Your Guide To Manage Adrenal Dysfunction
By Yulli Agnes, MD, MBiomed (AAM)
- You think you're healthy, but don't feel vibrant...
- You have unexplained fatigue & struggle to find the energy to get through the day...
- You are easily overwhelmed by everyday tasks that once a breeze.
- You have difficulties to concentrate on important tasks.
- You are easily irritated by family members & co-workers
- You get angry over things that never used to bother you
- Your sleep not as regular or as restful as it was once
- You have stubborn weight gain, bloating or constipation.
- Puffy eyes? Headaches?
- You have aches & pains that linger longer than they once did.
- You are catching more colds than before.
- Your libido is not what it was once...
These types of ailments affect many of us in our daily lives. They’re not serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor but they still tend to drag you down, wearing away your resistance and leaving you feeling like you’re just getting old.
If you identify with some of these statements, your body’s system for adapting to stress, the adrenal glands, is not responding optimally and your body is sending signals that life’s stresses are overwhelming its ability to keep up. And it is time to take a closer look on your body ability in adapting to stress. It is time to regain control of your own life.
This guide is not “magic bullet” solutions. They are tools to help support your body as you learn the impact of specific stressors, as well as recommendations for lifestyle decisions that can reduce the negative impact of those stressors. A simple & practical understanding about stress-response system and its effects on health will help you manage your perception of stressors and help your body begin the process of responding to stress appropriately.
YOUR STRESS TRIGGERS
All stress triggers can lead to adrenal dysfunction. It is important to find a healthcare practitioner who can help you identify the current ability of your body in adapting to stress and your personal stress-triggers. Common stress triggers include mental & emotional stress, sleep disruption, blood sugar dysregulation and inflammation.
Sleep is your body’s way of resetting itself metabolically and psychologically. It helps your body readjust to the stresses placed upon it during the day. If you are not getting a good quality of sleep your natural stress response will not be able to function properly. Identifying the root cause of your sleep issues is important so it could be manage properly. There are different causes of sleep disruption, include elevated cortisol, low melatonin, low progesterone, hypoglycemic response, sleep apnea, restless leg, etc.
Food is not just nutrients. It also contains information to help regulate systems in the body. Foods you eat (or don’t eat) can contribute to an inflammatory environment in your body. How much, how often and what types of food you eat will determine how your body will respond. Constant fluctuations in blood glucose create one of the body’s most stressful conditions. Controlling glycemic response by choosing foods that promote glycemic stability is a critical lifestyle change to relieve chronic stress.
Physical activity is important for proper health and stress management. In the right balance, exercise helps maintain insulin sensitivity, blood glucose, muscle mass and also produces body chemicals that can promote relaxation. Light exercise and stretching is ideal for producing the health benefits that result in stress reduction. Strenuous training, however, can add stress to our bodies. Ask your healthcare practitioner for the amount of exercise you should incorporate into your daily and weekly routine to optimize your stress recovery.
YOUR RELAXATION RESPONSE
Just as the stress response exists as a survival mechanism, the body also has a counter balancing relaxation response. When this relaxation response is elicited, stress hormone drop, health-inducing relaxation hormones (oxytocin, serotonin, etc.) that counter the stress hormones are released, and the body return to balance. And only in this rested, relaxed state can the body repair itself. Anything that reduces stress and elicits a relaxation response not only alleviates the symptoms, but frees the body to do what it does naturally-heal itself.
The most important supplement in managing adrenal dysfunction is adaptogenic herbs, which will help your body in adapting to stress & recover. Yet, each person is unique and have a different life story. Other supplements/nutraceuticals are used based on individual needs, some may need relaxing herbs & natural sleep aids, others needs supplements for gut healing, immune modulator or blood sugar regulation.
Often the first set of management will need to be adjusted until an appropriate combination fits. Likewise, after a season of adjustments and improvements, a new management strategy might be used to maintain the improved health status. We are all affected by stress, yet it is how we perceive and respond to the stressors in our lives that can have a big impact on our health. It’s a journey, it may take months even years, but it is your choice.