Adrenal fatigue is the number one underlying issue in most health conditions. According to Dr. James L. Wilson, DC, PhD, ND, author of Adrenal Fatigue, The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, it estimates that at least 80% of American adults have suffered from or will suffer from adrenal fatigue. Does this include you? Are you stressed out, needing more sleep or experiencing insomnia, have a compromised immune system, feeling overwhelmed, running on caffeine, feeling sick and tired?
Adrenal fatigue happens when the adrenal glands wear out due to continual production of the stress hormone cortisol affecting the thyroid gland and thus creating many other hormone imbalances.
The inner medulla triggers the instinctual fight or flight response which then secretes adrenaline hormones that increase blood sugar levels, blood pressure and heart rate in response to stress. Over time, chronic elevated stress levels can lead to weight gain, decreased resistance to infections, fatigue, muscle aches and low blood sugar.
During menopause, the workload of the adrenals increases as these glands become the primary source for creating estrogen and other sex hormones in women.
What are the Adrenal Glands?
The adrenal glands are the workhorse of the body driving the endocrine system. They regulate the body’s response to stress and are made of two separate organs combined into one location – the outer portion called the adrenal cortex and the inner portion called the adrenal medulla.
The adrenal cortex serves primarily a hormonal function – including regulation of mineral metabolism (sodium, potassium, chloride), water balance, metabolism (utilization and distribution of protein, carbohydrates, and fat), allergic and immune reactions (autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivity, and allergies,) and production of the male and female hormones (progesterone, testosterone, estrogens, DHEA, etc.).
The cortex also secretes corticosteroids in response to stress. These hormones help us to cope with long-term stressors by converting protein into energy. Long after the fight or flight response mechanism subsides, the energy still remains available.
The upside is that adrenal dysfunction can be healed. Creating a healthy endocrine system that continues to balance your hormones and incorporating stress reduction techniques will slow the aging process and keep you vibrant and healthy as you age.
Energy Medicine Quick Tips for Adrenal Support
A. Daily Energy Routine – to learn the Daily Energy Routine get our free eBook.
B. Triple Warmer Triangle – use to balance Thyroid, to reduce hot flashes, to calm and de-stress. Hold #1 at the jugular notch with your thumb, index and middle fingers of one hand. With your other hand use the same 3 fingers to hold #A at the temple for 3-5 minutes. Switch and repeat on the other side.
Adrenal Points – Using the 3-Finger Notch described above, hold A – Triple Warmer Neurovascular on one side of temple and with the other hand hold 1″ above and 1″ out from navel on both sides with thumb and middle finger for 3-5 minutes. Switch hands and repeat on other side. An alternate version is to hold a 3-Finger notch at the #1 Thyroid Point while simultaneously holding the Adrenal Points above the navel.
Cortisol Points – Using the 3-Finger Notch described above, hold A – Triple Warmer Neurovascular on one side of temple and with the other hand hold #12 – Cortisol Points 1″ below and 1″ out from navel on both sides with thumb and middle finger for 3-5 minutes. Switch hands and repeat on other side. An alternate version is to hold a 3-Finger notch at the #1 Thyroid Point (above) while simultaneously holding the Cortisol.
An alternate version is to hold a 3-Finger notch at the #1 Thyroid Point (above) while simultaneously holding the Cortisol.
Avoid these Dietary Stressors for Good Adrenal Health:
*Refined sugar or artificial sugar substitutes that contain aspartame.
* Foods rich in Potassium like bananas, melons, dried figs, raisins, dates, grapes, oranges and grapefruit as they may make your adrenal fatigue worse.
*Simple or refined carbohydrates like pasta, white bread, crackers, cakes, cookies, etc.
*Caffeine, alcohol, sweetened fruit juices, and carbonated soft drinks.
* Processed foods that use sodium nitrates as a preservative such as hot dogs, lunch meats and bacon.
* Wheat products that contain gluten found in breads, crackers, pastas, etc.
* All fermented foods such as wine and cheese.
*Monosodium glutamate (MSG) used in many processed foods.
*Stimulant drugs and nicotine.
Endocrine System: Understanding Adrenal Fatigue
The endocrine system is responsible for hormonal functions in the body and produces over sixty distinct hormones each of which has a very specific job to do. This system controls your physical growth, mood, stress response, reproduction, mental functionality and immune system. When not working properly you become more susceptible to disease and your ability to fight off infection is weakened. Endocrine glands and their function impact every area of your health. The keystone of Energy Medicine has always been awakening the body’s natural intelligence to heal itself and restore balance to all nine energy systems. The acupuncture meridians are energy pathways that crisscross the body communicating with organs and endocrine glands. When your body’s energies become depleted, you can suffer from fatigue, hot flashes, environmental sensitivities, anxiety, weight gain, joint pain, irritability, depression, digestive problems, dizziness upon rising, poor concentration, infertility, insomnia and much more.
What are the endocrine glands and what do they do?
The major endocrine glands include the adrenals, pineal, pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, pancreas, testes and ovaries. Lets begin our focus on your adrenals. They are about the size of a walnut sitting on top of and controlling the Kidneys. Between living in a stressful environment, making poor food choices, and not getting enough sleep our adrenals operate from a place of exhaustion. There is not a single function in the body that doesn’t occur without your adrenals playing some key role.
Optimizing Your Adrenals
The endocrine system provides regulation of the body through hormonal secretions. Cultivating your endocrine health combined with proper nutrition and diet can boost energy, reduce insomnia, relieve depression, improve circulation, improve appetite, relieve muscle aches and assist in recovering from endocrine disorders. One of the easiest ways to create a healthy endocrine system is to eat nutritious meals and have a well balanced diet.
A few basic steps you can take to improve your overall adrenal health are:
Meals – When you eat is just as important as how you eat. Eating a nutritious, protein rich breakfast within an hour of waking rather you are hungry or not will provide energetic benefits throughout your day. Eat slowly and don’t rush through your meals. Allowing your body time to properly digest food reduces after-meal fatigue, boosts your immune system, and enables your endocrine system to properly process nutritional intake. Eating regular meals and snacks throughout your day will support your adrenal glands and will balance your blood sugar and cortisol levels too.
Exercise – Regular exercise boosts the immune system, improves cardiovascular health, muscle mass, and prevents bone loss. Stress reducing exercises such as the Daily Energy Medicine Routine, yoga, qigong, or tai chi can also be beneficial for stress-reduction. Enjoying a walk in nature or along the beach helps us to stay healthy and happy. See the beauty of nature all around you. Watch a sunset, listen to the wind blow, smell the flowers, enjoy the birds.
Manage Your Stress – Another important part of maintaining a healthy endocrine system is stress management. Having a lot of stress in your life can cause the overproduction of hormones especially cortisol that can lead to hormonal imbalances. Our Energy Medicine for Stress Relief Super Combo offers many tools and techniques that can be integrated into your life to keep stress in check and allow you to enjoy a more peaceful life.
Rest – Take a day out of the week for rest and rejuvenation allowing your mind and body recovery time. You will be more productive the rest of the week. Enjoying an afternoon siesta is also a great way to restore your adrenals.
Sleep – It is important to be asleep before 11pm as Triple Warmer energy is at its peak between 9 and 11pm. After 11pm, the body begins to run on adrenal reserves. Allow six to eight hours of sleep per night in order to reduce stress and keep hormones balanced. The combination of stress and a lack of sleep may cause some of the glands to malfunction. If you are experiencing difficulties sleeping, energy medicine and acupuncture are excellent for treating a variety of sleep problems.
Gratitude – Having a daily practice of gratitude, forgiveness, deep breathing, prayer or meditation will reduce stress, balance hormones, and bring more joy into your life. Smile and laugh as often as possible. Purge and release all negative emotions and just say NO when you have too much to do. Believe in yourself and avoid negative self-talk. Love your family and friends. Do the things you love and enjoy!
Nutritional Support for Adrenal Health
Eating meals and snacks that are made of fresh whole foods, preferably organic or locally grown, without colors, dyes, chemicals, preservatives or added hormones are best. Including protein in all your meals and snacks are part of any healthy diet. To directly affect your endocrine system, make sure your diet includes these foods.
Salmon – provides your body with Omega-3 essential fatty acids as does ground Flax, both directly affect cognitive function, cellular function and kidney function.
Protein – eating lightly cooked animal and vegetable proteins like meat, fish, poultry, eggs and legumes are important 3-5 times a day.
Vegetables – eat plenty of vegetables and vegetable juices like spinach, chard, dark leafy greens, celery, zucchini, peppers, kelp, sprouts, green and black olives. Put a little zing in your cooking and eat all of the brightly colored ones (green, red, orange, yellow, or purple)
Fruits – papaya, mango, plums, pears, kiwi, apples, cherries, and berries are preferred. If you are dealing with adrenal fatigue and blood sugar problems, it is best to avoid fruits in the morning.
Sprouted Nuts and Seeds -
Low-glycemic carbohydrates – brown rice, sprouted grains and winter squash.
Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil – is a beneficial saturated fat that can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Salts – many people with adrenal imbalances often crave salt and will tend to have low blood pressure. Electrical function of the heartbeat requires salt to make hydrochloric acid in the stomach and for fluid around the cells. Sodium is the main fluid outside of a cell and is important in proper function of all cells including nerve cells of the brain, which impacts all of our emotions too. Don’t deny your craving, adding a good quality sea salt to your diet will help.
Garlic – Garlic boosts your immunity, increasing your ability to fight off infection. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. Cooking with one or two cloves of garlic a day is recommended.
Calcium – Calcium keeps nerves healthy and ensures their ability to communicate effectively. Milk, cottage cheese, cheese, leafy greens, dried beans and yogurt are all rich in calcium.
B – Vitamins – Directly influence the nervous system’s proper functioning and health and one’s physical and mental performance concerning the nervous system. Found in chicken, fish, eggs, whole grains, beans and nuts.
Vitamin C – Adrenal glands have a very high content of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). This vitamin helps stimulate adrenal glands into producing more of the disease fighting hormone cortin. A continued stressful environment depletes vitamin C reserves and increases the tendency for infection and disease. Good sources of vitamin C include apricots, strawberries, berries, green veggies, sweet peppers and tomatoes.
Water – drink one-half your body weight in ounces per day of good quality filtered water.