Jenny Talks Adrenal Health
The easy, relaxed lifestyle experienced by our ancestors no longer exists, and we're not even aware of how much stress we're under. The problem? "Our lifestyles have changed, but our bodies haven't," A large portion of our population is feeling tired and stressed out, and we want to know why. Research suggests that when you're constantly suffering physical, mental, or emotional stress, your stress-hormone system may become "worn out"..
This state of exhaustion -- commonly known as adrenal fatigue -- is associated with chronic tiredness, food cravings, mood swings, and weight gain
The adrenal glands sit over the kidneys, where they play a significant role in the body, secreting more than 50 hormones necessary for life, including
epinephrine (adrenaline), cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), progesterone and testosterone. Since they produce so many essential hormones, the adrenal glands are responsible for many of the functions we need to stay alive and healthy, including:
- Energy production - carbohydrate, protein and fat conversion
to blood glucose for energy
- Fluid and electrolyte balance
- Fat storage
One hormone in particular, cortisol, is extremely important for keeping our body systems in balance, as well as protecting our cells. For example:
It controls the strength of the immune system: Too much cortisol weakens the immune system, setting the motions for increased susceptibility to infections and cancer, while too little leads to an overactive immune system and autoimmune disease.
- It normalizes blood sugar.
- It regulates blood pressure.
These small but mighty glands also work with other hormones and systems in “symphony." When one part of this symphony drops out, such as what happens after menopause for women and andropause for men, the adrenal glands have to pick up the slack by producing larger amounts of sex hormones. Because of this, good adrenal gland function is linked to longevity.
Unfortunately, the adrenal glands' health is paradoxical. As the manufacturer of adrenaline, they are the "glands of stress," but are also the first glands to fail during prolonged or intense periods of stress. The problem with stressors is that they are "cumulative," in the sense that their impact tends to add up in the body over time until your adrenal glands (and probably your mental state) just can't take anymore.
Some people this is a "nervous breakdown." However, nerves really don't break down; adrenal glands do.A "nervous breakdown" is actually adrenal fatigue, or when the adrenal glands can't deal with the amount of stress they're given. Adrenal fatigue used to be rare, but is now all too common because of our lack of relaxation and other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, sleep deprivation, poor eating habits and excessive caffeine intake, as well as allergies.Symptoms include, morning fatigue, afternoon low, burst of energy at 6pm, sleepiness at 9pm, second wind at 11pm. Weight gain, cravings for foods high in salt and fat, caffeine dependence, increased PMS, Depression, Lack of energy to exhaustion, decreased ability to handle stress, muscle pains, weakness, no sex drive, frequent sighing, headaches, and the list goes on…
Some causes can be excessive stress, nutritional deficiencies, toxic metals and chemicals, chronic infections, stimulant damage, like sugar, alcohol,
So what can we do?We tend to know that adopting a natural whole food diet, clean healthy living, hydration, plenty of sleep and a healthy balance between work rest and play rest are vital.Also avoid junk food, white flour and processed foods.
A critical ingredient to keeping your adrenals well-nourished is never allowing yourself to get to hungry.Low blood sugar allows can have a taxing effect on the adrenals.Following is a table to assist your cortisol cycle within your body.
Foods that assist are red/purple foods like blueberries, capsicums, beetroot, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, organic strawberry's, apples, rainbow of coloured foods, high vitamin C+ great sources of antioxidants.Green drinks like wheatgrass, spirulina, foods that contain chlorophyll, enhance glutathione activity which is vital for detoxing.
Minerals magnesium provides necessary energy for your adrenals — and every cell in your body — to function properly. Also calcium and several trace minerals, like zinc, manganese, selenium, and iodine, provide calming effects in the body. These minerals can help relieve the stress associated with adrenal fatigue and imbalance, which will ultimately restore normal cortisol output.
Vitamins like C, E and all the B vitamins (especially pantothenic acid and B6) have crucial roles in the production and actions of stress hormones.
Herbs that are adaptogenic in nature, as they nourish and support kidney function and strengthen the adrenals.Withania, Siberian Ginseng, Astragalus, Schisandra, Rhodiola, Licorice and He Shou wu.
He Shou wu or Polygonum multiflorum, can be found in many medicinal mushroom mixtures/drinks, I like Masons Mushrooms, wild crafted, root tonic. This vine grows in the pristine mountain ranges of West China, it is a Yin Jing essence that nourishes deep into the kidneys. A longevity root that aids with exhaustion and is a restorative to your body's essence and core energy function. Also assists hormonal dysfunction, support strong bones, reproductive system and keeps your metabolism going strong.
Emotional. The Kidneys show us that we are living with guilt, regret, resentment, blame, ancient sadness. Holding on to destructive beliefs and memories from the past.
Limited short term memory as all energy stuck in past.
Experiencing tiredness, depression, deadness, paralysing fear. Unable to trust, crumbling under pressure, giving up…
Healing Please say out loud, divine healing Intelligence please activate my healing ability and allow green healing light to flow from my hands into my kidneys. , placing hands on kidneys, allow this intention to flow into your body. Please assist me to take responsibility for my life, forgive myself for past mistakes and move forward with renewed confidence and positivity,
Your adrenal glands are tiny in comparison to many other organs — each is roughly the size of a walnut — yet they have enormous responsibilities in your body. When they are functioning properly, these small glands help you feel energized when you need to be and relaxed when it is time for rest. They produce cortisol and DHEA, and contribute to the production of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and so much more.
But life’s demands can slowly drain the balancing power of the adrenal glands.
Even the healthiest person’s adrenals become impaired under chronic, unrelenting stress.
You have the power to lessen the burden on your adrenals — and your whole body.
It doesn’t take much. The small choices you make in regards to your nutrition and eating patterns will make a big difference. Exploring stress management, support your body with a high quality nutritional supplement and eat good foods in harmony with your own natural daily rhythms. Soon you’ll find the energy you thought was lost — and it will be here to stay!
I hope your journey to better health opens your world to the sacred temple your body, mind and spirit is, to find wellness.Enjoy.
Jenny van Holst Pellekaan. Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Energetic Healer.