The new working year is well under way and I hear you, you’re hanging out for some time out. With busyness being the status quo these days, unfortunately the vulnerable adrenal glands often take a hit. If pushed enough throughout the year your adrenal function is firstly overstimulated (in a typical tired, but wired state) and eventually can be followed by a state of adrenal gland fatigue (exhaustion).
In my previous post on thyroid gland health, I introduced the important connection and support required from the adrenal and thyroid glands for optimal function of one another in the body. As adrenal and thyroid health play an important role in supporting balanced sex hormones, this is an area that I am particularly passionate about and delve right into in my latest book: Balanced, The Natural Way To Healthy Hormones.
Read on to find out if your energy, sleep, skin, weight and moods are being affected by your adrenals gland health.
INTRODUCING YOUR ADRENAL GLANDS
The 2 walnut sized adrenal glands sit just above the kidneys and contain two sections, the inner adrenal medulla and the outer adrenal cortex. The adrenals are overall responsible for the production and release of adrenal hormones including catecholamines (adrenaline and noradrenaline), aldosterone (to control the body’s water and salt balance and therefore blood pressure, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS) and cortisol (both in response to stress), as well as sex hormones. These hormones enter the blood stream and act as chemical messengers on the tissues of the body to control certain functions.
When the body is put under stress of any kind, higher levels of adrenaline, cortisol, DHEA and noradrenaline are produced. If the stress is prolonged, the vulnerable adrenals can first become highly stressed (producing high levels of adrenal hormones) and then exhausted (unable to produce adequate adrenal hormones).
HOW TO RECOGNISE ADRENAL GLAND IMBALANCE
Symptoms of adrenal gland stress include:
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
- High blood glucose (sugar) levels. As cortisol levels rise, muscle breakdown occurs, which is converted into glucose and released into your bloodstream
- Insulin resistance and the resulting midsection weight gain. High cortisol levels send out a survival mode message to store fat and slow metabolism
- Easily confused and frazzled when under pressure or rushing
- A sense of anxiety and overwhelm
- Tendency to be aggressive and intolerant
- Unhealthy skin (infected, injured or bruised easily)
- Excessively oily skin
- Increased facial and body hair in women
- Problems getting to sleep and staying asleep
- Sugar cravings
- Restless legs
- Increased muscle tension and discomfort
If your physical, chemical or psychological stress continues, the resulting adrenal gland stress will eventually develop into adrenal gland fatigue. Although the symptoms seem similar, adrenal gland fatigue involves chronic exhaustion.
Symptoms of adrenal gland fatigue include:
- Easily frazzled and over-react with emotion (irritability or anger) to small things
- Cannot tolerate loud noises
- Low blood glucose (sugar) levels, where skipping meals causes anxiety, the shakes or leaves you angry or irritable (think a bad case of hanger- hungry and angry)
- Dizziness when standing, or low blood pressure
- Often catch infections and/ or you take a long time to recover from infections
- Suffer from jet lag for an extended period
- Quivering tongue
- Dark circles under eyes
- Can’t tolerate confrontation
- Low libido
- Progesterone deficiency symptoms
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Irregular periods
CAUSES OF ADRENAL GLAND STRESS & FATIGUE
There are many underlying contributors which can cause stress to the very vulnerable adrenal glands. This includes but is not limited to:
- Nutritional stress: high intake of caffeine, alcohol, sugar and additives in foods and drinks. Intolerant foods and low blood sugar levels can also cause a great deal of stress to the body, including the adrenal glands.
- Physical stress: Accident, injury, overexertion with exercise and lack of sleep.
- Emotional stress: Negative people, abuse and trauma.
- Electromagnetic stress: All electrical devices, especially wireless internet exposure.
- Chemical stress: Toxin exposure through the environment, foods (chemical containing sprays and fertilisers) and water (fluoride and chloride).
SUPPORT YOUR ADRENAL GLAND HEALTH
Being ‘busy’ may be the culprit of your hormone health challenges. Prevent adrenal gland weakness by tuning into your body and knowing when enough is enough. Also support your adrenals by gaining restful sleep, move in ways that improve your moods and energy, practise mindfulness activities, ground yourself regularly on the grass or sand, embrace your inner child and nourish your body with nutrient rich foods.
Learn more about what you can do to overcome adrenal stress or fatigue in my hormone health book: Balanced, The Natural Way To Healthy Hormones and kick start your summer with hormone healthy foods in my 21 Day Summer Detox.