Do you often crave a second cup of coffee mid-afternoon? Do you feel like you can’t get a grip on your stress and anxiety level? Perhaps you never feel rested even after sleeping. These are just a few hints that you may be dealing with adrenal fatigue.
The adrenal glands are two small triangular-shaped glands that rest atop each kidney (also called the suprarenal glands). Though small in size, measuring just 3 inches long and 1.5 inches in height, they serve a number of vital functions and are an integral part of the endocrine system. The adrenals are made up of two parts, the cortex or outer part and the medulla or inner portion.
The cortex portion produces important corticosteroid hormones that are vital to life. One such hormone is hydrocortisone (also known as cortisol). Cortisol plays a role in metabolism, regulating the conversion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into usable energy. Corticosterone, another corticosteroid, works along with hydrocortisone (cortisol) to regulate an immune response when needed and to suppress any inflammatory reactions that may occur.
Another corticosteroid is aldosterone, the hormone responsible for regulating blood pressure. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland work along with the adrenals to produce and secrete these vital hormones. One kink can affect the whole endocrine system, inhibiting proper function. The medulla portions of the adrenal glands produce adrenaline, the hormone involved in the fight or flight response in stressful situations.
As you can see the adrenal glands play a very important part in hormone health, effecting energy levels, mood, blood pressure, metabolism (conversion of nutrients to fuel), and the immune system. If these glands are down or under active, it can have a chain effect, disrupting various parts of the endocrine gland system.
Some signs of weak adrenal gland function could be low blood pressure (especially systolic/ top number), chronic fatigue, brain fog, weakened immunity, inability to focus, depression, inability to deal with stress, prolonged anxiety, low libido, increased menopausal symptoms, and inability to fall and stay asleep.
How can you boost your adrenal gland function?Most people develop adrenal fatigue from poor lifestyle habits, overworking, over stressing, staying up too late, not getting enough rest, abusing caffeine and other stimulants, and poor eating habits/fad dieting. Adrenal fatigue can occur after prolonged stressful or traumatic events, for example divorce or loss of a loved one.
Developing healthier more balanced lifestyle habits is the first place to begin restoring your adrenals.
By Christina Leidenheimer, Guest Blogger for the BodyMind Institute
CHRISTINA MELANCON LEIDENHEIMER born and raised South of New Orleans, Louisiana is a raw food pioneer in "Cajun Country." Raised by a farmer, Christina's admiration for eating and growing plant foods began at a very young age. She is a certified nutrition coach (BodyMind Institute), certified Pilates instructor, ACE certified personal trainer, certified detoxification specialist, and an explorer of all things natural. She is currently studying to become a naturopathic doctor. Christina co-founded three successful health and wellness magazines, The Fit Life ( 2009), Healthy Works (2010) and Inspire Health (2012). She continues as the editor-in-chief of Healthy Works. In November 2014, she published her book, Eat Super-Natural. On August 1st, 2015, she published the book, Super-Natural Juicing- a guide to detoxification and juicing. Through her publications, Pilates classes, and one-on-one health/nutrition coaching, Christina is fulfilling her mission of educating, motivating, and inspiring others to join the journey to natural health and wellness. She promises if you come along for the ride, it's one super-amazing journey!
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