Nowadays it appears that lots of people are overwhelmed by stress and fatigue. It’s a growing complaint physicians are hearing from patients. Adrenal gland dysfunction may be the origin of such symptoms as fatigue, weakness, feelings of being run down, metabolic disturbances, sistema inmunológico issues and thyroid gland disturbances.
Constant stress (both physical and psychological ), disorders such as Cushing’s syndrome and Addison’s enfermedad, in addition to poor nutrition are ways someone can succumb to disturbance of proper adrenal gland function. The adrenal glands lay just anterior to both kidneys and are responsible for secretion and production of particular steroidal and peptide hormones.
Despite their relative small size they’re non-the-less extremely important glands. The hormones responsible for keeping blood pressure and behaving as excitatory neurotransmitters are made from the inner most portion of the gland known as the medulla. The outer element, the cortex, secretes other types of compounds known as steroid hormones.
The adrenal gland hormones play a vital role in human immune function and keeping a balance of serum electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium. Disturbance of the gland’s function may have a profound effect on an individual’s wellbeing, while overall shut down or suppression of the gland can lead to death. There are lots of tests which can be conducted to ascertain if there’s adrenal gland insufficiency or disorder.
One can measure levels of these hormones as hydrocortisone (cortisol), aldosterone, epinephrine and ACTH in blood or urine studies. Serial saliva measurements of cortisol during the day are just another valuable tool. Imaging studies such as MRI and CT-scan are also valuable in revealing the existence of adrenal gland tumor or atrophy. The average quantity of cortisol produced by the adrenals is roughly 10-15mg daily.
There’s a tight balance for too little or too much of the hormones frequently cause difficulties. Once adrenal gland dysfunction is established there are several treatment options which have nutritional aid for the milder cases. For acute cases, such as Addison’s Disease very potent glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid medications are often prescribed and the patient is monitored very closely for high potassium levels, low sodium levels and conditions that may be life threatening in times of stress (as in pneumonia or another serious disease).
Those on high doses of steroids such as prednisone have to be careful and watch for adrenal suppression. For milder cases brought on by anxiety Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) has been useful. I however don’t recommend taking this as a supplement without appropriate testing. While it’s available over the counter, it’s too powerful a compound to be obtained without doctor supervision. Serum levels of DHEA-S direct dosing of the hormone.
- Extract of licorice (Glycyrrhiza) provides support of the adrenals because of its effects of decreasing the breakdown of hydrocortisone in the body. Once more physician supervision is suggested when using glycyrrhizin goods because they may be harmful at high doses.
- Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B-5) can also be helpful as it’s a precursor of acetyl CoA and acetylcholine. Vitamin B-5 is essential for the biosynthesis of adrenal hormones. The amino acid L-theanine, which can be found in tea, has been shown to increase levels of the neurotransmitter GABA and is often helpful as a calming agent. L-theanine plays a role in reducing stress, thus indirectly affecting adrenal function.
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is a modulator of chronically elevated cortisol levels leading for significant exercise and stress within the body system. Vitamin C attenuates and affects cortisol levels in addition to imparting anti-inflammatory properties.
- Melatonin, an antioxidant hormone, released from the pineal gland that regulates the circadian rhythm and sleep, has an affects the pituitary-adrenal axis. Even very low doses of Melatonin increase serum DHEA-Sulfate to cortisol levels in test subjects in accordance with a few scientific trials. Occasionally a naturopathic doctor will recommend glandular extract replacement treatment. This should be entered into carefully. Strict oversight of treatment and doses should follow.