In our latest 3-part blog series “Healthy Hormones”, we’ll unpack some of the most common health issues associated with hormone imbalances, and explain the B12 LOVE approach to helping you avoid and correct them.
Many people think that hormone imbalance is solely a female issue. However, hormones play a central role in health for both sexes, at all stages of life. Moreover, imbalanced hormones don’t always manifest in dramatic ways, which can sometimes make problems difficult to recognize. Yet, left untreated the effects can wreak havoc on your physical and mental well-being.
Hormones are a product of the endocrine system – a group of glands scattered throughout the body that are constantly regulating various functions. This includes mood, hunger, body temperature, sleep, metabolism & blood sugar, reproduction, sexual development, and growth.
Among these glands are the adrenals. Adrenal glands produce corticosteroids and epinephrine, essential hormones that help your body to:
- distribute fat and protein
- regulate sugar
- manage inflammation
- promote proper cardiovascular function
- react to stressors (chronic and acute)
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
I have been a Registered Nurse for 15 years, and I will (shamefully) admit that the first time I heard someone mention “adrenal fatigue” I had no idea what the person was talking about. I’d heard about Addison’s and Cushing’s disease, but adrenal fatigue wasn’t something I’d learned about in nursing school or the hospital setting. However, in Functional medicine they recognize that there are gradations in adrenal health and our response to chronic stress.
When we experience occasional acute stress, our bodies release cortisol and other hormones as an adaptive means of coping. However, when the body is exposed to chronic stress (emotional, physical, or mental) the adrenal glands can’t continue producing enough cortisol to keep up with the demand. Eventually, this leads to a depleted state in which one may experience:
- extreme fatigue
- insomnia (despite extreme fatigue)
- difficulty waking up
- sugar and salt cravings
- lack of motivation
- poor focus, memory, concentration
- low blood pressure or dizziness
- blood sugar irregularities
- dependence on caffeine / stimulants that may no longer have an effect on energy
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
While it is important to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms, adrenal insufficiency or dysregulation could potentially be an underlying factor.
How Is Adrenal Fatigue Prevented and Treated?
We know that a healthy gut microbiome and adequate sleep have a large influence on the functionality of our hormones and stress response. Additionally, certain nutrients and herbs can help your body mitigate inflammation and maintain hormone homeostasis, such as:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B12
- Glutathione, or its precursor N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)
- Cortisol Manager – One of my personal favorite branded herbal blends
- Adaptogens, such as Ashwagandha
(All available at B12 LOVE)
The bottom line? You don’t have to let imbalance be your baseline. If you think you might be suffering from adrenal fatigue, or you’re just curious and want to learn more, chat with a licensed medical professional at one of our Bay Area locations.
Check out our complete “Healthy Hormones” series!