Do you know your adrenal glands? It’s more likely that you’ve heard of adrenaline and understand how it can help us deal with stressful situations. But adrenaline is just one small part of the crucial role our adrenal glands play in our body. Beyond our stress response, they also influence immune health, sleep patterns, and even mood.
The adrenal glands secrete numerous hormones, including cortisol, DHEA, and, of course, adrenaline. These hormones are critical to maintaining functions like blood pressure, cardiovascular health, blood sugar levels, and metabolism. In fact, these often forgotten glands may be one of the hardest workers in our bodies.
Understanding the role these glands play in our bodies requires a better understanding of the sophistication of the adrenal response system. There are two parts to the adrenal glands, the inner portion (called the medulla) and the outer portion (called the cortex).
The medulla is associated with the adrenal function we all know so well – the release of adrenaline in response to an immediate perceived threat and a fight-or-flight reaction. The noticeable effects are an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and a temporary boost of energy.
The less well known part of our adrenal glands is the cortex, which is responsible for responding to a variety of stress, most notably chronic stress. The cortex releases hormones (cortisol) in a more gradual and sustained way. The blood sugar level is increased, the immune system is suppressed, and how the body converts macronutrients to glucose for energy is increased. As our human lives have evolved – we’re inundated with computer screens and traffic rather than more imminent threats, like woolly mammoths – the cortex of our adrenal glands and our corresponding cortisol levels are more taxed and could use a little bit of love and better support.
Our bodies are designed to fluctuate cortisol levels throughout the day. Cortisol peaks in the morning as we get ready to deal with the day and drops at night as we prepare to wind down for sleep. It’s no surprise that balanced cortisol levels allow for better rest, but sometimes our adrenal glands are struggling more than we realize.
Our daily lives are complicated, right? So it’s no surprise that adrenal insufficiency is pretty common. The insufficiency can range from just barely lower than normal to full-blown Addison’s disease (a loss of 90% or more of your adrenal glands’ function). But more typically, the insufficiency lies somewhere in the middle and is referred to simply as adrenal fatigue. Signs that you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue include:
- Ongoing fatigue and lack of stamina, especially after a full night’s rest
- Food cravings (salty and sweet foods) and weight changes, especially in abdomen and thighs
- Increased emotions and decreased coping ability, especially difficulty in dealing with day-to-day stress
- Mental fogginess and fuzzy thinking, especially inability to stay focused or on track
- Decreased immune response, including frequent infections and slower healing time
- Difficulty sleeping, especially feeling “tired and wired” or sleeping soundly yet waking up exhausted
Given the list, it’s likely you’ve noticed a symptom that you experience at least occasionally. Waking up tired? Been there, and done that. The good news is that rebalancing your adrenal glands is not a hard task. Taking time to breathe and reset after a particularly stressful event can help, but you can also find support through herbal remedies, like the Adrenal Health® line from Gaia Herbs. (It’s important to note that a “particularly stressful event” can include screen time before bed. So set the phone and tablet down and make time to reset your body before sleep!)
Gaia Herbs has led the way in adrenal health support for a long time, starting with the launch of their award-winning Adrenal Health® Daily Support formula and now with the addition of Adrenal Health® Jump Start and Adrenal Health® Nightly Restore. Here’s a recap of each formula, designed to help you adapt to life, naturally:
- Adrenal Health® Daily Support – a proprietary blend of herbs (rhodiola, holy basil, ashwagandha, schisandra, and wild oats) help the body adapt to stress in a healthy way.* This everyday formula is a great option for ongoing maintenance and support.
- Adrenal Health® Jump Start – a combination of physically motivating adaptogens (rhodiola, rhaponticum, eleuthero, cordyceps, and licorice) promote normal energy and stamina levels.* This formula is a powerful short-term program for overworked and exhausted adrenals.
- Adrenal Health® Nightly Restore – blends adaptogens (ashwagandha, magnolis, mimosa bark) to help the body adapt to tension in a healthy way for restful sleep.* This formula is an ideal addition to Adrenal Health® Daily Support when your body urgently needs to restore its normal nightly balance.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Gaia Herbs is a leading herbal brand with more than 200 liquid extracts, functional powders, teas, and patented Liquid Phyto-Caps™. On their farms in the US and Costa Rica, Gaia Herbs uses only organic methods to cultivate more than 6.5 million plants each year and that same organic approach is maintained throughout the manufacturing process to achieve the highest efficacy of each herb. Their seed to shelf commitment to purity, integrity, and potency ensures the highest quality and allows for complete transparency through MeetYourHerbs®, the industry’s only traceability program.