Did you know that your adrenal glands regulate many of your body systems, including immune function, metabolism, and stress levels? In our functional medicine Toronto clinic, it’s not uncommon for us to treat hormone imbalances related to the adrenal glands.
So, what exactly are these glands? Situated above both of your kidneys are triangular-like organs – these are your adrenal glands (sometimes simply called the “adrenals”). These glands are accountable for creating various hormones, such as cortisol for helping to control blood sugar levels and the sleep-wake cycle.
When these glands are overworked from chronic stress, it can lead to the unending release of cortisol – to the point where it can’t produce enough of the hormone. As a result, adrenal fatigue can occur, along with digestive issues, sleep troubles, anxiety, and body aches.
Indeed, the adrenal glands have significance on optimal health. Continue reading to learn about the hormones they produce, and how to improve adrenal functioning for your health goals.
The importance of adrenal gland hormones
The adrenal glands produce many hormones, but the main ones include cortisol, adrenaline, aldosterone and noradrenaline. The human body thrives off the homeostasis of hormones. But sometimes the adrenals create excessive amounts or not enough hormones, triggering imbalances – in these cases, you may experience adrenal fatigue. Below is a table of the key hormones that the adrenals produce, and their significance on body functions.
Type of Adrenal Hormone
What It Does
Cortisol is released when you’re agitated, and kicks in when you need an energy lift to handle a stressor. It naturally contains anti-inflammatory functions; regulates blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and sleep; helps control the use of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
This hormone regulates electrolytes (sodium and potassium levels) in the blood; it controls the acidity levels of your blood, too. Not enough aldosterone in the body is a symptom of Addison’s disease, which is when the adrenal glands lose their function.
Adrenaline and Noradrenaline
These hormones manage blood pressure and the blood flow for brain function and muscle use; they also metabolize glucose, and increase your heart rate and heart contractions. Known as the hormones for “fight or flight”, they’re released due to physical and/or mental stress.
When these hormones act “off”, there’s a chance that their imbalances could derail your health journey. Are you worried about your personal adrenal health? Please consult with a functional medicine healthcare provider for advice on lab testing and therapies.
Addressing these issues with personalized treatment plans
Because adrenal health is individualized, support may be needed to target particular deficiencies and symptoms. At the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre, our practitioners may go this route to address adrenal issues*:
*Note: treatments are based on biological needs; your treatment plan may or may not include the following components.
- Consultation tests: Many functional medicine practitioners will advise lab testing to determine which therapies are suited for your biology. Our clinic offers DUTCH testing for adrenal hormones, which is a dried urine test that measures your production of cortisol and metabolites; this test could reveal new details about your lack of energy. From these results, we can tailor a treatment plan for your adrenal needs.
- Supplementation: Contingent on individual symptoms and lab results, supplements may be advised. You might benefit from additional pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), which helps the body construct hormones linked to stress, such as cortisol, while offering support for adrenal functioning. Other supplements we may recommend include adaptogenic herbal extracts (i.e. holy basil), which could aid the body to cope with current stressors. Depending on the vitamins and minerals required, IV therapy may be an option to consider if you struggle with malabsorption.
- Dietary/Lifestyle modifications: Positive daily changes can contribute to recovering adrenal functioning. Avoiding alcohol and smoking alone can prevent toxicities from building up in the glands. Stress management techniques (i.e. yoga, cognitive behavioural therapy, acupuncture) could lower the stress load on your adrenals and mental health, too. “Professional help to deal with anger and rage, and to deal with psychological or spiritual issues will help reduce cortisol levels,” confirms Prescription for Nutritional Healing.
Poor adrenal health can hamper optimal wellness. Functional medicine addresses the root cause of your health concerns, including digestive issues, declining sexual health, under- or over-active thyroid function, nutritional deficiencies, and more. Let’s tackle your adrenal issues today! Become a new patient at the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre (TFMC) for integrated health care.
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Our functional medicine approach to wellness
Clinical nutrition and functional medicine strategies may address the source of your health issues, help relieve symptoms, and assist with chronic disease management. The TFMC’s personalized approach to health care has a special focus on viewing patients as entities with unique needs.
Our healthcare providers are a collaborative team who celebrate individuality. In order to build personalized care plans for patients, they get to know each patient. During your initial consultation, you’ll be asked plenty of questions regarding your medical history, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors; functional medicine testing may also be suggested. Once these components are sorted, we can tailor treatments to cater to your biology.
Because we adhere to integrative medicine, treatments may consist of allopathic/Western medicine, herbal medicine, bio-identical hormones, and/or Traditional Chinese Medicine. We also apply the integrative functional medicine model in our IV Lounge, where we blend intravenous vitamin drips as adjunct support. Our clinic is a collaborative environment, where practitioners and patients work together to tailor treatments. This encourages patient education on chronic health conditions and adherence to healthy lifestyle decisions.
Functional medicine from our Toronto clinic could assist with reviving your adrenals. Let’s uncover new details about your chronic condition – click here to request a consultation with the TFMC’s dedicated team.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.
“Adrenal Gland” from the Cleveland Clinic, last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/13/2022, viewed on May 11, 2023.
“Adrenal Glands” from John Hopkins Medicine, viewed on May 11, 2023.
“Adrenal Health” from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, updated February 9, 2022, viewed on May 11, 2023.
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Balch, Phyllis A., CNC, Prescription for Nutritional Healing: Fourth Edition, Avery Publishing, 2006.
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