The adrenals are ductless glands of the endocrine system that are responsible for producing some of the most important hormones in the body. All glands of the body are classified as either endocrine or exocrine.
The secretions of endocrine glands are always hormones, chemicals that regulate various physiological activities.
The adrenal cortex is stimulated by pituitary hormones to produce three kinds of corticosteroids. The cortex produced steroid hormones are essential for life. The adrenal medulla is stimulated by the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary bodily functions, the sympathetic nervous system, to produce its hormones. The two principal hormones synthesized by the medulla are also called adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine)—thought of as the “fright, flight, or fight” response indicators. These hormones help the body resist stress.
The production of the important adrenal hormones always requires active work by the cells and results in an expenditure of energy. Homeostasis in the body requires that a proper amount of vitamins and nutrients be available in the blood to allow for the quick response to an increase in cellular energy needs. When the body labors under any physical stress, homeostasis may be affected.
PANTOTHENIC ACID plays a role in the release of energy from carbohydrates; in gluconeogenesis; in the synthesis and degradation of fatty acids; and in the synthesis of such vital compounds as sterols and steroid hormones and porphyrins.
FOLIC ACID is a water-soluble B vitamin that is important in both the production and synthesis of nucleic acids (RNA and DNA). The daily need for folate in the body is directly related to the metabolic rate and the rate of cell turnover. If either of these increases, the need for folate increases as well. Any type of physical stress can increase the daily requirement for folate. Folic acid’s metabolic role is interdependent with B-12 and both are required for cell growth and cell reproduction in the body.
VITAMIN B-12 is water-soluble vitamin necessary for the synthesis of nucleic acids (RNA and DNA), the maintenance of myelin in the nervous system, and the proper functioning of folic acid. Two important interrelationships exist between B-12 and folic acid. First, both are required for growth, which is dependent on cell replication, and cell replication is dependent on DNA synthesis. Vitamin B-12 is also necessary for the transport and storage of folate in cells.
VITAMIN C is concentrated in both parts of the adrenal gland, is essential in the production of the two active hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine by the adrenal medulla.
-Eat tuna, salmon or deep-water ocean fish several times a week.
-Brown rice, nuts, olive oil and whole grains are good dietary additions.
-Include fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy varieties, garlic and onions.
-Decrease consumption of fried foods, "bad" fats and processed foods. Foods that are difficult to digest put extra stress on body systems.
-Avoid alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, sodas, sugar and white flour.
-Do get moderate exercise regularly
-Avoid stress, including overwork and any sustained tension; avoid excesses of heat or cold;
-Practice some type of relaxation exercise everyday: yoga, meditation, sitting with your feet up and eyes closed, walking in a pleasant quiet space, listening to music, reading, something that YOU find relaxing.
-Go to sleep as early as possible. Lack of sleep on a regular basis contributes to physical and mental stress.