The adrenal glands are the “stress glands” of the body, we’ve got two, and they’re situated atop the kidneys. They are responsible for producing adrenaline and cortisol (our stress hormones). The overall effect of adrenaline is to prepare the body for the ‘fight or flight’ response in times of stress, ie, for vigorous and/or sudden action, which ultimately serves us when the timings right.
These days, we’re experiencing stress more and more. Think about how many times a day, you feel overwhelmed, overworked, and overstimulated, and catch yourself thinking, “I’m just so stressed right now!” If the body is under too much stress for too long, the adrenals can become overloaded and imbalanced, causing the body to receive toxic levels of adrenaline and cortisol.
Symptoms of Adrenal Gland Imbalance: fatigue, pain in the left knee, pain in the low back, low immune function, sensitivity to light, an inability to cope with stress, brain fog, and weight gain (especially around the abdominal area).
How Does the Adrenals Affect Your Weight?
When the adrenal glands are overworked, the body prepares for disaster, by storing fat and calories. We crave foods, we lose precious energy, and we gain weight. Normally, when we begin to feel hungry, our blood sugar drops and the brain sends a message to the adrenal glands to release cortisol. Cortisol activates glucose, fats, and amino acids to keep our body fueled with energy until we eat. Cortisol maintains blood sugar levels, and insulin helps our cells absorb glucose. When we have long-term stress, both insulin and cortisol remain elevated in the blood, and the extra glucose is stored as fat–mostly in the abdomen.
How Can You Balance Your Adrenals:
1. Sleep. Striving for 8 hours of sleep at night is ideal for the body to heal. I have a strict bedtime routine that I do not deviate from. It sets up my body for a restful good night’s sleep.
2. Be mindful of the type of exercise you are doing. Exercise can combat this adrenal overload. But too much exercise can actually produce too much of these hormones and cause your body even more stress. If you fear you have adrenal fatigue, choose low intensity exercises for less than 45 mins at a time. Cardio options include, walking, swimming, low intensity aerobics, light weight training. Heavy high intensity weight training should be avoided if the adrenals are already in overwhelm. In my latest workout routine, so that I don’t overwhelm the adrenals, I only do 2-3 moderate weight training workouts per week. I also add in a 20 min light intensity cardio workout on the opposite days. This would be in addition to my dog walks :).
3. Play. As adults we have forgotten that fun and play are essential parts of life. Making some time in your life now for more fun is essential for your well-being.
4. Remember to breathe. Breathing is an important part for calming the entire body. Taking some deep breaths can help with that. Find the time throughout the day, even at work, to take some deep breaths and this will help combat stress.
5. Have an energy healing session. Energy healing can help alleviate the everyday stresses of your body. By working on emotional and physical issues that cause stress in the first place, you are able to balance and heal your adrenals. This was a HUGE reason I have healed so quickly from my illness and lost the weight I gained because of medication. This is a must for me and again, I don’t deviate from my pre-booked appointments.
6. Adrenal Supplements. For some people, going to a see a Naturopathic Doctor or other herbal specialist can prove very beneficial in finding supplements that will help support the adrenal healing process. I highly recommend Centre of Natural Medicine in Bridgeland ( if you live in Calgary). Dr. Angela Kirk specializes in women’s health issues. She has been a huge support throughout these last six months. I take a adrenal supplement daily and also receive Vitamin B shots with other adrenal support in it twice a week. It has proved very helpful!