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Adrenal Glands: the reason stress is so harmful to your body

We have all heard that stress is damaging to your health, and many people strive to eliminate stress from their lives or have wonderful coping methods, but few know the reason behind this assertion. The answer lies in two small glands located above you kidneys called the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for regulating your sleep and your metabolism, but they are also the gland that activates adrenaline during times of stress.

When your body experiences every day stress, it naturally has the fight or flight stress reactor that tells your adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and prepare you to either fight or flee. When the adrenaline courses through your system, blood is redirected from your digestive tract to your muscles to give you more strength. This is an important response to our body in serious situations, however, our body gets this same reaction when we come into stress at work, when we are worked up over running late—you get the idea. When our body constantly faces stressors, our adrenal glands are over worked and are not given the appropriate time to recover.

What can happen if your adrenal glands are overworked? There are multiple symptoms related to adrenal fatigue that can easily be prevented by keeping good adrenal health. One common symptom is poor digestive health. If the blood from our digestive tract is taken away to fuel our muscles, then our stomach and intestines are working with less nutrients and energy. We can therefore have issues such as indigestion, constipation, low appetite, weight problems—all symptoms common to adrenal fatigue. Since our adrenals regulate our metabolism, many people who have difficulties losing weight find greater success achieving weight loss once their adrenal glands are balanced.

Another common symptom is fatigue. Your adrenal glands are responsible for regulating your sleep and when they are overused, they cannot function properly. This leads to difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep at night.

How do you know if your adrenal glands are overworked and fatigued?

There are a few simple tests you can do. If you stand up and feel dizzy, that is a sign that the adrenal glands are not functioning properly as they are supposed to give your blood pressure a small spike to deal with the “stress” of movement.

If you have access to a blood pressure cuff, take your blood pressure sitting down and then again while you stand up and cross your arm over your chest. If your blood pressure stays the same or drops, you have adrenal fatigue.

Some other factors that can affect your adrenals that you should avoid, especially during adrenal fatigue, are toxins that over stimulate the adrenals. Caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and cigarettes all over work the adrenals, leaving them depleted and unable to provide you energy and sleep when you need it.

What can you do for your adrenals? If you are experiencing symptoms of adrenal fatigue, it is highly recommended to see a chiropractor to ensure your spine remains in alignment to give proper nerve flow to the adrenals to shorten recover time. 

Preventative care is always helpful—find creative ways to reduce your stress and de-stress when you find yourself with too much on your plate. Avoid caffeine, smoking, and sugar to keep your body healthy and ready for stress should you experience it. Adrenal supplements may also be purchased over the counter and taken at the recommended dose to help rebalance your adrenals. Come in and talk to Dr. Bell about your adrenal health and save your body from the symptoms from stress!

Author: Kaleigh Woods 2015

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