Do you know what your adrenal glands do for you? Every day your adrenal glands make several hormones that encompass many functions. To emphasize how important this gland is, consider that many of your organs can be removed and, without any further medication, you would live. However, you would die shortly after the removal of your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands, in a “perfect world,” make the necessary amount of hormones in a balance, without producing too many or too little. Each adrenal gland is small, and you have one on top of each kidney. Just like other endocrine glands such as the ovaries, testicles, and thyroid, they are hormone-producing. One of the major hormones made by the adrenal gland is a glucocorticoid, commonly known as cortisol. You may think of this as a “bad hormone,” because it has gotten a bad reputation as being the weight gain hormone; however, it does much more.
Cortisol is needed every day to:
- Regulate how the body converts fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to energy.
- Help regulate blood pressure and cardiovascular function.
The adrenal glands also:
- Make hormones that regulate your immune response
- Suppress inflammatory reactions
- Help maintain the right balance of salt and water
- Help control your blood pressure.
The other hormones released by the adrenal cortex are known as sex hormones.
One reason your adrenal glands are important for you to be knowledgeable about is because they are also your “stress glands.” Do you have stress? One of the biggest causes of an overactive adrenal gland is stress; this can be physical, mental, or emotional stress. The adrenal glands are needed to respond to stress. The adrenals are in us to give us energy and help us to deal with stress in small spurts; however, nowadays we deal with stress on a constant basis. The daily demands we now face are causing large amounts of stress, and this causes a downward spiral of overworked, tired adrenal glands. This downward spiral is the cause of fatigue, and if we keep stressing the body, it eventually becomes too fatigued to meet the needs of the day and the needs of the physical body. Cortisol production is usually highest in the morning before we eat, with levels gradually tapering throughout the day. Some people will be just the opposite – low in the morning when they have terrible fatigue, and high at night, not allowing them to get their much needed rest.
Any major stressors will affect the adrenal gland. A few thousand years ago, our stress responses were not asked to last days and months. If someone was to encounter a scare, they would need to fight it or run from it. This type of stress would be decided and done in a matter minutes. Today, our stress is much different because we have stress from the daily attacks of traffic, phone calls, emails, deadlines, impatient people, strife in relationships, illness, and so on. While our mind knows that being late because of traffic isn't a life or death situation, from the brain down the adrenal glands and the other organs respond by hearing the same instinctive alarms going off saying “get the body ready to fight or run.” The body can run from danger for a short distance, but it was not made to outrun danger all day, every day of our lives.
We are fighting this stress every day, no matter if it’s from physically over working, overtraining, healing from an injury; or an emotional crisis such as grief, as well as the day-to-day stress that can happen when taking care of kids and aging parents, or you fill in the blank. It doesn’t matter; your adrenal glands can’t tell the difference. What matters is it's the adrenal glands that are taking the brunt of all that stress.
During adrenal fatigue your adrenal glands function, but not well enough to maintain optimal homeostasis, because their output of regulatory hormones has been diminished – usually by over-stimulation or repeated daily stress.
Are your adrenals tired?
You may be experiencing adrenal fatigue if you regularly notice one or more of the following:
- You are fatigued every day.
- You feel tired for no reason.
- You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
- You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.
- You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
- You crave salty and sweet snacks.
- You feel more awake, alert, and energetic after 6PM than you do all day (you are wired and tired).
Concerned about your productivity? Has it been ages since you felt well?
If your health is diminishing, most likely so is your productivity and your efficiency. Instead of spending your money to prop yourself up and self-medicate over and over again, I recommend you get to the root of the problem! Treat the cause and you’ll feel better, then save the money you were spending on all of those extra expenses for medications and supplements! Did you know Americans spend an average of $750 million a year on energy drinks?
Saliva testing and hormone balancing are key to saving your health and your money! Can you afford to stay sick?
Which do you want?
- Insomnia – or peaceful sleep all night long?
- Lack of motivation – or full of energy?
- Foggy thinking – or sharp mental clarity?
- Weight gain – or a flat belly?
- Fatigue – or vitality?
- Depression and anxiety – or motivation and enthusiasm
Nutrition you need
The first nutrients you need are the ones that help your body with stress. If you are tired, these are good supplements to try, also. I would recommend you add some of the following whole food supplements to your daily vitamin box.
B6, folate, B12, pantethine (an active derivative of pantothenic acid), and biotin, or a B complex. B vitamins are crucial for helping the body cope with stress. B vitamins are also essential for numerous other functions, including food metabolism and energy production, blood sugar regulation, supporting adrenal glands in the production of hormones, regulating electrolyte balance, and maintaining the health of the nervous system.
Also make sure you are getting vitamin C, vitamin D, and amino acids.
To learn more about how the signs you are receiving from your body might be related to your adrenal glands, go to Cammi's website and take her Health Check Quiz. You will also find out if your thyroid or other hormones might be involved.
Cammi Balleck, CTN, ANCB Board Certified Traditional Naturopath, is the author of Making Happy Happen, and is a leading Happy Hormone Doctor. She specializes in teaching how to unleash your happy hormones naturally. She has 10 years experience in health care, and specializes in hormone balancing. Cammi's passions are helping everyone improve their health and live happy, whole lives. Cammi lives in Colorado, and loves the outdoors and climbing 14,000 foot mountains. More information can be found at www.makinghappyhappen.com.