The Unexpected Thing That Majorly Boosted My Energy

My battle against fatigue is a never-ending saga. It all started with a round of antibiotics that led to candida overgrowth (more about that here). Add in a hefty dose of adrenal fatigue, and you have a recipe for exhaustion. While changing my diet helped me feel better, it’s not a perfect solution, and I still relied on gallons of coffee. To get my energy levels back on track, my nutritionist recommended adding a licorice root extract supplement. I didn’t even know that was a thing, and I was kind of (read: extremely) skeptical that a supplement could actually work. But honestly, I was so exhausted that I would have ingested far weirder things in order to boost my energy.

Licorice root is an adaptogenic herb, which means it can help your body adapt to stress by regulating your hormones. In particular, licorice root has been found to regulate cortisol levels—aka the stress hormone—which can take some pressure off your adrenal glands. In my case, my cortisol levels were super-low because my adrenal glands were completely blown out (thanks, stress!), which was contributing to my low energy.

I took the licorice root extract supplement for 90 days, and my nutritionist had me gradually work my way up in dosage (a process called titration). I took it first thing in the morning, then at 11am and at 3pm. A few days after I started, I noticed a drastic increase in energy. Instead of hitting snooze approximately six times and struggling to crawl out from under the covers, I found myself hitting snooze just two times. I got back into my morning workout habit, something I’d been struggling to do. And I began feeling less fatigued throughout the day.

The downside: This stuff tastes disgusting, like really sweet black licorice (a flavor that never fails to trigger my gag reflex). I eventually got used to it—though I still had to chase it with coffee or, at the very least, water. But the grossness is a price I’ll gladly in order to reap the benefits.

I still take the supplement occasionally, and I’ve become a licorice root evangelist. I tell anyone who will listen about the benefits of this miracle elixir. (It’s probably really annoying, but whatever.) I feel like a changed woman! I now have energy to do all the things—well, within reason: I’m still an introvert, so there are a lot of social situations that make me tired, but in a normal way rather than an your-adrenals-are-effed way.

It should be noted that licorice root is not a long-term solution. It’s only meant to be taken for a period of time to help your body find balance. (Not to sound like a pharmaceutical ad, but I highly recommend talking to your doctor or healthcare professional to see if licorice root extract is right for you.) Disgusting—seriously, horrible—taste aside, it’s helped my energy more than coffee, a statement I don’t make lightly.