The Adrenal Stress Connection
Caused by chronic stress, adrenal fatigue is one of the most prevalent conditions of our time. Learn the signs and how supplements can help you reverse it.
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It is interesting that many people have never heard of the adrenal glands, considering they command the most powerful hormones that affect your body and your life. You cannot live without your adrenal hormones, and how well you live-your quality of life-depends a great deal on how your adrenal glands function.
Adrenal Fatigue 101
Triggered by acute or chronic stress, adrenal fatigue is one of the most prevalent conditions in our time, yet it’s rarely diagnosed in Western medicine, despite being described in medical texts as far back as the 1800s.
Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands are no longer able to adequately adapt to stress. The stressors are varied-ranging from emotional, financial, and psychological to environmental and infectious. The most common symptom is low energy. Many adrenal fatigue patients may appear normal, but in reality, they have to push themselves or use stimulants (e.g., caffeine or sugar) to keep going.
There are many early symptoms that can indicate changes in normal cortisol rhythms, reflecting pre-clinical adrenal problems. To determine your risk for adrenal fatigue, see how you score on the Adrenal Stress Indicator (p. 30).
5 Supplements That Treat Adrenal Fatigue & Stress
B-complex vitamins help support the nervous system. Pantothenic acid, in particular, is important for energy production, helping convert glucose into energy. Use 1-2 capsules per day. You can also take an additional 500 mg of pantothenic acid, three times daily.
Vitamin C is very important because it is used in the formation of adrenal hormones such as cortisol. During times of stress, the body’s requirement for vitamin C can increase 10 to 20 fold. Use 2,000-4,000 per day.
Magnesium is important for energy production of every cell in your body and essential for adrenal gland recovery. Use 200-800 mg daily.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter and works like a “brake” during times of runaway stress. Stress excites the nervous system, causing irritability, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and movement disorders. GABA helps to regular brain chemistry. Use 100-200 mg per day.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is an herb that supports the cardiopulmonary
system by preventing the over-release of catecholamines from the adrenals during stress. Rhodiola also supports healthy aging, energy, emotional well-being, and immune system function. Use alone or as part of an adrenal health formula, and follow label directions for dosage.
Adrenal Stress Indicator
Write the number 1 beside symptoms you have had in the past, 2 beside symptoms that occur occasionally, 3 beside symptoms that occur often,
and 4 beside symptoms that occur frequently. Add up the total score.
__Blurred vision/spots in front of eyes
__Hormonal imbalances (e.g., thyroid problems)
__History of asthma bronchitis
__Prolonged exposure to stress (job, family, illness, caregiving)
__Environmental or chemical exposure or sensitivities
__Hypoglycemia/blood sugar problems-mood swings
__Poor concentration/memory problems (Alzheimer’s disease)
__Low energy/excessive fatigue
__Dizziness upon standing (or fainting)
__Inflammatory conditions (arthritis, bursitis)
__Nervousness, depression, irritability, anxiety, or anger
__Shortness of breath/yawning (air hunger)
__Cold hands and feet
__Low back pain, knee problems, sore muscles
__Excessive perspiration or no perspiration
__Edema of extremities or general edema
__Eyes light sensitive
__Cravings: sugar, salt, coffee or other stimulants
__Recurrent colds or infections
__Digestive problems, ulcers
__Weight gain or weight loss
__High or low blood pressure
If you scored …
Between 30 and 50: You’ve received an early-warning indicator that your adrenals are starting to weaken.
Between 50 and 80: Start with adrenal support supplements.
Between 80 and 100: Your adrenals are taxed. You may want to take an adrenal glandular product (available at health food stores) with the other adrenal supplements mentioned here.
Over 100: You are suffering from adrenal exhaustion and will require long-term adrenal support.