Adrenal glands are thumb-sized endocrine glands found above the kidneys and are often referred to as the suprarenal glands. These glands are made up of an outer Cortex and an inner Medulla. Their main function is the secretion of hormones that are involved in a number of essential body functions.
The main hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex are Mineralocorticoids such as Aldosterone which regulates the blood pressure and electrolyte balance, Glucocorticoids such as Cortisol and Corticosterone that are involved in the regulation of metabolism and immune system suppression and Androgens, namely estrogens and testosterone, which are also called the sex hormones. The inner Medulla produces Catecholamine which causes a rapid response in a stress situation.
- Body aches
- Sudden weight loss
- Low blood pressure
- Skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation)
Adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed by blood tests and other tests. If you have any such symptoms, please consult your doctor and rule out the possibility of adrenal fatigue and other medical problems before trying anything else. Adrenal fatigue may be associated with day to day problems like body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. Wellness practitioners believe that the body reacts to mild adrenal gland dysfunction even when the blood tests do not show any discrepancy. The adrenal glands are unable to keep up with the constant stress and hence the problem.
1. Seeds and nuts are very good sources of healthy fats and phytonutrients. They are also low in carbs and filling. Include walnuts, almonds, chia, pumpkin and flax seeds in your meals. Keep it to an ounce (28 grams) a day.
2. Healthy fats such as Olive Oil, Peanut Oil, Rice Bran Oil and Desi Ghee add taste and health to our meals. Avoid hydrogenated oils.
3. Don’t overdose on caffeine. 2-3 cups of coffee or tea in a day are adequate.
4. Avoid excessive intake of sugar and sweeteners. Other than chocolates, ice-creams and candies, breads and certain salad dressings also contain sugar. Read the labels. Try replacing refined sugar with raw forest honey.
5. Ready to eat foods and processed foods may contain fillers that are tough to digest and stress out the digestive system. Eat fresh.
6. Ashwagandha has been used by Ayurveda to reduce stress and calm the nervous system. In a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, regular intake of Ashwagandha was found to reduce stress in adults and also reduce the cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Take it in its natural form.
7. Holy basil or Tulsi is another great source of adptogens-compounds that normalize endocrine function and promote adaptation to environmental stress. In a study published in the Journal of Restorative Medicine, Tulsi was found to have a positive effect on the treatment of stress, fatigue, high cortisol levels, adrenal deficiencies and low DHEAS.
Certain lifestyle changes can also help you alleviate the symptoms and get your body back.
1. Laugh a lot. Be happy, no one else can give you this. Do something fun daily.
2. When the body says so – REST. Listen to your body, you do not have to do everything today.
3. Sleep for 8 to 10 hours daily. Keep late nights for the weekend.
4. Exercise daily. Even a 30 minute walk will help.
5. Take out time to meditate, relax and breath. Let the mind float in emptiness, it is very soothing.
The reason for your constant tiredness and exhaustion could be Adrenal Fatigue and a major cause of it is the daily stress and pressures of life. Therefore, it is important to pause every now and then and allow your body to recuperate.