The human body’s response to stress takes many forms, all of which have the evolutionary purpose of ensuring our survival. Stress causes us to put on weight to help protect us from starvation. An elevated heart rate brings more oxygen to the body’s tissues in case we should need to run from danger. The famous “fight or flight” response prepares us to defend ourselves or to dash away at top speed. And there’s actually a third option along with fight or flight: freeze. The freeze response is meant to help us hide effectively.
We probably owe much of our early survival as a species to these stress responses. Nowadays, though, we usually don’t need them anymore, or at least we don’t need them to trigger when they do. We don’t want a “freeze” response due to being stressed over a project at work; that will just make it harder to complete. We don’t need an elevated heart rate when we’re opening bills that just came in the mail. We don’t need our bodies to assume we’re facing a bad hunting season and start packing fat around our midsections just because we’re worried about the future. We are not in physical danger, but our bodies still react as if we are.
What makes it all worse is the fact that modern society is very stressful in general. We’re constantly being inundated by events that trigger stress responses intended by our bodies to be activated only once in a while to help protect our lives. The end result is that our bodies are flooded with too much of the stress-related hormones too often. This causes a lot of problems that can be narrowed down to two major issues: our bodies suffer side effects of overexposure to certain hormones, but we don’t have enough left to govern other functions when we need them.
Long-Term Stress and Adrenal Fatigue
Your body’s stress hormones are regulated by your adrenal glands, which are small, triangular glands right on top of the kidneys. Despite their position in your body, the adrenal glands have a direct connection to your brain. This is because your body needs to respond as quickly as possible to stressful stimuli — since we’re still wired as animals that need to be ever watchful in a dangerous world.
The adrenal glands also serve important purposes in regulating several other systems within the body through hormone release. Cortisol, aldosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and other adrenal hormones all maintain some of the body’s most vital functions. Cortisol, while primarily geared toward stress response, also helps regulate metabolism, maintains heart and blood vessel function, regulates blood pressure, and slows the inflammatory response of the immune system (meaning, it helps prevent you from getting swelling or a rash from every tiny exposure to a germ). Aldosterone also helps maintain blood pressure and regulates the delicate balance of sodium and potassium in the blood. DHEA is used by the body to create the sex hormones, including testosterone and other androgens, as well as estrogen.
Periods of long-term stress can cause the adrenal glands to “wear out” from producing so much cortisol, which leaves your body deficient in the amounts of cortisol, aldosterone, and DHEA it needs to regulate the above functions. This is referred to as adrenal fatigue, and symptoms include mental and physical exhaustion, poor sleep, weight gain, muscle and joint pain, cravings for sugar and caffeine, anxiety, depression, irritability, and inability to handle stress.
Treating Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is best treated through a two-pronged approach. Make changes to improve your lifestyle by any means possible — eat healthier, balance your sleep and exercise, and evaluate the way you handle stress, improving it perhaps through meditation or in other ways. At the same time, directly support your adrenal glands with ProBLEN Adrenal & DHEA booster, a natural, homeopathic formula that works with your body to help it produce the necessary hormones on its own. ProBLEN formulas are safe, effective, and have no side effects.
If you have questions about any of our hormone boosters and how they work, and how they can improve your life, please contact us. We’re ready to provide the knowledge you need to begin supporting your body’s natural processes in a healthy way.