ARE YOU OVERSTRESSED?
Adaptogens for Adrenal Support
Adaptogens help support the body’s natural ability to deal with stress. Adaptogens are a select group of herbs and some mushrooms. They are called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to the specific needs of the body. This may be chemical, physical, or biological needs. Because they moderate the body’s stress response they have been compared to a thermostat, which controls temperature. They have special compounds that can possess opposing qualities, such as being relaxing or stimulating. The correct response is triggered according to the body’s specific needs. They are found today in a growing list of drinks, teas, tinctures, and powders. They are often used as a healthy alternative to some prescribed medications and stimulants, as well as common pick-me-ups like caffeine and sugar. There are dozens of plants, growing in some of the world’s harshest environments, that fall under the adaptogen category.
What are some symptoms you may suffer from to think about adding an adaptogen into your daily regime?
In today’s current society, I hear of more and more people feeling stressed or anxious. Adding adaptogens to your daily routine have shown to help; if you are having trouble sleeping, lacking essential energy, or struggling with lack of productivity; then an adaptogen might be just what the doctor ordered.
The best adaptogens for stress relief and adrenal dysfunction are:
1) Ashwagandha helps the body cope with stress by boosting adrenal function. It is widely used to balance stress hormones, relieve anxiety, and increase energy in those suffering from adrenal fatigue. Ashwagandha has also been shown to assist in thyroid function.
2) Maca root is unique in that it is both an adaptogen and a superfood. Grown in the Andes Mountains, maca is a root vegetable rich in protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium and amino acids such as glycine and arginine. Maca has been used medicinally for hundreds of years to improve libido, fertility, mood, and symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
3) Rhodiola rosea is one of the 20 different varieties of rhodiola and the one to exhibit the most health benefits. Too much cortisol (your primary stress hormone) can deplete your nutrient reserves, impair memory, and have devastating effects on your blood pressure, blood sugar, and metabolism. Rhodiola is an adaptogen that has been proven to reduce the secretion of cortisol during stressful situations.
4) Eleuthero offers a whole host of other benefits, including enhanced immune function, stabilized blood sugar levels, improved concentration, and reduced duration of respiratory infections such as pneumonia and influenza. It can even help you manage menopause symptoms by binding to estrogen receptor sites, thereby decreasing fatigue, insomnia memory problems, and loss of strength caused by low estrogen levels during menopause.
5) Holy Basil helps to soothe stressed adrenals and calm the mind to help with sleep.
6) Ginseng is one of the most well-known adaptogenic herbs. It is said to increase energy, improve cognitive function, act as an anti-inflammatory, help with erectile dysfunction, prevent flu, and lower blood sugar.
Adaptogens do for your adrenal glands what exercise does for the muscles, they do this by interacting with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, tweaking hormone production and altering physiological responses to ensure the body functions optimally.
Improving adrenal health can help you live a more balanced life. In addition to herbal supplements, there are other ways you can help support your body, including adopting a healing mindset, practicing daily movement, eating a healthy, whole foods diet, getting enough sleep, and remembering to take time out for yourself.
Remember, even small changes can lead to a big improvement in how you feel.
Lisa Pitel-Killah is a Hair Mineral Analysis Expert and Educator, with a background in Functional Medicine. She is a Kettlebell World Champion, Coach and Entrepreneur; and has a passion for guiding people to maximize health, reverse debilitating symptoms and gain energy to truly recognize their full potential. She is a health, wellness and fitness advocate.