Tag Archives: adrenals

What’s clinically behind your stress?

Recent surveys have found that the majority of Americans are living with either high or moderate levels of stress on a daily basis. What triggers the body’s response to stress? Cortisol, secreted by the adrenals, peaks and falls with emotional response. In addition there is a daily cyclical rise and fall of cortisol levels that govern the level of wakefullness during the day, spiking just after we wake up in the morning (like your body’s natural cup of coffee). The trouble arises when stress levels are maintained throughout the day. Your cortisol is working overtime and can stay at a high level putting you at risk for heart disease, sleep problems, digestive problems, depression, obesity, memory impairment and skin eruptions.

So what can you do to help yourself besides try to reduce the stress in your life? A supplement, PS (phosphatidylserine)  helps by decreasing cortisol levels and distress. In addition anxiety can rear its nervous head during high cortisol secretions. Neurotransmitter imbalance (GABA, serotonin, dopamine) can trigger anxiety responses along with the adrenals releasing high levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline which can cause increased heart rate and breathing. Rather than just popping supplements to try to get these secretions under control, we advise getting a proper neurotransmitter test (the one we took was a saliva, urine test given to us by Certified Nutritionist Kristine Bahr www.kbahr.co ). Once you know what is being over or under excited, she can then advise you on what supplements to take to temper your response. I did this and it “cured” my anxiety attacks.

Too many companies will try to sell you on their pills to fix your problem. If you don’t know what the problem is exactly, how do you know you are not making it worse by following their protocol? You may be causing your stress through your thought processes and emotions, but there also could be a clinical explanation. Better to get to the root of the problem before your try to self-diagnose and self-treat.

-Nina Anderson, Specialist in Performance Nutrition

Holiday stress can trash your adrenals.

When adrenal function is impaired or weak, a person may suffer from low blood sugar, low blood pressure, low body temperature, and a total feeling of exhaustion. When stress is prolonged the organs begin to weaken and other health related problems can set in such as hypoglycemia. Some of the common causes that contribute to adrenal exhaustion  in addition to stress, are poor diet, over-consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, overuse of caffeine, alcohol, drugs, nicotine, and vitamin B and C deficiencies.  Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, depression, PMS, nervousness, inability to concentrate, lightheadedness, sweet cravings, irritability, insomnia, and headaches.

According to the American Institute of Stress, up to 75-90 % of doctor visits in the US are stress related. Work is the biggest stressor (46% of all employees are stressed out according to the Washington Business Group on Health), with women being affected more than men.

Stress is directly related to adrenal gland fatigue. They are responsible for producing several important hormones and are critical to the stress response. The medulla, which is the inner part, pours out epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine. These hormones speed up the body’s metabolism in order to help us to cope with stress. These are the two most important hormones in the body. They govern the fight or flight response (alarm reaction), and are almost a direct extension of the nervous system.

So what can we do about this? Number one is to try to reduce whatever is stressing us out. Next, watch your diet and stop eating so much sugar or high-glycemic carbs and cut down on your caffeine and nicotine. Add  supplements like pantothenic acid, vitamin C, Vitamin B 6, Zinc, and Magnesium to your vitamin regimen. Also investigate reish mushroom, holy basil (a good antiflammatory as well as having a calming effect), ashwaganda and certain flower remedies. Getting more sleep is a good thing as it helps prevent adrenalin spikes that may occur because you are tired and not able to cope with stress. Homeopathics also may be right for you as there are many combinations that help reduce stress. You also should be aware that low adrenal function may be directly related to thyroid insufficiency. Therefore, if you have tried through diet and lifestlye changes to get your adrenals back in line and you still experience symptoms a visit to your doctor for a thyroid test may be in order.
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