The adrenal glands are small but powerful organs located just above our kidneys. Their function in our health is crucial, and when our adrenals are dysfunctional – our whole health suffers.
So… what exactly are the adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands are key organs that can positively affect our overall wellness and optimize our health. Our adrenal glands release necessary hormones into our bloodstream. Key hormones produced by the adrenal glands include cortisol, aldosterone, DHEA and androgenic steroids, and both epinephrine and norepinephrine. When any or all of these hormones go array, chaos ensues.
What are symptoms associated with adrenal dysfunction?
Adrenal dysfunction can take on many forms and symptoms can vary. Common complaints include weight gain or loss, muscle or joint aches and pains, headaches or migraine, anxiety, fatigue, cravings for sweet or salty foods, and a compromised immune system. However, every case often faces its own symptoms and severity.
What are key lifestyle changes that can address adrenal health?
Stress management is key to providing your body with the tools necessary for health. Examples of stress management techniques include categories such as mindset, movement, nutrition, and community.
Mindset changes can include meditation or breath work, reading, journaling, therapy, and more. Movement can include resistance training, hiking or walking in nature, dancing, or performing another activity you love. Nutrition is our jam here at Rachel Scheer Nutrition, and we can help optimize your nutrition and health. Lastly, finding community via calling a friend or family member or attending a group event can be key for addressing stress.
What are some key nutrients that can aid in adrenal health?
When it comes to adrenal healing protocols, there are some key nutrients necessary to help facilitate healing. These include vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and adaptogens. These nutrients each have specific roles in our body that undermine stress to help our bodies support our adrenal glands
The adrenals require Vitamin C in order to produce cortisol; this means that after periods of prolonged stress, your adrenals are using Vitamin C at a high rate and therefore need replenishment. Focus on foods in the red/orange/yellow family to optimize your vitamin C intake.
The next nutrient to focus on is omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are the backbone of all of our hormones, so in order for your adrenal glands to produce the hormones they need to, we want to make sure we have a plethora of anti-inflammatory fats coming in to support them. The best sources of omega-3’s are wild caught fish and nuts/seeds.
Similar to Vitamin C, stress causes your body to use more B vitamins! To ensure your adrenals have the nutrients they need, add more foods like leafy greens and animal protein to get good sources of B vitamins.
Last on the list is adaptogens. This nutrient helps your body adapt to stress by regulating hormone responses to that stress. Examples of adaptogens include ashwagandha, holy basil and lion’s mane.
Do you suspect your adrenal health is suffering and want help?
Rachel Scheer is a Certified Nutritionist who received her degree from Baylor University in Nutrition Science and Dietetics. Rachel has her own private nutrition and counseling practice located in McKinney, Texas. Rachel has helped clients with a wide range of nutritional needs enhance their athletic performance, improve their physical and mental health, and make positive lifelong eating and exercise behavior changes.