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The Adrenal Cocktail: Is It Worth Trying?

Learn what an adrenal cocktail is and if it's right for thyroid patients.
The Adrenal Cocktail: Is It Worth Trying?
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Adrenal fatigue is becoming quite a buzzword in functional and alternative medicine. And while many people identify with the symptoms, there is no clear way to diagnose or treat this condition. As such, there are numerous things people are willing to try to help their symptoms resolve or dissipate. The adrenal cocktail is one option that some people use to potentially improve their adrenal function. 


What is the adrenal cocktail?

An adrenal cocktail is a drink (sans alcohol, so it is more of a "mocktail") containing specific nutrients that purportedly enhance your adrenal function.


The primary nutrients in an adrenal cocktail include:

  • Vitamin C for its antioxidant properties and ability to support the immune system and the adrenal glands. Most people use freshly squeezed fruit juice like orange juice.
  • Potassium for its potential to enhance adrenal gland function and support cardiovascular health. Many adrenal cocktail recipes recommend using coconut water, milk, or cream, as a potential source of potassium. Several recipes recommend a coconut cream or milk to get that "creamsicle" taste in this drink, which can also give you fatty acids to boost your energy levels. Some recipes also use cream of tartar.
  • Sodium for its role in regulating fluid and electrolyte balance. A pinch of Himalayan salt increases your intake of crucial minerals aside from sodium, including magnesium and potassium. 


Some recipes call for adding other ingredients, such as collagen powder or other supplements like liquid iron. 


Why might you try an adrenal cocktail?

People may whip up an adrenal cocktail if they believe they have adrenal fatigue. Many alternative medicine providers identify this condition in their patients and create protocols to help them feel better. 


The adrenal glands are endocrine (hormone-secreting) glands above the kidneys. They produce critical hormones responsible for regulating our stress response and homeostasis. Some of the primary adrenal hormones include epinephrine and norepinephrine. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is also produced by the adrenal glands.


In certain people, adrenal function is thought to be suppressed, leading to unhealthy cortisol levels. As a result, people with potentially compromised adrenal health experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue despite a good night of rest
  • Brain fog or feeling mentally sluggish
  • Poor response to stress or suffering from chronic stress
  • Cravings, especially for sugary or salty foods
  • Feeling like your blood sugar levels crash throughout the day
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased libido
  • Body aches


The above symptoms are prevalent in numerous medically-recognized conditions, such as hypothyroidism and autoimmune disorders. Therefore, it is essential first to rule out these conditions with lab testing, often requiring medical treatment.

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What experts say about adrenal fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is not recognized as a formal medical diagnosis nor supported by any FDA-approved treatment plans. According to the Endocrine Society, "no scientific proof exists to support adrenal fatigue as a medical condition."


Additionally, many treatment recommendations for this vague condition lack scientific backing. Therefore, many people are cautioned to be wary of adrenal fatigue protocols and supplements, as they can be expensive or ineffective. Indeed, it's worth noting that supplements are not regulated by the FDA, meaning they do not have to undergo rigorous clinical testing to validate their safety and efficacy.  


Many medical providers recognize that even after ruling out other health conditions, sometimes there is still no answer for the nebulous and disrupting symptoms that fall under the category of adrenal fatigue. It can be frustrating for those with these symptoms, as they can feel blown off or ignored by their health care provider when they do not get real answers and solutions to their symptoms.


What to do if you have adrenal fatigue symptoms

One treatment option that most providers can agree on is that lifestyle changes are a great place to start if you are experiencing symptoms categorized as adrenal fatigue. Some steps you can take include:

  • Reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Quitting smoking and other harmful drugs
  • Getting regular exercise doing something that offers both physical and mental benefits
  • Sticking to a consistent sleeping schedule and getting plenty of rest
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet consisting of mostly fresh foods
  • Gathering tools to manage a stressful situation or reduce your exposure to stress


Aside from lifestyle changes, it is also essential to address any other health concerns you may have, such as blood pressure issues and blood sugar imbalances. In addition, regular preventative care visits and following up on any recommended treatment plans from your doctor are necessary to support the lifestyle changes you are implementing to improve your overall health and well-being.


A note from Paloma Health

Many symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue are similar to an underactive thyroid. Complete thyroid function testing that includes ruling out autoimmune markers for Hashimoto's thyroiditis is essential for addressing symptoms such as chronic fatigue, depression, and weight gain. Paloma Health doctors provide holistic care to treat your thyroid dysfunction and feel your best if you have an underperforming thyroid.


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Julia Walker, RN, BSN

Clinical Nurse

Julia Walker, RN, BSN, is a clinical nurse specializing in helping patients with thyroid disorders. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Regis University in Denver and a Bachelor of Arts in the History of Medicine from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She believes managing chronic illnesses requires a balance of medical interventions and lifestyle adjustments. Her background includes caring for patients in women’s health, critical care, pediatrics, allergy, and immunology.

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