August 3, 2022
The adrenal glands are two small, triangle-shaped glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They are part of the endocrine system and play a very important role in the body. They are known for regulating and producing many hormones, such as DHEA, Cortisol, Pregnenolone, adrenaline, and aldosterone. Adrenal glands are connected with vital functions of the body including, but not limited to metabolism, blood pressure, blood sugar, sleep cycle, how your body balances electrolytes, immune system, inflammation, and your response to stress.
If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “fight or flight,” that’s your adrenal glands producing adrenaline so your body can handle stressful situations. If, however, you experience chronic stress, or your body stays in a fight or flight mode for longer than intended, it can lead to exhaustion, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, aches and pains, and craving salty foods and sweets, to name a few.
There are ways to support your adrenal glands to help them stay balanced and functioning properly:
1) Manage stress levels – Managing stress is the biggest factor when wanting to give your adrenal glands a break. To help put them at ease, consider starting a practice of deep breathing, yoga, gentle exercise, meditation, mindfulness, journaling, and any other activity that brings you joy.
2) Get quality sleep – Providing your body with an adequate amount of quality sleep per night will allow your body to recover and heal. Getting restful, uninterrupted sleep will help support your adrenal glands and any recovery that may be needed.
3) Make dietary modifications – Adrenal glands need to be nourished and supported. Reducing the number of processed foods and snacks, as well as caffeine, can be very helpful for your body. Introducing whole foods such as fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, and lean, organic meats or other protein sources will help you in the long run in so many ways, and will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water.
4) High-quality supplements – Vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex, Magnesium, and Zinc can help support adrenal gland function, as well as other all-natural supplements such as licorice root, valerian root, and ashwagandha.
At Family Health Nurse Practitioner of Rochester, we can help support you in your journey and determine which options would be the best fit for you. We can start by learning more about your history and symptoms, and taking an initial blood test sample. Once we know where these levels are, we can improve them through supplementation, dietary modifications, and sleep hygiene. Throughout time, we can retest to monitor progress The only caveat to regulating these hormones is that it can potentially take several months to optimize them. However, most patients notice a difference almost immediately.