All life stress impinges on the adrenal glands. No matter the cause, if you’re exhausted, can’t sleep, anxious, fearful, have no endurance, can’t focus or concentrate, memory going or gone, have an upset stomach, are easily frustrated and angry, have irritable bowels, chronically fatigued, chronically ill from viruses, stress, bacteria, dependent on stimulants or pain medications, need antidepressants, cigarettes, caffeine, sugar, alcohol or marijuana to get through the day, require anti-anxiety agents to cope or sleep and when life’s inevitable stresses reduce one to tears and non functionality, this is adrenal burn out. Stress can be moderated by many lifestyle changes, but when the adrenals are fatigued or exhausted, nothing helps our body faster and more deeply than adrenal cortical support, which is the subject of this article. The adrenal glands sit atop our kidneys and have been likened in appearance to Napoleon’s hat. In Chinese medicine the kidney/adrenal glands are the source of all Chi, universal energy. See diagram. Standard, allopathic doctors do not usually diagnose adrenal stress and burn out. The reason being, the majorities of them have limited education about adrenal fatigue and only recognize adrenal failure, as with the medical conditions Addison’s disease or conversely Cushing’s syndrome when one has too much cortisol . However, there is a vast middle ground of people with the adrenal fatigue syndrome who suffer from a terrible quality of life. A good book on this topic is Adrenal Fatigue –The 21st Century Fatigue Syndrome by James Wilson, ND., DC., Ph.D. What to do? Adrenal function needs to be studied by everyone. Many medical professionals find it to be their patients’ number one complaint. Start by relieving stress via suggestions of relaxation techniques, exercise and then take nutritional and hormonal support for the adrenal glands, which can be obtained by adrenal tablets from the health food store and multivitamins and minerals. Remember rest is the best. Sleep eight or nine hours and try to get vacations, even mini ones. The number one fact to remember is when your adrenal glands are weak you leak. Leak what? Minerals and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). Use good salt, Celtic, Himalayan, Kosher or Real salt and avoid regular table salt, which uses aluminum to dry it out and has no trace minerals. The adrenals make aldosterone, a hormone which holds the salt into the body and when the adrenals are weak the aldosterone levels fall and one urinates out sodium and good minerals. You can take 1/2 tsp of sea salt in a big glass of water morning and after lunch to improve your energy as long as you do not have an overriding salt issue such as congestive heart failure. A strong vitamin and mineral supplement especially high in B5, pantothenic acid and vitamin C is important. Based on the work of William MCK Jefferies, MD, I suggest low dose adrenal complex shots weekly which contain a small amount of cortisol, DHEA and pregnenelone, constituents of the adrenal cortex, to help patients maintain steady blood sugar and energy levels for up to one week. People with more serious adrenal exhaustion can safely take adrenal gland extract tablets or low doses of cortisol ( 5 mg) two to four times per day until they can improve their adrenal function with nutritional and lifestyle interventions. (Lab testing of cortisol levels frequently does not reveal adrenal weakness. Saliva testing of cortisol four times per day is more accurate). References: 1.1Adrenal Fatigue The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James Wilson, ND., D.C., Ph.d Smart Publications Petaluma, CA 2001 2.Safe Uses of Cortisol Second Edition by William McK Jefferies. MD. F.A.C.P. 1996 by Charles C Thomas Publisher, LTD.