I get a lot of questions about the adrenal glands, probably because I understand them so well. From the questions it is clear that a little understanding of how they work with other glands and how to treat the underlying issue of adrenal fatigue will be helpful.
And, it won’t be to complicated, I promise!
There is something called the HPA axis. This stands for Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenal. This is an important axis as they work together to keep the body safe.
This has to do with ancient times when we needed to react to our environment in order to survive. Fight or flight is an emotional instinct that kept our ancestors from becoming extinct. It may not be as necessary as it was then, but we’re left with it. And, it does serve its purpose in times of need.
The problem is that many of us live such stressful lives, that the system never turns off. This is what causes the adrenals to become problematic. Of course, sugar and processed foods contribute greatly to this issue, but life stress also causes many of the adrenal problems that I have been writing about.
I could go on and on about fight/flight. It is a major player in poor health. But, let’s stick to the HPA axis for now.
Here’s what happens. Stressful emotions are received by the hypothalamus, that’s just how the brain works. A lot goes on with this, but again, trying to keep focus. The hypothalamus tells the pituitary that there is stress and something needs to be done to deal with. So, the pituitary tells the adrenals to produce stress hormones. The stress hormones tells the hypothalamus that there is stress which tells the pituitary…
And round and round it goes. The HPA axis gets stuck in a loop that is very hard to get out of. It’s one of the reasons we need a long vacation every year, just to get out of that loop. Of course, that doesn’t always work either.
But, there are supplements that can help. Calming herbs can be a great boon. One of my favorite supplements for this is from Apex Energetics called adrenacalm. It’s pricey though. Another is from Standard Process, my favorite supplements in general, called hypothalamex. This one doesn’t work all the time though.
The best bet, and most cost effective, for most people is to go to the health food or herb store and get a bottle of herbs that is a combination of various calming herbs. They are in a class called Nervine herbs. I’ll include a partial list below.
The reason to get several in a formula is that they work synergistically. And, you want to get capsules with the whole herb ground up in them. Tinctures rarely work as the concentration is poor. And, you might want to take two to three times the recomended dose, at least to start.
For many people, getting the hypothalamus to cool out will help their adrenals to recover fully. Most need other supplements for the adrenals as well as a diet change.
Nervine And Relaxant Herbs With Effects
A partial list
PASSIONFLOWER, Passiflora incarnata, Nervine, anxiety
HOPS, Humulus lupulus, Nervine
VALERIAN, Valeriana officinalis, Nervine, anger
OATS, Avena sativa Nervine, relaxant
LEMON BALM, Melissa officinalis, Nervine
SKULLCAP, Scutellaria lateriflora, Sedative, nervine, trophorestorative
BAICAL SKULLCAP, Scutellaria baicalensis, Nervine
ROSEMARY, Rosmarinus officinalis, Carminative, nervine, headaches, sciatica
CHAMOMILE, Matricaria recutita, Relaxant, asthma, bronchitis
KAVA, Piper methysticum, Hypnotic, relaxant, anxiety
ST JOHNS WORT, Hypericum perforatum, Nerve pain, sciatica, anti-depressant, cold/flu
VERVAIN, Verbena officinalis, To much going on or doing to much, stress