Your adrenal glands may be something you don't think about on a regular basis, but having healthy adrenal glands is vital to your good health. The adrenal glands are small walnut-sized glands that are located on top of your kidney. These glands are important because they are essentially the "control center" for your body's hormones.
The adrenal gland is made of two layers. The outer layer is the adrenal cortex and is responsible for producing hormones, including:
The center of the adrenal gland is responsible for producing adrenaline, the hormone that the glands are named after. Adrenaline is responsible for your "fight or flight" instinct and the adrenal glands regulate the amount of the hormone that you receive in a tense or frightening situation. When adrenaline is released, your heart rate and blood pressure increase, your energy stores are ready for immediate use and your digestion slows. Your senses are also sharpened. This is healthy response to stress; however, because of the society we live in today we are putting our bodies under excess stress, which causes issues in regards to healthy adrenal function.
Today, we are putting our bodies under constant stress. We don't get enough sleep, there are financial pressures, relationship issues, dieting and a reliance on caffeine and carbs. All of these stressor put undue pressure on our bodies. When we overwork our adrenal glands, a number of reactions occur in our bodies such as:
In general, if you sleep sound, have high energy and recover well from stress then you probably have healthy adrenal glands. However, if you have no energy during the day and you can't lose excess weight without dieting, then you probably have adrenal insufficiency. All of these signs and the various reactions that occur due to adrenal fatigue are signs that your adrenal glands are under a lot of pressure and possible working at an insufficient level.
There are a number of supplements that can help you relieve some of the pressure that is put on your adrenal glands. For one, relaxing and getting enough sleep is always a good start at gaining more energy and relieving the stress from your body. If you're interested in learning more about how to rest your body and increase your level of energy, visit Martha's Vineyard Holistic Retreat.
By Dr. Roni Deluz, RN, ND RN, ND, PhD
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