These glands can be found just above the kidneys and they secrete the hormones cortisol and DHEA in response to the stresses and strains of everyday life whether it be physical, emotional or psychological. Cortisol however is the main one and it can be your friend but it can also be your enemy.
Most of us are under constant daily pressure, whether we are aware of it or not, so our cortisol levels are often higher than is healthy. Continued high levels can leave our adrenals fatigued and this is when we become overly tired, we experience very low energy levels, we suffer frequent colds and we find general daily life increasingly draining and demanding. In the UK most of us are running with our adrenals working between overtime to the point of adrenal fatigue and this is evident as most people seem to be more tired than they think they should be.
Adrenal fatigue plays a role in a wide variety of conditions including allergies, anxiety, headaches, IBS, insomnia, PMS and depression to name but a few. Below are a few adrenal questions so if you say yes to 2 or more then I suggest your body is working harder than it would like to.
Are you finding it hard to fall asleep, even when tired? Is your mind too busy and won’t slow down? Do you also wake still feeling tired?
Do you crave sugar / carbs / fat / salt and do you experience tiredness around 3-4pm?
Have you gained weight, especially around the middle?
Do you have a short fuse?
How is your libido and are your hormones all over the place?
What about your memory?
So how do you improve your Adrenals?
Firstly, rest and relaxation is required so start by trying to do some meditation, tai chi, chi kung, yoga, spend time walking in the countryside and try to get to bed earlier, without the use of technology nearby! Try to slow down and say ‘NO’ to some of life’s unwanted demands. Cut down on stimulants such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol and an adrenal support supplement would be beneficial, and this is where a good nutritionist comes in. There are many books on this subject but certainly look at The All-Day Energy Diet by Yuri Alkaim.
A simple saliva test, taken 4 times over one day, can identify what is going on with the adrenal glands but this should be done at a private lab via a nutritionist. The GP’s test will not give a thorough picture as it only shows if there is severe adrenal fatigue as with Cushing’s Syndrome or Addison’s disease.