In this series of articles on health I began by explaining the role and need for adequate intake of the mineral iodine and its role in optimum thyroid function. I proceeded to further explain thyroid issues and their impact on our general health. As Dr. Ron Hoffman, M.D. recently stated on his radio program – hypo-thyroidism has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. Yet for a multiple of factors mainstream medicine is missing this syndrome/phenomenon in a major way.
I proceeded in my last article to explain and describe the adrenal gland and its effect on our health and well-being. I will in this article continue on this theme. The adrenal glands are key components of the endocrine (hormone) system. The hormones affect the body’s ability to deal with stress and illness. They fortify the immune system, increase stamina, and balance metabolic energy and other hormones. Adrenal fatigue occurs when there is an onslaught of stressors in our lives. As this proceeds there is a “catch 22” phenomenon because as the adrenals weaken small stressors become magnified …which further depletes adrenal function- and on and on. As the adrenal glands function diminishes, the organs and systems in the body are affected. Changes occur in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardio-vascular system and sex drive.
So similarly to the lack of awareness of rampant hypothyroidism, is the consequence of stress affecting our adrenal gland function and it’s relation to the health problems in our society. Our autonomic nervous system (ANS) consists of both the sympathetic and parasympathetic . These must be balanced in order to decrease nervous tension, muscle spasm and pain, and produce relaxation, calmness and well-being.
As mentioned in the previous article there is a hormonal axis of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenals (HPA). Chronic and excessive stress can overtax the ability of the HPA axis to respond adequately, which results in suboptimal adrenal function ( fatigue). Adrenal fatigue is a wide-spread problem. Holistic doctors reverse adrenal fatigue in over-stressed patients which increases patient’s well-being, vitality and the ability to handle stress. In my practice along with nutritional support I see the spinal adjustments hold better when the adrenals are balanced.
Some common signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue are the following:
Difficulty getting up and being fully awake in the morning, even after a full night’s rest.
Caffeine is often necessary to get going and stay going.
Energy lows occur mid-morning and/or afternoon.
Increased energy around 6-9 pm (dinner time).
Experience a ‘second – wind’ from 11pm to 2 am.
Most refreshing sleep between 7-9am (given the chance to sleep late).
Crave salt or salty foods.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) due to cortisol’s role in gluconeogenisis.
Difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
Decreased sex drive.
Mainstream doctors are now utilizing saliva testing as we holistic doctors have been doing for some time. Cortisol levels are measured at four times during the day. Other hormones manufactured by the adrenal glands can be tested as well, such as DHEA.
Much can be done to help patients with adrenal fatigue. Effective treatment is a combination of life-style changes, dietary modifications, additional vitamin and other supplementation, and body work. In my practice spinal adjustments release tension and add energy to a weakened adrenal function. Acupressure/acu-puncture and massage further help relax spasmed tightened muscles. Laser stimulation or electric stim to the mid –thoracic spine with heat is very beneficial.
Lifestyle recommendations include minimizing stress; having a positive, thankful attitude; taking brief rests during the day; avoiding white flour, sugar, coffee and other stimulants; and eating lots of fresh green vegetables. Do not miss breakfast (not a sugary meal), and eat small frequent meals vs large meals.
Supplementation includes glandular extracts of adrenal, and herbs such as ashwaganda, rhodeola, magnolia, licorice root, maca, ginseng and others. Maintaining adequate amounts of B complex is also essential. Minerals such as magnesium also are very important.
In my office a patient undergoes an extensive case history and exam, along with testing for all the organs and systems. We prescribe the finest professional supplements, and each prescription is tested on each individual. We also treat holistically using chiropractic, acupressure/reflexology, acupuncture, emotional release techniques, and life-style change instructions. I cannot tell you how many cases of people on anti-anxiety medications or sleep meds have been able to eliminate totally their drugs by utilizing my treatment protocols.