Adrenal Transformation Protocol: A 4-Week Plan to Release Stress Symptoms and Go from Surviving to Thriving

Adrenal Transformation Protocol: A 4-Week Plan to Release Stress Symptoms and Go from Surviving to Thriving

by Izabella Wentz
Adrenal Transformation Protocol: A 4-Week Plan to Release Stress Symptoms and Go from Surviving to Thriving

Adrenal Transformation Protocol: A 4-Week Plan to Release Stress Symptoms and Go from Surviving to Thriving

by Izabella Wentz


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A recovery plan to heal and reverse adrenal dysfunction, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hashimoto’s Protocol.

   What were you doing in your life before you got sick? This is a'common'question Dr. Izabella Wentz asks her functional medicine clients when trying to get to the root cause of symptoms ranging from low energy, to dependency on caffeine, to sleeplessness and poor memory. More often than not, she finds these individuals developed their symptoms after a period of acute or chronic stress: starting a new business, having a baby, living though a global pandemic—these can all destroy our once-resilient stress response.

    Since her own diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis at the age of twenty-seven and subsequent bestselling books, Dr. Wentz has become known for her passion to translate emerging research in order to help patients eliminate symptoms conventional medicine has failed to address or even acknowledge. With Adrenal Transformation Protocol, Dr. Wentz tackles adrenal dysfunction, or the body’s inability to produce essential hormones when it mismanages stress. While adrenal dysfunction produces a constellation of ailments, the good news is that turning these around does not have to be complicated. When we start supporting the adrenals—making a few small dietary and lifestyle changes and taking the right supplements—we can produce profound improvements within weeks or even days.

    With a simple 4-week program to help identify your adrenal triggers, balance your stress response, and gradually build up your resilience to prevent excess stress from overwhelming your adrenals in the future, The Adrenal Transformation Protocol will set you up with a strong foundation to return to and stay in homeostasis through turbulence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593420775
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/18/2023
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 263,339
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP, is an internationally acclaimed thyroid specialist and a licensed pharmacist who has dedicated her career to addressing the root causes of autoimmune thyroid disease after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in 2009. She is the author of three books on Hashimoto’s: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause, Hashimoto’s Food Pharmacology, and Hashimoto’s Protocol, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller. Dr. Wentz currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Michael, and their son, Dimitry.

Read an Excerpt

When people see me today, they tell me that they just don't believe that I was ever sick, and to be honest, most people never knew that underneath my smiles, I was suffering from numerous mysterious symptoms. The symptoms started during my first year in college and continued to get worse with each passing year. For over a decade, I endured a series of chronic symptoms: debilitating fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety, panic attacks, palpitations, acid reflux, chronic cough, hair loss, dry and dull skin, weight gain, cold intolerance, allergies, carpal tunnel in both arms, brain fog, emotional dysregulation, and muscle and joint pain. Of course I sought the help of numerous doctors . . . but the answers I got were always the same:

"You're just getting older." I was in my twenties when I heard this gem.

"Maybe you need antidepressants." But I'm not depressed. I just have these weird panic attacks that come out of nowhere.

"Your lab tests are normal." But they didn't do the right ones, and at the time, I didn't know any better.

Finally in 2009, after finding a doctor who was willing to do more comprehensive lab testing for me, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system recognizes the thyroid gland as a foreign invader, eventually leading to enough thyroid, damage, so that the thyroid is unable to function properly and cannot produce enough thyroid hormones.

Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, heart rate, digestion, blood pressure, the menstrual cycle, and body temperature, among other important roles. Every single cell in our bodies depends on thyroid hormones in some way, so when our thyroids are out of balance, we feel it everywhere.

As a pharmacist, I knew a thing or two about the thyroid, but in full disclosure, I thought hypothyroidism was a super boring condition, with just one drug to treat it (levothyroxine). If you had told me that I would one day become the "Thyroid Pharmacist," I would have surely laughed! But of course, the universe had its own plan. After my own diagnosis, I was dissatisfied that the only recommendation from my well-meaning conventional doctors was to take synthetic thyroid hormone replacement pills. Of course, as a pharmacist, I fully support using medication when needed to improve outcomes, but I was also taught the value of lifestyle interventions in pharmacy school.

I was excited to start on thyroid medications, and while meds helped a little, I still did not feel 100 percent well. I wanted to do everything in my power to feel like myself again, so my next step was clear: to find a set of lifestyle interventions that would get me 100 percent better.

I reviewed the latest scientific research, online patient forums, and various health books. I consulted with numerous medical experts across a range of disciplines and healing modalities. I turned myself into a human guinea pig and tracked the outcomes of various interventions. After a lot of trial and error, I was able to remarkably improve my health and get my condition into remission through addressing the many imbalances that are present in Hashimoto's, beyond a deficiency in thyroid hormones. They include food sensitivities, blood sugar imbalances, infections, intestinal permeability, nutrient deficiencies, an impaired ability to handle toxins, and, last but not least, an impaired stress response, also known as adrenal dysfunction. I know that addressing these issues can produce profound healing, and it has been my goal to distill the information from emerging research, the insights of functional medicine theory and testing, and my personal and client experiences into accessible self-help guides for self-healers like yourself.

Today, I am able to help others heal because I have healed myself. But to get there, I had to shed a bit of ego and skepticism that initially delayed my own healing.

When my integrative doctor suggested I get tested for adrenal fatigue, I was skeptical. Like most conventionally trained healthcare professionals, I was only familiar with one type of adrenal issue, known as Addison's disease, an autoimmune condition that is life-threatening and requires lifelong use of medications for survival.

When I searched "Dr. Google," I found that "adrenal fatigue" was considered a bogus, "quack" diagnosis. I thought that I knew better, and didn't want to be tricked, so I delayed testing my own adrenals for a long time. It wasn't until I spoke with another pharmacist, Carter Black, RPh (who would later become a wonderful friend and collaborator), about my lingering symptoms and he suggested adrenal testing that I decided to give it a try. Maybe I was more open to it because we had similar training and he wasn't trying to sell me anything, or maybe the timing was just right. I like to think that it was destiny. Sure enough, the integrative adrenal test showed that I had an advanced stage of adrenal dysfunction. I followed the recommended protocols and saw incredible improvements in my energy levels, emotional state, blood sugar issues, and hormone balance-quickly! A lightbulb went off in my head: This works and actually helps!

The Functional Medicine Approach

I wanted to know more about the "how and why" behind these strategies, so I dug deeper into the physiology of the body's stress response and read every book and took every course I could find on the topic. I enrolled in a six-month mentorship training program with Dr. Dan Kalish, a leading voice in stress response protocols, and studied the writings of Dr. James L. Wilson, who coined the term "adrenal fatigue," Dr. Thomas Guilliams, an expert on stress and the HPA axis and the author of The Role of Stress and the HPA Axis in Chronic Disease Management, and the late William G. Timmins, ND, founder of BioHealth Diagnostic and author of The Chronic Stress Crisis.

According to Dr. Timmins, the chronic stress response is the body's way of adapting to any kind of stress. In the early phases of chronic stress, the brain and hormonal system pump out large amounts of cortisol. However, as time goes on, the brain and hormone-making organs begin to downregulate (or minimize) cortisol production to self-preserve, and this leads to low levels of circulating cortisol. I like to call it the "Boy Who Cried Wolf Syndrome." The adrenals were serving up an emergency response to stress but eventually became desensitized to it so that cortisol production remains low.

I learned how the adrenals interact with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in what's referred to as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, or HPA axis. A communication breakdown among these three, often due to chronic stress, can impair the body's ability to respond to stress in a healthy way and unbalance several hormones produced in the adrenals such as cortisol, progesterone, and estrogen. This is what can lead to the symptoms I was experiencing, not the adrenals actually being tired.

The more I researched and studied, the more I appreciated the functional medicine approach to adrenal support based heavily on specific lifestyle changes, such as cutting out caffeine, eating for blood sugar balance, and getting lots of sleep (ten to twelve hours!).

The approach also utilizes targeted supplements, most notably the ABCs of adrenal support: adaptogens (herbs that raise the body's resilience to various types of stress), B vitamins, and vitamin C. Additionally, supplements can be used to modify the levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and cortisol, the two most important adrenal hormones. Levels are modified directly through hormone supplements like DHEA and pregnenolone, and/or hydrocortisone, and/or indirectly with magnesium to boost DHEA, licorice to increase cortisol, and/or phosphatidylserine to decrease cortisol.

This approach has worked really, really well for me and for many of my clients with Hashimoto's. As a pharmacist who is passionate about helping others heal, I felt that I really needed to get this healing information to more people, so I shared guidance on adrenal protocols based on these fundamentals in my books Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause (2013) and Hashimoto's Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back (2017). I have been so humbled by how my own healing journey turned into thousands of healing stories from people around the world who have been able to take charge of their health by using the guides I have written.

In my books, I focused heavily on lifestyle and supplements, as I was limited in my ability to offer specific advice about DHEA, pregnenolone, and hydrocortisone hormone supplementation. During my training I learned that these hormones can have many contraindications and proper use and dosing requires testing therefore, hormone therapy should only be undertaken with the guidance of a trained professional. Fortunately, the lifestyle and self-care strategies I was able to share still got great results under the right circumstances.

Since developing my initial protocols, I've grown tremendously as a healer. I love to learn from everything and everyone. I am always finding new research, working with clients with unique challenges, taking courses, trying out new interventions on myself, and thinking about how to get more people to feel their absolute best. Equally important, I became a mother and I have to say that my son truly has been my greatest teacher. Since becoming a mom, I have been humbled by motherhood, moms all over the world, and the resilient human spirit. I have learned a great deal about surviving and thriving and the power of oxytocin (the "love hormone") and life's simple pleasures in healing. I've also realized that while some people can undertake intensive lifestyle changes, others need additional healing modalities and gentle options to heal.

As a result, my approach to the adrenals has evolved, just as I have. What I've realized over time is that under the right circumstances the original functional medicine protocols work really, really well but that these interventions are not always possible, feasible, or safe for everyone, every time. So I developed additional protocols that utilized different pathways to produce healing results (and was so excited when I realized that the new protocols often worked even better).

My Original Adrenal Recommendations in Hashimoto's Protocol

When I originally created the Adrenal Recovery Protocol, these were the main pillars:

Rest: Committing to ten to twelve hours of sleep each night for at least two weeks and kicking caffeine to promote restorative sleep.

De-stress: Using stress-reducing techniques such as gentle exercise and thinking positive to shift the body into a state of relaxing.

Reduce inflammation: Following the Root Cause Paleo Diet to lower the intake of inflammatory foods and increase the intake of anti-inflammatory food.

Balance the blood sugar: Limiting carbohydrates and focusing on eating fats, proteins, and veggies to maintain stable blood sugar.

Replenish nutrients and add adaptogens: Adding adaptogenic herbs, B complex vitamins, and vitamin C (the ABCs of adrenal balancing) as well as selenium and magnesium.

This approach can provide excellent results under the right circumstances, but, as I've grown as a healer, I've realized that there are additional healing modalities better suited for the real-world challenges of modern life that can provide even better outcomes for more people. The Adrenal Transformation Protocol incorporates everything I've learned since developing my initial adrenal recommendations to help you heal and thrive.

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