Adrenal Malfunction and How to Improve It

© Copyright Bee Wilder

Excerpts from: "What You Should Know About Your Glands," by John Tintera, MD.

What Your Adrenals Are and How They Function

The adrenals are part of the endocrine system of glands which are the chemical "policemen" that regulate the functioning of our bodies and minds.

Your body has two adrenal glands, called "adrenals" that rise somewhat like mushrooms, one from the top of each kidney. Your adrenals are part of the body's endocrine system. The endocrine system is connected by the bloodsteam and it includes:

  • Hypothalamus and Pituitary Glands (located in the head)
  • Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands (located in the neck)
  • Adrenal Glands (two glands located above the kidneys)
  • Endocrine Pancreas (located against the back wall of the abdomen near the stomach)
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones
  • Gonadal Hormones (the gonads are the primary reproductive organs; the testes in the male and the ovaries in the female)
  • Placental Hormones (formed in the lining of the uterus)
  • Other Endocrine Tissues and Hormones

The adrenal glands produce chemicals that maintain life, nothing less. These chemicals convert what we eat and drink from chemical substances which are useless to us, into substances which cause our bodies to function, grow and change, and provide the materials for necessary repairing and rebuilding.

Take steak, because it is rich in protein. But it is beef protein and as such does nothing for people. The body has to break it down chemically into basic amino acids. Then the body, through enzymatic reactions [digestion], has to put those acids together again, in other ways.

The result is human protein which our bodies can use and have to have. Fats, minerals, and carbohydrates (sugars and starches) have to be individually constructed, too, from the materials contained in foods and drinks.

Now, we reach a most essential point; what goes in as alien proteins and fats (see definition) aren't exclusively converted into human proteins and fats.

Among the end products are human carbohydrates which, having been " manufactured" after many chemical steps, is changed by two more steps into basic body sugar, glycogen, for storage, primarily in the liver and secondarily in muscle tissue, and by one more step into blood sugar, glucose.

Definition: Alien proteins include fractionated amino acids, hydrolyzed protein, processed protein powders, etc., and alien fats includes all vegetable oils and fats, except olive oil, which includes margarine and oils and fats derived from such plants as canola (rape seed), soy, safflower, and corn.

Many of us rough up our adrenals with super refined carbohydrates. In the intestines these carbohydrates become glucose, which is absorbed into the blood where glucose is already in precise balance with oxygen.

This shoots up the blood sugar level. The balance is destroyed and the body is in crisis. Hormones pour from the adrenal casings and marshal every chemical resource for dealing with it. Most important is insulin from the endocrine "islets" of the pancreas.

This hormone is concerned specifically with holding down blood sugar level, in "antagonism" to adrenal hormones concerned with keeping it up. All these chemical matters proceed at emergency pace, with a to-be-expected result. Going so fast it goes too far. The bottom drops out of the blood sugar level, and a second crisis comes out of the first.

Pancreatic "islets" have to be shut down. And so do some of the "departments" of the adrenal casings. But other adrenal hormones must be produced, to regulate the reversing of the chemical direction and get the blood sugar level up again.

Eating the highly refined carbohydrate (say, a candy bar) gave you a quick pickup all right, while the added glucose was being absorbed into the blood. But this surge of energy was succeeded by a "letdown" feeling when the bottom dropped out of the blood sugar level.

Until it was brought up again you were listless and tired; it required effort to move or even to think. Your poorly energized mind was vulnerable to suspicions, even to hallucinations.

You could have been "all nerves" and your irritability, enormous. The severity of the crisis-followed-by-crisis depends upon the weight of the glucose overload.

After a number of years, the end results are damaged adrenals. They are whipped, not so much because they've been overworked, as because they've been made to jerk about out of balance (chemically speaking) so many, many times.

The overall production of their many hormones is too low, and the amounts produced don't work like they should. This disturbed function is reflected all around the endocrine system.

When stress comes your way, you're likely to "go all to pieces" because you no longer have a healthy endocrine system to deal with it. And your day-to-day efficiency is very poor because you "never seem to get anything done."

All this is the extreme, of course. There are all degrees of rough treatment of the adrenals, and of the consequences of rough treatment. But it illustrates what I mean when I say it is quite possible to improve disposition, increase efficiency, and change personality for the better.

The way to do it is to leave the highly refined, rapidly absorbable carbohydrates alone, and I mean cane and beet sugar in all forms and guises, all cereal flours which means breads, pies, cakes, spaghetti, macaroni, etc., all refined cereal products such as cold and hot breakfast cereals (except oatmeal), the quickly absorbable carbohydrate vegetables, potatoes, corn, and rice, all sweet "soft" drinks, and all alcoholic beverages.

The carbohydrates which keep the adrenals healthy are those which are slowly absorbed and are the bodily conversion products of proteins and fats and of green vegetables. Carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly when consumed with "good" fats.

Also 58% of protein and 10% of "good" fats can be changed into glucose/carbs inside the body, providing all of the body needs for maintaining blood sugar levels, without requiring any carbohydrate foods.

The easiest foods for the body to digest and utlize are meats, eggs, and "good" fats compared to carbohydrates. Carbohydrates require so many of the body's resources in order for them to be digested.

"Good" fats are also the very best source of energy for the body as opposed to carbs, and they do not contribute to body fat like carbs do. In fact they can help you lose weight, if needed – see Lose Weight & Heal Naturally.

Symptoms & Consequences of Malfunctioning Adrenals

Excerpts from: Adrenals.

  • Low thyroid
  • Low body temperature
  • Weakness
  • Unexplained hair loss
  • Nervousness, anxiety & confusion
  • Irritability & mental depression
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Excessive hunger
  • Moments of confusion
  • Indigestion
  • Poor memory
  • Feelings of frustration
  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Light headedness
  • Palpitations [heart fluttering]
  • Dizziness that occurs upon standing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome)
  • Craving for sweets
  • Dry and thin skin
  • Headaches
  • Scanty perspiration
  • Alcohol intolerance

What Affects Adrenal Function

Excerpts from: Steroid Drugs by Thomas Cowan, MD.

The hormones that our adrenals produce are all derived from our best friend – cholesterol (see definition). Yes, cholesterol is the precursor to all the valuable adrenal hormones that help us deal with stress, inflammation and trauma, and that help our body heal.

Definition: Cholesterol is a steroid (fat-soluble organic compound) lipid (fat), found in the cell membranes of all body tissues, and transported in the blood of all animals. Cholesterol plays a central role in many biochemical processes.

Therefore adrenal malfunction is a fat deficiency. So the first step is simple and logical: eat more fat, especially cholesterol–rich fats contained in animal meats, eggs, fish, especially butter, which also contain all of fat soluble vitamins A, D and E. The adrenals cannot make adrenal hormones out of cholesterol without vitamin A.

Second, our adrenals regulate sugar balance. You will make their job much easier if you don't eat any simple sugar and limit your total daily carbohydrate consumption. Read Life Without Bread, by Christian B. Allan & Wolfgang Lutz, or Dr. Joseph Mercola's book The No-Grain Diet.

Also see The Optimal Diet, by Dr. Jan Kwasniewski who has been curing people of heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer, etc. for over 30 years in Poland.

Third, cut back on caffeine and caffeine-related substances (such as the bromine in tea) as much as possible. Caffeine works by stimulating the adrenals making them work doubly hard to produce "chill out" cortisoid hormones. Under normal circumstances, cortisol, like other glucocorticoid agents, has widespread actions which help restore homeostasis after stress.

Fourth, the two major nutrients the adrenals also need to do their job are vitamin B6 and vitamin C. B vitamins are highest in liver, and vitamin C is high in vegetables like broccoli and green peppers. There is much more vitamin C available from these vegetables than from any fruits.

The adrenal gland is the processor of stress in our bodies. It is there to help us adapt. When we become exhausted by life, on a mental or physical level, our adrenal glands often fail to keep up and illness follows.

How to Help Your Adrenals

  1. The most important way to help your adrenals is to eat a diet that is nutrient-rich and is high in animal meats, fish and eggs, and high in good fats, with a low-carb intake. The ratios of protein to fats to carbs are according to The Optimal Diet (by Dr. Jan Kwasniewski) ratios–see Calculate Food Ratios, since fats are particularly important for adrenal function as noted above.
  2. Do not consume "alien proteins and fats" which clog up the endocrine system. Alien proteins include fractionated amino acids, hydrolyzed protein, processed protein powders, etc. "Alien fats" include all vegetable oils and fats (except olive oil), i.e. margarine, and oils and fats derived from such plants as canola (rape seed), soybean, safflower, corn, etc.
  3. Do not consume caffeine, i.e. coffee, caffeinated tea, chocolate, soft drinks, etc.
  4. Do not consume sugar, sugar substitutes, honey, molasses, and all forms of it, including fruits (except small amounts of lemon and lime).
  5. Do not consume high–carb foods such as grains, legumes (beans or peas from pods), vegetables high in carbs, sugars or starch, i.e. most roots vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beets, most squash, etc.
  6. Eat liver at least twice a week to obtain enough B vitamins, and eat foods that are high in vitamin C, i.e. meats, broccoli, green peppers, greens, lemons, parsley, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, etc.
  7. Ensure you have at least 1.5 teaspoons of good ocean sea salt daily which is very important for the adrenal glands, i.e. Celtic brand available at Selina Naturally, or a less expensive ocean sea salt like this one Le Paludier – Organic Unrefined Coarse Grey Sea Salt, which is available in many health stores and online. Ocean sea salt provides proper amounts of sodium and chloride, which are two of the seven macrominerals required in higher amounts by the body, along with over 84 other trace minerals.
  8. Do Dry Skin Brushing daily to detoxify your adrenals. It is very effective in stimulating and decongesting the lymphatic system, and helps the liver and adrenal glands function better. It exercises the lymphatic system, and gets it flowing and moving properly. Also see these Mild Forms of Exercise.
  9. Cup your hand and tap hard on the skin overlapping the adrenal glands for 2 minutes daily. Your adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys on either side of your body near your waist.
  10. Stand in the shower with your back facing the spray, allowing it to beat down on your adrenals (just above your kidneys). Do this once a day for 3 minutes in the hottest water you can stand, followed by 30 seconds of the coldest water.
  11. Do reflexology: The reflex points are located 2 inches above and 1 inch to the right side of the belly button, and also 1 inch to the left side of the belly button. Rub these two points vigorously for 1 minute 3 times a week. These spots will probably be tender if the adrenals are malfunctioning.
  12. Thump your thymus gland to stimulate it. The thymus gland is an important part of Lymphatic System, which helps the body detoxify itself. It is located underneath the top of the breast bone.
    To thump it, use your knuckles and thump gently but firmly on the top of your breast bone–see this image of the Immune System for its location. Gently thump about 10 times in a row. Do this a few times a day to wake up your thymus gland.
  13. Stay off medications containing cortisone and epinephrine. If you are taking them you need to wean yourself off of them gradually. They are extremely toxic/poisonous.
  14. Get out in the fresh air and let fresh air circulate in your home. Air charged with "good" ions, called "negative ions", is healing to the adrenals. This kind of air is abundant in the forest and mountains, and at the seashore. Showers also provide these good ions.
  15. Get plenty of sleep–see How to Improve Insomnia/Sleep.
  16. Decrease stresses in your life as much as possible. During stressful times lie down and relax. Place your hands on your forehead over your eyebrows, and stay like that for 10 minutes. Also Deep Breathing Exercises Help You Heal that are calming and relaxing, which switches your body over from running on its sympathetic nervous system (the fight/flight nervous system) to its healing parasympathetic nervous system.
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