Our body has an intricate system to deal with any kind of stress that is imposed by certain kinds of hormones and other biochemical changes. Ideally the body desires to be in homeostasis. Adrenal system consists of adrenal gland and its hormones such as Cortisol, DHEA, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine and aldosterone.
It is a very surprising fact that adrenal functioning has impact on almost every system in the body like digestive system, endocrine and immune system and that is why most of the unknown diseases (idiopathic) are stated to be because of stress. Stress can be physical (running marathon, fighting from chronic illness or any food sensitivity) or emotional (going through divorce, work or financial stress or being a mother). Our body is designed to recover from acute stressors and then return to balance or previous condition but if the stressor is there for a long time or in case it becomes chronic, then the adrenal gland gets fatigued, but all of this happens in stages.
Stages of Adrenal fatigue as explained with respect to cortisol and DHEA levels in the diagram;
Adrenal hormones and their function:
1. Epinephrine and Norepinephrine: They involve in flight and fight response to deal with acute stressful events like accident or fight. They make your heart beat faster, increase reflexes, supply energy to muscles, dilate pupil and shut down your digestive system and immune function for that period.
2. Cortisol: It is a natural anti-inflammatory and induces gluconeogenesis in the absence of readily available glucose from other sources like muscle tissue, fat deposits or liver glycogen. It also regulates sleep/wake pattern.
3. DHEA: It works to balance the cortisol and acts as a precursor to sex steroid hormones like estrogen and testosterone. It plays role in energy production and is important for growth and reproduction.
4. Aldosterone: It regulates the sodium, potassium and water levels in the body, thereby increasing or decreasing blood pressure.
Few Symptoms or Conditions associated with Adrenal Fatigue:
. Brain fog
. Poor memory
. Blood sugar imbalances, cravings
. Excess abdominal fat deposition
. Fatigue or lethargy
. Low immunity
. Constipation or sluggish bowel
. Caffeine or sugar addiction
What happens when you are under constantly under stress?
Under acute stress adrenal gland releases cortisol, which supplies energy to the vital organs like muscles, lungs and heart needed during the time of stress. In order to supply energy it makes sugar from different sources available in body like glycogen stored in liver, amino acids from muscle and fatty acids. So cortisol makes sugar available to the body under any circumstance. This is the normal course of action but when we are under chronic stress, cortisol and insulin remain elevated, causing extra sugar to get converted to fat, especially around the abdomen.
Chronically high levels of cortisol and insulin have the following symptoms:
# Excess abdominal fat around belly
# Sugar or carbs cravings
# Fluctuating energy levels
# Insulin resistance or High blood sugar
# Sluggish bowel movements
# Infertility or PCOS
# High blood pressure
# Mood and brain disorders
# Anxiety, nervousness
# Indigestion or GERD
Cortisol regulates sleep and wake pattern throughout the day, which can be easily disturbed by use of excessive caffeine intake and waking long hours during night. Actual cortisol pattern during the day looks as shown in the figure.
Adrenal Imbalance can be an underlying cause for many diseases and conditions of idiopathic origin. Adrenal gland also releases DHEA, which is a precursor to sex hormone that directly affects reproductive health, energy levels, waist circumference, quality of sleep and libido. Balancing the optimal Cortisol to DHEA ratio is very important as we age and their ratio can be a predictor of healthy ageing, immunity from degenerative disease and robust brain health.
How RH+ Helps?
We at RH+ help you restore your adrenal health and issues associated with it, by lifestyle modification, dietary changes and nutraceutical’s support. We will help you regain your energy, vitality and libido back, restoring your sleep and wake patterns. We use the Salivary Test to check the diurnal patterns of adrenal hormones throughout the day and then fix the pattern accordingly.