(Part 4 of 4)
We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.
We’re diving into another 4 part series. We’re diving into part 4 here, following with:
1. What are the adrenal glands/their function? Why are they important?
2. Stress and its effects on the adrenal glands
3. How stress hormones affect every other function in the body (i.e. autoimmunity, chronic illness, hormones, energy – weight, mood)
4. Supplementation/lifestyle/nutrition support for adrenals (this video)
Feel free to watch the video, or read our transcript below.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:00):
Hey, everybody. We are back for our forth video on adrenal health and there’s tons of stuff we want to talk about. Ultimately, we may do more videos on this in the future, but this next video is going to be about what things you can do to support those adrenal glands. We talked about all the bad stuff. Now we’re going to talk about what are some of the things you can do to support your adrenal glands? This will be able to apply to the masses. So no matter who you are if you’re watching this video, these things can apply to you. We’re going to be talking about foods. We’re going to be talking about supplements and briefly I’m going to be talking about overexercise, which is a common problem we see.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:31):
Aubree, take it away. What foods would you recommend for supporting the adrenal glands? We talked about what foods make the adrenal glands worse. So what do you want to do to support the adrenal glands?
Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:41):
So we kind of talked about how sugar and high carbohydrates and any of those really stressful processed foods make the adrenals worse. This sounds like a very easy answer-
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (00:50):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (00:50):
Well, yeah but it’s going to be whole unprocessed foods. Not denatured foods, but specifically you need healthy fats and proteins as precursors to make essential hormones and other aspects of the body, right? To support those. You primarily need healthy fats for adrenal hormones. So what you want to do is make sure that your food is balanced, right? I like for patients generally … These macros are different for everybody, but you want a good 40% of your meal to be fat no matter who you are. Right? Literally no matter who you are, but you want to get them from nice, healthy Omega-3s and Omega-6s and sometimes even 9s, but you want a different kind of-
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:27):
You want a blend.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:28):
Yeah. You want a blend of them, but thinking of wild caught salmon and you want whole hazelnuts and walnuts and olive and avocado. You want nice healthy fats, but you don’t want any hydrogenated oils. Right? So avoid the safflower oils, the-
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:41):
The vegetable oils. [crosstalk 00:01:43]
Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:42):
The vegetable oils, the canola.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (01:44):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (01:44):
I forget their names because we don’t even use them. Yeah. Anything that’s been hydrogenated, but you want healthy fats and healthy grass-fed animal proteins. Of course if you are vegan, make sure that you’re getting organic, sprouted, plant-based proteins, things like that. Very simple but the more healthy fats and protein with lower carbohydrate is going to be the best things that you can do for your adrenals, and of course there’s a whole separate video on digestion, but if you’re not breaking down the fats, then you’re not going to adequately make those adrenal hormones and support them as well.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:12):
Yeah. When you have more fat and protein and less carbohydrate, you have that nice balance. To keep your energy consistent, to keep your mood consistent, keep out the refined sugar. Add in healthy fats. That’s the quickest recommendation.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (02:22):
We can talk about hours here. Aubree is really summarizing this, so I’ll do a shout out to say that last month we did … Was it last month? We talked all about digestion and how to improve digestion and all that. Then of course we’ve got our online courses where we go over nutrition and digestion and literally teach you how to be healthier. So that’s another thing you can sign up for, to learn more than just this easy, short segment.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (02:45):
I can’t over explain … I can’t even talk today, but I can’t emphasize how summarized this is. This is the smallest kind of recommendation I’ve ever given and every single person is different. You have to think of food sensitivities and allergies and different healthy fats and what works for your body and what doesn’t work for your body.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:05):
But if you want the biggest bang for your buck, the number one thing you can do, even if you’re eating poorly and still eating processed foods and stuff, if you balance your macronutrients, you will have it … Even if your diet’s not perfect, you will feel better. Your adrenal glands will be better just by doing that. I’ll throw one quick tip in there because when I first started getting into functional medicine, people would say, “Don’t eat processed foods.” I didn’t actually know what that meant. One of the things that I think of when someone says processed foods … It sounds a little ridiculous, but if you can dunk your food in water and you’re still willing to eat it, that’s a whole food. Right? So if you take broccoli and submerge it underwater, you’ll probably still eat it, but if you take an almond flour cracker, any cracker and you dump it in water and then take it out, you’re probably not going to eat that.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:50):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:51):
That’s one way to tell if it’s a processed food or not.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:53):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:53):
If you can dunk it in water and still eat it, it’s probably okay.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:55):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (03:55):
It’s probably okay.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (03:56):
Like whole beans and whole legumes, things like that. Lentils, apples, veggies. That’s going to be soaked in water. You can actually store those in water and they’re super healthy. Yeah. No one’s going to want to eat a soggy … I almost said something really bad.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (04:08):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (04:09):
Potato chip. No, I was about to cuss. I was going to say soggy A.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (04:12):
Anyway, that’s a real simple way. Just keep the processed foods down to a minimum, but more than anything, start watching your macros. Watch our other video where we really went into macro balancing. I think that was video three or video two. No, video two where we talk about macro nutrient balancing. We can talk a lot about food, but next we want to go into supplements. Supplements are extremely important for adrenal health. Some people who can’t really manage their adrenal health very well stay on adrenal supplements for years. Yeah. I feel worse when I stop them, so I just stay on them.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (04:42):
I’m a work in progress. We all are, right? Don’t be afraid to take adrenal supplements. Our favorite ones that we use, and this is kind of a general recommendation that anyone and everyone could take, there’s four stages of adrenal dysfunction. We really didn’t talk about that. If you want to dive into your own health, then take our online course where we go into the various stages of adrenal dysfunction. Then you can specifically treat your adrenals based on diagnosing yourself or assessing yourself, but anyone and everyone at any stage could take HPA Axis from Gaia Herbs. Gaia?
Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:12):
Yeah, Gaia Herbs. HPA Axis Daytime Maintenance. Yeah. I wanted to piggyback off that real quick. There’s different categories of herbs. There’s red and yellow for stimulatory and there’s green and blue for calming and relaxing. Depending on what stage of adrenal dysfunction you’re in, you need to find a balance of them or none at all. Most people always need a calming, but if you’re in stage four where you’re literally making nothing, having some blue and green herbs in the morning is not going to be your best friend. Right?
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:37):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:37):
So these are ones that we’re recommending to everyone. HPA Axis Daytime Maintenance by Gaia Herbs has holy basil and ashwagandha. It has a little-
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:45):
I love ashwagandha.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:45):
I know. It’s so nice.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (05:46):
It just rolls off the tongue.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (05:47):
Holy basil is beautiful too. That is my go to if I’m very stressed out. It is immediately within 20 to 30 minutes and there’s also Rhodiola, which is going to be a sliced stimulatory herb too. We have patients who call this their happy supplement. There’s no [inaudible 00:06:00] too. It’s totally blant-based … Blant-based. Plant-based and vegan. What you do is you take it after breakfast. Herbs are always better on an empty stomach, but because it’s a little stimulatory, it’s mostly relaxing. Right? So this is going to kind of keep your cortisol … If it’s super high, it’s going to bring it down a little bit. It’s also going to give you a little oomph for the rest of the day. You can take two after breakfast, but also two after lunch, no later than 2:00 PM, but that’s going to be a nice modulator. Right? It’s going to be the oomph where you need it with Rhodiola and then oaky milk extract, I believe, holy basil, ashwagandha and other herbs in there are going to bring you down a little bit. Make you feel good and more relaxed.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:36):
Okay. One of the other ones we will upgrade … If that one’s not working, generally with the adrenal supplements, you should notice the same day that you take it. You should notice the benefit that same day. If you start with HPA Axis and you’re not having much benefit, then you can also try TruAdapt Plus. TruAdapt Plus?
Aubree Steen, FNTP (06:49):
Yeah. TruAdapt Plus.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (06:52):
TruAdapt Plus from Ortho Molecular. You do the same thing. Two capsules in the morning, two capsules at noon for more severe cases. Most people and I can just get away with two in the morning. That’s plenty.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:01):
Yeah. That has a glandular in it. It’s not plant-based, it’s not vegan, but glandulars-
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:05):
A little more stimulatory, right?
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:06):
Yes. It’s much more stimulatory, but it doesn’t-
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:09):
It’s like the get up and go.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:11):
Yeah. It’s good because TruAdapt Plus does have the balance of the green and blue herbs as well. So it is calming at the same time, but it’s going to be for people who … There’s a lot of conflict obviously about glandulars.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:21):
You’ve just got to try what works for you.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:22):
Right, but glandulars do in my opinion help. There’s I guess the methodology behind it is I have to give your body the support or the gland that it means. Right? The adrenals. If you eat adrenals, it’s going to help them, but you can feel it. Right?
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:34):
If I eat the brains of another person, I will consume their knowledge?
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:38):
Well, listen. Sharks. If you ever look at whales and shark attacks where they bite whales, it’s where their liver is.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:45):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:45):
Almost every single time and they leave almost everything else, but that’s the highest nutrients that are in the body, basically.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (07:50):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (07:50):
So there is an instinctual thing. Anyway, there’s a lot of conflict on that one regardless. TruAdapt Plus can be really nice, give you a little extra oomph. Then at nighttime or in the evening time, we like NuAdapt. So N-U-Adapt Plus. There’s going to be no stimulatory herbs. All calming. It’s going to ease you into the nighttime. I take it before bed. Some people take it in the evening time for when they want to prep before bed. I love it.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (08:16):
Yeah. You’ve just got to play with what works for you. The NuAdapt is one of two capsules, depending on how severe your case is, but once again it’s one of the things that you should notice the improvement and if it’s not, maybe you don’t take it.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (08:27):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (08:27):
You can get any of these herbs and supplements on our website, on our store. So feel free to shop there and get them, but we say the brand so that even if you want to look elsewhere, you’re welcome to look, but just make sure you’re getting it from a reputable source.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (08:38):
Yeah, because we spend a lot of time … I’m just going to say this real quick. We spend a lot of time and research and clinical experience with these. We see it on testing our patients, how they feel. I only trust right now these products from there. We tried a million. We’ve tried a ton.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (08:53):
Personally and on our patients.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (08:56):
Yeah. When you take TruAdapt Plus in the morning and NuAdapt at night, you’re forcing that cortisol rise and that fall. That’s going to keep you on balance. Give your body time, right? You should feel some effect immediately to really give your change. Give your body at least a week. Give it a month and really see. You’ll usually tell after about three to four weeks off of adrenal supplements if you need them again or not.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (09:16):
Agreed. Agreed. Whenever you’re stopping adrenal supplements, I always warn my patients that usually when you stop them, you don’t notice the immediate … Sometimes you do, but most people don’t notice the immediate. So what I typically warn people is, “Hey, if six weeks go by and you’re like, ‘Gosh, I’m not sleeping well. I’m very restless. I’m tired in the mornings. I’m having that afternoon crash,’ that means that your adrenal supplements were working and your adrenal glands got off over time.”
Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:40):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (09:40):
I always warn people that just because you stop them and you feel fine immediately, you really need to wait six weeks, but when you restart the therapy, it does work rather quickly. That’s one of the things in functional medicine and that is usually palpable for people. When they take those, they work or don’t work. Once again, it takes time. It’s not just one pill and you’re fixed.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (09:58):
Right. One quick recommendation too, if you are in stage four or completely flat-lined and TruAdapt doesn’t help you or HPA Axis doesn’t help you, go for a straight stimulatory herb. Get a high dose of red-
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (10:08):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (10:09):
-panax ginseng. Cocaine. Woo! Right? High dose of red panax ginseng and Rhodiola together are usually really, really good for the morning right when you wake up because you want to get that boost cortisol rise. So have it by your bed and then do NuAdapt plus at night.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (10:25):
Last but not least … Actually, before we go to the last one, I just want to reiterate something I said I think in the first video is that you can take supplements until the cows come home, but if you do not change your stressors, if you do not change the stimuli or the stimulus on those adrenal glands, you might as well not take them at all. Yes, take your supplements but don’t just stay in the traumatic relationship or chronic stressor. Have a plan to get out of your chronic stressor or change the perception of that stressor.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (10:51):
Love to use the example of if you’re driving to work and someone pulls out in front of you, there’s two reactions you can have. There’s many reactions, but let’s boil it down to two. You can go guns blazing, fingers firing, cuss words coming out of you can just say, “You know what? Nobody got harmed. I’m fine. They’re fine. They’re clearly in a rush. No big deal.” Two totally different reactions, two totally different perceptions to the same stressor. Which type of life are you leading? Because each one of those microscopic decisions affects your adrenal glands and that affects everything else in your life, as we talked about. The adrenal glands can either rot every part of your body or support every part of your body.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (11:25):
Right. It is hard work to change that pattern, but you can do it. Some people literally need [inaudible 00:11:30] therapy or any type of micro current therapy to get them out of a chronic fight or flight state, but take the chance to do it. Right? Go and find therapists, someone who works in chronic stress with trauma and resolved trauma will never ever get you into a sympathetic state. Right? The first step I would say is identify it. Right? Like Oubre said. If you realize that you’re very reactionary, document it. Just spend a week one time and documenting how many times you overreact to a stressor. Then try to just research and figure it out. That sounds very vague, but we could do a whole hour video on that as well. Try to find some way of stress management. Just figuring out the root cause is actually the main issue, but …
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (12:09):
Last but not least, I want to briefly touch on overexercise because it’s a common thing with people with adrenal stress. Not even overexercise. Just exercise in general. Frequently when I have a new patient in my office, I tell them to stop exercising because generally if you feel bad, if you don’t have the energy to exercise, if you feel worse after exercise, you are technically putting more stress on your adrenal glands than they can actually carry. In America and I don’t know about the rest of the world but in America, we put so much emphasis on if you’re not exercising, you’re not healthy. While that is true, if you do not have the energy and the ability to exercise, then exercise is actually damaging your body.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (12:42):
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (12:43):
Exercise is a physical stressor. One of the common questions I ask all my patients is, “What do you do for de-stress?” A common answer I get is, “I work out, I run, I bike, I box.” Something like that. That’s great. That’s a mental de-stressor, but that is a physical stressor. When I ask for a de-stressor, I want a physical, emotional, mental, everything, spiritual de-stressor. That’s the only way. If you constantly have ups and no downs, then that’s going to rot the adrenal glands. Just be mindful of the exercise you’re doing. My two requirements for exercise when people are adding it back in or are continuing exercise is that number one, you should be able to do the exact same workout the next day and B, you should not feel totally wiped out after you work out.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (13:25):
Now obviously there are some caveats there. If you’re doing really well and you do a HIIT exercise or something and you’re wiped out afterwards one, that’s okay, but if you’re in a chronically stressed, chronically tired state, if you can’t do the same workout the next day and or you feel wiped out after the exercise, you did too much.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (13:45):
Stopping exercise does not mean stopping movement.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (13:48):
Aubree Steen, FNTP (13:49):
Go out for a walk. Do yoga. Do any type of stretching and rolling out. Movement therapy is good for you. Don’t become stagnant and don’t sit at home, right? Even if it’s five minutes of walking, get your body flowing. You need the blood flow, but don’t go 45 minutes up and down hills around your neighborhood if you can’t do it. Even if it’s just slight movements. If you’re so used to power lifting, then go home and do body weight movements just for 10, 15 minutes. Just get some blood flowing and movement and that’s it. It shouldn’t really feel like exercise. It should just feel like, I don’t know, more lightness in your body. Less stress.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (14:23):
Give yourself permission because if you’re beating yourself up that you didn’t exercise, that’s not healthy either. Give yourself permission to do the right thing for your adrenal glands. Remember, you have to match the environment to the hormone. If your hormone’s disrupted, then you can’t go and run a marathon. You have to match your environment to the hormone. Okay. To wrap that up, we talked about foods that benefit the adrenal glands. We talked about supplements that benefit the adrenal glands. You’re welcome to use our store to buy any of those supplements that you need. Then of course, don’t overexercise but use some sort of movement. That wraps up our video series on the adrenal glands. Like our channel. Subscribe. Follow us and you’ll get more free content.
Aubree Steen, FNTP (15:00):
Okay. Bye, guys.
Dr. Philip Oubre, MD (15:00):