Updated: Jan 6
Maybe its your adrenals!.
Your adrenal glands are two small walnut sized glands that sit just above your kidneys. They are small but very powerful little glands extremely important for all round health, energy and vitality.
Their job is to produce hormones, two of which being your stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
Increased or prolonged cortisol production has lots of not so great affects on the body, a couple being increased inflammation, slower metabolism and increased fat storage. Especially around the tummy!
Chronic ongoing stress and high cortisol production can also cause these little glands to struggle.
A combination of high or low cortisol, due to overproduction, and then struggling adrenals manifests in symptoms such as;
- Poor sleep
- Irritability, low mood, depression,
- Feeling ‘tired but wired’
- Feeling exhausted in the morning and struggling to get going.
- Weight gain, especially around the tummy
- Poor memory and concentration
- Symptoms of low thyroid function
- Worsening of menopause symptoms
The kind of stress that leads to this doesn’t have to be an obvious “I’m so stressed” scenario, it tends to be more long term chronic stressors that we experience in daily life.
The drip feeding of small stressors we experience every day, traffic cues, the news, overwhelm, feeling there's a lack of time, as well as our thoughts, emotions and how we perceive things.
These all trigger what is known as your bodies ‘stress response’.
The good news however, is that once you are aware of this, you can do something about it to help relieve symptoms and feel better. There is the option of testing to ascertain your degree of stress or dysregulation of hormones and cortisol production, and there are lots of things you can do to support healthy adrenal function.
Some of those things include;
1) Balancing blood sugar. A good place to start is balancing blood sugar through a low GI diet. Low blood sugar when you feel irritable or shaky triggers the adrenals to release stress hormones exacerbating the whole stress response, and as well as making you feel so much worse, just keeps the cycle going! So a great place to start is eating adequate protein at each meal, and reducing refined carbohydrates, foods that cause a spike and then a dip in blood sugar.
2) Replace vitamins and minerals depleted in this stress response and required by the adrenal glands to function properly. Vitamins and minerals like magnesium, B vitamins, Vitamin C, Omega 3 fatty acids.
3) Avoid stimulants such as sugar, coffee and alcohol. Although these might give you a quick pick me up, they also are particularly detrimental to the adrenal glands and the will only make the situation worse.
4) Don’t under or over eat. These in themselves are both significant stressors on the body. Individuals with a poor stress response and struggling adrenals often feel a lot worse fasting. So, although fasting has some great benefits. This may not be for you.
5) That also goes for a very low carbohydrate diet. Again, those with struggling adrenals and low thyroid symptoms may feel a lot worse going too low on carbohydrates.
6) Making sure you do appropriate exercise. Those with a heightened stress response and struggling adrenals may struggle with particularly intensive exercise and only make symptoms worse. The term 'train not drain' is a great saying, and worth considering if you feel particulary drained after your exercise session. Your body may need a different type to restore and rebalance hormones.
7) Putting in some stress management where you allow your hormones to reset, cortisol to drop if high, and your mind to calm. Activities like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, a gentle walk in nature are all shown to help bring the body back into balance, and regulate hormones again. Regular practice and consistency would help you generally feel better over the course of your day.
The above steps are a great place to start and can help you feel 100% better and build up a resiliance to the inevitable stressors life brings.
I hope this make a difference for you, and if you want any help, you know where I am!
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Helping you live a healthier, happier life Julie Hodgson BSc (Hons), PgDip, DIP ION, mBANT CNHC Registered Nutritionist & Health Coach 1-2-1 Health & Well being consultations and packages E. firstname.lastname@example.org www.juliehodgsonnutrition.co.uk www.facebook.com/juliehodgsonnutrition T. 07971 862324