Stress and your adrenals

I’m working on the assumption that most of you hear the term adrenal exhaustion and draw a blank? If you are in the yes camp, my challenge for the next 3 minutes is fill in the gap.

If you sat in my consulting room for a day, you would hear almost every single patient say “im, tired”, “the alarm goes off and I just want to roll over and go back to sleep”. Sound familiar?

Let’s wind the clock back a few millennia….. Our ancestors were a physical bunch, but apart from hunting and gathering and the occasional run in with a hungry tiger, their day to day life was relatively simple. Wake, eat, hunt, eat, sleep. No mortgages hanging over their heads, no stuffy offices to spend 10 hours a day in, no plastic food. They rose and fell with the sun, immersed themselves in nature and lived off the land.

Enter homosapien of the modern era, and with it comes a whole lot more……. STRESS!

We are constantly thinking, planning, working, communicating, emailing, face booking, eating, schedueling and doing, all the while day dreaming of a time and a place with sunshine, no deadlines and a whole lot of nothing. Us 21st centurians are giving it a fair crack, and at some point, something’s gotta give. We work to make money to play, but we don’t have time to play because we are always working. Relationships suffer, we eat out of packets, we lose touch with the environment around us, we want a quick fix for everything and we want it yesterday. Who is the guy trying to hold up the fort?? Our adrenal glands.

Our adrenal glands are situated on top of our kidneys. These guys secrete lots of hormones, namely cortisol and adrenalin. Hence, when we perceive stress in any form whether it be mental/emotional or physical ie a threat or heavy exercise, the adrenal glands produce these hormones to enable our body to deal with the stress. Cortisol triggers an increase of blood sugar to give us energy to either “fight” or Flight, ie stay and confront our stress or run away from it, literally not figuratively speaking!

The trouble is, we now encounter so much constant stress that our adrenals literally cannot keep up. We simply push, push, push until our body tries to get our attention. Common symptoms of adrenal exhaustion include anxiety, heart palpitations, fatigue, waking unrefreshed in the morning, aches and pains, cramps, headaches, dizziness and weight gain. Our adrenals are part of a very complex, intricate system that also affects thyroid and reproductive hormones, potentially leading to thyroid problems, infertility, menstrual irregularities and our cardiovascular symptoms. The adrenal gland produces the hormone responsible for our salt/water balance to manage blood pressure.

Adrenal load is a naturopath’s “bread and butter”. We have the tools and remedies to restore and recharge those tired adrenals.

Have I stressed you out? 🙂

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