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Do you frequently find yourself feeling exhausted, and feel you simply cannot get enough rest? Dr. Michael Karlfeldt, ND, PhD discusses why our fast-paced, jam-packed schedules contribute to chronic fatigue and health issues that are preventable by dietary and lifestyle changes. 

The stress in American society really impacts us in many different ways. The adrenals are glands I’ve talked a lot about in the past, and they are those first impacted by stress and also by the kind of lifestyle we choose to live.

We try to live in this fast-paced environment, and it is going to catch up with us. And it catches up with us in so many different ways.

The adrenal glands are our buffer zone to stress. They are located in the lower back area of the human body. The adrenals sit above the kidneys (see the diagram in the video).

These glands produce different hormones that are anti-inflammatory, and support repair of tissue and are part the whole hormonal cascade in the body.

You have a relationship between the adrenals, or what you would call steroid hormones (adrenals are one set of glands that produce these hormones), and the others such as sex hormones that are also steroid hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, pregnenanlone and others. These are all part of the steroid hormones.

When these are impacted, the result is a direct correlation to the immune system. If you are continually under a lot of stress you can experience frequent colds and flus, or chronic diseases such as auto-immune disorders. All of these vulnerabilities and conditions can occur, and occur more frequently if you aren’t supporting the adrenals sufficiently.

Also, there is an impact on the neurotransmitters such as seratonin, GABA, and dopamine. This will impact how you feel emotionally – whether you are happy or sad, etc. This also has a lot to do with neurotransmission. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that transmits from one nerve to another, the signal.

There is an electrical signal that begins in one nerve, and then you have the neurotransmitter that jumps the gap between the nerves to allow the signal to continue (see diagram in the video).

If you are deficient in these neurotransmitters, the signal cannot take place. That affects brain function, and also pain signals, and others. As you can see, when we put undue amounts of stress on the adrenals, the immune system and neurotransmitters become weakened, and it impacts our whole health. Adrenal stress also impacts our ability to digest food, and the detoxification of chemicals and metals from the body. Many of these toxins are stored in fatty tissue.

By slowing down, relaxing, getting massage, eating and cooking well, you can support adrenal function and prevent chronic health issues that are so common – such as obesity. Obesity is marked by abnormal elevations of cortisol and insulin production.  

Cortisol hormones are produced by the adrenal glands, and allows for the ‘fight or flight’ response in the body. Insulin hormones are released by the beta cells in the pancreas in response to a rise in glucose levels in the bloodstream (when we consume carbohydrates) and allows for the proper digestion of carbohydrates, a macro-nutrient in the foods we eat.

Recommended further reading for nutritional and lifestyle adrenal gland support for healing and optimal health:

Emotional Trauma and Physical Symptoms

Adrenal Glands and Avoiding Inflammation with Diet and Enzymes, Vitamin and Mineral Support

Healing Inflammation with Healthy Fats

Hormones Role in Weight Loss, Metabolic Diseases and Insulin Resistance with Dr. Schwartzbein

Photo by José Martín Ramírez C on Unsplash.