In these depressing socio-economic times no one is immune from stress.

Listening to the news, reading the paper and seeing friends and family affected by the socio-economic conditions is a constant reminder of these stressful times. Stress can have an undesirable effect on overall health and stress can have an impact on practically every system of the body.  The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for the “fight or flight” response.  Often times the onset of adrenal stress symptoms mimic so many other conditions that it is difficult to make the connection between the symptoms and adrenal stress. Consequently the onset of stress symptoms might be difficult to pinpoint and compounding stress continuously builds up until the adrenals are exhausted.  There are characteristic symptoms associated with stress, including but not limited to:

>  Difficulties in getting up in the morning due to interrupted sleep. Difficulty falling asleep due to a racing mind and often awakening between 2-4am.

>  Lack of energy in the mornings and also in the afternoon between 3 to 5 pm, getting a second wind around 9:00pm.

>  Feeling better suddenly for a brief period after a meal.

>  Need for caffeine from coffee/colas or stimulants to get going or to keep going.

>  Lightheaded when rising from a laying down position or rising from a squatted position.

>  Suppressed immunity:  High frequency of getting the flu and other respiratory diseases, also illness lasts longer than usual.

>  Decreased ability to handle stress, less tolerant.

>  Tendency to tremble when under pressure or tired.

>  Unable to remember things, less focused.

>  Cravings for salt or salty foods. Cravings for sugar.

>  Pain in the upper back or neck with no apparent reasons.

>  Feels better when stress is relieved, such as on a vacation.

>  Increased PMS symptoms for women; periods are heavy and then stop, or almost stopped on the 4th day, only to start flow again on the 5th or 6th day.

These are some key symptoms that are representative of stress.  Depending on the duration and compounding levels of stress they can manifest as generalized feelings of fatigue. A common comment is, “I haven’t been well since…” usually following a major stressor like loss of a loved one, job loss, moving, etc.

There are numerous methods that can be utilized to reduce stress.  A favorite is humming, especially when the mind keeps rehashing a stressful situation.  By humming, it preoccupies the mind with positive thoughts.  A form of relaxation exercise like yoga or tai chi can relax the body and the mind.  Prayer or meditation can provide solitude.  Keeping a gratitude journal to appreciate the blessings one has associates positive thoughts into our lives.

There are specific nutrients that are very supportive to the adrenal glands.  Depending on the adrenal glands health, some nutrients are adrenal supportive immediately unless the  adrenal glands  are completely exhausted at which point they will need major rebuilding that can take up to two years.  In adrenal exhaustion there is a tremendous need to rebuild the adrenal glands with nutrients tailored for this purpose.  Vitamin C and B complex are bare essential nutrients for the adrenal glands.  As the stress levels increase it becomes necessary to provide adaptogenic herbs and lifestyle modifications. A consultation with a doctor board certified in clinical nutrition can ascertain the adrenal gland status and make the appropriate nutritional and lifestyle changes.

This information is for educational purposes and is not intended for diagnosis or treatment.