Most people today answer weary more than cheery. Fatigue, brain fog, lack of mental clarity, depression, weight gain and other complaints far outweigh cheeriness, happiness, confidence, and a general satisfaction with life. Although many have a life that isn’t what they would have wished for, there is something we can do about the effects.
The one thing the above symptoms have in common is sub-optimal functioning of the adrenals and or thyroid gland. What is “sub-optimal” when it comes to organ function? While conventional medicine defines things as basically black or white (you are diseased, or you are not), sub-optimal falls in the grey category. Medicine defines disease by anything that is out of the “numbers” (above or below the “reference range” in lab tests). Reference ranges are not normal ranges, but a way of measuring to determine when to intervene or not. Sub-optimal means that something isn’t working well, not up to the potential it is supposed to be working at, but not falling apart, or in “failure” yet. You don’t go from a perfectly functioning system to disease just because you dropped a tenth of a point in your lab test. Sub-optimal, then, means that the function is going down, but not to the disease level yet.
Having defined that, let’s look at the adrenals. The adrenal glands get very little attention in conventional medicine. It is clearly a “functioning” or “in failure” proposal. They do not recognize anything in-between. The adrenal glands are some pretty essential glands, producing a myriad of hormones from cortisone (your body’s anti-inflammatory hormones), aldosterone (which regulates functions such as blood pressure), estrogen (when your body isn’t producing enough of its own), and in response to stress, corticosteroids (such as cortisol) and catecholamines (such as adrenaline and nor-adrenaline – aka: epinephrine and nor-epinephrine). It also produces androgens such as DHEA and testosterone. Pretty important jobs if you ask me!
The adrenals contribute to sustained energy throughout the day. The thyroid is also an important contributor. The thyroid acts like a car with the engine running, but in neutral; while the adrenal acts like a car running, but in drive. Both are needed for optimal performance of the body, and especially the brain. Many people complain they have all the symptoms of a low functioning thyroid, but the lab tests “say” they’re fine. Months or years later they are finally sick enough, the thyroid low enough, that it “shows” in the lab tests. Now something can be done about it conventionally. Basically, you just have to get sicker before it will show up. Many alternative doctors find sub-optimal functioning adrenal glands or thyroid, long before it shows in a lab test. The proper attention to them, to build them up and make them healthier makes all the difference in the world to the patient whose head is now clearer, their energy restored, their weight gain stopping or reversing, and they now feel like they can be a healthy part of life again!
© 2013 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.