By Dr. Julie Durnan, ND
Do you feel tired and wish you had more energy? Do you struggle through your workouts or even find it hard to muster the energy to get to the gym? If so, depleted cortisol levels may be to blame.
Cortisol is a hormone released by your adrenal glands, which are the small organs on top of your kidneys. Cortisol, also known as our body’s “stress hormone” has the important job of helping our bodies adapt to stress. Whether it is physical, emotional, mental, or nutritional stress, cortisol acts to protect us when we need it the most.
Unfortunately, when we over-stress our body on a regular basis, our adrenal glands can go into overdrive. The result is an increasing secretion of cortisol. This over-secretion of our stress hormone can inhibit the release of other hormones, many of which are essential for proper digestion, immunity, energy, sleep, healing, and fertility.
Could this be you?
Luckily, before adrenal stress causes chronic changes in our systems, it provides us with many signs and symptoms that can be caught early, so the adrenals can be addressed and treated. Adrenal stress can manifest itself as low blood pressure, low blood sugar, or a weakened immune response. Since cortisol can interact with other hormonal systems, for some, the first signs of stress maybe be a long recovery time after workouts or an irregularity in a woman’s menstrual cycle.
To test is the best
For those with suspected adrenal stress, we at Pacifica Naturopathic Clinic (PNC) recommend an Adrenal Stress Index saliva test. This test looks at the cortisol released from our adrenal glands, at four points during the day. It also examines DHEA, which is an excellent marker for adrenal adaptation or deterioration.
Naturopathic medicine offers many solutions for adrenal stress. Depending on the level of depletion and other organ systems that have been affected, the options vary from botanical prescriptions such as Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, to nutritional suggestions, or injected cocktails of vitamins and minerals. Please speak with a naturopathic physician at PNC to find out how to prevent and treat adrenal stress.
You can feel more energy and you can thrive doing what you love. We look forward to showing you how!