All About Adrenal Imbalance
The adrenal glands are all a part of the greater endocrine system, a glandular system that requires perfect balance in order to support the strongest vitality possible, and supports our stress levels in our sometimes hectic daily lives. These sensitive glands are located just above the kidneys and are most often thrown out of whack when they're overused and overexerted.
When we're at an adrenal imbalance, we are basically going to feel way out of sorts, and instead of deeply examining the underlying health cause, we might attribute the symptoms to circumstance, or slap on some pharmaceutical band aids that ultimately exacerbate the issue. With an adrenal imbalance, we may go so far as to think that we just aren't that happy! But a little tweaking here and there can put the system back into a balance that brings about feelings of calmness, productivity, and a general sense of well-being.
First, let's aim to understand the issue a bit better.
What are the symptoms of an adrenal imbalance?
- Drowsiness in the morning and again between 3-5 pm
- Mild depression
- Mild to moderate anxiety
- Brain fog
- Weight gain (especially around the midsection)
- Upper back or upper neck pain
- Low blood sugar (often resulting in lightheadedness)
- Decreased libido
Because many of these symptoms may stem from other sources, it's also important to look at the causes of a adrenal issues so we can determine whether your system actually is out of sorts. Of course, if these symptoms resonate with you, it's ideal to contact your healthcare practitioner with your concerns.
Nonetheless, if we look at the underlying causes, we can start to knock them out of our lifestyle and witness the body come back into balance.
What are the causes of an adrenal imbalance?
- Stress. This one probably takes the biggest toll on the balance of hormones that your endocrine system secretes, resulting in the aforementioned symptoms. Managing stress is all about coming into balance with what your body needs. So, while sometimes, it's highly effective to balance out a day at the desk with some hardcore cardio, relaxation is also important. You will find that using simple breathing techniques is one of the most effective and efficient ways to completely recalibrate your system.
- Caffeine. Trust us, we know just how enticing it is to get yourself going first thing in the morning with a steaming hot cup of joe, and then to handle the afternoon slump (which is actually a crash from the first cup) with another. But, coffee causes the endocrine system to pump out loads of cortisol and adrenaline, effectively putting the body into fight-or-flight mode. This puts major strain on the adrenal glands, so we recommend trying a healthy alternative that contains maca - a Peruvian root that has been used for over 3,000 years for long-lasting stamina and vitality. Or, if you can't totally commit to cutting out caffeine, take it in the healthiest way you can and try the latest craze in green drinks: matcha. Matcha is a pristine green tea powder that alkalizes the system and pumps you up with antioxidants.
- Food allergies. We've all heard about the latest gluten-free crazes and experienced our own forms of resistance to leaving bread behind - but there really may be something to it. Since gluten triggers the immune system, over time, the body is less and less adept at handling stress, which is (as we now know) directly connected to the endocrine system. Try replacing wheat bread with hearty buckwheat bread.
- Insufficient sleep. When we don't sleep regularly, it puts major stress on the body, straining the adrenal glands. So try to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night to give your body the rest it needs.
So, one of the best prescriptions for nurturing and balancing the system is to systematically cut down on the causes of an adrenal imbalance. And here are a couple of things that you can add to your lifestyle in conjunction with what you can subtract:
- Tons of H2O. Your kidneys are an incredible natural cleaning mechanism, but they can't do it all on their own; they need your help to flush out toxins using clean water. Instead of guzzling glass after glass all at once, take regular sips throughout the day.
- Eat Adaptogenic Herbs. Stress reduction is inherent in the definition of adaptogens - they aid the body in healthily responding to stressors. Adaptogens can be found in many different herbs throughout the world. Lately, adaptogenic mushrooms have been getting more and more attention for their superpower abilities to help the body adapt to stress. They also have the added bonus of nearly countless vitamins and minerals, which reduces the symptom of fatigue.