We all have two adrenal glands, which are vital to our health, particularly in high stress situations that require immediate response. Adrenal Glands sit right on top of each kidney. The right adrenal gland is triangular shaped, whereas the left adrenal gland is shaped more like a half-moon. Each adrenal gland is comprised of two distinct structures.
Adrenal Glands Structure
The outer part of the adrenal glands is called the adrenal cortex. The inner region is known as the adrenal medulla. The Medulla makes adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones are also known as epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones increase the heart rate, increase blood pressure, increase the amount of oxygen you breathe in, and temporarily improve the eyesight and adrenaline releases more glucose into the blood to increase energy.
The Adrenal Cortex produces hormones that are necessary for life, those secreted by the adrenal medulla are not. The Cortex is located in the outer layer of the adrenal glands and makes a number of different hormones that help control the heart, kidneys, GI tract, bones, genitalia, and immune system.
The cortex makes 3 main types of hormones, which are cortisol, aldosterone and androgens and estrogens.
- Cortisol – a glucocorticoid that controls glucose production and suppresses the immune system
- Aldosterone – a mineralocorticoid that controls blood pressure
- Androgens and Estrogen – are sex-hormones.
Adrenaline, also called epinephrine, this hormone is a crucial part of the body’s fight-or-flight response. The body has many different hormones, but certain types have a bigger role to play in the body’s health and well-being. Adrenal glands produce the hormones that control sex drive and cortisol, the stress hormone.
Adrenal Glands Function and Purpose
Adrenaline is an important part of your body’s ability to survive. As such it is quickly released into the blood, sending impulses to organs to create a specific response in stressful situations. Adrenaline directs important resource to the right places in your body to quickly react to stressful situations. Adrenaline is the reason people become incredibly powerful by not feeling pain, gaining incredible strength to move items and survive in almost unsurvivable conditions. This process is usually short lived.
Problems with Unhealthy Adrenal Functioning
Adrenal glands, which provide the fight-or-flight hormones in response to stress, are triggered much more often than they should be. Everything from challenges at home and at work, to environmental toxins, to chronic health problems cause the adrenal glands to produce a constant flood of stress hormones that can ultimately lead to multiple health issues, especially severe fatigue. While the release of adrenaline is incredibly important for short term responses, sometimes adrenal glands start releasing this hormone without real threat or danger. You may feel dizzy, lightheaded and experience changes in vision, and excessive high levels of adrenaline due to stress without real danger can cause heart damage, insomnia and a jittery, nervous feeling. Prolonged stress can cause adrenal fatigue which can cause weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, hormonal imbalances, and autoimmune conditions.
The Good News
Prescription-based remedies for thyroid and adrenal issues focus on short term, symptom-based fixes but here are good news. Adrenal Fatigue can be fixed through diet, lifestyle adjustments, and reprogramming of stressful emotional patterns.
Adrenal glands are vital to your body’s functions, therefore, when you experience problems, check the Adrenal Fatigue symptoms List to find out if your adrenals could make you sick. Disorders are common for people who experience prolonged stressful situations and hence deplete adrenals. Adrenals can be restored by changing diet, sleep patterns, reduce stressors and incorporate regular exercise. Check out this next article to learn more.