The Importance of Adrenal Support
The Importance of Adrenal Support
With the high amounts of stress so common in our daily lives, fatigue can easily become a persistent problem. One of the reasons why we become so fatigued is because through repetitive stress, our adrenal glands become taxed and work less efficiently. If you suffer from a stressful lifestyle, job, or are prone to stress out, adrenal supplementation may be the missing nutrients you need.
Our bodies are in a constant state of stress. Stress can be divided into two categories. One category is the sympathetic portion of the nervous system commonly known as the “fight or flight” response. The other type of stress involves the parasympathetic nervous system which is also known as the “rest and digest” part of our stress response. Our bodies are functioning in one of these two types of stress every second of the day.
Unfortunately, we seem to spend more time in the fight or flight response rather than the rest and digest. The fight or flight response occurs when we are subjected to high levels of stress, anxiety, anger or fear. It’s the pressure you feel when you have a deadline, when the baby won’t stop crying, or you have too much on your mind and too little time to accomplish your goals. When this occurs, the adrenals need to release epinephrine and norepinephrine into your blood stream. This is what gives us that extra boost of energy to complete the task at hand. After that, your body does not want to keep those stimulants in your system to it releases cortisol to counteract the effects of the epinephrine to restore the body to a lesser degree of stress. This is a rather large and important task of the adrenal glands.
When we are always under stressful conditions, the adrenals can wear down and become less productive. If adrenals become tired, we love to try to stimulate our system with drugs like caffeine and sugar. Although they serve their purpose, it causes more distress to the body in large quantities. At this point, our bodies do not want all of that stimulation in our bodies so the adrenals have to work harder to try to counterbalance the stimulants by increasing cortisol trying to return the body to a less stressful environment. Once again, the adrenals have to work hard to restore the body to a normal state of function.
One simple thing you can do to help yourself is use the supplements your adrenals need on a daily basis to function at an optimal level. By adding simple nutrition to your diet, you can give your adrenals the nutrition they need to work more efficiently helping you cope with the stress and recover from stressful episodes faster.
Let’s take a look at the type of nutrients the adrenals need:
Vitamin C is a supplement that is needed in over 300 of your body’s metabolic functions. Some of these include tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, and immune function. More importantly, Vitamin C is used in the production of anti-stress hormones.
B6 – Pyroxidine is pivotal to a healthy physical and mental state. B6 is involved in more bodily functions than any other vitamin. Pyroxidine is heavily involved in nervous system for normal brain function and maintains your body’s sodium-potassium balance. It helps stimulate release of adrenal catecholamines. P5P also alters cell receptor response to steroid hormones.
B5 – Pantothenic Acid plays an important role in adrenal function. It is commonly known as an “anti-stress vitamin” as it maintains healthy hormone levels and prevent adrenal fatigue syndrome. Pantothenic Acid is a substance that is utilized in every cell in the body. The adrenal glands will not function adequately without pantothenic acid.
L-Tyrosine aids adrenal gland function and relieves excess stress put on the glands. Tyrosine plays a key role in thyroid hormone production and is necessary for protein synthesis. Tyrosine maintains nervous system function by helping transmit nerve impulses to the brain and helps to improve memory and increased mental alertness, and promotes proper function of the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands.
Rhodeola Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea, or Golden Root), is a plant that grows in cold regions such as the artic, the alps, Iceland, and the Colorado Rockies. Rhodiola increases cellular energy by stimulating the production of ATP. It enhances memory and concentration. It has been shown to reduce stress-induced fatigue and improve mental performance.
Eleuthero stimulates the adrenal glands for proper and efficient function. Eleuthero is an “adaptogen” which means it can help the body adapt to stress.
Choline is needed for proper nervous transmission between the brain and nervous system. Choline maintains proper brain and memory function.
Ginger root helps modulate adrenal function. Ginger also helps fight inflammation produced by cortisol. Ginger reduces symptoms of arthritis, headaches, nausea, indigestion, and muscle pain.
Licorice shares a similar structure to adrenal steroids and has been used successfully in treating adrenal insufficiency with its ability to reduce inflammation and reduce allergy symptoms. Licorice also promotes the overall health of the gastrointestinal system.
Astralagus is used for adrenal system support as well as strengthening and regulating the immune system, as a tonic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and to protect the liver. Astragalus restore or improve immune function in immune deficient cases regularly caused by general adrenal adaption syndrome. Astragalus is classified as an adaptogen, an herb that increases the body’s endurance and resistance to a wide array of physical, chemical, and biological stressors.
Gotu Kola is an herb used for adrenal support, cardiovascular function and circulatory disorders. Gotu Kola decreases fluid retention, decreased fatigue and depression, increased libido and stimulated the nervous system. It is best known for facilitatin the function of the pituitary gland in disorders of the adrenal system when used in conjunction with other herbs.
Schizandera is an herb that used for adrenal support and function. It is known for it properties in addressing excessive stress and inadequate rest. Schizandra also helps in digestion and regulating gastric acid release. Schizandra is a mild stimulant, deep immune activator and antioxidant. Schizandra enhances and promotes general health and well-being.
You don’t need to consume all of these nutrients individually to help better cope with stress. Many vitamin companies offer adrenal support supplements that have a mixture and several of the above listed nutrients in a single dose. Personally, I prefer whole food, vegetarian sources of nutrition so you get more than just the specific nutrients but also the phytonutrients that will help your body use the nutrients to their full capacity.
Adrenal support is something I prescribe to my patients on a daily basis and have great success with it. Patients love the fact that not only are they less stressed, but they also respond to the stress faster to overcome it and return the body to the rest and digest state where we are much more calm and relaxed. I encourage everyone to talk to their doctors about the importance of vitamins and supplements. You only have one body and you need to take care of it if you want it to be healthy in your golden years.