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  • Writer's pictureJaime Heer, FNTP

Adrenal Insights: Keys to Thriving in a Stressful World

Have you ever wondered what keeps you going during a stressful day and helps your body adapt to various situations? The answer lies within two tiny, but incredibly important organs called your adrenal glands.

These walnut sized power-houses are located just above your kidneys, and are like your body's stress control center. They secrete several vital hormones, the most well-known being cortisol and adrenaline, that impact nearly every aspect of your health and well-being. Your adrenals also take over sex hormone production from your ovaries after menopause.

When they are overworked due to factors such as chronic stress, poor nutrition and unhealthy lifestyle choices, it can result in adrenal dysfunction leading to a range health issues, including:

  • Fatigue

  • Hair loss

  • Mood swings

  • Digestive problems

  • Hormonal imbalances

  • Blood sugar dysregulation

  • Immune system suppression

  • Perimenopause symptoms

By taking proactive steps to nourish and support these vital glands, you can mitigate these health challenges and enhance your overall vitality throughout all stages of your lie.

Here are ways for you to support your adrenal glands for long-term health:

Stress Management: Implement stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness. These practices help lower cortisol levels and support overall adrenal function.

Balanced Nutrition: Consuming a well-rounded diet rich in organic and colorful whole foods, high quality protein and fats gives your body the nutrients it needs in order to keep your adrenals functioning and managing your physiological reactions to stress. Avoid excessive intake of starchy carbohydrates, refined and processed foods, caffeine and sugar in order to keep your blood sugar balanced, your immune system stable and your adrenals healthy.

Hydration: Proper hydration is needed to EVERY function in the body, transporting vital nutrients to your organs and production and regulation of hormones.

Quality Sleep: Establishing a regular sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime ritual where stimulating activities (especially screen time) is turned off at least 1 hour before bedtime is essential to giveing your nervous system a chance to relax and prepare for a good night's rest. Sleep is the time for your body to detoxify and repair which is essential for adrenal recovery.

Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity helps to increase blood flow and nutrient distribution throughout the body, stimulates endorphine release, burns off excess stress and promotes detoxification. *Be aware that too high intensity exercise can increase stress hormones and so a variety of different levels of movement are encouraged.

4 Nutrients for Stress Support

Supplements: In some cases, supplements like adaptogens (e.g., ashwagandha, rhodiola) and vitamins and minerals (e.g., B-complex and magnesium) can be nourishing to your cells, reduce stress and support over-all adrenal function. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

Mindful Practices: Practicing mindfulness, gratitude, and self-care can stimulate the release of feel good hormones that are anti-inflammatory and calming to your nervous system.

Sharing time & affection with loved ones: positive and nurturing social interactions triggers the release of Oxytocin, a feel-good hormone which has been shown to lower the release of cortisol as well as reduce blood pressure and heart rate during stressful situation. Sharing social bonds and connections provides emotional support, reduces feelings of isolation, and enhances overall well-being, helping individuals better cope with stress.

By taking proactive steps to nourish and support these vital glands, you can mitigate many health challenges as well as enhance your overall vitality throughout all stages of your life.

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