You and Your AdrenalsOct 16, 2014
I am thinking a lot about the adrenal glands these days since their function seems to tie into so many other endocrine systems such as our insulin regulation as well as thyroid hormones, the immune system and our reproductive hormones. I used to think of the adrenal glands as just our energy “batteries”, and when we became exhausted from too much stress, we would get tired. But they are so much more than that. The adrenals are most commonly known as our “fight or flight” glands, i.e. they produce adrenaline so in ancient times, we could outrun a predator. In modern times, however, our stresses are usually (though not always) more chronic (deadlines, work stress, relationship stress, financial stress, and just being too darned busy and plugged in all of the time). So I often see health problems in my patients that can be traced to a stressful period in life (grad school, heavy work stress, a divorce, a death of a loved one, a breakup, and here in Boulder, fires and floods, as well as other trauma). I often see weight gain from elevated cortisol, sleep issues, immune system issues, thyroid issues, autoimmune issues, blood sugar issues, as well as new allergies surfacing as a result of chronic or acute adrenal burnout.
Nourishing and supporting the adrenal glands is often an important intervention in order for the whole body to heal. Various weaknesses in the adrenal hormone cascade can be pinpointed with various functional medicine tests, and so therapies can be appropriately and efficiently targeted. As you may imagine, there are so many supplements out there on the market and it is important to find one which works for your individual situation, so sometimes testing is important.
So at the risk of being redundant, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: fatigue, trouble sleeping, blood sugar issues (mainly hypoglycemia), thyroid issues, frequent colds and flus, more food allergies, autoimmune disease, mood instability, hair loss, poor resilience to stress, feeling burned out, you may have an adrenal issue and naturopathic medicine may be able to help!