Why is it that so many of us are so stressed? It is the minority of patients who come to me and say, “My stress level is very low.” Most feel overwhelmed juggling the responsibilities of work, family, finances, relationships and home. Especially the most caring and giving folks tend to overextend themselves and put themselves last.
Our adrenal glands do lots of things, and one is to react to stress. Our bodies are supposed to react to stress- that’s a good thing. But when it is daily or almost daily for years, we just wear out. This process, termed the General Adaptation Syndrome, happens in three phases over time.
- In the first, we are “wired” or “high-strung”. We have adrenaline (you know- fight or flight) pumping into our blood stream, which leaves less stored up. During this phase, you might be underweight/undernourished, develop ulcers, experience insomnia, anxiety, or have frequent colds due to decreased immune function. You might start to see problems with female hormones, thyroid and blood sugar because stress hormones directly interfere with these.
- In the second, you seem to adapt to the stress. You make more reserves of adrenaline and the other adrenal hormones and seem to coast through. You may gain weight during this time.
- In the third, you become exhausted. Your adrenal glands don’t react like they used to, and fatigue is extreme. You may find yourself to be more irritable and jumpy, depressed, anxious, less able to handle conflict, unpredictable things, or even daily responsibilities. You may have insomnia even though you are exhausted. You may find that you have gained weight over the years that the body was in survival mode. “This is an emergency. Better store all the fat possible,” says the lizard brain.
What do I do?
- Some lab testing may be necessary to look at adrenal, thyroid, female hormone, immune, and blood sugar function.
- Based on your symptoms and the lab results, we will address issues in each of the body systems.
- We will look at your life style and relationships and work on ways together to help you to manage stress.
- We will look at your diet to determine ways to improve the essential nourishment of your body and to help to manage blood sugar.
- We discuss exercise, what you are doing, and how you can improve your approaches.
- We may consider B Complex shots to help with the effects of stress on nerves.
- We will come up with a supplementation plan that will surely include one of our adrenal formulas depending on your needs. That may be a maintenance tonic, a short term strong booster for extreme exhaustion, or our balancer, Cortisol Calm. I switched from our previous balancer, Adrenal Assist, because this one is more potent.
Cortisol Calm contains vitamins C and D, which can be depleted in adrenal imbalance. It also contains Ashwagandha which can calm or stimulate adrenal function, regulating depending on need. It is useful at all stages of adrenal imbalance. Magnolia in this formula acts to help to balance blood sugar and calm anxiety. Rhodiola balances adrenaline and increases feel good hormones in the brain. And Theanine is a great calming amino acid.
Give us a call if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, 206.568.7545
Trained as a family practitioner to address acute and chronic conditions, Dr. McNaughton focuses on autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive issues. She facilitates healing as a knowledgeable guide and partner, helping her patients make lasting changes and achieve health goals. She graduated from Bastyr University in 2003.