The most common health complaint I hear in my practice is that people are exhausted and burned out. Much of this has to do with our fast-paced lifestyle and increasing exposure to toxicity in our environment. In addition, when our diets don’t provide the necessary nutrients we need to regenerate and supply energy to and repair of the cells, tissues and organs of the body, our health will decline.
When cellular energy production is not sufficient to meet our needs our body reacts to this energy shortage as if it were a survival threat and activates stress hormone production from the adrenal glands. Hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine (also know as adrenaline) and cortisol and cortisone are produced at higher levels to cope with this energy shortage. As the adrenal glands become overworked from this energy shortage imbalances in the other organ, neurological and glandular systems manifest as symptoms. A condition known as Adrenal Insufficiency is the result of chronic low energy production and excess reliance on the adrenal glands to cope with this energy shortage.
Adrenal insufficiency is commonly associated with the following symptoms which can vary from mild to extreme:
- fatigue even after a good night’s sleep
- decreased tolerance to cold
- subnormal body temperature
- poor circulation
- low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- low blood pressure
- apathy or depression
- low stamina
- lowered resistance to infections
- low self-esteem due to low energy output
- joint aches and pains
- muscle weakness
- poor digestion
- tendency toward constipation
- need for excessive amounts of sleep
Adrenal insufficiency is a multi-factorial health problem and can only be solved by addressing the primary causes. If not properly addressed adrenal insufficiency can lead to a more extreme depletion referred to as ADRENAL BURNOUT, in which your body can not cope with stress and your mind and body is on the verge of collapse.
What are the adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands are golden-yellow triangle or crescent shaped glands which are attached to the top of each of your two kidneys. They are normally about 3 x 5 x 1 cm in size. Each gland had a cortex which surrounds the medulla. Each region of the gland is responsible for hormone production such as cortisol and aldosterone in the cortex and norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline) in the medulla. The adrenal gland also manufactures some of the sex hormones.
When these glands are not properly nourished or overworked they start to diminish hormone production and the above symptoms appear.
How to assess adrenal insufficiency.
Tissue mineral levels are correlated to the degree of adrenal insufficiency. The best way to assess tissue mineral levels is through a properly performed hair mineral analysis test.
There are 5 indicators of adrenal insufficiency found in properly performed hair mineral analysis samples:
1. Sodium level less than 25 mg%
2. Potassium level less than 10 mg%
3. Sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.5:1
4. Sodium/magnesium ratio less than 4.17:1
5. Calcium/potassium ratio greater than 10:1
The more of these indicators that are present, the greater the evidence of adrenal insufficiency. Also, the more extreme the values, the more suggestive of adrenal insufficiency. An initial tissue mineral assessment will help to determine the degree of your toxicity and nutrient deficiency and to provide a baseline to compare with future assessments. If you want to get a baseline hair mineral analysis please contact my office and I will send out a hair mineral analysis kit to you.
For those of you who want to get a quick idea of the likelihood that your adrenal glands are over-worked you can complete the adrenal burnout questionnaire and call me with the results from the questionnaire at 541.482.2250 . We can set up a free 15 minute complimentary consultation as the first step to recovering your energy and health. In this consultation we will:
1. Identify the causative factors of adrenal insufficiency which you can change. These causes can include: nutritional deficiencies, toxin accumulation in cells, tissues, organs and glands, hormonal imbalances, low grade infections (bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic), emotional and psychological stresses, poor sleep habits, mental attitude, and consumption of stimulating substances.
2. Prioritize these causes and set up a program that goes at your own pace which you can afford.
As your nutrition and health coach I will help you discover which are the primary underlying causes of your health problems. I will then guide you on a program to regenerate your health. I am committed to supporting you recover your health. It can be done with an intelligent approach which deals with the underlying causes of your health challenges.
Your Adrenal Regeneration program will have four main components:
- Appropriate diet for your individual metabolism
- Lifestyle modifications to support adrenal regeneration which are customized to your circumstances and receptivity
- Appropriate Adrenal regenerative nutritional supporting, click here for my supplement suggestions
- Detoxification program phased in after your regeneration program has stabilized
Jim talks about Adrenal burnout: assessment, causes and solutions. Health Talk Radio Interview October 16, 2008 (42 Mb .mp3 file; interview is approx. 45 min. long)
Health Talk Radio Interview November 4, 2008 (45Mb .mp3 file; interview is approx. 45 min. long)
ADRENAL BURNOUT SYNDROME by Lawrence Wilson, MD
Adrenal insufficiency defined (Wikipedia)
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