Q: You mentioned stress being such a key component for adrenal fatigue. How can people take care of that? I mean, our stress continues to build in our life. How do we make that so it's not part of the equation?
A: It's a great question, because stress is built into our life and the industrialized world. Well, the book has a lot of suggestions about how they can do to calm themselves internally. One of the things is their breathing pattern. When you look at people with stress, you'll notice they tend not to breathe from in here. They tend to breathe shallowly. And so one of the things we'll do is help people change their breathing pattern. They'll start breathing from their tummy and then breathe in and breathing out. And make sure they're taking at least every hour, they take a breathing break and they come to watch themselves and they find that when they're under pressure and tenseness, they simply breathe. And they breathe from deep in and deep out. There's several reasons for this. One is the carbon dioxide-oxygen exchange. That is you breathe deeply. You start reinvigorating the lungs and then, of course, that re-oxidates the blood that gives new oxygen to the tissues. It helps circulation. It helps stimulate the liver. And so that has a nice function. If that doesn't seem to work, or you need more stimulation, you can even use breathing techniques that have been around since 2,000 years ago in India, where they simply breathe very rapidly from the tummy, called the rapid breath of fire. Then they can do that, they can look up the 'breath of fire' on the internet and find out how to do that. But it's simple breathing rapidly from in and out here.
Then there's another one called alternate nostril breathing, where they can breathe in deeply from the abdomen and the middle chest and the upper, by simply closing one nostril and every time they breathe out, they change nostrils. Breathe in. I did that too fast. But they breathe in slowly from the bottom, to the middle, to the top and back again. This helps autonomic function.
Now there's a part of your nervous system that's automatic, that you never see. It's the one that helps you digest foods. It's the one that helps you get ready to fight or flight. It's the one that helps you go to sleep at night. It's the unconscious controllers of your body. And that deep breathing like that helps get this autonomic nervous system back in balance so neither one of them is too dominant.
The food people eat is really important. People tend to eat foods that over-stimulate them now. Coffee, high sugar, and extremely high fat foods, poor quality proteins, junk foods, foods that were never food in the first place. And so, one of the things we want them to do is get back to eating food. And someone said, "Well that's ridiculous. Everything you put in your mouth is food." No, food is what runs around on the ground, grows up from the ground, down into the ground or swims in the ocean or the sea. That's food. And so if it looks like it was once alive, then it's probably pretty good to eat. If it doesn't look like it was ever alive, that would be food to only eat a little bit of or try to avoid.
Now, because there's another hormone that I mentioned briefly, called aldosterone, that also has difficulty during times of stress. Aldosterone tends to drop during times of high stress, so aldosterone's main job is to keep the sodium in your body higher to allow you to handle the stress. Unfortunately under these times of stress, when the adrenals can't respond, the aldosterone also drops so that people pee out needed salt. So they'll crave salt. And so in this case, we want them to actually have salt.
Now there's about six percent of the American public that may be salt-sensitive, so that salt may raise their blood pressure. And, of course, we don't want those people to have any more salt than what will keep their blood pressure normal. But in a lot of people, they need that salt. And so we'll ask them to please salt their foods to where it tastes good, not to where it tastes salty, but just tastes good. And then also in some people that are severe, we'll actually have them keep a glass of salted water by their bedside in the morning. And you might ask, "How much salt?" Well, the amount of salt that when it's stirred in, tastes good to the person taking it, because as you get better, your desire for salt will decrease to where you won't want salt in your water anymore. You won't want to salt your food extra. But during the times that your adrenals are under functioning, it's a help to get the sodium back up in your system and for you to feel functional. As a matter of fact, if you're very, very severe, we sometimes recommend that you go to the doctor and get something called Cortisol. It's hydrocortisone is what it's medical name is. It's a tablet. And there's several different varieties of that. And they can take five milligrams of that four different times a day. That should help them quite a bit. But an interesting experiment I've done is I've had patients take the salted water instead of their hydrocortisone and in over half the cases, they felt better and faster taking the salted water than they did the hydrocortisone.
So the missing salt is a big factor in how weak and tired the people feel when they're over fatigued. Plus, of course, the blood sugar. As we said, Cortisol is needed to help healthy blood sugar. On the other hand, if people eat garbage food that has a lot of refined carbohydrates in it, sugary, white flour, white sugar types of things, jams, pastries, then what happens is their blood sugar goes way up and their insulin goes way up to meet it, and then the blood sugar goes down but the insulin stays up a little bit and insulin helps blood sugar get into the cells, and so it puts it a cell very quickly, so that person goes down and goes into a hypoglycemic slump about an hour and a half after they have their sugar high. This is hard on the adrenals. Both the high sugar and the low sugar, and the adrenals have to compensate for this in both those cases, so both high sugar and low sugar are signs of stress for the adrenal glands, and it makes it have to work even harder. So we want to avoid those, because they're also non-foods. They don't actually feed your body. They make you feel better, but they're robbing your body of nutrients in order to metabolize it. So you don't have that beautiful magnesium and the B vitamins that were available and the sugar cane, or the sugar beet before it was made into that refined sugar. So the body has to rob from itself to metabolize that to get them to feel better over a short period of time, and then, of course, with time, they'll get those nutritional deficiencies, and then they won't feel as good no matter what they do. And that can lead them into even further adrenal fatigue or other kind of health situations.
So you can see that the adrenal function is just the key, it's pivotal, to a happy healthy life and to longevity. As a matter of fact, the two most reliable indicators for longevity in men is their lung volume, how big of volume they have in their lungs, and the second is their testosterone level. And the older a man gets, the more the adrenals reduce the testosterone that they need. And so we can make an indirect assumption that healthy adrenal glands have to do with healthy longevity. Many other factors, of course, have to play into that.
Stress can be so damaging to many different parts of our body. Dr. James L. Wilson discusses some natural things you can do to help manage stress and it's affects on your adrenal glands, as well as other parts of the body. find out how these 3 tips to help manage stress can get your body on the road to recovery!
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