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What is the adrenal glands?

Ad-renal means on top of the renals (kidneys). The adrenal gland is an endocrine gland that is split up into two parts: the adrenal cortex and the adrenal medulla. The adrenal medulla secretes nor-epinephrine and epinephrine. The cortex secretes cortisol, aldosterone, adrenosterone, and DHEA. The adrenal glands are known as the ‘fight or flight’ glands.   The adrenal glands release cortisol in a circadian cycle. The levels are high in the morning (normally around 7am) to wake us up and then are lower at night so we can fall asleep.

So if I avoid being chased by a tiger, then surely my adrenal glands are fine.

 

Unfortunately, the adrenal glands does not recognize good or bad stress. Even when you are sitting at home watching TV, the adrenal glands still releases hormones to help you focus. In our fast paced lives,the amount of stress we put ourselves under whacks the adrenals and can thus cause multiple conditions.

Immune health

White blood cells follow the cortisol cycle and flow in and out of the spleen and bone marrow for instructions or regulation. If the cortisol rhythm is thrown off so will this immune rhythm.

Thyroid function

Cellular levels of cortisol regulate thyroid hormone production. Hypothyroid symptoms such as low body temperature and fatigue are normally due to an adrenal maladaptation.

Joint and muscle function

Due to the adrenals job in releasing corticosteroids, weak adrenals are known to compromise the healing time for our joints and muscles. Most adrenal supplements 50 or so years ago were invented specifically for athletes for tissue and joint repair. This is where the link between the adrenals and fibromyalgia comes in.

Sleep quality

If the cortisol levels are reversed (which happens regularly) we see patients who cannot get up in the morning and cant go to sleep at night.

 

These are some medical symptoms associated with the adrenals:

 

  • Fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Muscle pain
  • Low body temperature
  • Joint pain
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Insomnia
  • Poor memory
  • Inability to handle stress
  • Osteoporosis
  • Low libido

 

In our next   blog post we will discuss how acupuncture, herbology, nutritional supplementation and Diet can help support the adrenal glands.

If you are looking to try acupuncture or holistic medicine in charlotte please call 704-308-2557

Meet the Author

Dr. Boyle D.A.C.M., LAc., DiplOM.

Dr. Boyle D.A.C.M., LAc., DiplOM. is the founder of the Holistic Wellness Center of the Carolinas where he is the Director of Functional Medicine. He holds a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine and is acupuncture physician and primary care physician in the state of Florida. His post-graduate focus has been in the fields of functional neurology, functional immunology, and functional endocrinology.

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