Adrenal Health 101

What are adrenal glands and where are they located?

Your adrenal glands play a very important role in maintaining your health. They are incredibly small, about the size and weight of a coin. They are located above your kidneys, just below the muscle tissue of your lower back. What do adrenal glands do? Our adrenal glands are responsible for many things that assist in regulating our body and hormones, including thyroid and reproductive hormones. They are also responsible for managing stress, the amount of inflammation in our body, our immune system, our blood sugar levels and the electrolytes in our blood. They influence all the physiological functions processes of the body and help stave off physical fatigue.

Signs your adrenal health is bad

When there is something wrong with our body, it will start to signal us that something needs to be addressed. Here is how your adrenal glands will signal you that something is wrong.

  • Your blood sugar level will either drop or spike suddenly.
  •  Your hormones will be all over the place. One moment you are happy and the other moment you will find yourself crying over something that does not even bother you that much.
  • You get sick more often because your immune system will not function properly without healthy adrenal glands.
  • You will be stressed and it will be hard for you to manage your stress levels.
  • Your sex drive will decrease.
  • It will be hard for you to complete your daily tasks because those tasks will require a lot more effort than usual.
  • You will find it hard to keep yourself awake even if you know that you need to sacrifice sleep for a very important task.
  • You will constantly crave food, mostly salty and savoury foods, and it will be hard you satisfy your cravings.
  • You will find yourself craving them more even if you have just eaten something.

How to improve your Adrenal Health?

If you suspect your adrenal glands may need some care and attention, try some of the following tips:

  • Get your sleep schedule in sync: quality sleep for 9-10 hours. Sleep and wake up at the same time to get your body into a rhythm and routine to start to heal
  • Set aside at least 30 minutes a day for exercise
  • Eat within 30 minutes of waking and eat a high protein snack in between meals to help stabilize blood sugar levels
  • Cut out white sugar and flour and any foods that cause sudden blood sugar spikes
  • Eliminate alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol is high in sugar, which we want less of to help balance blood sugar. Caffeine can put your body into fight-or-flight mode, which is the last thing you want when dealing with adrenal fatigue. Caffeine sends signals telling the adrenals to pump out more adrenaline as well as cortisol, which will cause even further chaos for your adrenal glands.
  • Don’t limit your healthy fat intake. Healthy fats are important for energy, which you need more of when your adrenals are burned out, and they can help stabilize blood sugar by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates.
  • Don’t limit your salt intake; just focus on sea salt, specifically pink sea salt. Remember that sea salt is rich in minerals to support adrenal health whereas table salt is stripped of its nutritional value.
  • Eliminate foods you may be sensitive to. Cutting these foods out of your diet will help to reduce inflammation. We want as little inflammation as possible to help reduce symptoms and heal from the inside out.

If you would like to learn more about your health, contact me at nutrition@crossfit416.ca

Yours in health and happiness,

Lauren