The adrenal glands are small organs that sit directly above your kidneys. They are responsible for producing hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, androgens, estrogens, aldosterone, and cortisol, which are important for the regulation of number of very important bodily functions – immune system, blood sugar levels, blood pressure control, and metabolism.
If you do not take care of your adrenal glands by giving them enough time to rest and repair themselves from the stress of daily function, you may find yourself feeling less than excellent. Adrenal fatigue is characterised by the disruption of your adrenal glands’ ability to produce cortisol efficiently when it is needed. Having the right cortisol balance is essential for your health, affecting such things as your response to stress, the metabolism of glucose (which affects energy), reducing inflammation, and controlling blood pressure.
Because of the huge influence your adrenal glands over your body, symptoms of adrenal fatigue vary greatly. These include, but are not limited to, lethargy, decreased brain function, weight gain, mood swings, frequent sickness or infection, insomnia and dizziness.
Of course, these are fairly generic symptoms, and are common signs of a variety of diseases and conditions. However, if you suffer from any of the above, you may want to consider your adrenal health. There are plenty of things you can do to help keep your adrenal glands healthy, most of which are crucial for your overall wellbeing. Let’s take a look!
Sleep is the most important factor when it comes to your adrenal health. Ensuring you are getting between 7 and 9 hours sleep every night allows your adrenal glands time to rest and rejuvenate. It is also important to get to sleep well before midnight, preferably by 10pm or 11pm. Many people experience a surge of cortisol just before midnight, which can disrupt sleep patterns.
Your diet is a major contributing factor to your adrenal health. Eliminating foods that are inflammatory, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and whole grains is very important. Cutting out any foods that contain toxins or chemicals, are difficult to digest, are over-processed, and replacing them with a nutrient-rich alternatives will go a long way for your overall health, and in turn, your adrenal health.
Some healthy-nutrient rich foods that should consider integrating into your diet include fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds pumpkin seeds), cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts), and free-range chicken.
Supplements should never replace a healthy, balanced diet. However, there are some vitamins and minerals that are considered crucial for adrenal health that you may want to consider taking supplements for if you suffer from fatigue.
B vitamins – B5, B6 and B12 vitamins have been linked with adrenal health, and a B-complex supplement may be a good option for those suffering from fatigue, particularly if you consume a plant-based diet or eat little meat.
Vitamin C – Studies have shown that vitamin C helps reduce both the physical and psychological effects of stress.
Magnesium – Studies have shown that magnesium is one of the necessary nutrients for fighting adrenal fatigue.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D has been found to be quite beneficial to adrenal function.
Zinc – Zinc assists in the the production of many vital hormones including thyroid hormones, as well as the synthesis of cortisol.
A very important factor for adrenal health is stress. The two are inherently intertwined, so doing everything you can to reduce your stress levels is highly beneficial. This means resting when you are tired, getting a good night sleep (as we’ve mentioned), regulating your sleep cycle, getting plenty of exercise, doing yoga or meditating, relaxing where possible, and trying not to overwork yourself.
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