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How to Prevent and Recover from Adrenal Imbalance!

Today I want to talk with you about the connection between your stress response and symptoms you might be experiencing.

If you have nonspecific symptoms such as pain and weakness in different parts of your body, sleep disturbance, and digestive problems in addition to feeling nervous, chances are you may have some adrenal hormone imbalance.
 
When you are stressed, your adrenal glands, which are just situated on top of your kidneys, produce adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones create change in your body to prepare yourself for the threat or potential danger.


 
We call this the fight-or-flight response. At this stage, you may feel your heart pounding and your energy level increased. Your body is ready to face whatever source of harm there may be.
 
When the stressful situation is gone, your cortisol–which is famously known as the stress hormone–goes back to normal as your adrenal now stops producing it in excess. Your body starts to function normally and your vitals go back to their regular normal rhythm.
 
You weathered the stress. Thanks to cortisol.
 
But when stress is constant (as it has been for many of us lately!) and when you’re always in that fight-or-flight response, this wreaks havoc on your hormones.
 
Adrenal hormone imbalance starts when cortisol levels shoots up. As I mentioned, at first, you’ll be full of energy and you may even feel good during this time. However, if you don’t take control of your health–I mean, you’re not making lifestyle changes to ease your stress, your cortisol will soon drop down. You’d then experience tiredness and some other symptoms I mentioned above until you’d be too exhausted to even do your basic daily activities.
 

The Gut-Adrenal Connection

Now, there’s an important link between your adrenals and your gut.
 
Two adrenal hormones play a role in gut health by boosting immunity and reducing inflammation. One is cortisol (as we’ve been talking about), and the other is DHEA (stands for dehydroepiandrosterone).
 
Cortisol is the main anti-inflammatory hormone in the gut. BUT, when cortisol gets imbalanced in the way I’ve been discussing, that imbalance actually leads to an INCREASE in inflammation and can lead to develop digestive issues.
 
DHEA is a repair and maintenance hormone. DHEA also protects your gut from disease-causing bacteria, so it’s important in preventing gut infections and repairing damage to your gut cells that occur for all of us during our lifetime.
 
It’s important to keep these 2 adrenal hormones balanced. As you can see, they are very important to your overall health, especially your gut health. If your gut health breaks down, it’s just a matter of time before you’re at increased risk for symptoms and disease.
 

4 Tips for Supporting Your Adrenals

Here’s how to support your adrenals so you can prevent adrenal imbalance or help your body recover from it:

  • Detox from coffee – Caffeine keeps you in the fight-or-flight mode (which is part of why we like it!). It actually increases brain activity, triggering the pituitary gland to stimulate the adrenal glands to produce hormones. When you are already stressed and already have a demand to produce more stress hormones, it’s not a healthy combo. It leads to burnout. To reverse that, try replacing your daily cup of coffee with coffee that has adaptogens that support your adrenals (like Alphay “RIch Black” or Four Sigmatic). You can slowly mix your regular coffee with one of these healthier versions or you can slowly switch to decaf which is another good option. If you’re used to drinking multiple cups per day, consider swapping some of them out for other beverages like hot or iced tea or a bubbly water.
  • Get enough sleep – This is timeless advice. I think I have repeated this a gazillion times! Your body needs 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This is especially important during this stressful time in history, so be kind and make sure you support yourself to get enough good quality sleep.
  • Eat healthy – Yes, this never goes out of style! Eat natural, whole-foods–fresh vegetables and fruits, protein, and healthy fats. Kick high-sugar foods and processed foods out of your life (at least out of your normal routine)
  • Manage stress – If you haven’t yet tried self-care practices to keep your stress levels low, then now is the time to do it. How about mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation? If you are anxious about something, journal, talk with someone or think of some solutions you can put into action. My favorite way to manage stress is HeartMath. I’ve been using these tools for many years and they are so helpful to shift the inevitable feelings of stress/worry/frustration that come up on a daily basis! The important point is to make some form of healthy, effective stress regulation part of your daily life.

I bet a lot of us have our fight-or-flight mode on right now due to the pandemic. I don’t want to see you get burned out and health compromised. We have to take care of ourselves more during these trying times.
 
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

Why Potassium is Essential to Gut Health

Do you often experience bloating or constipation?

Today we are going to dig into the connection between electrolytes, particularly potassium and your gut.
 
Your gut health is the core of your overall health.
 
Your gut is where you take everything that you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to function. From making energy, being able to think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily, your gut is at the ROOT of your overall function. It’s also where 80% or more of your immune system lives.
 
It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like low energy, gut/digestive issues, excess weight, mood imbalance, chronic infections, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 
Let’s dig into how potassium and electrolytes play into this.

What Do Electrolytes Do?

 Electrolytes are minerals found in the body that conduct electricity in body fluids. Because of the very nature of electrolytes, they are an important part of the transmission of electrical messages from your brain and along your nerves. When in water, electrolytes dissolve in positive and negative ions. Aside from their important role in sending nerve signals, they help in the regulation of your body fluids and muscle contractions. Examples of electrolytes are sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are responsible for the normal tone of the muscles in your limbs, heart, arteries, and intestines. So, imbalance in the electrolyte levels of your body can affect any or all of your vital functions.
 
Interestingly, potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body. Around 98% of it is found in your cells, 80% of which stays in your muscle cells and 20% in your bones, liver, and red blood cells. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, potassium is essential for muscle contraction and they recommend that adults have about 4,700 milligrams daily from dietary sources.

Potassium and Digestion

 Remember, digestion occurs through rhythmic intestinal contractions (known as peristalsis). The smooth muscle inside your digestive tract is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, the part of your nervous system that works automatically without your conscious effort and control. Peristalsis occurs through the alternating contraction and relaxation of the smooth muscle tissue in your intestinal wall, creating a wave-like effect that pushes the contents forward along your digestive tract. It is clear, then, that in order for digestion, absorption, and waste elimination to occur–processes that take place in the digestive system–there should be enough minerals and electrolytes to support peristalsis.
Potassium, being an electrolyte, is partly responsible for muscles contraction. So when there is a low level of potassium in your body, peristalsis slows down, and this leads to compromised digestion. If you find yourself frustrated waiting on the “throne” for longer periods of time (aka constipation), you may have an underlying electrolyte imbalance, particularly hypokalemia or potassium deficiency.

Sources of Potassium

 As cliche as it is, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, it’s better to get sufficient potassium in your diet or via supplementation than to suffer the consequences of not having enough electrolytes in your body. Don’t worry, potassium sources are not hard to find. Foods high in potassium include avocados, spinach and leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, russet potatoes, beet greens, pistachios, Swiss chard, pomegranates, watermelon, and coconut water to name a few. If you are following a low-carb or keto eating plan, here are some additional sources. If you are following a moderate to high carb eating plan, here are some additional foods to consider.

If you don’t eat foods that are providing enough potassium, or if you sweat a lot, or if you exercise a lot and suspect you need more potassium, you may want to consider Seeking Health’s Optimal Potassium Powder (1 scoop provides 500 mg of potassium and it’s pretty tasty!) or one of my favorites is their Optimal Electrolyte Powderbecause it has potassium, magnesium and other electrolytes versus potassium alone. Those taking medications such as diuretics and antibiotics also lose potassium easily and are at high risk for potassium deficiency. As is advised with any supplements, it is best to consult your health care provider before starting it (especially if you are taking medications).
 
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

-Rebecca