Have you heard the term adrenal fatigue and wondered what it is that your adrenals do in the first place?
Many clients come to me for this common condition without understanding the basics first: What are your adrenal glands and why are they important?
Let’s take a look…
What are the adrenal glands?
These two powerful glands sit one atop each kidney like little hats.
They have an outer part called the cortex, and an inner part called the medulla, each responsible for producing different hormones.
What hormones do the adrenal glands produce?
The adrenal medulla produces our fight or flight hormones; adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
The adrenal cortex produces small amounts of androgens, oestrogens, and progestins but mostly glucocorticoids like cortisol and mineralocorticoids like aldosterone.
Glucocorticoids are important for our glucose metabolic pathways and for controlling the immune system.
When we have fasted, like first thing in the morning, glucocorticoids stimulate gluconeogenesis; they produce glucose from amino acids and lipids so we are able to maintain healthy blood sugar and energy levels.
They stop the uptake of sugar into muscle and fatty tissue, to also keep adequate sugar in the blood.
They can also act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
Mineralocorticoids are crucial for regulating mineral and water balance.
If our blood pressure drops, the mineralocorticoids conserve sodium through resorption, which drags water back into our system.
What do the adrenal hormones do?
There are a number of hormones that are super important to how we experience life.
And when we have chronic stress, these hormones can, in effect, tire leading to a number of signs and symptoms like those in adrenal fatigue (AF).
This condition will make more sense shortly when I explain what adrenal hormones do but if you suspect you have AF, these articles will help:
Adrenaline and noradrenaline
A sudden scare and our sympathetic nervous system instantaneously kick in to prepare us to fight or to flee. This is adrenaline and noradrenaline in action!
- blood pressure rises
- digestion slows
- glucose production heightens
- heart rate elevates
- pupils dilate
- skeletal blood flow climbs
- skin starts to sweat
We are readied for survival in a moment.
Blood pressure needs
to be maintained within an ideal range or we could pass out or suffer from a
Aldosterone is the hormone that controls our electrolyte and water balance to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Cortisol is well-known as one of the stress hormone.
It also plays a key role in maintaining healthy blood glucose levels and metabolic function, blood pressure control and helping form memories.
As you can see healthy adrenal gland function is super important for our wellbeing in a number of ways.
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