this little known body part governs your healthJun 22, 2022
16 years ago, my health was starting to spiral out of control. My gut was messed up, I had food sensitivities, joint pain, eczema, and my energy levels were plummeting. I tried to find answers but they just weren’t appearing. Doctors had no idea what to do other than avoid the foods I was sensitive to…not very helpful, as I was sensitive to just about everything I was eating!
It took me almost two full years to find a diagnosis…Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a.k.a. complete adrenal burnout and gut dysbiosis. In fact, it was an integrative doc in D.C. who introduced me to the book “Adrenal Fatigue” by James Wilson that would point me in the right direction to start feeling better.
Most people have not heard of the adrenals and don’t know why they are important. What are they and why should you care?
The adrenal glands are two small glands that sit atop each kidney. They secrete hormones, especially the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. They produce other hormones in smaller amounts.
What does your body do with cortisol? Well, have you heard of cortisone? Most likely you have, in the form of cortisone shots or hydrocortisone cream. Yup, it’s related! You see, cortisol is your natural anti-inflammatory, one of your natural steroid hormones.
From the Mayo Clinic, “Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or harmful in a fight-or-flight situation.”
Some pretty important functions. Did you catch that last sentence? Those nonessential functions in a fight-or-flight situation include digestion, peacekeeping in the immune system, decreasing inflammation, and metabolism (burning stored energy).
You need these processes to counter normal wear and tear and to absorb nutrients. If you are locked in a stress mode all day long, you won’t be getting around to these processes.
Why should you care about this?
If you want your body to be pain free, to be able to heal from injuries, to be able to digest well and absorb nutrients, to have a strong immune system, and to have balanced energy, you must pay attention to stress levels. You must create calm in the nervous system and adrenal axis so your body can repair and rejuvenate.
How? Build downtime into your schedule. Have time when you don’t accomplish and rather focus on restoring. As you down regulate your activity and focus, the adrenal glands can slow down and get a break.
This is one of the primary links between stress and our health, and it is one certainly worthy of keeping healthy. Burnout is real and it’s way easier to avoid than recover, I promise.
If you are having trouble conquering stress, check out my Stress Less Mini here.
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