Jun 18, 2013

Keeping the Adrenal Glands Healthy and Balanced

Producing hormones we cannot live without, the adrenal glands sit atop each kidney where they are involved in making and regulating hundreds of hormones. Perhaps best known for the way they help us handle the stresses of life by releasing more of the hormones that help us cope and respond to danger, awareness of their important role is growing among those interested in maintaining their health and energy naturally.

Eleuthero root, also known as Siberian Ginseng, is widely used by natural health care practitioners to support the adrenals. It is thought to block excessive cortisol release.

Feeling anxious or sad is common with adrenal fatigue. Ashwaghanda, with its rich history of benefits to the central nervous system can help. Grown in the highlands of Himalayan India and parts of North Africa and the Middle East this herb is regarded as an adaptogen. 'Adaptogen' is a term used to describe pharmacological agents (usually herbs) that possess a wide range of regulatory activity but manifest their actions only against an actual challenge (stress) to the body. They act via non-specific mechanisms to increase the non-specific resistance to harmful influences of an extremely wide spectrum of factors that cause stress.

Codonopsis root is the best known and most widely used adaptogen. The Chinese have used it for centuries. Fo-Ti root is another important adaptogen that may help normal hair growth, increase libido, and promote restful sleep.

Astragulus is thought to improve adrenal function and may reduce stress induced anxiety and relieve fatigue. These are important herbs to consider if your adrenal glands need help. Other considerations include diet, mild exercise, and how much sleep you are getting.

Smaller, more frequent meals high in protein and rich in potassium are much better than larger, heavier meals. Juice fasts and heavy cleansing should be done later.

The seven to nine hours of restful sleep needed for optimal health, are essential in recovering from adrenal fatigue. Melatonin is an important sleep neurohormone. Produced mainly by the pineal or master gland, it is integral to the maintenance of normal Circadian Rhythm, (the internal clock that manages our sleeping/waking cycles.) As a dietary supplement it should be taken 1-2 hours before bedtime and it can be taken with most herbal supplements such as Adren-L-Aid and Bed-Time drops.

Breakfast for the Adrenal Glands
It is common to not want a real breakfast when adrenal gland function is compromised. Having a cup or two of stimulating coffee with a cinnamon roll can be a quick fix, but leave you feeling tired most of the day.

Try having a few eggs instead. Pasture-fed chickens lay eggs with the highest nutritional value. If eggs are completely unappealing, here is a recipe your adrenal glands will appreciate, and chances are, your energy levels will stabilize.

Best Oatmeal
3/4 cup coconut or almond milk
3/4 cup old fashioned oats               

Heat the milk until just boiling, add the oats and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Quickly whisk in a pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tablespoons freshly ground flax seed and one teaspoon coconut oil. Add 1/4 cup raisins and your favorite nuts. Remove from heat, cover and let set for 5 minutes. Enjoy with a drizzle of maple syrup, fresh berries or finely chopped apples.

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