Chances are, if you’re at least somewhat tapped into the wellness world (and you’re here, so we take it that you are), you’ve come across something about adrenals at one point or other. But regardless of whether you’ve encountered the conversation around adrenals frequently or just here and there, a lot of us still have the same question: what really is the deal with adrenals, anyway?
For starters, the adrenals are two little glands on top of your kidneys that are primarily responsible for producing and regulating the stress hormone, cortisol. Plus, your adrenal glands also play a role in the production of sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) along with different neurotransmitters. When functioning properly, your adrenal glands help your body manage stress, as well as regulate your metabolism and facilitate communication between organs in the body, like connecting your kidneys to your brain and reproductive system.
Here’s the problem though: under any level of chronic stress, which is more and more what people are dealing with in today’s so-fast-that-you-can-barely-catch-up world, your adrenals start to come up short and often fall into a state of adrenal fatigue. What that means is that as a state of stress starts to become your M.O., your adrenal glands stop producing enough stress-regulating hormones in your body, which then leaves you dealing with symptoms like brain fog, chronic tiredness, body aches, trouble sleeping, lightheadedness, etc. as a result.
The bigger problem is that, because adrenal fatigue is linked to chronic stress (and because stress can be pretty tough to keep under control), it can be tough to keep your adrenals healthy without some conscious work on minimizing stress. That being said, there are definitely a few lifestyle changes you can make to help ensure that your adrenals remain in good condition, like keeping your bedtime routine consistently healthy, eating clean, keeping your commitments to a minimum to avoid burnout, and taking the time for self-care.
Lifestyle changes aside, there are also ways to tap into your nutrition to help fight adrenal fatigue on a deeper level. Focusing on adaptogenic herbs, like Ashwaghanda, for example, is one way to alleviate stress from the inside out and help keep your anxiety levels at bay. Vitamin B is another option to help support the adrenal glands through different chemical processes.