Health, Wellness and the Adrenal Gland

Adrenal fatigue is a condition several people suffer from and for many is a condition under-diagnosed. This article will give an overview of what the adrenal glands do, and what can happen when they are overworked and become fatigued.

Flickr photo credit Dale Leschnitzer

The adrenal glands are endocrine glands which sit on top of the kidneys from which they are separated by a layer of fat. They are most known for their functioning when in situations of danger or stress the body moves into a ‘fight or flight’ state as they send adrenaline into the blood. It’s the adrenal glands that have the body ‘ready for combat.’

Their function goes far beyond this however. Hormones produced by the adrenal glands control the body’s use of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, suppress inflammatory reactions in the body and also affect the immune system. Other hormones inhibit the level of sodium excreted into the urine, maintaining blood volume and blood pressure, while others are responsible for the formation of male characteristics.

With prolonged stress and an unhealthy lifestyle, the adrenal glands become fatigued causing various symptoms including:

– premature aging

– dark circles under your eyes

– low blood sugar

– low blood pressure

– light headedness when standing up

– cravings for sweets – carbohydrates

– cravings for salt

– easily irritated

– dry, unhealthy skin with excess pigmentation

– heart palpitations

– excessive sweating or perspiration with little activity

– muscle twitches

– lower back and/or knee weakness or pain

– weight gain

– poor memory

– lack of libido

– alcohol intolerance

– fatigue, especially at midday, yet have insomnia or poor sleep

– lower immunity or increased susceptibility to infections

– increased environmental sensitivities

– allergies

Though this is not an exhaustive list, it gives insight into the vast array of problems that can be experienced when the adrenals become fatigued.

 

What contributes to adrenal fatigue? Common causes include, but are not limited to:

– imbalance or excess of emotions such as anger, guilt, worry, fear and depression

– sleep deprivation

– surgery

– chronic inflammation

– chronic pain

– toxic exposure

– excessive exercise

– overworked with physical or mental strain

– inability to absorb nutrients

– nutritional deficiencies

What can you do to help relieve the exhaustion? There are various nutritional and lifestyle changes that can be made to help alleviate the stress on the adrenal glands.

First, recognize that the body needs rest – sleep is vital to a healthy body. Get to bed early and aim for a night of uninterrupted sleep.

Eliminate sugar, alcohol and processed carbohydrates from your diet. Removal of these will help ease the adrenals as they help regulate your blood sugar. Eating regular meals can also help in this respect.

In aiming to keep your blood sugar regulated, it is suggested to avoid high glycemic fruits such as bananas, mangos, dates, pineapples, etc., for a period of time.

Ensure that a healthy fat is incorporated in each meal and eat healthy protein.

Because toxins stress the adrenals, eating organic food that is free of pesticides, insecticides and antibiotics can really rid the adrenals of excess stress when they are already in a stressed state.

Drink plenty of fresh filtered water and cut out caffeinated beverages.

It is also worth considering taking extra nutritional supplements specific to supporting the adrenal glands. Find a trustworthy nutritional supplement company and inquire about such products.

 

Do all within your means to live a balanced life. To the extent that it is within your control, keep your work time to regular hours and let go of activities and people that only add stress to your day.

flickr photo credit viewminder

flickr photo credit viewminder

Do not add to your stress by trying to implement all the nutritional and lifestyle changes at once. Start with one or two suggestions and add others as you go. Getting your adrenals back to a healthy state will be a gift you give to yourself.

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Your Diet & Your Health

Flickr photo credit Nik

There is not a day that goes by that a new, better, different diet is promoted to the public. When that happens, people jump on the “new” bandwagon. People will follow the new diet in hopes of losing the weight that they put on in the last ten years by next month. Then they jump ship when the next, new, better, and different diet comes along. This is the trend and the habit people have embarked on concerning dieting.

A better approach is to see your “diet” as a means to an end – better health, a longer and happier life. As a society, the word diet has been equated with losing weight instead of being healthy. Eating healthier foods, exercising regularly, and confronting habits that might be affecting your health; such as smoking, drugs, over eating, etc., is a more effective approach to creating and maintaining your health.

The media is doing a much better job of linking poor diet with minor and serious health issues. People who are overweight are now hearing the serious consequences and risks that are associated with being overweight. Some people are actually listening to the reports coming out and some people still do not hear the message.

The problem with eating is – we all have to eat. Eating, as with anything, can become an addiction. Eating is driven by emotions, behaviors, environments, and conditioning. People do not always understand what is driving the excessive eating nor have they been diagnosed with health issues related to their weight – yet. By the time a person develops health issues, the habits are very ingrained and people do not know how or believe that anything can change.

The truth about your health is, from the first day you decide that health is your priority your body will begin to heal itself. Your body is a self-healing machine if you provide it with exercise, better food each day, a positive attitude, remove or manage stress, change your environment, and determine what is driving the emotional side of eating.

None of the activities a person needs to do have to be very complicated or sophisticated. You do not need to walk one hour on your first day – walk five to ten minutes! Do what you can until you are ready to do more – it is that simple. Find an activity that you loved as a child – like dancing or jump roping, or biking, or swimming. The activity does not matter – the consistency and the doing matter.

Flickr photo credit Angelo Benedetto

Begin to pay attention to what you are eating, the size of your portions, the frequency of eating, etc. For one week just document everything until you can begin to see the patterns. Then determine one or two things you will change the following week; such as, having smaller servings, eating only five times a day versus seven times a day, replacing fast food for lunch with a lunch from home, etc.

There is a lot of information about the topic of health and diet. Educate yourself, find workshops to attend, join a support group of like-minded people, find a nutritionist or a health coach.

The key is to make health your habit.  For more information on diet and your health, contact http://www.rothwellnesscenter.com.