Adrenal glands make a difference and you should probably know what they are

Before a naturopath told me my adrenal glands were all wonky, I had no idea what those even were or what they did, I thought she was just making words up. But when I followed her advice and corrected the issues, I noticed huge positive differences.

Look how big they are! How did I miss em.

Look how big they are! How did I miss em.

So basically, your adrenal glands are your stress organs, responsible for producing cortisol, adrenaline and DHEA. Keeping these glands healthy is extremely important for overall hormonal health and balance, and can even be the hidden cause of certain issues. Problems like headaches, digestive upset, PMS, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, even infertility issues. C’hyea.

In turn, stress can rile up other health conditions like arthritis, asthma, allergies and IBS. Your adrenal glands and stress hormones are one of the most neglected systems in conventional medicine! And yet simply addressing adrenal related issues can have a huge effect on your wellbeing.

OM

If you’re like me and have no idea whether or not you need some adrenal support, skim through this list. If you say yes for 3 or more of the following (regularly), you probably want to look into your adrenal glands more carefully.

  • Chronic pain of any type (including migraines, joint pains, etc)
  • Anxiety / panic attacks
  • Emotional stress (work, relationship, family, public transit, etc)
  • Feeling tired or exhausted that isn’t relieved by more sleep
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dizziness from standing up too quickly
  • Low tolerance for stress (stressing out over little things)
  • Worsened allergies
  • Weight gain in the mid-belly area
  • High blood pressure / heart palpitations
  • Difficulty falling and/or staying asleep at night
  • Salt cravings
  • Achy or twitchy legsIf you’re a lady:
  • Any change in menstrual cycle
  • Chronic menstrual pain
  • Symptoms of premature menopause

The test is just done with spit, so it’s a little gross but easy. You can ask any naturopath about it, and it will tell you if your symptoms are related to the adrenals. Your personal diagnosis will vary, obviously, but will probably include:

  • Changes in nutrition orange
  • Stress reducing techniques like yoga, whatever works for you
  • Balanced exercise – this goes either way, you may need to ease up or you may need to start moving
  • Supplements to support adrenal function

Healthy adrenals mean more energy and more happy moods! Imbalances are very treatable, making a huge difference. So check your shit out.

Winter sucks, so amp up your Vitamin D

snowman

We’ve got a bit of a wait until the days start getting longer again, and after the holiday season is over there’s little to look forward to. While there’s some debate over the legitimacy of Seasonal Affective Disorder, (or more fittingly, SAD) I believe it is definitely real. And carb craving is actually a symptom! So don’t worry – it’s not you, it’s winter.

He gets it.

He gets it.

When it’s pitch black at 5 p.m. and frigid winds turn your face numb after being outside for 2 minutes, how can we not get a little down? Besides a vacation, there are a few things you can do to help yourself out during the winter months. Exercise of course helps, but what also makes a huge different is with what you put in your body – like vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. More specifically, vitamin D3.

In fact, SAD itself is caused by lack of vitamin D3, so this is definitely one you want to add. The best source is the sun, but since it’s early to bed and late to rise at the moment, here are your best options:

  • Still the sun
    Even though we don’t see as much of it, you can still get your vitamin D on a sunny wintery day. A short walk is all you need.
  • Salmon
    The most vitamin D of any food (and wild salmon has even more than the farmed kind).
  • Tuna
    A serving of tuna has a healthy dose of Vitamin D – more than one-third of a daily dose. (Light tuna in oil has the most).

  • Milk
    Fortified milk has one-fifth a day’s worth.
  • Cereal
    The vitamin D amounts vary by brand so read your labels carefully!
    (Here’s a list of good, D-filled options)
  • Oysters
    On top of D, oysters also get you vitamin B12, zinc, iron, just to name a few. But also cholesterol, so watch yoself if heart disease or stroke are concerns.
  • Eggs
    Another one with multiple benefits, eggs offer vitamin D, B12 and protein.
  • Mushrooms
    The only reason I ever agreed to eat mushrooms was because I thought I’d grow taller like Alice in Wonderland. That didn’t happen, but they did give up high vitamin D, and B5.

If you can’t manage to get enough vitamin D from food or able to be outside very much, you can take a supplement. Look for options that contain vitamin D3 rather than vitamin D2 (D3 is more potent).

And of course, discussing it with your personal health care provider is a good idea, and they can give you recommendations for doses.

Healthy fish recipes
More recipes high in vitamin D
Some more winter vitamins to add

sunhair

[image by Liam Heng Swee]