Written by Angela Ysseldyk, CNP
If you are human, you must deal with the ups and downs, the twists and turns and the daily stressors of life. We are constantly dealing with everyday inputs from family and work demands, environment, pop up ads, media, people, traffic, noise, light, social media, internal stressors, illness, physical and emotional stressors and many more.
Luckily, we have internal mechanisms and systems that help us deal with that via the HPA Axis which is a complex set of direct influences and feedback interactions among three components: the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and finally our hard-working adrenals.
The big player in this response are our adrenal glands. The adrenal glands sit right on top of our kidneys and they help us deal with our stress response. They produce hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and epinephrine. They are also our back up hormone system and help in producing DHEA, testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. They are tiny, but play a big role in our livelihood, energy and mood1. We need to look after them!
Problems arise when the HPA axis and adrenal glands get overburdened with more demand than we can manage and constantly stimulate the adrenals to secrete hormones to help us cope. This can lead to excess cortisol in the body (overactive adrenals) or even worse, tired adrenals where we have trouble managing the stress response and they could become underactive2.
Cortisol, for example has many functions3:
- Raise blood sugar. Yes, this means we can raise our blood sugar without even eating sugar!
- Stimulate blood pressure levels
- Moderate immune function
- In addition to playing numerous other roles
If our cortisol level is low, the person may experience fatigue, gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, headaches, and body pain4. Regardless we need to take action to get ahead of stress before it gets us, and symptoms set in.
Research shows following symptoms may link to adrenal fatigue:
- Belly fat and weight gain6
- increased severity of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats 7
- Hormone dysfunction (PMS)8
- Crave stimulants (caffeine, sugar, salt)9
- Insomnia - interrupted sleep, irritability10
- Fatigue, exhaustion11
- Difficulty handling stress11
If you know you are the type of person who takes too much on, has difficulty saying no, often feels overwhelmed, and tends to be hard on yourself, it’s time to take measures into your own hands!
*And of course, it is always best practice to consult your health care practitioner if your symptoms persist or worsen.
Tips for improving stress resilience:
- Say no to extra tasks and requests! Be sure to plan self care and time for yourself daily
- Breathe, incorporate meditation, yoga and other balancing activities to take you into the moment and be easy on yourself.
- Sleep – just 8 hours a night can do wonders for your well being. Don’t eat or exercise late at night and avoid caffeine after 12 noon.
- Eat colourful natural foods and avoid processed sugar laden foods.
- Take a multivitamin with minerals daily to suit your lifestyle.
- *Take adrenal support nutrients daily to reduce the effects of stress such as found in Adrenasmart.
Adrenasmart contains four synergistic non-glandular, adaptogenic herbs that work brilliantly to offer your body and adrenals the much-needed support and balance they desperately need.
Each capsule contains:
- Schisandra Berries
- Sensoril Ashwagandha
Adrenasmart is formulated to help with the stress response, including:
- Helps relieve symptoms of mental fatigue related to stress
- Helps support cognitive function
- Helps support physical stamina
- Helps support mental focus and mental stamina
- Helps to temporarily relieve symptoms of stress
Take 2 capsules with breakfast and dinner to give your adrenals the much-needed support they need to help us cope with the world of daily stressors! That way you can show up as your best self everyday! *Always read the product label before consuming.
Now is the time to look after you and enjoy your life the way you are supposed to.
- Aldosterone, Cortisol and Androgens: John Hopkins Medicine. Adrenal Glands. Accessed May 20th, 2020 at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/adrenal-glands
- Tomas, C., Newton, J., & Watson, S. (2013). A review of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function in chronic fatigue syndrome. ISRN neuroscience, 2013, 784520. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/784520
- Thau L, Gandhi J, Sharma S. Physiology, Cortisol. [Updated 2020 May 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538239/
- Janssens K, et all. Symptom-specific associations between low cortisol responses and functional somatic symptoms: The TRAILS study. Psychoneuroendocrinology Volume 37, Issue 3, March 2012, Pages 332-340
- Glaser, R., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2005). Stress-induced immune dysfunction: implications for health. Nature Reviews Immunology, 5(3), 243–251. https://doi-org.proxy.library.brocku.ca/10.1038/nri1571
- Pasquali, R., Vicennati, V., Cacciari, M., & Pagotto, U. (2006). The Hypothalamic‐Pituitary‐Adrenal Axis Activity in Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1083(1), 111–128. https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1367.009
- Woods, N., Carr, M. Tao, E.; Taylor, H., & Mitchell, E. (2006). Increased urinary cortisol levels during the menopause transition. Menopause: March-April 2006 - Volume 13 - Issue 2 - p 212-221 doi: 10.1097/01.gme.0000198490.57242.2
- Yamei Huang, Renlai Zhou, Mengying Wu, Qingguo Wang & Yan Zhao (2015) Premenstrual syndrome is associated with blunted cortisol reactivity to the TSST, Stress, 18:2, 160-168, DOI: 3109/10253890.2014.999234
- Ventura, T., Santander, J., Torres, R., & Contreras, A. (2014). Neurobiologic basis of craving for carbohydrates. Nutrition, 30((3), 252–256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2013.06.010