Support your Adrenal Glands as well as your Immune SystemThese figures provide valuable insight into the level of stress and illness-related stress faced by many Australians every day. The problem is that during periods of illness, we tend to place more emphasis on immune boosting, to overcome and prevent common colds and other immune based conditions, when support for the adrenal glands may not even be considered. As 2016 reaches the season to reflect and recover, you may want to consider some additional adrenal support, recommended by your healthcare practitioner, to ensure you are primed and ready for the new year ahead.
What is adrenal health?If we’re faced with a stressful situation, our bodies rely on the adrenal glands; two small triangular-shaped organs that sit on top of the kidneys which monitor our “fight or flight” response. In a crisis, our healthy adrenal glands respond by releasing adrenaline, which makes us more alert and focused, and cortisol, which converts protein to energy and releases our stored sugar, glycogen, so our bodies have the fuel needed to respond quickly. When the stress is removed, the body returns to normal — quickly with respect to adrenaline levels, less quickly with respect to cortisol. If there is prolonged or repeated stress, the adrenal gland’s ability to cope may falter. Signs of adrenal fatigue include being both tired and wired, getting lightheaded when you stand up quickly, not being able to shake colds or infections, and feeling anxious, irritable or moody.
Herbal support for Adrenal FatigueThe herb Withania somnifera has been used for over 300 years, reducing stress levels and increasing stamina and vitality.7,8 A study shows when a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of withania KSM-66® was given to adults complaining of mental stress, it significantly reduced perceived stress levels by 44% and morning cortisol levels by 27.9%. Along with these reductions, the 600mg dose given for 60 days also had a significant impact upon overall stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and social dysfunction scales.11 This same extract reduced ‘comfort’ or emotional eating and food cravings, with improvements in body weight management of chronically stressed individuals.9 Two other herbs, Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense, used in a registered combination called Relora®, have also been studied and found to reduce stress levels. One study found the treatment group had significantly reduced perceived stress levels and improved mood parameters for tension, depression, anger fatigue and confusion.12 Other herbal support may be found with the use of the herb Rhodiola rosea,the various ginsengs and the adrenal tonic Glycyrrhiza glabra.
Nutritional supportWhen looking at adrenal and immune health, vitamin C plays a crucial role in supporting both systems. The adrenal gland is one of the body’s organs with the highest level of vitamin C, but during stress these levels drop. Giving vitamin C supplementation appears to support stress. 4,15 Magnesium is another important mineral for adrenal function, while beneficial nutrients include the amino acids tyrosine and glutamine. Additionally, the B vitamins are critical for energy production. A deficiency in these vitamins can reduce adrenal function, with an inability to respond to stress appropriately.4,23,24 The above herbs and nutrients indirectly support the immune system through their ability to reduce stress and improve adrenal function. They may be the key in treating stress, seasonal-related illness and helping your body to stay well in the new year to come.
Mr Vitamins Recommends:
Adrenoplex and Energy complex from Bioceuticals‘Ask a Naturopath’ for more information about adrenal fatigue solutions
13 Tips for better stress management in the New Year25
- Identify early warning signs in the body such as tension, mood changes or headaches.
- Eat nutrient-dense unprocessed foods every day.
- Support the adrenal and immune system with a high-quality adrenal formulation.
- Address any nutrient deficiencies with food and supplementation.
- Ensure adequate heating and appropriate clothing in winter.
- Maintain a healthy bodyweight and exercise regularly.
- Get adequate sleep every night (seven hours or more).
- Ensure proper hydration by drinking clean water throughout the day.
- Establish regular routines for daily activities.
- Practice relaxation with calming activities, such as meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, music, reading, dancing etc.
- Limit stimulants, such as alcohol, drugs, refined sugar, tobacco and caffeine.
- Notice ‘self-talk’ that may not be helpful or beneficial.
- Spend time with people who are caring and supportive.
- Mental Health First Aid Australia. Mental health training for the workplace - blended learning 2016. Viewed 28 May 2016, http://workplace.mhfa.com.au/?gclid=Cj0KEQjw4J-6BRD3h_KIoqijwvkBEiQAfcPiBZ8tiqCfwM3a5mAjGq2jvcmI9qd2E3u2eSuT_UF_bxgaAkFr8P8HAQ.
- Australian Human Resources Institute. Absence management 2016. Viewed 28 May 2016, https://www.ahri.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/57427/Absence-Management-Infographic.pdf.
- Nelson RJ, Demas GE, Klein SL, et al. Seasonal patterns of stress, immune function, and disease. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2002. Viewed 28 May 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511546341.
- Head KA, Kelly GS. Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: Adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep. Altern Med Rev 2009;14(2):114-140.
- McEwen BS. Allostasis and allostatic load: implications for neuropsychopharmacology. Neuropsychopharma 2000;22(2):108-124.
- Alschuler L. Optimizing the HPA axis. Naturopathic Doctor News & Review 2014;10(8):1-8.
- Panossian AG. Adaptogens in mental and behavioral disorders. Psychiatr Clin North Am 2013;36(1):49-64.
- Dhar N, Razdan S, Rana S, et al. A decade of molecular understanding of withanolide biosynthesis and in vitro studies in Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal: Prospects and perspectives for pathway engineering. Frontiers in Plant Science 2015;6:1031.
- Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Joshi K. Body weight management in adults under chronic stress through treatment with Ashwagandha root extract: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med 2016; doi: 10.1177/2156587216641830
- Auddy B, Hazra PJ, Mitra PA. A standardized Withania somnifera extract significantly reduces stress-related parameters in chronically stressed humans: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. J Am Nutraceutical Assoc 2008;11:50-56.
- Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med 2012;34(3):255-262.
- Talbott SM, Talbott JA, Pugh M. Effect of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense (Relora(R)) on cortisol and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2013;10(1):37.
- Woodbury A, Yu SP, Wei L, et al. Neuro-modulating effects of honokiol: A review. Front Neurol 2013;4:130.
- Alexeev M, Grosenbaugh DK, Mott DD, et al. The natural products magnolol and honokiol are positive allosteric modulators of both synaptic and extra-synaptic GABA(A) receptors. Neuropharmacol 2012;62(8):2507-2514.
- Patak P, Willenberg HS, Bornstein SR. Vitamin C is an important cofactor for both adrenal cortex and adrenal medulla. Endocr Res 2004;30(4):871-875.
- Sartori SB, Whittle N, Hetzenauer A, et al. Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment. Neuropharmacol 2012;62(1):304-312.
- 17.Seelig MS. Consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications (a review). J Am Coll Nutr 1994;13(5):429-446.
- Brilla LR. Magnesium influence on stress and immune function in exercise. J Sports Med Doping Studies 2012;02(03).
- 19.Baumeister J, Barthel T, Geiss KR, et al. Influence of phosphatidylserine on cognitive performance and cortical activity after induced stress. Nutr Neurosci 2008;11(3):103-110.
- Hellhammer J, Vogt D, Franz N, et al. A soy-based phosphatidylserine/ phosphatidic acid complex (PAS) normalizes the stress reactivity of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-axis in chronically stressed male subjects: A randomized, placebo-controlled study. Lipids Health Dis 2014;13:121.
- 21.Starks MA, Starks SL, Kingsley M, et al. The effects of phosphatidylserine on endocrine response to moderate intensity exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2008;5:11.
- 22.Walls AB, Waagepetersen HS, Bak LK, et al. The glutamine-glutamate/GABA cycle: Function, regional differences in glutamate and GABA production and effects of interference with GABA metabolism. Neurochem Res 2015;40(2):402-409.
- 23.Anderson DC. Assessment and nutraceutical management of stress-induced adrenal dysfunction. Integrat Med: A Clinic J 2008;7(5):18-25.
- Kelly GS. Pantothenic acid monograph. Altern Med Rev 2011;16(3):263-274.
- Casey L. Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2013. Australian psychological society: Melbourne. Viewed April 2016, www.mindhealthconnect.org.au/anxiety