Adrenal stress is the modern misunderstood syndrome that affects most of us to varying degrees. Stress, whether physical, emotional or environmental, can stimulate a cascade of hormone production by the adrenals which includes adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline is the most famous of the three stress hormones and acts like an ‘upper’ helping to enhance the function of all our body’s systems in order to meet the demands of stress such as circulation. Noradrenaline is the body’s modulating hormone working to keep us revved up without causing stress to our body’s systems including the heart. Cortisol is the body’s ‘downer’ working to bring the body back into its normal healthy state when it has been revved up for too long or once the stressor has gone away.
These hormones should theoretically work very well to keep our body within its normal mode of operation. Unfortunately, in modern society, we are constantly being subjected to all types of different stressors, and whether the stressor is work related, emotionally linked or even hormonally associated, this constant level of stress causes our bodies to release constant amounts of cortisol to lower our system and the contradictory adrenaline to help us keep up with the demands of stress. This is termed ‘adrenal stress’, which is only the starting point. After a while, the adrenals cannot manufacture cortisol and with very little cortisol going around the bloodstream, one feels completely fatigued and this phase is termed ‘adrenal exhaustion’.
Some amount of cortisol is healthy and is the hormone that wakes us up in the morning. The problem is that high levels of cortisol impacts on nearly every system and hormone within our bodies. Excess cortisol switches of our digestive system causing any number of issues such as reflux, indigestion, bloating and constipation. Excess cortisol affects our immune system making us more susceptible to infection and it affects nearly every hormonal gland including the thyroid, pancreas and the reproductive organs. Additionally cortisol has a major impact on the nervous system and the neurotransmitters resulting in anxiety, sleep disturbances and mood swings.
Whilst the adrenals are busy producing cortisol, they do not produce sufficient energising hormones resulting in tiredness and fatigue. This is why stress often makes us feel tired and even though we may be tired, we still cannot get into a regular sleep pattern.
It is therefore imperative that we counter the cortisol overload that so many of us are experiencing. The analogy here is like that of a car. You get your car serviced at regular intervals otherwise it would run into the ground and yet most of us run our bodies into the ground.
In order to counter excess cortisol, I would recommend the use of Magnolia Rhodiola Complex. Extracts of magnolia have been shown to physically help relaxation and additionally lower cortisol levels. Rhodiola works to enhance the uptake of the nerve calming and mood elevating hormone in the brain called serotonin. Theanine, an amino acid derived from green tea, works to enhance the production of alpha waves which relax the brain. To summarise, Magnolia Rhodiola Complex relaxes the body and elevates mood without causing any drowsiness.
At times of stress, the adrenals place a huge demand for the water soluble B and C vitamins. Both these vitamins are required for the manufacture of anti-stress hormones. Any deficiency in these causes stress in the adrenals glands themselves resulting in greater amounts of cortisol production. Additionally, vitamins B and C have been shown to directly affect the neurotransmitters in the brain including serotonin and dopamine which are the nerve calming and mood elevating hormones. Evidence suggests that both these vitamins achieve balance in the body by metabolising chemicals known to cause anxiety and depression. Since both these vitamins are water soluble, they are not retained in the bloodstream for any length of time making supplementation vital during times of stress.
At times of stress, I recommend the use of a specific multivitamin called Multi-Guard ADR by Lamberts. This multivitamin combines nutrients including the full B complex range of vitamins together with herbs that help nourish and support the health of the adrenals. Multi-Guard ADR focuses on pantothenic acid, known as vitamin B5, a nutrient which contributes to the reduction of tiredness, fatigue and enhances mental performance.
Multi-Guard ADR also contains Korean Ginseng, one of the most extensively studied herbs, which has a long history of use as an adrenal adaptogen. An adaptogen is by definition a natural substance that helps the body cope with stress. Korean Ginseng acts to regulate the manufacture and secretion of adrenal hormones. It also strengthens the adrenal glands themselves which is especially important to those suffering from chronic stress.
Multi-Guard ADR also contains an impressive amount of Co-Enzyme Q10 which is critical for the production of the energising molecule ATP to counter tiredness and fatigue. Multi-Guard ADR is manufactured in the UK to Lamberts high quality standards.