Proactive stress management and adrenal health
The holiday season is in full swing. Thanksgiving’s behind us, and the New Year is just weeks away. Between the preparations and gatherings, responsibilities, and traveling, this time of year is stressful for many. One of the centers of the body to support during this time is our adrenals!
Adrenal gland function
Your adrenal glands are responsible for releasing many of your body’s hormones into the bloodstream — many of which have to do with managing and responding to the stress response in the body. They live at the top of your kidneys, as pictured below, and produce the following key hormones:
Cortisol is widely known as “the stress hormone,” but it has several functions in the body. It’s also involved in immune response, blood glucose availability within the body, the body’s use of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, and blood pressure regulation.
This hormone plays a central role in blood pressure regulation and the regulation of electrolytes (sodium and potassium) in the body — in turn helping regulate blood pH.
DHEA and Androgenic Steroids
According to hopkinsmedicine.org, these are “precursor hormones that are converted in the ovaries into female hormones (estrogens) and in the testes into male hormones (androgens).”
Epinephrine and Norepinephrine
These hormones, also known as adrenaline and noradrenaline, increase heart rate and blood flow, control vasoconstriction (tightening of blood vessels), and assist with glucose metabolism.
About Adrenal Fatigue
You may have heard of “adrenal fatigue,” a controversial term for a collection of nonspecific symptoms possibly related to adrenal hormones. Adrenal fatigue is not an accepted medical diagnosis. And adrenal insufficiency, which sounds similar by name, is quite rare and characterized by low levels of adrenal hormones. According to Mayo Clinic, adrenal fatigue is understood by those who promote the diagnosis to be a mild form of adrenal insufficiency undetectable through blood tests but evident in physical performance.
Among other, less common concerns, symptoms of adrenal fatigue are thought to include:
- Fatigue upon waking, with “crashes” throughout the day
- Poor stress response and mood regulation
- Brain fog
- Overuse of caffeine
- A compromised immune system
- Poor circulation
- Weight gain
Whether or not you support adrenal fatigue as a diagnosis, the role of the adrenal glands in stress response is not under question, and neither is the fact that we should all be doing what we can to support our bodies’ stress responses. (If you want a deeper dive on stress response and the adrenal glands’ role in that, you can check out our previous blog posts, “The High Cost of Stress,” and “Why Is Stress So Bad for You?”
If you’re looking for ways to support your adrenal health this holiday season, you can easily find supplements that will help protect the health of your adrenal glands and support your body’s critical systems.
Common adrenal supplement ingredients:
- Tyrosine: An amino acid that is a precursor for the synthesis of norepinephrine and dopamine
- Vitamin B-6: Used in the synthesis of adrenal hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine
- Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B-5): Crucial in both the structure and function of the adrenal cortex
- Vitamin C: Also necessary for the synthesis of norepinephrine; the adrenal gland is one of the organs with the body’s highest amount of vitamin C
- Adaptogenic herbs: these are natural substances considered to help the body adapt to stress, including licorice root, ginseng, and ashwagandha
Start taking charge of your adrenal health. You can browse our directory of adrenal support supplements here — or start here, with our best-selling adrenal support formula, Adaptacin, which uses the most bioavailable forms of nutrients to help enhance absorption.
No matter where you fall on the issue of adrenal fatigue, there’s no denying that stress is real, and managing it in a healthy way is important. This holiday season, make sure to carve out some time to rest and prioritize your mental and physical health — your mind and body will thank you.