Adrenal glands are a part of a network of glands that make up the endocrine system responsible for every cell, organ, and function in your body including digestion, the immune system, energy storage and expenditure, moods, and sexuality. The HPA or hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenals axis form a major neuroendocrine system that maintains the body in balance.

These small glands sit on top of the kidneys. Each weighs just 3.5 to 5 grams with a dimension of ¼ inch thick by 1 inch high, and 2 inches wide. Despite their small size, they are a powerhouse of hormone synthesis which make them multi-functional and responsible for life and health. 

Adrenal glands make the following hormones:

  • Aldosterone which is responsible for the regulation of sodium, potassium, and fluid volume.
  • Cortisol is responsible for blood sugar regulation, anti inflammatory responses, immune response, heart and blood vessel toning, central nervous system stimulation, stress reaction normalization. It is apparent that cortisol is responsible for many life-sustaining functions. Its secretion is regulated by a complex interaction between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland known as the HPA (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal axis) or HPA system which operates through a negative feedback system which maintains a steady internal physiological balance in your body known as homeostasis. There are internal factors and external stimuli that send messages to the hypothalamus (a regulatory part of the brain) to tell the body how much cortisol to make. Cortisol production is a response to a stressor and it mobilizes resources to protect the body through breakdown of fats and proteins, release of histamine release, and regulation of sodium and potassium levels in cells, the heart, and blood vessels. Overactive response where excess cortisol is produced can cause muscle wasting, rapid aging, insulin-resistance, and imparied immune response. Therefore, it is important to recognize and manage external and internal stressors that can contribute to high and persistent levels of cortisol.
  • DHEA-S, Progesterone, Pregnenolone, Androstenedione. Antioxidant, tissue repair, cortisol balance. Progesterone is the biggest player in the actions of this group of hormones. Progesterone, a multitasking hormone (blog).
  • Estrogen, Testosterone (sex hormones)
  • Epinephrine (Adrenaline), Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline) our fight or flight response.

Adrenal fatigue is a condition in which the body’s stress response goes haywire and breaks down. Therefore, it is easy to recognize that the symptoms of adrenal fatigue mirror the dysfunction or imbalance of the adrenal hormones.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue:

  • Dry skin
  • Salt craving
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Poor immune system
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Difficulty waking up

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