Besides helping you to handle stressful situations in your life, the adrenal glands also perform a number of important jobs in the body. When you experience physical, emotional or psychological stress, the adrenal glands release the hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones regulate immune function, energy production and storage, muscle tone, heart rate, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress. This process works perfectly until your life becomes filled with never ending, chronic stress, which is affecting all aspects of your health.
For the body this means that the adrenal glands never get a chance to rest and recharge and, over time, they actually weaken and start to shut down, resulting in a condition known as adrenal fatigue.
Best Tips to Help Your Adrenals
Sleep is one of the best ways to give your adrenals a rest and help them recharge. Try to get a solid seven to eight hours of sleep a night, and don’t feel bad about also adding a nap in the afternoon on days when you’re feeling especially drained. When you’re tired, your body is sending you a message – don’t ignore it. Go to sleep before 10 – 11 PM and don’t use the computer or watch TV before, since these can interfere with your melatonin production and make it harder to fall and stay asleep.
Sugar, caffeine and alcohol are all very hard on your adrenal glands. Try to reduce or eliminate these as much as possible. Caffeine allows us to push past our natural energy limits, leading to increased cortisol production and adrenal overdrive. It might be hard to cut back on caffeine when you’re exhausted, but reducing the intake is the only way to break this vicious cycle. In the end you will actually have more natural energy, not less!
Eat a healthy balanced diet of high quality organic animal protein, healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, butter), coupled with ample amounts of vegetables. Don’t skip breakfasts and include protein before 10 am. Consume fruit with a source of protein and/or fat (nuts or nut butters) to maintain a stable blood sugar level.
Blood sugar management
Your adrenal glands also play a key role in balancing your blood sugar. When your blood sugar drops, it tells your body you are starving – and this is perceived as danger by your adrenal system. When you eat a diet that is high in sugars and simple carbohydrates it sends your blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. Then, the adrenals need to kick into high gear to control the situation. It’s hard work for them.
Consuming foods which are low on the glycemic index will make a big difference and help with a lot of your bodily functions, as well as your adrenals. Also, make sure you’re getting small meals and snacks every 2-3 hours, especially if you feel hungry, rather than just two – three large meals a day. Keeping your blood sugar steady lets your adrenals know you are not in survival mode and that they do not have to go into action all the time.
Exercise and relaxation techniques
Exploring practices such as yoga, tai chi and meditation and many other relaxation techniques have been proven to help your body cope with stress. These help your adrenals know that you are safe – and this allows your system to recalibrate to a lower stress state, including pumping out fewer stress hormones.
Be careful not to over-exercise, since this actually contributes to adrenal fatigue. This is one reason why many runners find that they get sick easily and many over-exercisers have trouble losing weight.
Adaptogens and other treatments
The term adaptogen refers to the unique ability of special herbs to help your body to cope more effectively with the demands and stress of everyday life. They do this by “normalizing” or “regulating” the adrenal stress response. They provide a sustained sense of calm, and while they increase energy, with the exception of Chinese ginseng, they are non-stimulating. Some of the most used adaptogens are: ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, shatavari, eleuthero – we recommend Adrenal Repair by HoltraCeuticals.
Individualized healing protocols designed by trained professionals can include adrenal glandulars, adaptogens, antioxidants, B vitamins, licorice, chromium and even low dose cortisol can reverse your negative symptoms of adrenal fatigue and dramatically improve the quality of your life.