Balancing Your Adrenal Glands

These walnut sized glands manage stress from all sources.

“Adrenal Fatigue” – proper adrenal function determines how energetic you feel and your ability to cope with the physical demands of life. Fatigued (Worn out) adrenals cause you to feel exhausted and yet although a common problem, is very often misdiagnosed in the U.S.” – Wilson, James. “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.” Smart Publications, p. 6, 2002.

Adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system.  You have 2 adrenal glands – one on top of each kidney.  The adrenals secrete 50+ hormones – many essential for life, and include:

  • Glucocorticoids – include CORTISOL; help body convert food into energy, normalize blood sugar, respond to stress and maintain your immune system’s inflammatory response.
  • Mineralocorticoids – include ALDOSTERONE; by maintaining a proper balance of sodium, potassisum and water in the body, they help normalize blood volume and thus your blood pressure.

ADRENALINE – this hormone increases heart rate and controls blood flow to the muscles and brain.  Adrenaline also helps the liver convert glycogen to glucose.

Some body functions controlled by adrenal hormones: 

  • Maintain metabolic processes – E.g. blood sugar level management, regulating Inflammation
  • Regulating your body’s balance of salt and water
  • Controlling your “fight or flight” response to stress
  • Maintaining pregnancy
  • Initiating and controlling sexual maturation during childhood and puberty
  • Producing sex steroids – such as estrogen and TESTOSTERONE. Using bioidentical hormone therapy in an attempt to normalize male or female sex hormones, without FIRST normalizing adrenal function, will virtually guarantee failure because the weakened adrenals will never allow the hormones to find  proper equilibrium. 

Adrenals there for the fight or flight situations, but prolonged stress can cause their function failure –  increasing adrenaline and other hormones increases heart rate and blood pressure and slows digestion enabling body to divert all its energies to the present potential threat or challenge.

Prolonged stressors overwork the adrenals causing their fatigue, these stressors include:

  • Anger, fear, anxiety, guilt, depression, worry, relationship problems and other negative emotions
  • Overwork, including physical or mental strain
  • Excessive exercise
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Light-cycle disruption (such as working the night shift or often going to sleep late)
  • Surgery, trauma or injury
  • Chronic inflammation, infection, illness or pain
  • Temperature extremes
  • Toxic exposure
  • Nutritional deficiencies and/or severe allergies

Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Decreased adrenal hormones, notably CORTISOL – deficiencies in certain adrenal hormones will vary from case to case, ranging from mild to severe.

Addison’s Disease – Mainly due to autoimmune disease, is adrenal fatigue, in its most extreme form, experienced by 4 out of 100,000 people.  It causes muscle weakness, weight loss, low blood pressure and low blood sugar, and is potentially life threatening.

Hypoadrenia / Adrenal Fatigue symptoms can be debilitating:

  • Unrelenting fatigue and weakness, especially in the morning and afternoon – unable to keep up with daily demands
  • A suppressed immune system
  • Increased allergies
  • Muscle and bone loss and muscular weakness
  • Depression and other mental disturbances, such as increased fears and anxiety
  • Cravings for foods high in salt, sugar or fat
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Skin problems
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
  • Low sex drive
  • Light-headedness when getting up from sitting or lying down / abnormal blood sugar levels
  • Decreased ability to handle stress
  • Trouble waking up in the morning, despite a full night’s sleep – rely on coffee/soda stimulation
  • Poor memory

People with adrenal fatigue often have bursts of energy at specific times – not untypical is a burst of energy around 6pm., followed by possibly resisted sleepiness at 9pm or 10pm. Another “second wind” at 11 p.m. is common, which may keep you from falling asleep until around 1 a.m.

Common adrenal function ACTH test does not diagnose Adrenal Fatigue

The  ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) test only recognizes extreme underproduction or overproduction of hormone levels (as shown by the top and bottom 2 % of a bell curve.

Inexpensive Salivary CORTISOL test CAN diagnose Adrenal Fatigue. You can purchase online and do at home, or contact your DBM Practitioner.

How to Recover from Adrenal Fatigue

Although natural treatments are very effective, expect recovery to take some time:

  • 6-9 months for minor adrenal fatigue
  • 12 – 18 months for moderate adrenal fatigue
  • Up to 24 months for severe adrenal fatigue Veracity, 

Dani. Recovering From Adrenal Fatigue: How Your Body Can Overcome Chronic Stress and Feel Energized Again.” Natural News, April 6, 2006 

Key Steps

  • Address current and past emotional traumas in your life – using prayer, meditation and/or Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT) .
  • Rest when you feel tired – short naps or just lie down in the day
  • Sleep in late if you feel like it – until 9:00 am
  • Exercise moderately but regularly – daily 30 min walk, rebounding
  • Make what you eat count nutritionally and control your blood sugar levels
  • Eat a small meal or snack every 3 – 4 hours
  • Eat within the first hour upon awakening
  • Eat a small snack near bedtime – preferably a healthy juice or smoothie.  Do not burden the stomach with things it still has to digest whilst it should be repairing and healing.
  • Eat before becoming hungry – which indicates you have already run out of fuel (low blood sugar), placing additional stress on your adrenal glands
  • Avoid stimulants -. coffee and soda – can further exhaust your adrenal glands

Reference: Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website