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Natural Health from A to Z
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 • Posted October 21, 2009

The adrenal glands are vital to many life processes. They are responsible for making several important hormones that run many significant functions in our bodies. The adrenal glands help us handle stress.

Adrenaline is one of the better known adrenal hormones. It is our fight or flight hormone. Adrenaline helps speed up metabolism and helps the body cope with danger. Over time, we lose our ability to distinguish between life threatening stress such as almost having a car wreck and situational stress such as being stopped at a red light too long. The end result is stressed out adrenal glands.

While you may not be familiar with the adrenal glands or the hormones they make, you may be familiar with adrenal stress. General signs and symptoms of adrenal stress include fatigue, headaches, anxiety, depression, weight gain and insomnia. There are also some specific signs. Neurological signs include waking up tired, poor short-term and/or long term memory, inability to concentrate, learning disorders such as ADD, and dizziness when changing positions.

There are many other adrenal symptoms such as allergies, fainting spells, craving sweets and caffeine, shakiness between meals, muscle twitches, blood sugar problems, discomfort with bright lights, chronic upper-respiratory infections, hay fever, and asthma. While you may not have all of the symptoms, one symptom I find that occurs in many people with adrenal dysfunction is dark circles underneath the eyes that end underneath the pupil.

Some of the ways to strengthen stressed out adrenal glands include lifestyle changes such as decreasing stress, balancing your blood sugar, and avoiding stimulants such as cigarettes, caffeine, sodas and sweets. The difficult part of this is that initially you will be even more tired. You will know you are better when after 3 to 7 days you begin to feel more rested when you wake up and more energy throughout the day.

One of the first pieces of advice I offer to anyone with adrenal stress is to make sure they are eating a good breakfast. Note that this is generally not a cereal bar, waffle, pancakes, or skipping breakfast altogether. A good breakfast has some protein in it. The protein can be from eggs, cottage cheese, sausage, or protein powder – it just needs to be high quality and complete in all essential amino acids which typically come only from animal sources.

Next, there are several nutrients that will significantly help rebuild the adrenal glands. These include B vitamins, particularly B5. A good natural source of B5 is royal jelly, a bee product that is known for increasing energy. There are also products that contain extracts of the adrenal glands of animals – mostly from cattle. Now while this may sound odd, it is a very old remedy that tends to really work. Think of the nutrients required to build healthy adrenal glands – where would they be located in a body? The answer is in the adrenal glands. With this kind of product, get the best quality you can. I prefer pharmaceutical grade.

Severely stressed adrenal glands require a lot of time to heal, but some of the information here will help you get started.

Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.

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