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< Back to Adaptogens

Chronic stress and adrenal health

Your adrenal glands, two triangular shaped glands that sit at the top of your kidneys, secrete hormones in your body. These hormones travel through the bloodstream and act on various body tissues and enable them to function correctly.

When we’re under stress, the adrenals produce a surge of cortisol and other hormones to calm the body. Levels generally return to normal once the stress threat has passed.

But prolonged stress and elevated cortisol levels can interfere with blood sugar levels, cause weight gain or loss, increase risk of infection or cause bone density loss, muscle wasting, thinning skin and kidney problems.

This increased demand puts a stress on the endocrine system, which may eventually affect the levels of the sex hormones like estrogen, testosterone and DHEA.

Signs of adrenal fatigue may include low energy, body aches, low blood pressure, unexplained weight loss, lightheadedness and skin discolouration or hyperpigmentation.

When your adrenal glands aren’t secreting the right amount of hormones to keep healthy levels circulating in your bloodstream, extra support is needed.

What happens when the adrenal glands can’t keep up?

Immune health
Elevated levels of cortisol during prolonged illness or stress can ramp up the production of cytokines – a group of proteins that promotes and regulate immunity and inflammation.

Cortisol also suppresses the production of lymphocytes, a major component of the immune system that help defend against disease-causing and infectious organisms.

Brain health
Chronic stress impairs serotonin transmission in the brain and increases activity in the amygdala, or the brain’s fear centre. In turn, cortisol levels rise and cripple the signals sent by the hippocampus – the part of the brain that dictates learning, memories, and stress control.

Thyroid health
The stress response actually starts with the hypothalamus, which stimulates the pituitary gland to signal the adrenal glands to release the stress-buffering hormone cortisol, and the thyroid to release the hormones T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine).

Together, T3 and T4 hormones regulate your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heart rate. Increased cortisol levels may actually inhibit or alter the body’s ability to produce these hormones.

Reproductive system
Women who are experiencing adrenal fatigue may also find they suffer estrogen-dominant symptoms such as PMS, endometriosis, the irregular menses, fibrocystic breast disease, or fibroids. Severe cases of adrenal fatigue may also cause amenorrhea, or the cessation of menstruation altogether.

In men, the hormone imbalance caused by adrenal fatigue invariably leads to common symptoms like fatigue, irritability, depression, anxiety and weakened immune function. In addition, low libido, erectile dysfunction and loss of muscle mass and strength are indicators of adrenal fatigue.

Recharge yourself with adaptogenic herbs
Adrenal-Pro™ is a blend of adaptogenic herbs and nutrients used in herbal medicine, specially formulated to provide an improved sense of well being and help improve mental and physical performance after periods of exertion.

This unique blend helps fatigued adrenal glands without overstimulation. Working to increase cortisol if there is too little and decrease cortisol if there is too much.

Ashwagandha has demonstrated anti-stress, antioxidant, mind boosting, immune-boosting and thyroid rejuvenating properties in studies.

Siberian Ginseng
Siberian ginseng is known for rich antioxidant power, helping to scavenge free radicals circulating in the bloodstream.

Schisandra extract
Schisandra extract is a herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its adaptogenic properties.

Astragalus extract
Astragalus has been prescribed for centuries to treat chronic illness and to increase overall vitality and the connection between the pituitary and adrenal glands.

Nutrients vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and L-tyrosine are included in this blend to support thyroid and pituitary gland function, and many other hormones involved in the stress response.

Magnesium supplementation is another great way to be proactive about your adrenal health. It works on multiple levels when combating low energy fatigue. This mineral is involved in metabolizing glucose into available energy, restoring ATP to depleted muscles, and regulating stress hormones – because of this it usually promotes better sleep too!

Quality sleep, good daily nutrition, exercise and the right supplementation all play key roles in maintaining a healthy stress response.

CanPrev recommends that you consult your doctor before implementing any health treatment, including herbal supplements and natural remedies. The information above is for educational reasons only and is not to be taken as a substitute for medical advice.


About the Author: CanPrev


At CanPrev, our mission is to keep advancing naturopathic medicine tools, working with the body’s natural healing ability, in order to improve quality of life. We’re working to put your health back into your hands. Learn more at