The Adrenal Connection
Your adrenals are two triangular-shaped glands that sit atop your kidneys. They are part of the complex making of our endocrine system. The endocrine system controls slower, longer-lasting responses to your environment. The adrenals release the stress hormone cortisol, and anti-stress hormone DHEA. They also produce adrenaline and norepinephrine, which function both as a hormone and a neurotransmitter. The 4 aforementioned hormones are the major stress hormones of the body. They are also responsible for maintaining salt levels in the blood, maintain blood pressure, help control kidney function, control overall fluid concentrations in the body. The adrenal glands are also an important source of sex steroids, such as estrogen and testosterone.
Adrenaline speeds up the rate of the metabolism and produces other physiologic changes designed to help the body cope with danger. It is produced when the body is under stress. Under circumstances of extreme stress, large amounts of cortisol are released, which lead to a host of health problems.
Problems begin to arise when we are living in a constant state of stress and the adrenals never have an opportunity to unwind and rest. They become depleted or exhausted and this is when symptoms generally start to occur.
Disorders that are directly related to the adrenal glands are often referred to as low adrenal reserve. The adrenals still produce enough hormones to maintain a relatively normal state of health, but stressful situations increase the need for hormones that the malfunctioning adrenals cannot produce, leading to anything from fatigue to collapse. Symptoms of reduced adrenal function can include weakness, lethargy, fatigue, recurrent infections, dizziness, memory loss, dizziness, low blood pressure when first standing, headaches, food cravings allergies, and blood sugar disorders.
The body needs time to repair the organs and systems of the body. By now you understand that prolonged stimulation eventually fatigues a system, but it does not happen immediately. Adrenal fatigue happens over time and is insidious in it’s’ onset. A person may not be aware of loss of energy or poor emotional states because of the slow deterioration over time. It is important to continue with a treatment plan long enough to allow complete healing and not stop as soon as symptoms subside.
Adrenal Function Test
Normally, systolic blood pressure is approximately 10 points higher when you are standing than when you are lying down. If the adrenal glands are not functioning properly, however, this may not be the case. Take and compare two readings – one while lying down and one while standing. First, lie down and rest for five minutes. Then take your blood pressure . Then stand up and immediately take your BP again. If your reading is lower after you stand up, suspect reduced adrenal function. The degree to which the blood pressure drops upon standing is often proportionate to the degree of hypoadrenalism.
What You Can Do Nutritionally To Re-Balance Your Adrenals?
- Consume plenty of fresh raw fruits and veggies and deepwater wild fish, or wild salmon 2-3 times weekly.
- Eat THIS: brewer’s yeast, brown rice, legumes, nuts, seeds, olive and coconut oil, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, and whole grains.
- Eat whole grains: make sure that grains are whole or ancient grains and not in flour form. Try quinoa, brown rice, corn, amaranth, millet, spelt and kamut for some healthier alternatives to white or plain whole wheat versions.
- Include MORE: garlic, onions, shiitake mushrooms and barley. These foods contain germanium, a powerful stimulant to the immune system.
- Avoid STIMULANTS: alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, artificial sweeteners and other excito-toxins as they are highly toxic and stressful to the adrenals and other glands.
- Stay away from: hydrogenated and trans fats, fried food, ham, pork, processed foods, red meat, soda, sugar and MSG.
What Can You Change in Your Lifestyle?
- Get regular exercise at three hours per week including cardio, weights and yoga or meditation. This stimulates the adrenals naturally and alleviates stress.
- Sleep in complete darkness and in as little clothes as possible. Wearing tight-fitting or too heavy clothing will increase your body temp. And affect melatonin levels.
- Establish regular sleeping patterns and get to bed, lights out no later than 11pm. Our adrenals recharge and recover the most between 11pm-1am. 10pm is even better! Try keeping household lighting dim from dinner until bed, this actually prepares your body and hormones for sleep, and also aids in digestion.
- As much as possible, avoid stress. Continuous and prolonged stress can be extremely detrimental to your adrenals.
- Prolonged stress can lead to muscle wasting because the stress hormone cortisol consumes your muscle tissue for fuel. This causes your blood sugar to skyrocket simply because your body is trying to adapt. When these conditions take over, stress becomes extremely destructive to your metabolism, body composition and wellness.
- This can depress your metabolic rate, fuel your desire for fatty food or sugary carbs and boost abdominal fat storage.
- It also depletes your happy hormone serotonin causing more depression and food cravings, create blood sugar imbalances resulting in hypoglycemia.
- It zaps testosterone which zaps your libido & Leads to sleep problems which lead to weight gain.
Bottom line…your adrenals are what respond to stress and if you are constantly under stress or pressure and feeling overwhelmed in your life, at some point your adrenals will throw up the white flag and surrender. They simply cannot function proficiently at their job 100% of the time, nothing or no one can!
If you don’t take the necessary steps to get your adrenals in check the quality of your life as a whole cannot be optimal; sleep will suffer, weight will creep on, your mood will be a constant variable and you will have zero energy.
Take charge of your adrenals now and in as little as 7-10 days you will not only feel a difference but you will see one too!