Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Adrenal Fatigue

Article written by Patrick Bayer CNC  Copyright 2012 - all rights reserved.
 photos courtesy of micro.magnet.fsu.edu/micro

*please note that the information provided is not meant to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat you but offered as educational material that should be shared with your healthcare provider.The statements contained on my sites  have not been evaluated by the FDA.

Adrenal Fatigue is a relatively unknown condition that affects the adrenal glands.   The adrenals are glands that sit above the kidneys and are responsible for an estimated 50 different hormones from the widely known cortisol to the lesser known androgens.   The adrenals are the pharmacy of the body which means when the body needs a shot of a hormone to activate something then it calls on the adrenals (and/or other glandular systems).

ADRENAL RESPONSE:
Dr. Hans Selye is considered the father of the adrenal studies. Selye did much important factual work on the response of the organism to stressors. Stress can be defined as the general strain on the body caused by disease, injury or mental pressure. Typically stress is usually understood as mental stress with little emphasis on biological stress. Biological stress may be a more important role in health or disease. I would define biological stress as stressors that are affecting your body and not your mind. Examples of this would be infections, toxins, inadequate nutrition, burns, trauma and a lack of water and a lack of sleep.

Homeostasis is the ability for the body to respond to changes such as heat or cold, the body makes changes to the system to adapt. For instance you begin to sweat which cools the skin, you begin to feel thirsty so you drink water to cool the body. In essence your body is self-regulating, in other words you are not consciously aware of these changes.

The adrenals play key roles in the adaptive process (stress). Wikipedia defines the adrenals as
The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are the triangular-shaped endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They are chiefly responsible for releasing hormones in conjunction with stress through the synthesis of corticosteroids and catecholamines, including cortisol and adrenaline (epinephrine), respectively. Though connected to the kidneys, these glands play no role in the functioning of, or health of the kidneys. Glands are part of the endocrine system, and kidneys are part of the urinary system.

Note: Any form of stress leads to a weakening of the body and the adrenals.   Stress is generally regarded as emotional but stress takes other forms such as chronic infections, immune system activation, loads of toxins that we are faced with everyday, financial health, relationships, even past traumas.   It is important to root out these stressors.


Traditional medicine recognizes two primary problems with adrenals
1) Addison's Disease (underproduction of hormones)
2) Cushing's Disease (overproduction of hormones)

These are extreme conditions of adrenal disease, however Alternative medicine has identified that there can more subtle issues, Adrenal Fatigue (AF) is one of those.

Adrenal Fatigue (AF)
AF would best be defined as a weakening of the adrenals. In other words you beat them and now they are tired :). And I would add that there is another condition in which the adrenals are ok but are lying dormant, this is really not an issue with people with infectious issues so I will not be covering this.

Some of the signs of AF are: fatigue, exhaustion, diminished coping of stress, brain fog, concentration problems, hormonal disturbances, low immunity, depression, anxiety and irritability, diminished vitality etc.


I went into full blown Cushing's following my infection with the protozoa parasites, which is quite rare.  There was only one physician that would acknowledge the fact that this type of adrenal response could occur with infections, it is not widely known just showing up in one endocrinology textbook I found. But Cushing's is extreme and will lead to AF pretty fast. I experienced horrid anxiety and depression, swelling of my neck, feet and hands, muscle pain and horrible fatigue. I continued to take my nutritional supplements that I was on previous to the onset of Cushing's, then I stopped for about 2 weeks thinking that it was bunk. Well that was a big mistake, within a short period of time (2 weeks) I began to have extreme panic attacks and for those who have suffered panic attacks, I don't need to say anything else. The panic attacks became stronger and on a January Friday morning I found myself collapsed on the living room floor unable to get up gasping for breath and a heart pumping a million beats a minute. Terror enveloped me, I felt crazy. I called my family to come from work. They drove me to the ER, I rode in the back thinking they were going to put me in the psychiatric ward. Well you know how it goes, the ER doctor gave me anti-anxiety drugs which never solved the problem.

I woke up the next 2 days feeling like someone was putting an electrical current through my body, the sound of a vacuum cleaner made me crazy. I started back on my nutritionals and began combing through my nutritional literature hoping that someone would address this problem with no such luck. I began dosing with green drinks and bananas hoping to get electrolytes into my body, I then began to stabilize but the panic attacks continued, although not as strong.
By a sheer act of God, my mother called me (as I was still bedridden) and read a chapter out of a book from Adelle Davis http://www.amazon.com/Lets-Well-Signet-Adelle-Davis/dp/0451154630 This chapter was about Stress and the adrenals and research from Selye and also nutritional models. I began to follow her advice and got the adrenals to stabilize and with the stabilization of the adrenals, the other systems began to stabilize as well.
Remember that the adrenals are the manufacturers of vital hormones. Some of the hormones are:
1/ Glucocorticoids
2/ Catecholamines:
a. Epinephrine (Adrenalin)
b. Norepinephrine
3/ Mineralcorticoids
4/ Androgens

POTS
POTS is an acronym for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, it is another name for Adrenal Fatigue. The idea is that when you are resting, the body goes into a state of rest which means the adrenals are not working so hard. When you stand up, you are asking the adrenals to start working and if they are not working properly (POTS) then you feel weak or dizzy. The doctors can do this test using 2 blood pressure readings, one laying down and the other when you stand up.


Repair of the adrenals:
Nutrition always plays key roles in restoration of health after all every cell in your body is dependent on building blocks.  Incorporating whole foods which would mean organic and non-processed (or minimally processed) foods.  I will take a few pages out of my experimentation.


B Vitamins
-Pantothenic Acid is also known as Vitamin B5 and like other b vitamins plays important roles throughout the body. A study was done by volunteers (actually prisoners) in which all panthothenic acid was removed from their diet. Within a short time (2 weeks?) they went bonkers and they had to call the study off. They were placed on large doses of supplemental pantothenic acid and recovered very slowly. Panthothenic acid is stored in the adrenals and plays a key role in keeping them healthy.

-B2/B6 are also associated with adrenal function.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C cannot be manufactured in the human body although it can be in animals. Scurvy is a well known deficiency of vitamin C and more recent discoveries about it show conditions like arteriosclerosis as conditions of deficiency as well. Vitamin C is well known as a free radical scavenger (antioxidant) and in my opinion the best antioxidant I have ever taken. Studies show that the adrenals and vitamin C are closely associated, Adelle Davis published research showing without adequate vitamin C that the adrenals begin to shrivel and hemorrhage.



Magnesium - Sodium - Potassium
Magnesium is the overlooked mineral and why that is, is unknown to me. It plays very key roles in over 350 enzymatic functions within the body and would be considered the mineral to maintain homeostasis. Magnesium is a tricky mineral in that it can be difficult to absorb it unlike other minerals such as potassium. It also is subject to wasting - usually due to endocrine disturbances such as diabetes and adrenal dysregulation.

Dr. Mildred Seelig wrote some of the most important journal articles on magnesium and its role in cardiovascular, immune and stress reactions. It has been shown that under most stressors that magnesium is lost. These stressors include loud noises, heat and cold extremes, infections, burns and traumas. This why stress and cardiovascular problems are associated and you can also make a simple jump of logic to associate stress with cancer. These problems (and others) can be traced back to the magnesium depletion.

Seelig made associations with adrenal stress and magnesium as well. These associations work in both directions that is that adrenal stress will reduce magnesium stores and reduced magnesium stores will encourage adrenal stress.

So it is very important that those who are suffering with adrenal issues from these parasites look to magnesium to help them. It is important to use the correct forms and to avoid those forms that are not bio-available such as magnesium oxide. My best results have come from Doctor's Best High Absorption Magnesium (mag lysinate, mag glycinate), 2AEP Magnesium, UltraMag from Source Naturals, magnesium chloride (SlowMag etc) and I like LEF magnesium. It is also important to have your Vitamin D3 levels checked as this vitamin works with magnesium. And of course the latest research on Vitamin D shows its role in the immune system and neurological. See vitamindcouncil.org for more information.

Sodium & Potassium are two other electrolytes that play key roles in the body, one of those being neurological health. These are controlled by the mineralcorticoids found in the adrenal glands and these play interactive roles with magnesium. Tissue analysis can be quite helpful in determining the activity of the adrenal glands by assessing the sodium/potassium levels. Adelle Davis links the roles of potassium and sodium levels based on Selye's 3 models of adrenal health. Alarm, resistance and exhaustion are these three models according to Selye and Davis maintains that sodium becomes critical in the exhaustion stage. Of course sodium is generally regarded as being a bad mineral to intake which would be true if potassium and magnesium levels are diminished.

Glandulars.
Glandulars are not used in America as they are in Europe. They played a key role in my adrenal healing, the other nutritionals stabilized the adrenals but the glandulars healed them. This product is made by many manufacturers and I would recommend staying away from those that contain licorice which have a stimulating effect which is not good for people with adrenal exhaustion.  Some people have reported that adrenal glandulars do not help but may aggravate their situation.

Essential Fatty acids
Essential Fatty Acids are fats or oils that the body needs to perform multiple functions. They play a part in many metabolic processes, and there is evidence to suggest that low levels of essential fatty acids, or the wrong balance of types among the essential fatty acids, may be a factor in a number of illnesses.  Some of the food sources of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are fish and shellfish, flaxseed (linseed), hemp oil, sunflower, sesame, safflower, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, and walnuts.  (source Wikipedia),


Remember that most adrenal hormones are created from cholesterol and when the adrenals are putting out high hormones, the demand for fats is increased. One should not neglect animal fats as they are rich in the fatty acids the body needs to create the adrenal response. I remember several periods when I was under massive adrenal stress in which I craved a high fat and high sodium diet, these cravings are the body's way of getting what it needs.


Protein
Protein plays key roles in the repair of the body and the adrenals are no exception. Every cell of the body is dependent on protein. Protein is made up of amino acids, the body uses these amino acids for most of its operation.
Proteins are the basic building blocks of the entire body. Their assimilation and utilization are controlled by the DNA. Basically when you ingest proteins, the body begins to pull apart the bonds of the proteins using enzymes to accomplish this. (hydrochloric acid and pepsin are secreted by the stomach then some of the pancreatic enzymes will further break down the proteins).

Regardless of the protein source, all the proteins are basically amino acids that are attached in very complex manners. So the body takes for example chicken which is for demonstration purposes is a amino acid complex of lysine, methionine and taurine . So when you begin to chew the chicken then you are starting to break down the proteins, then the stomach secretes its enzymes and further breaks down the protein and finally the pancreatic enzymes break it down even further. They get broken down to their individual amino acids. Now that the amino acids are freed up the body begins to reassemble the amino acids into what the body needs it for, these are called proteins.

This is where the DNA comes in. It is like the software of your body and begins to build proteins for specific purposes by assembling different amino acids . Proteins for the eyes and proteins for the immune system are different, they require different components like baking a chocolate cake requires different ingredients than a pineapple upside down cake, they are both cakes but use some similar ingredients like flour and sugar but have differing ingredients thus their outcomes are different.

So for instance immune cells require more cysteine than say the eyes. Taurine and methionine are probably more predominant in the liver than say lysine. Lysine is involved in calcium/magnesium retention and threonine is involved in immunity.



But the DNA and I guess RNA will decide where to put those molecules. But if there are other components that are missing say Zinc then the DNA may not be functioning properly as zinc is involved in protein assimilation. But zinc is not the only thing involved. Vitamin co-factors such as B6 are involved in protein assimilation as well along with the proper minerals.

Toxicity will interfere with protein assimilation particularly heavy metals such as lead.
So to make a long story short, mineral and vitamin or nutrient deficiency can cause protein assimilation problems along with heavy metals.

I had terrible ridging in my nails and looking at them today they are much better. My personal opinion in this has to do with the detoxifying I did which I would say ozone was the big gun in that. Ozone will provoke toxin release and I used other toxin vacuums like chlorella, edta and other stuff (I like zeolites, I use ACV zeolite from rnaresults.com) I had horrible reactions which was toxin release, I think metal releases.) If you want more info on this protocol let me know.

A really good test to use is the Amino Acid profiles from Metametrix. I had a urine test done from Genova, but then I did another test from Metametrix and was blessed to speak to their main researcher Dr. Lord. He has a fantastic book on orthomolecular studies. . He was very generous and told me that serum testing is the only way to test not urine. They offer a few levels of testing.

Testing goes a long way for instance my test showed issues with the 3 majors >>> cysteine, methionine and taurine. And the commonality with these is they are all involved in 2 major processes ::: detox and immune system. Other tests from other patients show that this is common among those with pathogenic loads.

Here is an additional link with some very good information on it concerning the adrenal responses:
http://www.tuberose.com/Adrenal_Glands.html




This video covers some key points about adrenal function and it is my opinion that products listed may not be enough to restore the adrenals.





Adaptogens::
Adaptogens are herbals that help moderate the harmful effects of stress on the body, they not only lessen stress but protect organ systems and help tonify the body to aid in the fight or flight syndrome. Examples of adaptogens would be Siberian Ginseng, Ashwaghanda and Jiagoluan ,turmeric could be classified as an adaptogen as well. Some herbs that are listed as adaptogenic can also have stimulatory effects such as Ginsengs with the exception of the Siberian variety. I would also stay away from Licorice which in itself has many great qualities, but does have a tendency to stimulate the adrenal glands, so if you are suffering with overactive adrenals, which many do with these infections, then using licorice will further provoke the adrenals which is not a good idea. I purchase these items in bulk which saves a great deal of money.

**this is for education purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition, seek out professional medical advice.  

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