Thursday, August 05, 2010Your adrenal glands are located above your kidneys, and are responsible for producing hormones to control stress, blood pressure, and reproduction.If you are under significant stress for an extended period of time (more than a week), your adrenal glands can start to have difficulty producing enough of the hormones that control stress. This is called adrenal fatigue, which can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, or fatigue. Over time, adrenal stress can also cause weight gain, blood sugar imbalances, and insomnia.Your adrenal glands need to produce a certain amount of cortisol and DHEA in order to maintain good energy and healthy weight. We can test your adrenal function with either a blood sample, or a saliva test.The saliva test is a kit that you bring home with you, and you take 4 saliva samples throughout the day. Then you drop the kit in the mail, and the results are sent back to our office for review. The saliva test gives us 4 different cortisol readings, plus DHEA, and your DHEA to cortisol ratio. This is helpful for determining the extent of adrenal stress, and gives us a clear idea of which adrenal support supplements are right for you.The endocrine (hormone) system in your body is very interconnected. If your adrenal glands are not functioning properly, it can be very difficult to maintain healthy hormone balance in the rest of your body.Adrenal stress can make it harder for your thyroid gland to work well, and can also put added stress on your reproductive glands. For women going through menopause, or men with low testosterone, adrenal testing can be very helpful.As a woman transitions into menopause, her adrenal glands will take over for your ovaries in the production of estrogen and progesterone. Testosterone is also produced with the help of the adrenal glands. If your adrenal glands are not functioning at their best, symptoms can occur including low libido, poor energy, or menopausal symptoms in women. For people with poor thyroid function, supporting the adrenal glands can take a burden off of your thyroid, and promote better energy and weight loss.As a naturopathic doctor, I often recommend adrenal support supplements that are made from vitamins and herbs. This is almost always used in conjunction with individualized homeopathic treatment. These natural supplements are non-addictive, and you are likely to need less of them over time, as your adrenal function is restored.
--Tara Peyman is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in the state of Arizona. She has an expertise in treating bipolar disorder and mental illness with homeopathic medicine. Dr. Peyman has also developed comprehensive, naturopathic programs for weight loss, diabetes and smoking cessation. She practices at East Valley Naturopathic Doctors in Mesa (480.985.0000) and in Tempe (480.456.0402). Visit www.DrTaraPeyman.com
for more information.