- HEALTH & NUTRITION
5 ways to balance the adrenals
Living with an overactive stress response can slowly start to rob you of your energy. If you struggle waking up in the morning, you feel exhausted all the time or you rely on caffeine to function – it could be a sign that your adrenals need some support.
May 28, 2023|
May 28, 2023
The adrenal glands and your stress response
The adrenal glands are two tiny glands that sit on top of the kidneys, and they play a key role in orchestrating the body’s stress response. In response to stress, the hypothalamus in the brain begins a chemical cascade that sends a chemical signal to the pituitary glands and then the adrenals – which triggers the production of stress hormones like epinephrine (or adrenaline), norepinephrine and cortisol to help prepare the body to ‘fight or flight’. These hormones activate the sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates all of the essential functions required for the body’s immediate survival – from speeding up the heart to increasing blood pressure and muscle tension. While this is a normal and healthy response, if you’re under constant or prolonged stress - your stress response can become dysregulated and leave you feeling less than optimal.
Signs your adrenals may need some support
- Feeling ‘tired but wired’
- Energy slumps
- Brain fog or poor focus
- Slow exercise recovery
- Poor sleep
5 ways to balance the adrenals
Reduce stress of all kinds
We’re all familiar with the stressors of daily life, but there are also many sources of stress that are hidden within your daily routine. From nutrient deficiencies and excess coffee consumption, to your daily HIIT workout – without knowing about these common stressors, you could be taxing your adrenals without realizing.
Hidden daily stressors
- Excess caffeine consumption
- Imbalanced blood sugar levels
- Poor sleep
- Excess blue light exposure
- Not eating enough
On top of the stress your body experiences externally, there’s also the invisible stress load that your cells face on a daily basis – also known as free radicals. Much like an exhaust from a car engine, free radicals are produced by your mitochondria as a by-product of generating energy for you to function. The accumulation of free radicals can cause cells to become damaged, which can make it harder for your body to produce enough energy to meet the increased needs of an already stressed-out nervous system.
Keep your blood sugar balanced
Adrenaline is an important hormone for the regulation of blood sugar levels, and it’s responsible for converting glycogen (stored glucose) into usable glucose when blood sugar levels drop. Glucose is the body’s preferred fuel/energy source, and when the body is stressed, hormones like adrenaline and cortisol trigger a rise in glucose to meet the increased energy demands. While this response is beneficial in some situations, it can become problematic to continue spiking your blood sugar levels if you’re experiencing a consistent amount of stress.
In the same way that stress can cause imbalanced blood sugar levels, when your blood sugar levels are imbalanced - it can also trigger your stress response. Anytime you skip meals or reach for something high in processed sugar, you may be setting yourself up for a blood sugar rollercoaster that can create a huge amount of stress internally. Having low blood sugar levels can trigger your stress response because your body has no way of knowing whether you’re really in survival mode, or if you’ve just forgotten to eat. Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast and eating frequent meals throughout the day will help you maintain steady blood sugar levels and support a balanced stress response.
Replete your nutrient stores
Stress of any kind increases the demands of your body. The adrenals require specific nutrients like vitamin C, zinc and B vitamins to function, and if you’re low in any of these important nutrients – the body may struggle to regulate your stress response. Your mitochondria are like the energy batteries of your cells, responsible for providing your cells with the energy to fuel your body. When you’re constantly in a state of fight or flight, mitochondria will be struggling to meet these increased energy demands if you’re not providing them with the right fuel to function.
Hack your sleep
Losing sleep triggers the body’s stress response, and it can dysregulate the production of cortisol. Cortisol and melatonin are two hormones that help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, and they work in opposition to help create your sleep/wake cycle. Cortisol should naturally rise in the early hours, helping you spring out of bed each morning, while melatonin takes the night shift and helps your body wind down for sleep. But when these two hormones are out of balance, things can start working in opposition and you might feel sleepy in the morning and wired at night – a classic sign that the adrenals could use some support. By helping the body re-establish a healthy sleep pattern, you’ll also be supporting the regulation of your stress hormones.
Adaptogens are compounds that help the body adapt to stress of all kinds. They essentially help ‘build us up’ and counter the effects of stress. With their adaptive properties, they help the body regulate and support our resilience to daily stressors. Not only do adaptogens help the body cope with stress, but they also have a modulating effect that can support healthy energy levels and combat fatigue.
Regulate your stress response with adaptogens:
- Ashwagandha – this ancient herb is known to reduce stress and cortisol levels
- Rhodiolia – has been traditionally used as an adaptogen to reduce stress and help the body resist stress and exhaustion.
How can MitoQ help?
The MitoQ® patented molecule is the world-first mitochondria-targeted antioxidant that works to address free radicals at the source and can help to combat cell stress. Paired with powerhouse ingredients Sensoril® Ashwagandha, Rhodiolife® Rhodiola and Maritime Pine extract, MitoQ adrenal + balance can support your mitochondria and support your body through everyday stress in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
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