Do you jump out of bed when you wake to say GOOD Morning or do you lay there imagining how possibly you will cope with the day ahead?
Ever had your mind say “jump out of bed, get motivated it’s a beautiful day” but your body just wants to lay there a few more minutes, and hit another press of the snooze alarm? You already feel empty and depleted before your day begins. The body in a way is like a car: we require our engine to be fully charged to feel our optimal best. The faster and more frequent we drive a car the more rest, fuel, services and repairs it will require. Our human body operates on the same principle. However, we frequently see patients in clinic that try to drive faster and put more demands on themselves – therefore pushing their body into a stress response, also known as ‘fight or flight’ response.
The adrenals are referred to as our suprarenal glands, located just on top of the kidneys. These little pyramidal shape glands weigh only about 3.5grams. These two glands pump hormones to help us cope with this continual stress, and when the stress doesn’t stop, our adrenals burnout.
- The adrenal cortex—the outer part of the gland—produces hormones that are vital to life, such as cortisol (which helps regulate metabolism and helps your body respond to stress) and aldosterone (which helps control blood pressure).
- The adrenal medulla—the inner part of the gland—produces nonessential (that is, you don’t need them to live) hormones, such as adrenaline (which helps your body react to stress).
Some will indulge in their morning caffeine fix or sugars to stimulate their adrenals, which is kind of like whipping them to get started. At this time of the day the blood sugar levels are already so low and the adrenals need additional nourishment not stimulation. A normal, healthy body releases Cortisol to help maintain glucose function for our brain, organs and cells however when blood sugar levels lower overnight whilst sleeping (when cortisol is unavailable), glucose levels can reduce even more. To compensate the adrenal glands release epinephrine (adrenaline) as their backup plan. Overtime with adrenaline being constantly released this can cause lower blood sugar experience, this is a reason why people may wake up during the night, plus result in irritability, mood swings and energy fluctuations.
The adrenals along with the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, also control our energy, metabolism, and hormonal balance. They are involved in the production of the hormones that regulate the fight or flight response, adrenalin and noradrenalin secretion. These important glands are like a power supply to the rest of our body’s organs; if they aren’t at their optimal function, the whole body runs at a low voltage electrical supply effecting all the organs and hormonal function including metabolism. This voltage will reduce every day unless your adrenals are nourished and have the time to rejuvenate.
Adrenal fatigue is a very common condition in today’s society now with up to 90% of the population experiencing at some time through life, due to the physical and physiological demands we put on ourselves.
- Anxiety, stress
- Lack of concentration
- Low Energy levels
- Salt and/or cravings
- Fatigue in the morning and through the day
- Trouble getting to sleep or waking up in the night
- Thyroid imbalances
- Not able to lose weight
- Too fatigued to exercise
- Blood Pressure imbalances
- Lowered Immune System
- Hormonal issues
What can cause dysfunctional adrenal glands? Our body has not evolved biologically with the amount of technology we are exposed too. Everyday life now has everything at our fingertips, which allows us access to everything almost immediately. This of course has benefits for work productivity, communication and life demands but also has major effects on the human body. With constant phone calls, emails, texts, online games or Internet to name a few, all these create an underlying constant stressed state. The human body can also have a stress response resulting in dysfunctional adrenals due to viral exposure, doing shift work, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalances, excessive exercise, inflammatory foods, food intolerances and allergen exposure. Anything that puts stress on the body physically, mentally or emotionally impacts our adrenals.
At Life Synergy clinic we can test your Adrenal Function with The Adrenocortex hormone profile test. This is a non-invasive saliva test that serves as a reliable marker of stress response and a critical tool for revealing adrenal imbalances. Salivary cortisol testing is the most accurate and powerful salivary hormone test that evaluates bioactive levels of the body’s important stress hormones, cortisol and DHEA.
This hormone test (stress test) serves as a critical tool for uncovering biochemical imbalances and other clinical conditions that may affect our day to day lives. This hormone test examines 4 saliva samples over a 12-hour period for levels of cortisol and DHEA. The Adrenocortex test should be used as a general screening test as it plays such an important role for a healthy life.
Our team at Life Synergy looks forward to helping you individually to support your adrenals and help you to feel your optimal energy and well being.
Written by: Bianca Richardson, Naturopath at Life Synergy