- How does the gut microbiome get displaced?
- How does gut health get affected?
- Are the solutions that are presented suitable for everyone who are afflicted with gut health issues?
This issue is more complicated than meets the eye and many times I see patients in clinic that self diagnose and follow a treatment protocol based on some one they follow on social media.
Now I believe knowledge is power but there are often many missing links that simply aren’t discussed that could lead a person down the wrong path.
As you can imagine this topic is quite in depth, but for today’s article I want to discuss Adrenal Health and how adrenal fatigue can lead to food intolerances, gut health issues and auto immune diseases. The one thing we do as Chinese Medicine Practitioners, is gather all the past and present history of a patient. This is to understand what process a dis-eased body has taken over a period of time, where it all began and how has it come to be presenting with the current health complaints. When a health practitioner understands the story your body is telling, then it is much easier to address and find a solution for the problem that will last for the long term.
Okay so let’s get back to Adrenal Health. Your adrenal glands are situated on top of your kidneys, and they are involved in secreting hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, DHEA which work to influence other hormones such as testosterone, oestrogen etc.
For the sake of simplifying this issue I will keep it quite basic. Essentially, our stress levels will stimulate the release of the inflammatory chemicals, adrenaline and cortisol to manage a situation that needs you to be addressed with increased energy and strength. After the stressful situation has gone then your adrenalin and cortisol goes back to its home until needed for next time.
If someone is experiencing high levels of stress for an extended period of time, then what may happen in some people is high levels of cortisol lead to adrenal fatigue. At some stage there will be low levels of cortisol with high levels of DHEA (which is the precursor to the manufacture of hormones in the body), then progressively if left untreated it leads to low levels of cortisol and DHEA. At this time many different scenarios can present based on individual circumstances and DNA. Overall, a person can experience hormonal imbalances, thyroid imbalance, digestive issues, food intolerances, autoimmune diseases and so on. Typically, a person will address the presenting health complaint, unaware that the actual issue lies in the Adrenal Health. If the presenting issue is treated and resolved WITHOUT addressing the adrenal issue, that same problem will keep re-appearing and other symptoms start to present. The objective is always to restore the cause and not just the symptoms.
If this is an approach you take, then you will find yourself on a roller coaster ride of health issues that only seems to get worse over time.
Now how do you know if you have Adrenal Fatigue? There are some symptoms but the best way is to see a Functional Medicine practitioner who can get tests done, identifying the levels of cortisol and DHEA at various times of the day. In the meantime, here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Craving salt (this indicates your adrenals are trying to rectify the problem. Enjoy as much salt as you like but it can only be Himalayan Pink Salt or Celtic Sea Salt – as these two types of salt contain the minerals your adrenals need to heal)
- Low blood pressure
- Fatigue – generalised and/or muscle fatigue
- Poor appetite
- Increased cortisol will lead to increased testosterone so there would be more acne on the face, neck and back.
- Adrenalin and cortisol are inflammatory chemicals so more inflammation in the skin will lead to skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Due to the change in hormones, melasma may present.
- Accelerated ageing process can lead to a dull, lacklustre complexion, deepening of fine lines and wrinkles and increased sagging due to the reduction of qi (energy) in the body.