatigue. In this case be sure to avoid fruit juicing as this only further spikes your blood sugar levels (ie sends them up) before they come crashing down soon after. Only do vegetable juicing if you decide to go ahead.
The issue with dropping blood sugar levels (especially when it happens quickly) is that this creates a further stress on your system, ie more stress hormones will be released from your adrenal glands (not good) and this process can also cause an adrenal crash (ie a worsening of your symptoms or new symptoms appearing that were not there before).
A great suggestion from Dr Michael Lam (the author of “Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome”) is to
“add a serving of protein (powder) and a few soaked raw nuts (you don’t need to soak cashews or macadamia nuts) to fruit juice. This modulates the effect of the sugar content.”
However, he also does make the point that
“many adrenal fatigue syndrome sufferers have subclinical reactive hypoglycemia. Fruit juices can worsen the condition.”
Another consideration with your blood sugar stability is the quantity of juices that you are having. Dr James Wilson in his book “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome” explains that
“Fresh vegetable juices contain many nutrients that are excellent for the body. Combinations like carrot/celery/beet or carrot/parsley are rich in color; high in vitamins and phytonutrients, and help stimulate the liver. However, too much juice at one time can drive blood sugar up too high in some people, causing them to crash between 3/4 and 1 1/2 hours later. Adding a pinch of salt and eating food with the juice helps minimize this reaction but it is always best to drink these juices in small quantities (4-6oz) at intervals rather than drinking a large amount all at once.”
- Establish where the severity of your symptoms are at before you decide if juicing is right for you. The more severe your symptoms, the less likely you are to be able to handle the detoxification process that occurs with juicing.
- If you do decide to juice always start very slowly and with very small quantities of juice, always taking note of how you feel in the process.
- For moderate or severe symptoms only use vegetable juicing (no fruit juicing).
- For mild symptoms, vegetable or fruit juicing is an option. If choosing fruit juicing, be sure to establish whether your blood sugar levels are stable. Another option if unsure is to add a pinch of salt to your juice or to have your juice with food.
Happy Juicing and wise decision making.
Juicing is a great part of your diet, but at the right time and in the right quantities. Trust that inner guidance system of yours to help you know what’s best for you.