Adrenal Disorder

The adrenal glands are a pair of triangular shaped glands, weighing about 5 grams that sit on top of the kidneys. There are two parts to the adrenal gland. The outer section, or the cortex, produces the hormones cortisone, cortisol, aldosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosteron (DHEA). The inner part of the adrenal glands is called the medulla and secretes the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine, which also function as neurotransmitters. These hormones are often considered the stress hormones as they are produced in ‘fight or flight’ situations.

When the function of the adrenal glands is low we often find some of the following symptoms: weakness, lethargy, dizziness, headaches, memory problems, food cravings, allergies, and blood sugar problems. People with lowered adrenal function often complain of being cold. Severe cases of adrenal failure are called Addison’s disease.

Recommended Action

Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens. Complex carbohydrates (as found in whole grains), fish, garlic, onions, shiitake and maitake mushroom are all beneficial. You should avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Food high in nitrates such as bacon and processed meats should be avoided. Moderate, regular exercise is very good, while extreme aerobic exercise is harmful. Try to avoid stress as much as possible. Find counseling you are comfortable with, especially a program emphasizing the benefits of positive thinking or cognitive reframing to cope with stress.

Single Herbs: Rhodiola, Astragalus, Siberian Ginseng, Licorice.

Combination: Shih Chaun Ta Pu Wang (Chinese), Four Ginsengs.

Nutritional Supplements: B complex, B5 (extra 100 mg, three times daily), Vitamin C (1,000 mg, three times daily), Adrenal Extract, Chlorophyll, Coenzyme Q10 (60 mg daily).