Your Adrenal Gland is a key to Better Health!!!
Tips for an overall healthy lifestyle are also tips for a healthy adrenal gland function.
- Remove the stress, or learn how to better deal with the stress. Recognize that different people react differently to the same stressor and do things you enjoy to lead a happier life. Laugh often and enjoy little things in life. Make time to have fun. Do these things even if it means putting yourself ahead of others-especially if you are a “people-pleaser”. Keep yourself from getting exhausted and learn how to pace yourself (Type A personalities).
- Your adrenal gland “loves” routine, since routine since it means not having to adapt to any change. Eat sleep and work at regular times.
- Sleep well, wake up and sleep at the same time to maintain a rhythmic sleep-wake cycle. Avoid TV and computers and don’t sleep late. According to Ayurvedic medicine, your body repairs the most at 10pm to 2am in the morning so sleep early to avoid losing any time to repair.
- Exercise is a great stress reliever. Anything from playing sports, to walking can be enjoyable and improves your immunity and circulation.
- Eat small well balanced meals, with adequate protein carbohydrates, and fat. Try to eat breakfast within an hour of getting up. Do not skip any meals. Don’t eat a late dinner.
- Avoid caffeine. Since it will raise cortisol levels, and can keep you up at night and therefore upset your sleep pattern.
- Avoid high sugar foods including starchy foods such as potatoes and white bread sugary fruit like mangoes, and melons. Learn about glycemic index and glycemic load.
- Avoid trans fat and greasy food which will slow your digestion and raise your bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol
- Improve your energy, book a one on one appointment to discuss your personalized treatment plan.
Do you have any of the following symptoms?
- abdominal weight gain
- low mood
- low blood pressure
- sugar cravings
- afternoon fatigue
- chronic inflammation
- panic attacks
- syndrome X
- chronic disease of CV system or GI system
- weakened immunity and recurrent infection
- subclinical hypothyroidism
Then you could benefit by improving your adrenal gland function!!!
What is the Adrenal Gland?
Your adrenal gland is a small gland that sits on top of each of your kidneys and helps your body deal with stress by releasing a stress hormone called cortisol.
What is the relationship of the adrenal gland with stress?
First of all, your body cannot tell the difference between mental, emotional, or physical stress. In a practical sense, that means there is no difference between you working a long hard day at the office crunching numbers, or a struggling with a recent breakup with a partner, or working a physically taxing job that requires heavy lifting. In other words, all of those stressors will receive an equivalent response from your adrenal gland. The response is to specifically increase your stress hormones, so you can better adapt to and deal with stress. In essence it ensures your survival.
Survival of our species and your personal survival
You’ve probably heard of the “Fight of Flight” response. It is intimately connected with your adrenal glands.
This story takes us back thousands of years, when humans were struggling for survival. At the time, the next meal required great effort and safety was paramount. So finding lunch was just as important as avoiding becoming someone else’s lunch!
For example, what if you were being attacked by a tiger in the jungle? There are two responses to that attack. Run and hide or attack. Both allow survival and this precisely is a fight or flight response. Humans have evolved and the environment has changed from a real jungle to an urban jungle. When you walk downtown you don’t expect to be attacked by a tiger on the street. But there are different “tigers” ready to pounce. One “tiger” may be your boss or co-worker that verbally attacks you.
When you respond, it’s very likely you won’t resort to fisticuffs or grab a spear, but instead say something back to them, run and hide or say nothing and just try to ignore them. Another example of “fight or flight” response is being stuck in traffic when you are late for work or an appointment and emotions such as frustration, anger, and worry begin to surface. At an emotional level, you can be anxious or worried and fearful of your boss and being late or you can be agitated, frustrated and angry.
If this happens to you, then you are experiencing fight or flight and your stress hormones are released —you are in heightened survival mode; your body responds by increasing your heart rate, increasing your respiratory rate, dilating your pupils. Overtime, especially if you have these feelings on a daily basis, this chronic release of stress hormone begins to create unpleasant symptoms that you may be experiencing.
So that same feeling of being late for an appointment, tired after a long day at the office, or verbally attacked by your boss, having relationship issues with your partner or working a strenuous job that requires heavy lifting can lead to health problems.
What is your body’s response to stress?
You’ve probably heard of adrenalin; cortisol is a hormone that is similar to adrenalin. When adrenalin is released we may feel a rush of excitement, anger, frustration, burst of energy. Below is a description of Maladaptive Stress Syndrome that describes your body’s response to stress.
- MSS-0 is a normal response to stress that is described as a healthy well-adapted range of alertness and an appropriate response to a perceived stress. The response is mediated by autonomic nervous system and the adrenal hormones (catecholamines).
- MSS-1 is maladaptive stress syndrome stage 1 and is described as chronic excess of catecholamines and an increase in cortisol. When there is a perceived stress then a fight or flight response is activated but it is not appropriate—it is in excess. Hence it is associated with anger, irritability, aggression, anxiety, worry, fear and panic. After being in MSS-1 a person can progress to MSS-2 over a period of time.
- MSS-2 is a maladaptive stress syndrome stage 2 and is described as chronic excess production of cortisol. There is immune suppression, Syndrome X, Chronic diseases (Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal), increased androgens. Progression of MSS-2 to MSS-3 is worsened by stress, history of steroid use, nutritional deficiencies, and functional hypoglycemia.
- MSS-3 is a maladaptive stress syndrome stage 3 and is described as chronic decreased cortisol and episodic catecholamine production. It is associated with fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, hypotension, postural hypotension, environmental and food sensitivities, atypical depression, anxiety, poor stress resistance, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
TREATMENT: So how do we prevent and treat these problems that are associated with maladaptive stress syndrome?
Each stage of MSS has its appropriate treatment. To determine which stage you’re in, lab testing and proper diagnosis is required by your naturopath.
- Stage 0 – lifestyle and stress management
- Stage 1 – meditation, exercise, relaxation, B-complex vitamins, and nervines.
- Stage 2 – cortisol lowering therapies such as DHA, vitamin C, sodium restriction, pyridoxine, avoiding sugar since it stimulates cortisol production, and DHEA.
- ·Stage 3 requires adaptogenic herbs, pantothenic acid, low glycemic diet, immune support, amino acids, and graduated moderate exercise.
Dr. Dhillon, ND
Better Health for a Better You