What if I told you that your adrenal glands are not working properly? This is due to your levels of stress, routines during the day, diet and other habits throughout the day. Would you make changes to your habits and routine to improve how you function throughout the day?
One of the biggest factors to having a rhythm to your day is cortisol. This is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland. And it has a very specific pattern that it should follow throughout the day to allow you to be at your best. That pattern is high in the mornings around 8-9am and then slowly declines as the day goes on to eventual the lowest levels at night to allow you to fall asleep.
Symptoms can be far and wide for having levels of cortisol low, high and also even a hybrid of low and high during the day. If you want to take a quick test to find out about what your symptoms and what they say about you, then follow the link here – http://adrenalquiz.com/
What can be of even more benefit is testing. There are several forms of testing that can be done as a screening of your adrenal glands. One of the most common is a blood screen. This will show you your cortisol level at a certain time of day. Also, this is showing your total cortisol level and does not distinguish between total and free cortisol. Most of the total cortisol is bound up by Cortisol Binding Globulin (CBG). This information is helpful, but not completely useful. A better test is to do a Salivary Cortisol Test. This test has a couple of advantages to it. First off, the saliva allows us to test for free Cortisol levels and secondly, it will have you collect samples at several times during the day to allow us to actually see what your cortisol curve actual looks like. Better test with more information that is of benefit.
Once you have your results, what’s next?
There are many things that can be done to correct an imbalanced cortisol curve. One of the biggest things that many people will want to do is lifestyle modifications to reset their adrenals. These will come from dietary changes – times of day that meals occur, the content of meals at certain times of day, eliminating certain foods, incorporating certain foods, etc. The goal here is to balance your blood sugar throughout the day. Having a balanced blood sugar level will take pressure off of your adrenal glands and allow them to reset. Another important aspect of your diet is to provide the nutrients necessary to allow proper function of the adrenal gland.
Activity can be something that needs to me modified as well. This could be a reduction of activity depending on your cortisol levels and/or moving exercise to certain times where your cortisol levels are normalized. When cortisol is low and high, we do not want to add in more activity, this puts more stress on the adrenal. We want to allow the adrenal some time to build back up. So, it is not a loss of activity, simply a reduction for a period of time, to allow you to get back to your full capability with activity again.
Another area that you can always change is stress management. I’m always blown away by the fact of how people are not aware of their amount of stress from current life situations. Let’s be realistic, stress is a part of your everyday life. It is your response to that stress that is truly important. The way you choose to respond to work, relationships and everyday activities will have a huge impact on how your adrenals are able to withstand acute stress and chronic stress. Simply changing the way you handle your stress response can have a very important impact on your adrenal glands.
The last area is help with your adrenals to improve with function is good quality sleep. This is making sure that you are able to fall asleep without problems, stay asleep and wake up with energy to take on the day. For most people, their sleep hygiene is in need of a major overhaul. This is what you do before you go to sleep. Watching TV, being on electronics with the blue light not taken out, doing mind-stimulating activities right before bed, etc. Most people will benefit from a 20-30 minute routine before sleep to help allow your mind and body to know that sleep is coming and let them shut down. This will help to decrease your cortisol levels so you can actually fall asleep.
Another factor will be to increase the number of hours you are sleeping, to help with recovery if your adrenals are more fatigued. Again, this may be a short-term change of sleeping 9 hours for a while until you recover and the return back to 7.5 hours at night.
These are several ways to help with resetting your adrenals and helping to get that rhythm of the day back. Get a test done, find out how your adrenals are not optimally function and then implement the changes necessary to allow you to thrive in your daily routine. If you want more information on adrenal testing click here.
Dr. Saman Rezaie is a licensed Naturopathic Physician (N.M.D), receiving his Doctorate from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. Prior to his doctorate, Dr. Rezaie completed a master’s in Molecular Biology from University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). During his time at UTSA, he worked with Strength and Conditioning programs for multiple Division I teams at the school and was a Graduate Assistant to the Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams. He has received his undergraduate degree in Biology (pre-dental) from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
Dr. Rezaie went off to undergrad having his health dramatically declined in the first semester of college due to diet and inactivity. He had put on 25 pounds and was getting sick all the time. He decided to learn more about nutrition on his own time, made changes to his diet and took up distance running. Within the second semester of his freshman year, he lost 15 pounds and his health had completely come back. Since then he has always had an interest in health through diet and exercise, with it reversing dis-ease and optimizing the body. He was able to further delve into the aspects of exercise and understand how diet impacts elite athletes while at UTSA. Finally, at SCNM, he learned numerous more therapies to health people reach wellness.
Dr. Rezaie is passionate about sports medicine, pain management, prolotherapy, gastrointestinal concerns, auto-immune disorders, anxiety, depression and other mental disturbances. He is a general practice physician as well, looking to make the biggest change in your health with the smallest possible changes. Dr. Rezaie loves motivating people to achieve health through the power of choice. On his own time, Dr. Rezaie enjoys league sports, the outdoors with his dog, Logan, and traveling.