Wellness


Why Am I So Effing Tired?: The Story Behind the Protocol

Why Am I So Effing Tired?

Dr. Alejandro Junger—our OG expert M.D.—is a trailblazer in functional medicine. (He defined the gold standard in detox—the Clean program—before detoxing was a thing.) He’s helped to put a finger on the feeling of (effing) exhaustion that so many women (and men) feel today: adrenal fatigue. Junger likens the adrenals, the two small glands that sit on top of our kidneys and regulate the fight-or-flight reaction, to the power strip into which our organs are plugged for energy. When they are overworked (because of high stress, non-stop fight-or-flight reactions), we feel tapped out. Here, Junger explains the vitamin and supplement protocol he created with us to address adrenal fatigue, restore our energy and health, and answer the question: Why Am I So Effing Tired?


A Q&A with Dr. Alejandro Junger

Q

Who did you design the regimen for, and who is most likely to benefit?

A

This regimen is designed for people with adrenal exhaustion, or adrenal fatigue—a term that is not commonly used or even recognized by most modern medicine doctors outside of extreme cases. It affects an epidemic-level proportion of people and is usually confused with other conditions. The most common symptoms are: physical and mental exhaustion, difficulty sleeping, weight gain and difficulty losing weight, bad digestion, constipation, irregular periods, frequent colds and other infections, and the worsening of individual underlying medical problems.

Q

Are there specific ingredients that are heroes that were important to include? Any that work together to become more powerful?

A

The heroes in this regimen are the adaptogens—herbs that have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, adaptogens help the body adapt to changing circumstances. The most well-known herb in this blend is Ashwagandha—used to strengthen the immune system and help relieve the body and mind of stress. Its benefits are greatly potentiated when combined with two other adaptogens in the blend—amla and bacopa—as well as with licorice, which is also included here to help the body maintain healthy cortisol metabolism and better manage stress.

Q

Why do we need these ingredients in supplement form?

A

The ingredients that address adrenal fatigue are not found in most diets today, so it’s important to introduce them in supplement form. While this regimen includes other ingredients that aren’t as difficult to find in food sources, like Omega-3 fatty acids and certain plant-derived micronutrients, it’s often difficult to get the amount you need for optimal health; especially because nutrient absorption is usually compromised in people who have adrenal fatigue, and who would benefit most from taking a supportive supplement.

Q

While taking this regimen, what kind of diet do you recommend?

A

While on this program, one should know more than anything what not to eat. Avoiding coffee (when your adrenals are exhausted, having caffeine is like trying to use a whip to make a tired horse run), dairy, sugar, gluten, and alcohol will make this regimen all the more powerful and help you reset your adrenals. Also avoid processed foods full of chemicals, in favor of eating real foods, and make sure to include fruits and vegetables in your diet.

[For a complete food plan, plus recipes, to partner with the Why Am I So Effing Tired regimen, see here.]

Q

What kind of exercise/activity best complements the regiment?

A

The best approach is to rest. Get as much sleep as you can—it’s during sleep that our body’s most intense “recharging” occurs. When your adrenals are exhausted, you need to allow them to rebuild. Any strenuous exercise will be counterproductive, so opt for light exercise like restorative yoga, walking, or jumping on a trampoline to get the blood flowing.

Q

Are there other lifestyle changes that can make a noticeable different?

A

Stress is one of the main causes of adrenal fatigue, and the factor that tends to make it hardest to recover. So, anything that you enjoy that helps reduce stress is more than recommended. Meditation is a very powerful stress-busting practice, along with light yoga, and spending time with loved ones.

[For a round-up of best in self-care, see here.]

Q

What kind of impact can people expect the regimen to have and when?

A

If done properly, the full regimen (supplements, diet, lifestyle) should start to work within days. You might notice early improvements in the symptoms that made you choose this protocol a few days in. After two/three weeks, you’re likely to notice more profound effects. (Some people go so far as to describe it as feeling alive for the first time in a long time.) Note: Once your symptoms are resolved, it is important not to go back to exactly what you were doing before that brought the exhaustion on in the first place.

Founder of the Clean Program and bestselling author of Clean (among other essential health manuals), LA-based cardiologist Alejandro Junger, M.D. graduated from medical school in Uruguay, where he was born. He completed his postgraduate training in internal medicine at NYU Downtown Hospital and a fellowship in cardiovascular diseases at Lenox Hill Hospital before studying eastern medicine in India. An adrenal fatigue expert, Dr. Junger developed the goop vitamin/supplement protocol, Why Am I So Effing Tired?, designed to help re-balance an overtaxed system.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of goop, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Why am I so effing tired?

Dr. Junger’s goop Wellness Protocol

A vitamin and supplement regimen to help rebalance the pervasively, perpetually overtaxed adrenal system.

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