As we discussed in a previous blog on the adrenal glands, stress can elicit the fight-flight response in our bodies, which is designed to propel us into action. However, if that response is not properly exercised, a “defeat response” can take place. This defeat response causes the function of our adrenal glands to be disrupted. Because the adrenal glands release many hormones, an imbalance can trigger other issues within our bodies, such as thyroid dysfunction, autoimmunity, inflammation and obesity. For example, a high level of cortisol, a hormone released during times of stress, can have a negative effect on the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar. So while stress may seem unrelated to blood sugar levels, in actuality they are intrinsically connected.
The obvious first step to healing the adrenals is to lower stress, or to see stress as a positive, motivational force in your life. However, if you’re already suffering from a compromised adrenal function due to high amounts of stress over long periods of time, there are nutritional strategies that can help bring you back into balance.
To nourish the adrenals, it is important to eliminate toxins from your body because toxins can act as disruptors within the endocrine system. A medically supervised detoxification program where you follow a dietary protocol consisting exclusively of whole, nutrient-dense foods can revive adrenal health and will aid in balancing blood sugars and boosting metabolism.
In addition to food strategies, supplementing with specific nutrients can also enhance your endocrine health. Utilizing the long-held theory that “like heals like,” tissue-specific glandulars that are rich in vitamins and minerals can help strengthen damaged adrenal tissues. Supplements that target increasing insulin action, such as the mineral chromium, can also assist in balancing blood sugars. Nutrients such as N-acetyl tyrosine and vitamin C are effective at supporting the production of brain neurotransmitters, which can foster mental health.
There is also an array of B vitamins that help balance the production of stress hormones; these include thiamine HCL (B1), pyridoxal-5-phosphate (B6), and pantothenic acid (B5). Herbs that aid in regulating cortisol levels include American and Indian ginseng, and licorice root.
Stress is an unavoidable reality in today’s modern world. In addition to finding ways to alleviate unnecessary stress in your life, make stress work towards making positive changes in your life, be mindful of your diet, and provide your body with supplements that provide additional adrenal support.