Adrenal Gland Problems: Still a Poorly Understood Secret

by Dr Arlo Gordin

You may need to repair your adrenal glands as a first priority in order to get healthy. You have two of these little guys, one on top of each kidney.  They put out a number of essential hormones for health, and they respond to, and can be damaged by, a number of life’s less desirable but often not easily avoidable occurrences.These adrenal hormones release into your bloodstream.  They include: A. The blood sugar hormone that keeps your energy up between meals. If it is low, fatigue, headaches and other symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) result. B. The anti-inflammatory/anti-pain hormone “cortisone” that keeps your body from pain, as well as from inflammatory and auto-immune illnesses.  These include illnesses whose names end in “itis” (inflammation of) such as colitis, dermatitis and bronchitis.  C.  The salt balancing hormones that tell your kidneys to not lose all your essential mineral salts into your urine.  Reductions in these play a role in such things as abnormal swellings of the body, and heart malfunctions, D.  Adrenaline which gives you bursts of energy in “stress” situations, E. Estrogen for the post-menopusal woman that helps her stay more hormonally balanced (The adrenals make the only source of estrogen female hormone in the body after menopause), and F. Sleep Balancing Hormones to help you get to sleep and sleep well.  

Because of the profound effects of these hormones, if they are out of balance, big problems are the result. Temporarily they may be pushed into high gear by stress or incorrect eating, which later eventually leads to their burnout.  Burnout of the adrenals underlies a great many health problems, and worsens symptoms in the areas of your body that you are already weakened from birth (genetics) or from other insults and causes.

Overeating carbohydrates (sweet or starchy foods including sugar, breads, cereals, etc) will cause an insulin reaction. Generally at the same time all the ill effects of over-secreting insulin occur, the adrenals will be burnt out on the rebound blood sugar crash that follows. Not balancing food properly, overeating carbs, especially ones that arrive fast as sugar in the blood, is one factor that wears out adrenals.  Because insulin reactions to meals badly chosen in type and quantity, are the leading causes of 1) overweight2)placqued and clogged arteries 3) heart attack and stroke (these two are the leading causes of death), eating better may be one of the best things you could do for yourself and your adrenal glands.  Refer to eating "40-30-30", balancing protein, carbohydrate and oil intake in the right proportions when you eat and when you snack.

Fatigue is a frequent effect of worn-out adrenals.  Because their hormones regulate the fueling (blood sugar supply) of cells, and especially those of the brain, underfueling results in low energy, worn-out-ness. Depression is another effect that may occur to an individual with an underfuelled brain and nervous system.  Many other symptoms of a worn-out energy system and poorly functioning nerves also can result. The reason so many symptoms are possible with poorly regulated blood sugar is because it is the fuel for the brain and nerves, and they are involved in every pain and physical feeling you experience, as well as controlling and regulating EVERY body function.

Your adrenals are also known as your “Stress Glands”.  Mental and emotional stress, worry, anxiety over love, money, family, any of the usual (or unusual) sources, will eventually burn out the adrenals, and cripple their hormonal output. The man who figured this out (Hans Selye) was awarded the Nobel Prize in science. He also discovered that other types of stress besides emotional can burn them out. Physical or chemical stresses can also cause adrenal burnout.  Ongoing pain, nerve system stress and malfunction, stimulant drugs, overdosing on caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol are on that list.  Despite the fact that the highest award in science was awarded for this understanding, and it was broadly written, few medical physicians give much thought to, or have approaches for assisting adrenals to repair or function.  This comes as no surprise since most medical physicians are not trained or comfortable to practice nutrition.  They are trained more with a prescription pad in one hand, and a scalpel in the other.  As such they are happy to write scripts for pain-killers, anti-inflammatories, and even the addictive and side-effect ridden medication "cortisone" much more freely than well-informed sense would allow.

If you have a chronic inflammatory disorder, generally medicine or drugs are merely symptomatic treatment.  Colitis, laryngitis, vaginitis, (notice the “itis” endings) are usually medically incurable, but just forever treatable, but only to reduce the symptoms. This is because the anti-inflammatory drugs do not treat causes, but only symptoms. Headaches and migraines similarly have important adrenal (and blood sugar) components. Asthma and allergies have vital adrenal underpinnings. If ongoing medication is your recommended course, with no real end in sight, think then about strengthening your adrenals and fixing whatever else is actually causing the problem, not just spray painting over the symptoms with medications.

When your adrenals are weak, the things that are harming them are generally winning, and those that could help them are losing.  If you want to turn that around, you must try to discard or minimize the harmers, and bring on and support the helpers.  Stress factors should be handled, chronic pain corrected, imbalanced eating repaired, to name a few possibilities.  We do know how to help you get a handle on these.

One great helper that can be instituted is to take adrenal support NUTRIENTS.  Generally this can be done with a single supplement into which several adrenal support substances are combined.  The right supplement should be chosen, and the correct dose as well. 

Adrenal rebuilding, although not an overnight process, is a cornerstone of many health miracle cases in our office.  Chronically ill, pain-ridden, and many times profoundly sick people have been restored to normal healthy lives. Migraine sufferers, asthmatics, people with chronic pains, to name a few.  Although many require other areas of the body to be treated at the same time as the adrenals are being restored, to bring the desired result, without effective adrenal treatment getting well would never have occurred. 

This is a critical arena of health to understand well and to apply.  It is not likely that it could be done adequate justice in only a page or two of writing.  I would refer you to our health class (in my name on YouTube), “Energy and Blood Sugar”.  In that seminar a much more comprehensive discussion of this subject is covered, and the specifics of solution explained. 

Our current lifestyles present great stresses on our adrenals. It is no great surprise that many of us have imperfect adrenal output, nor that some have adrenals that are really burnt out.  If you fall into either category, one of the best things you could do is help your adrenals.  While doing so, strengthen your blood sugar handling system, and reduce your risks for numerous health problems. Adrenal dysfunction causes many problems that reduce function and happiness, many nasty and “incurable” diseases, as well as those that are the leading causes of death.

Far better to support life, live it healthily, actively and to the fullest than to enrich the trillion dollar drug industry, and that only for the hope of short temporary relief.