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Stress and the Adrenal Glads

Hello Everyone,

I was reading the newspaper Saturday morning and there was a fun article on relaxing in the summer. About half way through the article, all I could think about was everything I had to do this summer.

On top of the kidneys ar the Adrenal Glands.  The Adrenal Glands have many functions and the one that we think of most is related to energy during the day.  Cortisol is a stimulating hormone, the get up and go that we have in the morning.

Cortisol is released as we begin to wake up.  The “Aaah it’s time to get out of bed and get going” feeling.  When was the last time we felt that with a smile?  That happy morning good night’s sleep is what we need to find again.

Cortisol stimulates the liver to release stored sugars called Glycogen.  The Glycogen feeds the muscles with sugar so we can get get moving.  Breakfast rebuilds the stores of sugar that were released by the liver and that is why it is considered the most important meal of the day.  We need to maintain a healthy level of blood sugar so the rest of the body can function properly especially the brain with clear thinking.

As the day goes on cortisol will drop and by 5:00 in the afternoon the dropping level let’s our body relax.  At night we want a very low level of cortisol so the body can rest and repair.

Outside of a perfect world, we have things on our minds and we do have to work.  Stress can get the best of us and this will cause an abnormal production of cortisol.  Under high amounts of stress cortisol can be released all day and night.  You cannot do this forever and if the Adrenal Glands get over worked they can stop producing a high enough amount in the morning leaving you tired.

If cortisol output is high at night then there is poor sleep.  We need the deep Rapid Eye Movement Sleep so we can go into dream sleep.  The dream sleep is rest and repairing for the body.

There are three ways to test cortisol levels.  The saliva testing method is the most useful in a functional standpoint.  We want to know cortisol levels precisely at certain times of the day and when you are going to sleep.  The goal is to have a measurement of cortisol that matches the ideal graph for day and night as the example below.  The ideal output allows you to wake up happy and rest properly at night.


The blood test method measures the cortisol in the blood stream only at the time of the blood draw, this means it is very hard to match to a graph of normal output.  The Urine test is the third method and is done with a 24 hour collection to determine if there is an overall under production or over production of cortisol.

When we get into trouble the quality of sleep is the first thing to go bad and the most important for beginning to repair the adrenal glands.

Make a happy bed time routine.  This is time to read and say a few prayers.  Do your best to relax.  Exercise during the afternoon helps lower cortisol in the evening.  Please put the electronic screens away good half hour  before bed time.

Besides the adrenals there can be other reasons for being tired during the day.  We can test to determine a low thyroid, low iron levels, or some other reasons for being tired.  If you are not sleeping at night then the Adrenal Test is part of the first line of tests to do.

It’s always best to talk before you start testing.

Best Wishes,

Dr. McGuckin
McGuckin Chiropractic
Appointments: (219) 531-1234
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