Learning to Balance Your Adrenal Glands.
Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators and other aggressors.
Of course in modern times, people storming your castle and wild animal attacks are not as much of a thing. Those stressors are replaced by situations like the demands of a high-pressure job, paying bills, managing difficult relationships, etc.
As a result of these pressures, your body may be signaling that you are under attack. This is where the function of the adrenal glands comes in. It’s actually pretty fascinating stuff.
Where are adrenal glands located?
Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys. They regulate the flow of critical hormones that respond to fight or flight mode, blood sugar regulation, sleep cycles, blood pressure, mineral regulation, reproductive organs, and more.
Your adrenals actually release over 50 hormones that are essential for energy and stamina. Imbalances in these hormone levels are due to a dysfunction of your brain’s communication with your adrenals along the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
But you can get a handle on this. The more you understand about stress and its effects on the body, the better equipped you will be to fight back and not let stress control your life.
In a complicated cascading process, our body responds to the stressors from our environment. The pathway of stress from top to bottom has recently been mapped in this new STRESS AXIS.
Vital hormones your adrenals make:
Cortisol – A hormone released during times of stress for an energy boost in a stressful situation. Your adrenal glands react to signals from the pituitary gland in the brain, stimulating them to produce cortisol.
Aldosterone – Plays a central role in regulating blood pressure and certain electrolytes (sodium and potassium). This hormone essentially regulates salt and water in the body.
DHEA & Androgenic Steroids – Weak male hormones. DHEA & Androgenic Steroids are precursor hormones that are converted in the ovaries into estrogens (female hormones) and androgens (male hormones) in the testes.
Epinephrine & Norepinephrine – The inner part of your adrenal glands, control hormones that initiate your flight or fight response. Epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) are the major hormones secreted from this area.
The long-term activation of the stress response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:
- Digestive problems
- Muscle tension and pain
- Heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
That’s why it’s so very important to learn healthy ways to cope with your life stressors.
Treating your adrenal glands is essential in regaining your vibrancy and general wellbeing. Your body’s systems all work together and an imbalance in one hormone can cause many other negative responses. The cascading result of constant hormonal imbalance is negative inflammation.
How can I heal my adrenals?
Restoring proper function of your adrenals begins with getting good rest, balanced nutrition, and supplements if needed. Avoid foods that are taxing to your body – foods you are allergic to, intolerant of, or highly processed. Look for whole foods high in minerals and try adding in some adaptogens to your smoothies, dressings, or in supplement form.
Other helpful tips:
- Resist the urge to reach for highly caffeinated drinks and choose a low-caffeine tea, herbal tea, or kombucha instead.
- Get the right amount of mineral-rich salt in your body. The truth is that the vast majority of people are salt-deficient! When your diet is low in sodium, your adrenals make a hormone called aldosterone that causes your kidneys to conserve sodium and waste potassium. It also triggers the adrenal gland to increase production of aldosterone, cortisol, and adrenaline. High levels of these hormones in the body have many negative effects on your overall wellbeing and accelerate aging.
NOTE : Unrefined salt is the best source and refined salt should be avoided.
Did you know you can boost your metabolism and burn fat by balancing your Catecholamines (epinephrine + norepinephrine)? These catecholamines immediately provide glucose for your body by breaking down stored glycogen and stored fat, releasing it to your muscles, so that you can perform that famous “fight or flight” response. When you ramp up the intensity of your workouts, this same reaction occurs. Epinephrine and Norepinephrine get to work breaking down stored body fat by interacting with your adrenergic receptors.
Adrenal changes with age.
As we age, several changes in hormonal levels take place.
You speed up the aging process and damage your body’s systems if you don’t rebalance your adrenal glands and find healthy ways to reduce stress in your life. As your body ages more rapidly, it will gradually increase the production and secretion of cortisol and decrease in androgen levels.
High levels of cortisol due to chronic stress in the body accelerate aging by damaging your cells – which is expressed in system dysfunction and aging. When many vital systems in your body become dysfunctional, it leads to neural and cognitive issues, osteopenia, diabetes, obesity, and more.
The ugly cycle is that this dysfunction of your brain – causing your adrenals to release more cortisol – is actually slowly causing damage to your brain cells in return.
So, what can we do about that?
- Prioritize a balanced diet – a rich in nutrient-dense protein, whole carbohydrates, green superfoods, B Vitamins, magnesium, healthy fats, omega-rich foods, herbal teas, and atoptogenic herbs
- Reduce inflammation – incorporate methods of reducing both physical and emotional inflammation through nutrition (anti-inflammatory ingredients like curcumin and turmeric) and stress-reducing exercises like my 4-4-4 breathing method.
- Incorporate mindfulness practices – this might look like intuitive eating, breathwork, journaling, regular exercise, or a self-care routine that calms the adrenal-brain axis.
- Get quality sleep – sleep is crucial to hormone balance, gut health, brain health, and so much more!
Tune in to hear some stress-reducing and holistic nutrition tips that can support your journey to adrenal balance! So grateful to share some amazing messages from these experts ♡
COOKING WITH HEALING ENERGY & INTENTION with MIRANDA KERR
EAT TO BEAT DEPRESSION & ANXIETY with DR. DREW RAMSEY
RELEASE STRESS & ANXIETY INSTANTLY with ALEX ORTNER