Your Body’s Guardian Angels

Your Body’s Guardian Angels

Your Body’s Guardian Angels

Here you are in the chaos created by a pandemic added to the chaos of the year 2020. But in the middle of this confusion and stress, your body has real heroes: your adrenal glands!

They are your body’s guardian angels, and I want you to understand them because they are the difference between health and vitality, and disease and exhaustion.

In our more primitive incarnations as humans, the “fight or flight” syndrome was over very quickly.  We would either run from the threat or stand and fight, and the body’s stress response would be completed.  Today the stress we are under is often persistent and never-ending.  It overpowers our thoughts and our day-to-day lives, creating scenarios our ancestors could never have imagined.  Your body was not designed to handle a 24/7 stress load. When you don’t have a chance to recover, you can go down the spiral of ill health very quickly.

The Anatomy of Stress

I remember how fascinated I was when I first read about the stages of stress and how the body fatigues. Now, I want to help you to see how your adrenal glands are working for you every minute of every day to keep you healthy.  They compensate for our stress, for our terrible diets, for our busy lives.

Hans Selye, MD PhD (1907-1982) was a Hungarian endocrinologist who is often called the “Father of Stress.” He called his theory of what we now call “stress” the General Adaptation Syndrome, or GAS.

According to Selye, a stress is an “occurrence that could threaten the wellbeing or survival of an organism.”   Here’s what Dr. Selye said:

“Every stress leaves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older.” 

We can only imagine how old we become after so many stresses that start so young for some of us!

Selye describes the stress response by using three stages of fatigue: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.

What Stress Stage Are You?

Stress Chart

Alarm: When your body is in a healthy state, with fully-functioning adrenal glands, it marshalls all of its resources effectively to handle stress. This is amazingly effective when the stress is temporary but becomes a problem if the stress goes on too long.

Resistance: With long-term stress, the body calls on other resources from the nervous system, trying to return itself to normal. Meanwhile, it must handle the continuing stress, so it never gets any rest at all. Soon, hormone levels are lessening, and fatigue and exhaustion begin to set in. Your amazing body is working to stay functional despite the ongoing stress, but it’s growing weary.

Exhaustion: Your body can’t keep up a “code red” condition for months and years. The constant output of hormones exhausts your body’s resources and organs, and you become susceptible to illness, or even death. Exhaustion is the stage when I start to see most of my patients.

Symptoms of Adrenal Exhaustion

Here are some clues for you to see how close to exhaustion your body may be:

  • Sweet and carbohydrate cravings
  • Increased fatigue especially in the afternoon
  • Weight gain
  • Increased difficulty handling stress
  • Anxiousness
  • Mood swings
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Heartburn
  • Yeast infections
  • PMS
  • Infertility
  • Decreased Libido
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Impaired immune function
  • Inflammation

As you age, and your stress continues, and your body strives to keep up. Suddenly, your blood pressure is higher when it’s always been low; your lipid levels and sugar levels are high when they were always normal in the past.  As women age and stress continues, heart disease becomes a genuine risk.  When you are young, you can push through almost anything you encounter.  As your stress increases with work and family and children, however, those days and years add up. Your resistance is reduced, and illness and disease can set in.

You can start to feel very old, very quickly.

Adrenals and Menopause

In addition to managing stress, the adrenals manufacture and secrete steroid hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol. All your female hormones are necessary for health and wellness, and after menopause, the adrenals single-handedly create the bulk of these hormones all by themselves! If the adrenals have reached a severe level of fatigue by the time you are in your 40s, as they have for many women, you are in for a long, hard road ahead. 

Adrenal Recovery is Possible

Over the past 27 years, I’ve helped many thousands of patients who have recovered their adrenal function. Here’s a summary of how this can happen:

  1. A patient comes in with many symptoms listed above, often in addition to other problems.
  2. Labs show the condition of the adrenals, so we’re starting with a known measure of exhaustion.
  3. Lifestyle and diet are crucial components of any effective program for recovery.
  4. Exact, tested supplementation can reduce stress on the adrenals and supply nutrients to help the body rebuild the damage.
  5. Targeted acupressure treatments reduce specific stresses from allergies, toxins, and hormone imbalances.
  6. Follow-up labs and reduced or eliminated symptoms show real, stable improvement.