What You Need To Know

About Adrenals


“The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole.”

The adrenals are walnut-sized glands located on top of each kidney, where they serve as important manufacturing centers for many of the body’s hormones. The adrenals are an integral part of the endocrine system. They are responsible for producing several important hormones and are critical to the stress response. They have two parts: the cortex, and the medulla.

The cortex is the outer wrapping of the gland. It produces cortisol, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory hormone. Cortisol controls inflammation. The level of Cortisol in the body affects allergies, wound healing, asthma, arthritis, and lupus, just to name a few. The cortex produces also DHEA, and the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

The medulla, which is the inner part, pours out epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine. These hormones speed up the body's metabolism in order to help us to cope with stress. These are the two most important hormones in the body. They govern the fight or flight response (alarm reaction), and are almost a direct extension of the nervous system.

The adrenal glands produce their array of hormones in a complex symphony that is orchestrated by two structures in the brain called the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.

Along with several other key responsibilities your adrenal gland's primary purpose is to help you survive in the face of a threat, rallying all your body’s resources into “fight or flight” mode by increasing production of adrenaline and cortisol. Healthy adrenals instantaneously increase your heart rate and blood pressure, release your energy stores for immediate use, shut down digestion and other secondary functions, and sharpen your senses. But since they are programmed to respond to every kind of stress - physical, emotional, perceived, psychological, environmental, infectious, or any combination of these - a person under chronic stress can strain adrenal glands. And when the adrenals are chronically overextended, he or she can end up with issues like thyroid imbalance, weight gain, insomnia and severe fatigue.