By Toni Eatros, MS, Dipl Ac, AP
Do you have any, some or all of the following 5 symptoms?
. Depression &/or Anxiety &/or Insomnia
. Weight Gain, especially around the abdomen
. Digestive Problems and Strong Cravings
. Sex Hormone Imbalance (low testosterone, menopausal symptoms, etc)
These are problems in the majority of people that come to my office. These symptoms are not well treated in conventional medicine. When they are treated, it is usually with pharmaceuticals that do not fix the condition, but rather mask the symptom that is telling you things are going haywire in your body. If you have one or more of the symptoms listed above you should read the rest of this article very carefully.
The good news is that these symptoms are really easy to treat with a simple functional medicine approach. At Acupuncture & Natural Health Solutions, we offer a salivary adrenal lab test that measures the effect stress has had on your body. Based on the results of this easy to do, at home test, a personalized treatment program is designed to reset your stress response and the symptoms above disappear.
Every day, new patients come into my office and tell me they are struggling with one or more of the symptoms listed above. Many have had these symptoms for years or even decades. Everyone asks me why this happened and why they need to test their adrenal function. All of the above listed symptoms are related and predictable effects of a stress response that has gone haywire and this is the reason why.
The reason why you are under adrenal stress is because we all have seen and unseen stressors that initiate the stress response in the body and activates the adrenal glands to pump out cortisol into the blood stream. Emotional stress is the number one stressor on the body. This is usually what burns people out. Most of this is limited to grief and loss, divorce or the end of a relationship, bad personal or work relationships, or the death of a loved one. These are the drivers of most of the deep emotional stress and probably the most common components in adrenal burn out. This can also happen with excitement, fear, and anger experienced for a prolonged period of time.
Dietary stressors are a second initiator of the stress response. This includes eating simple carbs, skipping meals, eating too many sweets, strong food cravings leading to bingeing, food sensitivities, over eating, dieting, and poor blood sugar control.
Pain and hidden inflammation is the third initiator of the stress response in the body. Hidden inflammation is code for inflammation in the liver and or gut. We can’t see it, thus it is hidden, so we need to test for it. This is some of the best work in functional medicine diagnosis and treatment. If we find the sources of hidden inflammation and treat them effectively, there will be a significant improvement in overall health.
The majority of us have one, if not all three of the stress initiators. When the stress response becomes chronic and is happening regularly, the shut off switch breaks and illness begins. The initiators of stress (emotional, dietary, pain or inflammation) triggers the stress response. This signals the hypothalamus gland to signal the pituitary gland to stimulate the adrenals to produce cortisol. When the adrenals are stimulated to produce cortisol, the thyroid gland is signaled to reduce production of thyroid hormone.
Now you are in a catabolic state, where you start breaking down your own body tissue. You start breaking down lean muscle mass and you also break down the gut lining. The body is now prioritizing the stress response over digestive function, so the immune system in the gut has to be sacrificed. This weakened gut lining is what is referred to as “leaky gut”. Now we have a compromised gut lining so food is not properly broken down and absorbed as nutrients that fuel your body. People often start to react to foods that never bothered them before. Infections of the digestive tract now have an opportunity to take hold because of the lowered immune defense in the gut.
If this inflammation in the digestive system continues for long enough, the liver then gets overwhelmed. Of course the liver is always exposed to and processing environmental toxins, but the extra load of toxins coming from the gut and the gut related problems tend to cause the liver detoxification system to crash as well. As you can see, the entire body gets affected when our body is experiencing or perceiving stress on a regular basis.
If you have been diagnosed with any of the illness listed below, your adrenal system needs to be addressed before everything else, or you will not be able to heal completely from the diagnosed illness.
Illnesses that Occur Because the Stress Response Has Gone Too Far:
. High Blood Pressure
. Heart Disease
. Infectious Diseases
. Digestive Illness
. Autoimmune Conditions
. Inflammatory Conditions
. Menstrual Disorders
. Osteoporosis / Osteopenia
. Detoxification problems
. Multiple allergies and sensitivities
. Brain related conditions, anxiety, memory loss,
. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The functional medicine approach to treating chronic illness is to use lab based testing to diagnose breakdowns in the three main systems and then design a customized treatment program that will correct the stress response cycle. We address each body system in a specific order that allows us to maximize treatment results and reduce the potential side effects of restoring these systems.
The lab based systematic approach is what gives us results. All practitioners of every kind of medicine and even many informed consumers know that their adrenal system is shot, that their digestion is compromised and that they are experiencing stress on a regular basis which is negatively affecting their health. They usually know of a dozen different ways to support the adrenals or the digestive system. What tends to happen, however, is that treatment is geared toward fixing the symptom that is the most uncomfortable instead of the treating the initial breakdown in the body functions.
We all intuitively know that stress is contributing to our health problems. Starting a functional medicine program will really make a difference in how you feel on a daily basis. I will show you scientifically how your body is holding up to the stress you experience. Call today 239-260-4566 or schedule online, www.acupuncturesolutionsonline.com, to schedule your Functional Medicine New Patient Consultation now. Don’t let your physical and emotional condition be the reason you cannot travel to see your grandchildren, why you aren’t playing outside with your children or why you aren’t completing your bucket list.