Adrenal Gland Wellness
days), to injury, disease, relationship or job stress, grief, and socioeconomic issues. These little workers need to be in good shape to keep you healthy when issues of stress come your way. Today they are way overused in our society, as we tend to live in a constant state of stress. The adrenal glands get fatigued just like the rest of your body and cannot function properly under such conditions. When healthy, your adrenal glands empower hormones to extend their influence throughout your body and life. These tiny pyramid shaped glands are no bigger than a walnut, and weigh less than a grape. They affect the functioning of every tissue, organ and gland in your body, and also affect how you feel and the way you think. The secretions (hormones) of your adrenal glands influence all of the major physiological processes in your body and effect the utilization of fats and carbohydrates, the conversion of fats and proteins into energy and where fat is stored. They also regulate blood sugar, and proper cardiovascular and gastrointestinal function. They secrete anti-inflammatory and antioxidant hormones, and after menopause become the major source of sex hormones in the body’s of both men and women after mid-life. Athletes have long known that muscular strength and stamina are affected by the adrenal hormones, (known as steroids). Your predisposition to developing chronic diseases can even be affected by how healthy your adrenal glands are functioning.
Stress can come in many forms, the death of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce, illness, chronic or severe infection, unhappy relationships, a job, even environmental toxins or a poor diet. When we are constantly under stress our body does not have time to recover from the normal responses our body takes when confronted with stress, and we are unable to get back to normal functioning. The problem now is that we as humans have developed to a point where our stress doesn’t just come from actual situations we face, it can come from imagined situations too. That in itself keeps many people in a constant state of stress.
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
Continuing fatigue not relieved by sleep
- Craving for salt or salty foods
- Lack of energy
- Increased effort to do everyday tasks
- Decreased sex drive
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Increased time to recover from illness, injury or trauma
- Light-headed when standing up quickly
- Mild depression
- Less enjoyment or happiness with life
- Increased PMS in women
- Symptoms increase when meals are skipped or inadequate
- Thoughts less focused or fuzzy
- Memory less accurate
- Decreased tolerance
- Don’t really feel awake till 10:00 AM
- Afternoon low around 3:00-4:00 PM
- Feel better after evening meal
- Decreased productivity
disease. This only compounds the problem. Corticosteroids are made to mimic the actions of cortisol that is naturally secreted by the adrenal glands. The need for these drugs is when the adrenal glands are fatigued and not producing enough to do the job. There are several diseases that generally are involved with decreased adrenal function. These are chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, alcoholism, ischemic heart disease, hypoglycemia, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic and reoccurring respiratory infections. When your recovery period from illness is longer than normal and you have decreased stamina and excess fatigue, hypoadrenia (low adrenal function) is probably a part of the picture.
food and environmental allergies. Most allergies are the result of the release
of histamines and other substances that produce inflammation. Cortisol has the
opposite effect and acts as a strong anti-inflammatory. The levels of cortisol
that you have are key in controlling the level of inflammatory reactions in
your body. The adrenal glands play an important role in how much histamine is
released and the inflammatory reactions your body has, which are what produces
the symptoms experienced with allergies. The more histamine that is released
the more cortisol it takes to control the inflammatory reaction, which in turn
makes the adrenal glands work harder to produce enough cortisol. The harder
they work the more fatigued they become, and the less cortisol they produce.
This allows the histamine to inflame tissues all the more. This too is a
vicious cycle that causes more and more adrenal fatigue. By eliminating foods
that you are allergic or sensitive to, you will be saving your adrenal glands a
lot of needless stress.
way you eat and what you eat can have a significant effect on adrenal fatique.
First, by eating three balanced meals a day (that means not skipping
breakfast), you can keep your blood sugar at normal levels. By eating more
fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, nuts, seeds and legumes, and
limiting animal products (including dairy) to 10-20% of your food intake you
will be helping your body in so many ways including supporting your adrenal
glands. By cutting out caffeine, sugar, refined and processed foods, especially
fast food and junk food you will not get into these vicious cycles that I
talked about before, and all organs, glands and systems of your body will
function much better. Eating in a relaxed atmosphere and not rushing to grab a
bite on the road will help to keep your stress levels down. There are some
supplements that can help too. I would recommend a visit to your chiropractor or naturopathic
doctor to decide what is best for you and how much and how often to take them.
A good multi-vitamin and mineral, antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E and zinc and selenium), B vitamins, calcium and magnesium, essential fatty acids will all benefit your condition if you have
adrenal fatigue. There are many herbs and some adaptogen supplements that will
also be of benefit. As I said it would be advisable to seek some professional
advice for these.