Do any of these sound familiar? Low energy and chronic fatigue. Dizziness, especially when you stand up quickly. Asthma and allergies. Sunlight sensitivity, (bright lights hurt your eyes, you have to constantly wear sunglasses) Muscle and joint problems. Anxiety, panic attacks, and blood sugar stress. Insomnia. Low sex drive. Digestive issues. Heart and thyroid problems. Sure, these may seem random, but surprisingly enough, there's one common link between all of them. They're all related to stress and adrenal gland Hypofunction.
Unfortunately, most traditional doctors don’t consider this conglomeration of stress symptoms to be a hypofunction of the adrenal gland. In the orthodox world of modern medicine, there is usually only Pathology or "Health." We need to realize that pathology is usually a gradual onset. For example, people don't wake up one day with massively clogged arteries or cancer. Instead, these results are cumulative and occur in stages.
Then we can assume that certain organs or glands must function less than optimally and start to break down for pathology to occur. Hans Selye was the first person to show biological forms of stress and was the originator of the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) and coined the term 'stress.'
There are three stages in the Adaptation Syndrome. First, there's Alarm. Then if the stressors aren't removed, we enter the Resistance stage. Last, we enter Exhaustion of the gland, organ or system reserves. Today, we think of stress in only its emotional forms, but we neglect to think of other potential types of stress.
Physical: this includes over or under exercising, breaking a bone or injury of some kind
Chemical: this is the biggest stressor of today's society, in my opinion, it can include poor diet, too much sugar, not enough fats, or possibly exposure to allergens (food or airborne)
Thermal: this can be things like heat stroke, going from 100+ degree heat into 70-degree air-conditioning.
Electromagnetic stress: This includes constant exposure to fluorescent lighting, cell phones or a sunburn
These forms of stress are cumulative, so although you may not feel that stressed, your body and adrenal glands still could reach exhaustion. And if you have too much stress you may even skip over both stages of stress, straight into the exhaustion stage.
All of this stress affects the adrenal glands, which consequently affects every organ of the body. When stimulated, the adrenals secrete hormones to help support your body so you can function normally. Our adrenals and nervous system are very well designed to deal with short-term high-intensity stress, but stress today is very long-term.
Thanks to long working hours, and family stress, we never get a break to rest and heal. Unfortunately, that rest and healing are what our bodies are designed to have.
So how can you fix this since taking a vacation every other week isn't an option? Well, it's crucial to get the glands functioning normally again. We can do this by looking at the factors of stress that we can control. First, changing your chemistry (i.e. diet) is by far the easiest and most productive. There are numerous ways we destroy our overall adaptive reserve.
1. Eat foods that we are sensitive to (see earlier posts about wheat and corn).
2. Eat foods that are high in sugars or starches that cause a rapid spike and fall of your blood sugar.
3. Not eat enough food (low-calorie diets).
4. Eat too much food
5. Not eat often enough to support a constant level of your blood sugar
6. Eat too often,
7. Not drink enough water,
Just to name a few of the multitude of ways diet affects your overall stress load.
Second, you can affect stress levels with physical activity. When we look at humans as a species, we're meant to do lots of low-intensity exercise with short bursts of high intensity throughout the week. Most people, though do the opposite with high intensity all week-long. They may add a day or two of 'cardio,' but it's not true cardio (see exercise post earlier). You need to flip it, and you'll be amazed at how much better you feel by doing a few little tweaks and getting more rest. If you're worried that your adrenal glands might be out of balance, A qualified Applied Kinesiology Doctor can help in determining if they are and help in re-balancing through a course of care, dietary and exercise changes.
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