The adrenal glands are two tiny, walnut-sized glands that sit on top of each of your kidneys. However, don’t let their size fool you. These powerhouse glands are responsible for managing stress and secreting more than 50 “essential for life” hormones that control multiple bodily functions. Although approximately 80 percent of adults experience adrenal insufficiency or adrenal fatigue during their lifetime, it is one of the most under-diagnosed illnesses in our country.
Some of the functions controlled by the adrenals include:
- Managing blood sugar levels
- Regulating inflammation
- Controlling “fight or flight” response to stress
- Regulating your body’s balance of salt and water
- Producing sex hormones like estrogen testosterone
While we would all agree that the “fight or flight” response is helpful when needed, many of us are stuck in the prolonged stress mode for far too long, resulting in adrenal exhaustion.
Signs of adrenal insufficiency or adrenal fatigue include:
- Feeling tired and weak
- Suppressed immune system
- Low sex drive
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Skin problems
- Hormonal imbalance
- Poor memory
Helpful tips for adrenal recovery:
- Regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day: eat adequate amounts of protein at every meal and avoid skipping or delaying meals
- Practice some form of stress management daily (diaphragmatic breathing, guided imagery, visualization, meridian tapping like EFT – emotional free freedom technique) to build a “reserve” or “buffer”
- Make an effort to sleep between the hours of 10 PM to 6 AM allowing the adrenals to regenerate overnight
- Exercise – moderate exercise strengthens the adrenal glands
- Lower inflammation in the body
As you can see, our adrenals are an important part of our overall health and well being. If you suspect you may be experiencing adrenal issues, it is imperative to seek the help of a qualified natural health care practitioner to work with you and determine the best approach to rehabilitate these small, yet mighty glands.
Our naturopathic physicians at Rejuvena Health and Aesthetics diagnose adrenal problems using salivary testing. Blood testing is not as accurate and does not provide the most complete overall picture. Salivary hormone testing has proven to be more effective because it provides a clearer indication of the amount of free, unbound and active bioavailable hormones – the form of hormones that actually have an effect on the tissues – which are filtered into the saliva.