Adrenal Fatigue, Stress and the Cause of Disease Poor stress coping abilities and adrenal fatigue may contribute to a number of health conditions including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, low thyroid, poor sleep, fatigue, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and more. The German physician, Dr. Hans Seyle (father of modern stress theory) was able to demonstrate that under normal conditions the body is able to use its homeostatic (self regulatory system) mechanisms to counter various stresses. However these same mechanisms could be overwhelmed by too much stress. The person would then start to develop various symptoms associated with -burn out.- A combination of minor stresses, each incapable of triggering an alarm reaction in the general adaptation syndrome can, when combined or sustained, produce an all out alarm response and lead to -burn out.- Dr. Seyle’s research led him to come up with the 3 phases of general stress adaptation – the general adaptation syndrome.
The general adaptation syndrome (GAS) is divided into 3 phases- 1. Fight or Flight or The alarm reaction- The first phase is known as the “fight or flight response.- This response is an alarm reaction triggered by messages in the brain. The pituitary gland releases adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH causes the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones. The heart beats faster to provide blood to the muscles and brain. The breath rate increases to supply extra oxygen to the muscles, heart and brain. Digestion and other functions not essential for maintaining the alarm reaction are halted. The liver rids itself of stored glycogen (sugar) and releases glucose into the blood stream. The body is now ready for any real or imagined danger.
2. The Resistance Reaction- While the alarm reaction is usually short lived, the resistance reaction can last for quite some time. The major players in this phase are the hormones cortisol and DHEA. These hormones increase sodium retention and therefore increase blood pressure (a sign of adrenal fatigue is low blood pressure or hypotension). Cortisol helps increase cellular energy and acts as a potent anti-inflammatory. The resistance reaction allows the body to endure ongoing stress (pain, fatigue, injury, etc.,) for long periods of time.
However, long-term stress can generate a host of health problems including, high blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, hypoglycemia, decreased immune function, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes and adrenal exhaustion.__
3. Exhaustion- The third stage is a result of chronic over-secretion of cortisol. This leads to adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal exhaustion accelerates the downward spiral to chronic poor health. Chronic headaches, nausea, allergies, nagging injuries, fatigue, dizziness, hypotension, low body temperature, depression, low sex drive, chronic infections, and cold hands and feet are just some of the symptoms that occur with adrenal exhaustion. The majority of patients I see for chronic illnesses, including FMS and CFS, are suffering from adrenal exhaustion. Between years of poor sleep, unrelenting fatigue, chronic pain, excessive stimulants, poor diet, and relying on a plethora of prescription medications, the adrenal glands, and the hormones they release, have been used up.
Stress Negatively Affects Your Health Higher levels of the stress hormones are significantly associated with lower Secretory IgA concentrations. Secretory IgA provides antiviral and antibacterial defense and is the most important aspect of our immunity in mucous secretions of the digestive system, mouth, lungs, and urinary tract. Seyle found a single five-minute experience of anger can produce a significant decrease in Secretory IgA levels that can still be measured up to five hours after the emotional experience! Wow! This shows how letting our emotions get the best of us isn’t best for us About two-thirds of Fibromyalgia and CFS patients appear to have under-active adrenal glands.
Hypoadrenia is low adrenal function and occurs when the adrenal glands cannot keep up with continual stress and increasing demands. It displays itself in a variety of ways. As severe depression, suicidal tendencies, asthma, chronic upper respiratory infections, hay fever, skin rashes, colitis, gastric duodenal ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, fainting spells, obesity, heart palpitations, edema in the extremities, and learning difficulties – the list goes on and on.
Adrenal insufficiency (Hypoadrenia) may also cause many of the symptoms associated with various illnesses, including: 1. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) 2. Low blood pressure (neural mediated hypotension or NMH) 3. Decreased energy 4. Decreased mental acuity 5. Depression 6. Decreased capacity for managing stress Persistent, unrelenting stress will ultimately lead to adrenal -burn-out.- Adrenal -burn-out- and exhaustion render the person defenseless against the continuous chemical, emotional, and physical damage that occurs with chronic stress.
In his book, Safe Uses of Cortisol, Dr. Jefferies writes, -weak adrenal glands can supply adequate cortisol when the body suffers little stress. Therefore, single determinations of blood cortisol in a person with marginal adrenal insufficiency are usually normal. However, expose the same person to a major stressor event, and the adrenals may flunk the challenge due to their low reserves.-
-Safe Uses of Cortisol- by William Jefferies, M.D.
Self-Testing Ragland’s Sign is an abnormal drop in systolic blood pressure when a person arises from lying to a standing position. There should be a rise of 8-10 mm in the systolic number. A drop in systolic blood pressure indicates adrenal insufficiency.__
Pupil Dilation Exam – To test for this reflex you’ll need a flashlight and a mirror. Face the mirror and shine the light into one eye. If, after 30 seconds, the pupil starts to dilate, adrenal deficiency should be suspected. The hormone epinephrine is released under stress and causes dilation of the pupils. During adrenal insufficiency there is a deficiency of sodium and an abundance of potassium. This imbalance of potassium causes the inhibition of the sphincter muscles of the eye. These muscles normally initiate pupil constriction. Normally the pupils will constrict in the presence of bright light. However, when there is a sodium deficiency (adrenal insufficiency) the pupils actually dilate (get larger) when exposed to light. Rogoff’s Sign – A definite tenderness in the lower thoracic (mid back) spine where the ribs attach.
Cortisol Since its discovery some 50 years ago, the adrenal hormone cortisol has gained increasing prominence in treatment of autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma, and athletic injuries. When first introduced, synthetic corticosteroids (prednisone) hormones were hailed as wonder drugs. Unfortunately, in continued high doses, these corticosteroids cause adverse side-effects which include depression, fluid retention, high blood pressure, bone loss, gastrointestinal ulcers, cataracts, and breathing disorders. Dr. Jefferies recommends using low dose cortisol replacement therapy in individuals suspected of having adrenal insufficiency. I’ve found adrenal cortex glandular supplements, to be the -missing link- for restoring energy to those with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. It has become my number one supplement for repairing a -burned out- or sluggish adrenal gland. It helps increase a person’s ability to handle stress (more resilient), reduce achy pain, increase energy, and reduce fatigue.
Glandular therapy began with the discoveries made by Swiss physician Paul Niehans, M.D. in the 1920s. The use of glandular therapy was the birth of prescription hormones (thyroid, prednisone, estrogen, etc.). Dr. Niehans went on to develop live cell therapy at his clinic in Montreaux, Switzerland. Thousands of patients came to his clinic as a last resort. His therapies became famous for rejuvenating all that came to see him; wealthy businessmen, royalty, presidents, and celebrities. Live cell therapy is still practiced in Europe. It is estimated that 5,000 German physicians utilize cell therapy and millions of patients have benefited over the last 50 years. Dr. Wilson goes on to write, -By the mid 1930s, adrenal cell extracts in liquid and tablet forms were produced by several companies. By the late 1930s they were being used by tens of thousands of physicians. As recently as 1968 they were still being made by some of the leading pharmaceutical companies. (Upjohn and Eli Lilly, among others)- These extracts are used to replenish and eventually normalize adrenal function. An advantage over cortisol hormone replacement is adrenal cortical extracts can be discontinued once they have done their job of repairing adrenal function.
The adrenal cortex extract I use used in my clinic are freeze-dried extracts from organic cows raised in New Zealand. There has been no Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in New Zealand. Organic fed cows are raised on grass and aren’t fed any dead animals products (the source of Mad Cow Disease). They are government inspected and raised without the use of pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics. All glandulars are subject to in-process as well as finished product testing. These tests include microbial contamination tests to assure acceptable total bacteria counts and the absence of disease-causing bacteria. For more information about adrenal dysfunction or adrenal cortex supplements log onto HREF=http://store.drmurphreestore.com/adjupa.html>for more information on the adrenal fatigue www.TreatinandBeating.com
It is possible to restore proper adrenal function. By using a combination of supplements, multivitamins, adrenal glandular, DHEA, along exercise, rest, and stress managing techniques (meditating, deep breathing, prayer, etc.) a person can build-up and repair their sluggish adrenal glands. Once the adrenal glands start to perk up, good health soon returns.
About Dr. Murphree
Dr. Murphree is a board certified nutritional specialist and chiropractic physician who has been in private practice since 1990. He is the founder and past clinic director for a large integrated medical practice located on the campus of Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham Alabama. The clinic was staffed with medical doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritionists, and massage therapists. The clinic combined prescription and natural medicines for acute and chronic illnesses. He is the author of 5 books for patients and doctors, “Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” “The Patient’s Self-Help Manual for Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” “Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue The Manual for Non-Allopathic Doctors,” “Heart Disease What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You’- and “Treating and Beating Anxiety and Depression with Orthomolecular Medicine.” Dr. Murphree writes for several health publications including, Alternative Fibromyalgia News Magazine and Nutri-News. He’s appeared on numerous radio and television shows and is a featured guest each month for -Health Talk- on 1420 WACK, Newark, New York.
In 2002 Dr. Murphree sold his medical practice and now maintains a busy solo practice specializing in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, mood disorders, and other chronic illnesses. He also consults with other physicians, lectures throughout North America, and conducts 2-day doctor continuing education seminars.
He can be reached toll free 1-888-884-9577 or at 205-879-2383 For more information about adrenal dysfunction or adrenal cortex supplements log onto HREF=http://store.drmurphreestore.com/adjupa.html>for more information on the adrenal fatigue www.TreatinandBeating.com