Adrenal Fatigue and the Endocrine System
Adrenal Fatigue and the Endocrine System
So many people are talking about adrenal exhaustion, are correct when they say their adrenals are fried. When your adrenals are exhausted, it will affect your sleep, increase anxiety and dramatically lower energy.
But here is what most health care professionals overlook: adrenal issues are an upstream problem, meaning that there are toxic elements or other challenges causing adrenal dysfunction. The many things we do to support the adrenals may make us feel a bit better in the moment, but it doesn’t make us well.
The Control Tower: Hypothalamus and Pituitary
When I was sick (R1) and my adrenals were exhausted and over-worked, I narrowed down my real health problems to my pituitary and hypothalamus (both located in the brain). These important endocrine glands send signals to the thyroid and adrenals. Essentially, communication continually goes back and forth between all the glands in the endocrine system.
The hypothalamus is the receiving part of the control tower and then it sends information to the pituitary, which sends out signals to our thyroid and adrenals. As I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I knew that my control tower (the hypothalamus and pituitary) wasn’t responding normally.
Find Out Yourself: Use a Flashlight
But how do you know if your adrenals need attention? In order to identify some indicators of adrenal stress, take a flashlight, go to a mirror and shine a flashlight into your pupil indirectly. When the adrenals are functioning normally, the pupil should get smaller and then hold. But if your pupil starts pulsating, it is a sign that your adrenals are stressed.
Orthostatic Blood Pressure
Another simple way of identifying adrenal stress is to take your orthostatic blood pressure. Before starting, lie down on the bed and relax for 5 minutes. Then, using a battery operated blood pressure monitor, take your blood pressure when lying flat and remember the numbers. Then stand up as fast as possible (be careful when standing) and take it again immediately.
Hopefully, your blood pressure is in the normal range while lying down. This is how you figure out how much stress your adrenals are enduring. Let’s say your original (lying down) reading is 120/80. When you stand up right away, the top number should normally jump up 10 points. If it raises more than 10-15 points, it means that your adrenals are in “hyper” mode. But if your top number drops, then your adrenals are in “hypo” or tired mode.
When I was sick with mercury poisoning, at times, my top number would raise 50 points and my adrenals were in hyper mode; and then the opposite would happen and I would get those massive drops in the top number and my adrenals were wiped out. Either way, if they are too high or too low, you need to support the endocrine system and relieve some of your stress.
Vitamin C and Our Adrenal Glands
Did you know 80% of the body’s Vitamin C is stored in the adrenals? So when our adrenals are taxed, Vitamin C is low. If you take 3,000-5,000 mg of Vitamin C and get diarrhea, that may be a sign that your levels of Vitamin C stored in the adrenals is normal. And in fact, from time to time, we suggest Vitamin C flushes to cleanse out toxins.
But if you take very high doses and never reach the diarrhea saturation point, this is a sign of adrenal fatigue. Some patients have taken as much as 100 grams of Vitamin C and never reacted, a classic sign of adrenal fatigue.
Lots of people with adrenal fatigue and/or exhaustion are constipated. One should have at least 2-3 bowel movements a day. If you are having only 1 BM every few days, or worse, you only have a few BMs in a week, you are severely constipated. Vitamin C is a great way to facilitate bowel movements. So, even though their body may be lacking enough stored Vitamin C, if folks are having a harder time passing stools, Vitamin C may help to move the bowels.
Seriphos and the Adrenal Glands
Years ago, I identified a supplement called Seriphos that helps to down-regulate adrenal over-stimulation. When I was sick, Seriphos improved my sleep better than melatonin because it controls adrenalin and cortisol reactions.
When folks wake up, “BOOM,” at 2am, it is caused by an inappropriate rise in cortisol. No one should be waking up between 2-4am, wide-awake and wired. What can cause that sudden rise? In my case, it was mercury poisoning. Mercury is considered to be the “insomnia toxin”. Lead, on the other hand, will lend itself to sleeping too much (9-10 hours) without feeling rested.
Seriphos will control that over-stimulation of cortisol because it rests the adrenals. Seriphos brought me tremendous relief and it has proven very successful for many of my clients where cortisol is out of control.
Why are the Adrenals Over-Stimulated?
What is causing all this adrenal fatigue? For one thing, kids and adults are drinking energy drinks and sodas to keep their energy going. Unfortunately, it stresses their adrenals to the extreme. In excess, caffeine will hammer the adrenals, and sugar will not only cause adrenal stress but will shoot up blood sugar levels. This creates even greater problems because the adrenals are part of the adaptation process to control blood sugar. So the body becomes doubly compromised.
Accumulation of Stressors
Ultimately, it is always the accumulation of stressors that causes our body to crash. And whether it is chemical, physical or emotional stress, the body’s physiological reaction is the same, and the adrenals are part of that reaction.
When my business partner, Warren Philips, got sick with heavy metal poisoning, his dad always said it was “stress, stress, stress” that caused his illness. His body fell apart because of overwhelming toxic build up. But on the days that he added a stressor like exercise, his body just couldn’t adapt. At night, he would NEVER be able to sleep. His cortisol would rise in an attempt to adapt to the stressors present, and this would cause insomnia. Or if he did manage to get to sleep, he would wake up in the middle of the night with his heart racing. His adrenals were trying desperately to adapt, but were gravely unsuccessful.
Why All the Toxins?
When heavy metals accumulate in the system (read more about heavy metal toxicity and proper detox here: part 1, part 2, part 3), it can come from environmental sources, amalgam fillings or even from your mother. In fact, the amount of heavy metals lodged in your brain is proportional to the amount of amalgam fillings in your mom’s mouth when she was pregnant. These metals will not only get deposited in joints, tissues and bones, but they lodge in the hypothalamus and pituitary in the brain.
In addition, if your mom had high lead levels during the time she was pregnant, as the body naturally loses bone, it also releases stored lead. Unfortunately, the excreted lead goes right into the placenta and into the fetus. Years later when we realize that our lead levels are sky high know that it likely came from your mother.
The Perfect Storm
If those above-mentioned toxins are not enough, we get vaccinated we may live in moldy homes, and, at some point, our toxic bucket starts to fill up. Then we add an emotional trauma or a car accident (more physical stress) and the mis-alignment of the spine causes stress on the nervous system. And suddenly, our toxic bucket overflows and we get sick. When your body is not well, there is no way it can adapt to so much toxicity and change.
You now get the picture. When you have 3 fronts coming together, we call it the “Perfect Storm”: chemical, emotional and physical stress. This is an absolute disaster for your endocrine system (hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid and adrenals) and True Cellular Detox™ must take place in order to get your life back (read more here: Strategy #5: True Cellular Detox™).
What About the Thyroid?
The adrenals don’t function alone; you must look at the thyroid. Symptoms like lower metabolism, hair loss, skin issues, brittle nails, constipation, dry skin, and lower basil metabolic temperature all can indicate your thyroid is not functioning properly.
When your body temperature runs low, it is off because the body just can’t handle temperature dysregulation. The body is cold when it is hot and hot when the temperature is normal. And these issues can also correlate with hormonal issues: imbalances of estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone.
But here is the trap. If you only focus on the thyroid or the adrenals, that doesn’t work, because the thyroid is in constant contact with the adrenals. None of the endocrine organs work independently. The pituitary controls these organs. The thyroid works with the pancreas, ovaries, and the prostate. We also know that when you consider the thyroid, you have to consider liver function because that is where Free T4 gets converted to Free T3. The endocrine system is complex and interconnected, as one organ affects the other.
A Supplement Avalanche
Many people have decided to switch from their thyroid medications to a more natural approach. So they start to take lots supplements in place of their meds. When that doesn’t work either, they shut the supplement cabinet and give up.
But in reality, they never got to the source, the root cause of the problem. And the reason that some of us don’t feel much benefit from taking supplements is because it may only be one piece of the puzzle.
You have to look at the end domino. Once you hit the first one, all the others start to fall. Once we identify the root causes and start to eliminate them slowly and appropriately, all those secondary symptoms take care of themselves.
As I have stated previously, if you have adrenal or thyroid issues, the problems or the root causes are “upstream”. You can’t just focus on healing those glands: it will never get you well. In fact, I didn’t get well until I got the inorganic mercury out of my pituitary and hypothalamus. As that started to take place, my adrenals started to heal.
Even after I identified the source of my illness (extremely high mercury levels), I did however need crutches like Seriphos. I couldn’t have functioned in society without it. Ga – Adrenal by Systemic Formulas is another product that helped to re-build my adrenals. Gb – Pituitary supported my pituitary and Gf – Thyroid supported my thyroid. They were all an important part of my healing but they would have done nothing if I didn’t remove the metals from my hypothalamus, pituitary and the rest of my body.
Pieces of the Puzzle
In order to detox metals or any chemicals for that matter, you need to have a healthy gut. But in order to have a healthy gut, you can’t have upstream toxins. We must understand that every part of the body is important. The digestive tract it vital to health; the kidneys are important because they hydrate the colon. If you are not hydrated you will be bound up and the toxins will stay inside because you can’t excrete them. Then if the bowels are not moving, the liver gets backed up and that is detrimental too.
The liver is working tirelessly to break down so many toxic substances. When you take an aspirin for instance, and the directions say to take one every 4 hours, it takes the liver that long to break it down. And that is just one chemical to which the liver has to contend! So we must look at the body as a whole, as every organ and gland is interactive and connected.
Erase the Confusion
When you are sick and exhausted it is impossible to discover the root causes of your health challenges by yourself. You need a guide with years of education and personal experience. When I coach people, I do not believe in cookie cutter treatments. I customize everything. Although there are some common things that everyone must do, I look at each patient individually. That is why I say, “Don’t guess, let’s test;” we identify the health challenges and can create a game plan of easy to complete steps. We then can present phase one, phase two, long-term goals and how we are going to get there. Then we educate clients so they won’t have to rely on docs all their life. It is really about teaching what you need to do so you can follow through and do it yourself. There is real freedom in that.
When we are on a healing journey, there are many parts of the body that must be addressed. Whether you have burnt out adrenals or your thyroid is struggling, you must look at the whole picture to understand where to start.
We must be focused on the causes of the problem and not the problem itself. We don’t want to get wrapped up in chasing symptoms. With guidance, once we identify the underlying causes, real healing can take place. As I always say, when we start to remove the cause and fix the cells, you can get well.