Why Adrenal Health is Important

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02/04/2013
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Interviewer: Can you talk about the importance of supporting your adrenals and how someone might know that there's an issue there? 

Bradley Bush, ND: Oh, sure. Well, supporting the adrenals is an extremely important part of complimentary alternative medicine. Complimentary alternative medical doctors have been identifying different stages of adrenal fatigue and helping support patients for decades. It's interesting because in mainstream medicine, adrenal fatigue is still something that is, whether if you have Addison's Disease or not, whether or not your adrenal is shut off and doesn't produce anything, well then you're diagnosed as adrenal fatigue. 

But in the complimentary alternative realm, we look at adrenal fatigue very differently. We look at optimal glandular health producing an effect that allows us to have better normal metabolism, ability to have energy. Adrenal health is a vital component of everyone's health, and because your adrenal gland is the end gland that produces certain stress hormones, your DHEA and your cortisol, and your stress neurotransmitters, epinephrine, norepinephrine. This is what is vitally needed, not only for your fight and flight response; so when you're trying to run away from that saber-tooth lion or trying to merge onto the expressway in rush hour, you need to have that jolt of adrenaline. But it also is what you need everyday to maintain normal blood glucose levels, to help burn off your fats and keep your energy levels high. It's vital to help with your blood pressure and your vascular system. 

And so the adrenal health is so important, and when people are under stress, and I don't know if you've seen the news recently, but there's nothing usually published in both TV media or the newspaper that isn't bad news, and people feed off of it. We're a very stressed society, and, of course, we're under a lot of economic stresses, family stresses, holiday stresses. And so many people have now poor lifestyles that don't allow them to channel that stress in healthy ways, so they choose some unhealthy avenues. They tend to maybe overeat or they tend to skip exercise or they drink too much or they self-medicate. They do many things that are just bad. All of that eventually leads to more stress and challenges those stress centers, like the adrenal gland. Hence, most patients walking into a doctor's office have some sort of adrenal fatigue because it happens to all of us. 

When you're looking at adrenal fatigue, it's so important to do some type of an assessment. We prefer at Neuroscience to look at one of our premiere tests that look at a four-point salivary cortisol level, along with a DHEA reading to look at what the circadian rhythm of cortisol is. Some people have elevated cortisol in the morning. Some people have elevated cortisol at night. Some people's cortisol is flat all day. Some people's is flat all day, but it spikes up at night. There's many different ways of looking at it and it's important because your therapies to actually help those systems and help remedy the problem changes as you change your dosing throughout the day. Likewise, many people think, "Oh, my adrenal gland's bad. I'll take a glandular or I'll take some adrenal support." It's not always that simple. The adrenal gland is just the last part of a big piece that starts all the way up in the brain and the brain's the one that perceives stress, anxiety, and fear, and then it sends those signals. And the signal goes two ways. It goes to your hypothalamus that eventually reaches the adrenals to release their stress hormones and neurotransmitters. Or a faster, more rapid reaction is where the brain goes right through the sympathetic nervous system and triggers the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine. 

Many people miss the boat. If they're only addressing the gland, the adrenal gland, they miss. It's the only end part. There's many more parts to this whole stress cycle that has to be looked at, including your ability to resist stress. How's that serotonin level of yours? Is it low? If it's not high, if it's not optimal, you're going to perceive more stress and then react. So the ability to test, not just the hormones, but also the neurotransmitters helps a doctor identify different stages of adrenal fatigue better, acute, middle stage, end stage. And within those stages, is it early mid-stage, is it late mid-stage, and identify, well okay, maybe this person has some adrenal fatigue, but their neurotransmitters are bottomed out. So no matter how much adrenal support you give them, they'll never feel better until maybe their dopamine level is increased or their norepinephrine levels are increased. 

It's an interesting game and adrenal support is vital for a patient's health. Not just if you're tired, but also when you have insomnia, when you have depression, when you have anxieties, all these other different comorbidities that may be added upon a person's symptom chart, but they all often have some fundamental problems that can be addressed in an assessment addressed manner that could be fast, quick, and efficient.

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Bradley Bush, ND discusses exactly why adrenal health is so important. He also discusses how adrenal fatigue happens and why it's so common. Find out what adrenal health can mean to your overall health.

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