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Stressed? - Jennifer Kaster

Stressed?

Jump out of bed, dress, feed kids, drop off kids, dash to work, meet the demands of the day, dash home, throw dinner together (literally), drop kids at hockey, back home, kids to bed, collapse.

stressIs this the rhythm of your days?  Intense with multiple things thrown at you all at once with little time to breath let alone time to rejuvenate yourself?

Life can get pretty out of hand as the amount of tasks we’re trying to juggle keeps increasing and it’s our poor adrenal gland that’s trying desperately to keep us well as we  try to balance all these tasks.

The adrenal gland does many things for us, but it’s claim to fame is it’s role in helping us deal with stress.  The adrenal gland’s goal is to keep us balanced through these times of stress.  Our body can be experiencing the physiological changes of stress even when we don’t feel stressed.  The adrenals do their best to keep up with our daily stressful events – deadlines, demands on our time, management of kids/house etc., but when the stress becomes a constant daily occurrence, sometimes multiple times a day, our adrenal gland runs out of resources to recover from these stressors and it becomes fatigued and worn out.

There are some signs you can look for to see if your adrenal gland has reached this fatigued state. 

Here are the top 5:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Feeling light headed upon standing quickly
  • Eyes have become more sensitive to the light
  • If you miss a meal you experience: brain fog, irritability and/or get light headedness
  • Trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep – typically waking between 2:00am and 4:00am.

Other things you can assess for yourself in relation to the adrenal gland:

  • Do you crave salt? When we are experiencing excess stress the body releases more salt in the urine causing us to crave it more.
  • Are your pants a bit more snug fitting?  When we’re in a stressed state the adrenal gland releases cortisol, which leads to an increase in insulin levels in the blood.  When we have too much insulin in circulation it becomes a fat storing hormone and it especially loves to store fat around our midsection.
  • pHIs your urine acidic?  This test is easily done at home with pH paper you can purchase at the health food store.  Test first thing in the morning for a few days.  Our urine pH will be more acidic < 6.4 when we our adrenal gland isn’t functioning well.

There are also a number of more definitive tests that can be done in the office with your Naturopathic doctor to get a clearer picture of how your adrenal gland is doing.

A few things you can do to give some support and love to your adrenal gland include good food choices and regular sleep. 

sleeping ladyThe adrenal gland thrives on routine, particularly with it comes to our sleep habits.  Going to bed at the same time each night and rising at the same time each morning – allowing for 8 hours of sleep -makes for very happy adrenal glands. Having routine with our eating habits and the time we eat helps as well. 

Begin to add gogi berries into your daily food routine.  Gogi berries are an adaptogen, which means they support many organs and systems in the body, but they specifically contain the nutrients that the adrenal gland needs. You’ll find these in a dried format and  you only need a handful a day.  Enjoy them in your trail mix, in your smoothie, on your salad, in your oatmeal or on their own. 

The adrenal gland also requires a good amount of vitamin C to be healthy.  Increasing foods such as yellow peppers (they have more vitamin C then oranges), as well as camu camu berry (30x more vitamin C then oranges) will ensure you have good levels of this adrenal supporting vitamin.  This berry can be found as a dried powder.  Add 1 Tbsp daily into your juice, or smoothie.  It has an enjoyable tangy flavour.

It’s hard to avoid stress in our fast passed lives, which makes it vital to do your best to support these little glands to ensure they can help you easily navigate the ups and downs of your daily life. 

To further assess your adrenal gland function book a visit with myself. Check out the contact page for the details.  I would be happy to help you get things back on track and start feeling more calm, energized and focused.

Written by Dr. Jennifer Kaster ND

Helping you achieve wellness…the natural way. 

Pictures courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

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