You’ve likely heard the term ‘adrenal fatigue,’ but…what do you truly know about the adrenal glands? What are they and where are they located?
Your adrenal glands play a very important role in maintaining your health. They are incredibly small, and about the size and weight of a coin. They are located above your kidneys, just below the muscle tissue of your lower back.
The adrenal glands are responsible for many things that assist in regulating our body and hormones, including thyroid and reproductive hormones. Most importantly, they are responsible for managing stress. If you are constantly dealing with stress, then cortisol levels become irregular which then “burns out” your adrenals. Additionally, adrenal glands control the amount of inflammation in our body, our immune system, our blood sugar levels and the electrolytes in our blood. They influence all the physiological functions processes of the body and help stave off physical fatigue- so yes, these little guys are important.
Signs your adrenal glands are struggling
- Your blood sugar level will either drop or spike suddenly.
- Your hormones will be all over the place. One moment you are happy and the other moment you will find yourself crying.
- You get sick more often.
- You’ll be stressed and find it harder to manage stress levels.
- You may find yourself struggling with brain fog.
- You deal with fatigue or even sleep issues.
- You’ll find yourself craving foods…and likely salty.
- Your body will take longer to heal properly.
- Weight loss will stall or you’ll even find yourself gaining weight.
How to improve your adrenal health
If you suspect your adrenal glands may need some care and attention, first and foremost, get that stress under control. Adrenal ‘fatigue’ is a lifestyle issue, and is often linked to day-to-day issues. While there can be internal stressors as well (digestive issues, infections, etc), many times it is two-fold. Here are some ways to help your adrenal glands recover:
Get your sleep schedule in sync
Make sure that you get quality sleep. Sleep and wake up at the same times to get your body in a rhythm, and try to go to bed before 11pm since the ‘prime’ hours of sleep are between 10-2am.
Set aside at least 30 minutes a day for exercise, no matter how busy or tired you may be. This can be walking, weight training, etc. Just do what works for you, but make sure to get some movement in.
Decrease these foods
Sugar, caffeine, refined carbs, alcohol, and other inflammatory foods (anything boxed, bagged, or with dozens of ingredients) as those foods will further hinder your adrenal glands.
Daily meditation can have a profound impact on your adrenal glands. Meditation lowers stress and helps to normalize cortisol levels. Strive to do some type of meditation daily, even if only 5-10 minutes.