Adrenal 101 – By Dr. Alan Christianson:
Hi there. Welcome to Reset Me With Dr. C. This is Dr. Alan Christianson here. Today I want to talk about Adrenal 101. We are hearing more and more about the Adrenal glands and there role to health and how important they are. It is not always clear exactly what they are. I think that the more depth we have about things the more we are clear about what something is. The more learn about how it works or what it does the better we can do in terms of making sense of it and improving it and helping it.
So the Adrenal glands. You have got a couple of little chunks of tissue. They are about the weight and size of a nickel and they sit on top of your kidneys. So that is going to position them in the lower back area just below some of the muscle tissue. It is pretty funny because these have been known about for a long time.
In Chinese medicine there is this concept of Jing. That we are this essence. They view our level of health and vitality as being a function of how much Jing we have got. Quite literally how much of this fluid we posses. They view aging and disease as really mostly from a loss of this Jing. It kind of wears out like a bank account. We use it up as we go along and if we spend it too fast we become sicker and we do not survive as well. Many traditional garments you see from China will show pads over the kidneys and those were meant to keep the kidneys warm and to preserve the Jing. It was felt that it was stored in the kidneys. Many have argued that the concept has a lot of overlap between the health of our Adrenals.
So they are little things that sit atop of our kidneys and they manage our stress response. They also manage a lot of other things. Our blood sugar control. Our blood pressure. How our body uses all of our hormones. Including our reproductive hormones. Our thyroid hormones. You know how much inflammation we have in our bodies. What our immune system is doing. Electrolytes in our blood. These are all things that these little tiny Adrenal glands control.
There was also an idea in ayurvedic medicine called Ojus and that was a lot like Jing. It was this vital substance we possessed and the more of it we had the more strong and vital we were and the more we depleted it and wore it out from not sleeping or having difficult stressful lives the more our health suffered and the less long we would live.
Well one of the earliest findings I have found where cultures were directly aware of the Adrenals actually came up in the Americas. There was this story about these trappers who were visiting the early early Americas. Many of these pioneers or these early settlers would get scurvy as they would be out in the wintertime and catching animals for there furs. They really had no produce they were living off of game almost exclusively and in the lack of produce you are not getting vitamin C, kind of like sailors, and people can get scurvy. They can lose their blood and their connective tissues and it can be a fatal thing and pretty unhealthy. Some of these early pioneers noticed that the natives, the native Americans really did not develop scurvy. They were first told by some of the natives that scurvy was a white mans disease and that they were immune to it. That was not really an accurate or true answer. One man was taken in deeply enough to a tribe to be told the secret on how to prevent scurvy. This actually does tie into the Adrenals pretty well. So the secret was whenever a group of hunters would capture a large animal. When they would get an elk or a buffalo they would take what we now call the Adrenal glands. The little fatty tissue on top of the kidneys. They would take these small little pieces of Adrenal tissue and cut them up for however many numbers there were in the tribe. They would divide it up and everyone would get a small bite of this Adrenal tissue.
So now we know that in the body the Adrenal glands probably have the greatest density of vitamin C out of anything. So they need it function well but they also happen to contain it. They are storing it. So if you were in some cold Arctic winter and you happened to eat an elks Adrenal glands you would not have to get scurvy. So how is that for useful data. That was Dr. Westin Price actually. So we have learned these things are so relevant to all facets of our health. Our mood. Our sleep. Our body weight. Our energy throughout the day. How well we recover and heal our body. Whether we are injured for long periods of time or heal quicker. Whether we have blood sugar crasher or if we our diabetic. This is about the health of the Adrenal glands because they do all those other things.
Along the lines of what there doing is that they are making hormones and most of the hormones they make fluctuate throughout the day and this fluctuation is really how we change our state. Our alertness levels from morning versus night and we will talk much more about the Adrenal rhythm but there health is critical. Along with these other things that I mentioned they are also controlling what we call survival mode. When we are in state of stress or crisis the Adrenals make different hormones that store our fuel rather then burn our fuel. In times of famine or starvation or hibernation that was actually useful that they actually control our body weight as well.
So a couple of pieces of tissue on top of our kidneys and they make or break our health. So what are some of the easiest action tips you can do today to make your Adrenals healthier? So here is the funny thing what they do is more important or even more critical as we age but we think a lot about daily rhythms when we think about kids and infants. We are so exacting on that if you have a baby you know that you have to keep the schedule of when you are eating and when you are sleeping. Otherwise there will be no sleep. Otherwise everybody would be pretty miserable because the baby would be crying and upset. Then we kind of forget the wisdom of those practices once kids get even to be mobile. Even by toddler ages much less as adults. As adults those same habits are really good for us. They make our Adrenal stronger. Really raise our vitality and our energy and help us with our weight.
So the first step is just being consistent as to when you do things throughout the day. You know choose a good time for breakfast. Ideally within in hour of waking up. Have a nice serving of protein with that breakfast. Get some bright sunlight in the morning. Choose the times that you sleep and you wake and be very consistent with those. If your schedule is ever disrupted at least keep your waking times similar. Try not to change it and then sleep later then you normally would. It is easier to move the schedule forward then it is to keep back or keep it controlled. If you do wake up when you are used to, you will be even more tired that next evening and fall asleep on time.
So treat yourself like a baby in a good way. Keep you rhythms steady and predictable. Make your Adrenal glands healthier and get more Jing and Ojus and we will talk more about these cortisol rhythms and there dynamics really soon.
Hey would you like to learn how to re-set all of your hormones and get complete health and vibrancy back. Got a really cool 35 page full color book that I would love to give you and it will tell you all that. It is for free. It is at http://drchristianson.com/ Check it out and we will give you the book. Take great care of yourself. We will talk more really soon.