The Importance of the Adrenal Glands
The Adrenal Glands are very important glands to address. They are located on top of each kidney and have two major functions:
1. Produce Neurotransmitters, essential for brain and nerve function including epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and dopamine turning nerve responses on or off affecting almost all tissues in the body.
2. Cortex (outer portion) that produces cortical-type steroids or hormones including cortisol, cortisone, aldosterone (electrolytes, sodium, potassium), estradiol (estrogen), and progestins (progesterone). Many steroids act as anti- inflammatory compounds.
The adrenals greatly affect the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is comprised of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems and regulate unconscious or involuntary tissue actions such as pupil fight or flight instincts, pupil dilation, heartbeat, breathing, etc. A low or high blood pressure is always a sign of hypo (low) or hyper (too high) adrenal functions. The top number is also called the systolic and should be 120-130, the bottom number or diastolic should be 60-70. The systolic number reflects adrenal function and the bottom number reflects the kidneys. If either of these numbers are high or low for you, you will be able to tell if your organs or glands are weak or overworking! Long term adrenal medulla weakness can include asthma, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, panic attacks, shyness, and impatience. Currently there are so many people suffering from weak kidneys and adrenals that doctors are using ‘averages' to indicate proper blood pressure numbers therefore the standard has dropped and they view a systolic of over 100/110 to be “good” this is simply not ‘good' and only because so many people have low blood pressure.
The adrenal cortex specifically produces steroids are very important for fighting off inflammation and affect muscle, nerve, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular tissues. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that is overproduced by the adrenals when living off of a highly acidic diet and the catabolic process usually causes inflammation in the body.
Hormones can also greatly affect the female and male reproductive systems as estrogen and testosterone (acidic) are regulated by the adrenals. They affect sexual behavior, increase blood flow and cause erections. Progesterone is naturally alkaline and counterbalances the estrogen. This is why diet and hormone balance is so important for a healthy and vibrant life! Inflammation leads to calcification and tissue degeneration this is why our endocrine system is so important. When our adrenals are too weak to produce the proper steroids to fight off inflammation the body will reach for the cholesterol directly, which ends up clogging our vascular system. Cholesterol isn’t bad, its a sign your adrenals need some nourishment!
This day in age people are literally ADDICTED to stimulants and now that you have learned what this actually does to our adrenals, arguably the most important glands in our body, you will see why dis-ease and painful symptoms are so prevalent in our society. Sure there are articles claiming benefits of coffee and stimulants, but take a step back and think, is that small benefit (that I could probably achieve elsewhere) worth compromising such an important gland in my body? If you suffer from anxiety, irritability, ADHD, or other nervous system disorders you already have adrenal weakness and adding synthetic stimulants such as Adderall will further deplete your adrenals and make you dependent on a drug.
I understand this is not something we typically learn especially when we are living in a stimulant addicted society, so don’t be hard on yourself! Understand what is happening in your body and why you are so dependent on these vices. Take your time to wean off of stimulants, as this can be very dangerous. Use herbs to support and nourish your glands and of course do it ONLY when YOU are ready to take sovereignty over your health and wellness!