Stress Glands and Adrenal Fatigue
Consider the adrenal glands, AKA as the stress glands, located on top of each kidney. They’re quite useful when a true flight-or-fight situation arises, such as when you’re about to be hit by a truck and you’re able to leap to safety. But when that same flight-or-fight response occurs several times a day, like when your boss drops a critical remark, or your kids misbehave, or you don’t get done what you absolutely have to get done, then the poor adrenals can be out done. That’s when adrenal fatigue sets in.
What is Adrenal Fatigue? Our bodies are not made to withstand excessive production of adrenaline and cortisol, the primary hormones produced by the adrenals. Unfortunately, far too many people today are exposed to chronic stress and the adrenals are pumping out the hormones non-stop. The overproduction of these hormones eventually causes the adrenals to begin over or under producing stress hormones, which leads to multiple symptoms affecting the entire body.
Fatigue or exhaustion, frequent illnesses, anxiety, muscle aches, depression, reduced memory, difficulty concentrating, insomnia or wakefulness, inability to lose weight, low sex drive, skin problems, food cravings, lightheaded, dry skin, hair loss, heart palpitations, anxiety, irritability, digestive problems, over-reaction to stress, nervousness.
Chronic stress is the number one cause of adrenal fatigue. This stress can be caused by: social stress: financial, marital, familial, loneliness, anger (the worst kind of stress,) lack of sleep or chronic insomnia, chronic illness or infection, chronic pain, depression, poor diet, including excessive sugar, alcohol, or caffeine, gluten intolerance or other digestive problems, use of multiple prescription drugs, including history of recreational drug use.
- Remove Stressors: Take the time each day to identify emotional or situational stressors that you can eliminate.
- Stress Relief: Laughter, time with supportive friends, deep breathing and rest breaks. Take 10-30 minutes once or twice daily to lie down and close your eyes, and/or practice deep breathing. Conscious breathing helps lower stress hormones!
- Sleep: Get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. It is important to go to sleep by 10 p.m. because our adrenals do most of their work to repair the body between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Avoid caffeine, which may interrupt sleep patterns. And if you are photosensitive, avoid computers and TV after 8 p.m.
- Exercise: 20-30 minutes per day. Include aerobic (cardiovascular), anaerobic (weights and resistance), and flexibility (stretching or yoga). Do not overdo it; do not overstress your body with excessive exercise.
- Diet: Diet should consist of 20-25 percent whole grains, 30-40 percent vegetables; 10-15 percent beans, nuts and seeds, 10-20 percent meat and dairy, 10-15 percent good fat and 5-10 percent whole fruits.
- Eat meals and snacks every four to five hours when you are awake.
- Do not skip breakfast, EVER! Try to eat 14-21 g protein at each breakfast.
- Use sea salt in place of traditional salt.
- Limit or eliminate sugary or empty calorie drinks such as juice, soda, and alcohol.
- Avoid sugary foods and processed foods, especially those with hydrogenated oils that produce trans fats.
- Avoid caffeine. Eat as many colorful veggies and fruits as you can regularly throughout the day.
- Adrenal support supplement – excellent supplement for chronic stress (2 each AM)
- Seriphos: for restoring sleep and getting high levels under control (2 each PM)
- Pregnenolone 25-50mg taken at night for sleep and restoring memory and restfulness
- High P\potency B-complex, liquid drops or capsules; taken daily with breakfast
- Natural vitamin E, 400 mg/day; taken each AM
- Vitamin C, 2000-4000mg daily with meals
- DHEA, 10-25 mg/day (typically up to 25mg for women and up to 50mg for men)
- Phenylalanine (DLPA), 1,500-2,250 mg/day
- Pantothenic acid, 1,000-1,500 mg/day
- Licorice root- This can be very helpful in reviving energy! (Monitor blood pressure if hypertensive.)
- Calcium, 800-1,200 mg/day Magnesium, 400 mg/day
Be encouraged that the body can heal itself with a specific plan aimed at controlling stress—especially emotional stress. Making serious diet, sleep, supplement, and lifestyle changes can significantly and quickly improve how you feel.
So… don’t stress out by trying to implement all of the suggested remedies. Think about one you can try this week, and each week incorporate another, so that you become healthier over time and not more stressed by your “to-do” list!
Healthy stress glands… here we come!