Want More Energy? Let’s Look at Your Adrenal Glands
By Scott Schreiber
The adrenal glands are small hormone producing glands located on top of the kidneys. They are vital to existence, producing many hormones. They are composed of two sections, the cortex and medulla. The cortex is the larger component and produces DHEA, a precursor to testosterone; cortisol , stress and sleeping; and aldosterone, fluid balance. The medulla controls stress response, secreting adrenaline, norephinepherine and dopamine. At times of stress, these hormones slow down digestion, increase awareness, and divert blood flow to our brain and muscles. This is an innate response to keep us alive in moments of stress and danger.
When you are under prolonged stress you adrenal glands are active. If this goes on for over a period of time, your adrenal glands can start to misfire and adrenal fatigue can result. In Westernized countries, Adrenal fatigue is very common. Symptoms include decreased energy and stamina, characterized by difficulty getting up on the morning, even after a long night’s sleep, fatigue all day with the exception at night, inability of handle stress, cravings for salty foods, and a weak immune system.
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?
Stress the main cause of adrenal fatigue. You know that irritating co-worker or that client that drives you crazy. Stress comes in many forms. It can be the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the sum of all little things adding up. Eventually the adrenal glands become overworked and dysfunctional.
Diet and weight gain also fatigue the adrenals. As we eat a typical American Diet, consuming more sugar, calories, additives and preservatives than ever before, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol to deal with the added stress to our bodies. In addition, that added weight gains also stresses our internal organs, putting more work on the adrenal glands.
Most Americans are sleep deprived. Sleep is essential for repair and rejuvenation. If you do not get enough sleep your adrenal glands will suffer and begin to fatigue.
Overall health status contributes to adrenal fatigue. There are many chronic diseases that can place stress on the adrenal glands. Pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, diabetes and obesity can send your adrenals on a downward spiral.
How Do you Re-energize the Adrenal Glands?
The best and most important method to treating the Adrenal Glands to identify the causes of stress and begin stress reduction techniques. This can be in the form of yoga, meditation, tai chi and chi gong. Taking time for you or go on a vacation. These will all help give your adrenals a break
Make sure you get enough sleep. Seven to nine hours is ideal, however, initially you may require more to properly heal and recover. At times, the sleep cycle is disturbed that a supplement is needed to re-regulate it. There are a variety of sleep supplements that work very well. These include melatonin, valerian root and magnesium.
If you are still feeling stress and have fatigue, then additional support is needed in the form of supplementation and nutritional therapy. Specific lab testing may be required to help diagnose this condition and then supplements to treat it will be prescribed.
If you are stressed and feel that you may have adrenal fatigue, please call the office and schedule an appointment.
Dr. Scott Schreiber has been practicing in Newark, Delaware for over eleven years. He is a chiropractic physician that is double board certified in rehabilitation and clinical nutrition. He is also a certified nutrition specialist and a licensed dietitian/nutritionist.