Our adrenal glands are truly amazing! If they weren’t , not many of us would be around. Our adrenals are our first line of defense against stress; environmental stress, emotional stress, physical stress from trauma, nutritional stress, ergonomic stress, and on and on….Our adrenals were designed for survival. We produce adrenaline when we are threatened, when we are afraid, and when we are angry. Fifty thousand years ago, it was mainly designed to run or fight the sabre-tooth tiger or the bear. Now, the tiger or the bear can be our boss, our neighbor, a family member, or a bill collector. Our adrenals also produce cortisol which is involved in reducing inflammation. Our adrenal glands also produce our secondary sex hormones as well. Cholesterol is produced in the liver and is taken to the adrenal cell mitochondria (power plant of the cell) where it is converted into pregnenolone (known as the mother of all sex hormones). From pregnenolone, DHEA (known as the father of all hormones) is created in the cytoplasm of the cell by taking off a carbon chain. Estrogen, progesterone, and then testosterone are all created in the cytoplasm of the cells by removing another carbon chain. So all are sex hormones begin with cholesterol. This is why it is so dangerous and life threatening to have your cholesterol too low. Hospital studies show the morbidity rate goes up when cholesterol reaches 165. At a level of 145, the morbidity rate doubles! If you are taking statins to reduce your cholesterol, beware! Read my section on Cholesterol, please. Our adrenal glands produce over 50 different hormones, including ones that regulate our fluid balance and blood sugar. The adrenal glands are our first line of defense in all stresses; when we are injured, when we over-exercise, when we eat or drink something that is bad for us, or when we have had too much stress, (and that includes most of us) our adrenal glands can become exhausted. The adrenal glands cannot produce cortisol to reduce inflammation and the sex hormone production drops. This is a life threatening situation. This can occur if we do not get enough sleep. This can occur when a person eats too much sugar, or has too much alcohol. This can occur when a person loses their job, has an injury or surgery, or goes through a divorce, or loses someone close. It can be a cumulative effect of multiple stressors. I would estimate that 80% of Americans have some level of adrenal fatigue. This is vital organ that probably needs some TLC. Some of the signs and symptoms are the following: low blood pressure, low blood sugar, slow heartbeat, severe fatigue, sugar craving, stressed, craving salt, sensitivity to bright lights, and light-headedness when you go from sitting to standing position. If you have any chronic illness, any chronic “itis”, an autoimmune disease, cancer, your adrenals are fatigued or exhausted.
Even world class athlete’s adrenal health is very fragile. They push themselves so hard causing constant inflammation. After intense training, their cortisol levels should go up. If the do not, they are over-training, and need to rest. Sometimes these athletes can get a cold that hangs on for weeks because there adrenal are fatigued.
If this sounds like you, call today for an appointment. 813-985-1322. This service is provided through Hoffman Clinic for Optimal Health.
Kelly Miller, DC NMD FASA FBAARM CFDMP*, is a physician for Hoffman Clinic for Optimal Health.
*There is currently no licensure for Naturopathic Physicians (NMD) in the state of Florida and the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine does not currently recognize the credentialing of the Fellowship from the Brazil-American Academy for Aging and Regenerative Medicine (FBAARM), or the Certification in Functional Diagnostic Medicine (CFDMP) from Functional Medicine University.