Aging parents? Tough teenagers? Nasty work-commute? Feeling crappy after a sugar-laden morning coffee? All these things can cause excess adrenaline in the body and that is something well worth addressing.
Dr. Michael E. Platt’s book, Adrenaline Dominance, reflects his approach to many common illnesses. At one point in his career, like most U.S. trained physicians, he was under the impression that all conditions could be treated with drugs.
But as he became more involved in hormone-based research, he recognized a common trend throughout his patients. He realized that a wide variety of disorders and their symptoms were related to excess adrenaline. It was also during this time that he discovered the effectiveness of bio-identical progesterone.
Dr. Platt treats his patients by addressing the specific cause of their symptoms. He believes there are more natural and effective solutions to common health problems like balancing hormones, changing one’s diet, and implementing a specific supplement plan.
Adrenaline and its Effects?
Before you can truly understand the effects of adrenaline (also known as epinephrine), it’s important to understand how it works. Adrenaline, produced within the adrenal glands, not only acts as a hormone throughout the body, but also as a neurotransmitter in the brain.
Think of hormones as chemical signals. Once released, they are carried through the bloodstream to communicate with your cells. Based on the ‘message’ a hormone carries, it will dictate how your cells and body respond. Since hormones greatly affect every system within the human body, an imbalance can lead to a wide range of health conditions and illnesses.
If you’re a woman, than you’ve experienced high levels of estrogen. You know that lovely time of the month, when PMS shows its ugly head? These effects are highly influenced by an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. This imbalance can also lead to more severe conditions and diseases, when experienced for extended periods of time.
Adrenaline dominance is similar, in that there’s a significant imbalance. When we feel threatened, large concentrations of adrenaline are released. Within nature, this fight-or-flight response is only supposed to last for a brief moment. Once a threat has passed, levels of adrenaline should drop.
This effect was extremely important throughout history, especially when faced with danger. Within our modern day lives generally we are not faced with the same life-threatening situations. What we are finding, however, is that individuals who are not actually in danger, are now experiencing high levels of adrenaline all day, as well as all night.
The continuous stressors we experience in our day-to-day lives are attributed to higher levels of adrenaline and you’re putting your health at risk. Depression, heart disease, cognitive impairment, digestive issues can all be caused by excess adrenaline.
And don’t ignore perhaps the one thing you can directly control with regards to your adrenaline levels: YOUR SUGAR INTAKE. Since our bodies naturally produce adrenaline when there is a lack of glucose available for our brains, this effect is directly related to our diet. Most of us eat far too many high-sugar foods, which spike insulin levels. Once insulin is released, it drives sugar into your cells, which leads to hypoglycemia. Since the brain will be lacking glucose, adrenaline levels increase. If you cut back on sugar levels and the health benefits are significant.
Treating Adrenaline Dominance
Lifestyle choices can directly impact your adrenaline levels, which impacts your overall health. In order to effectively manage high levels of adrenaline, in addition to managing stress focus on the most common cause of excess adrenaline – lack of brain fuel.
Follow a balanced meal plan, through nutritional supplements, as well as bio-identical hormones. Here are some recommendations for naturally lower adrenaline levels to achieve a more optimal balance.
Since stress can directly impact adrenaline levels, taking steps towards a more stress-free life is highly recommended. Regular exercise, meditation, yoga and deep breathing are all great ways to reduce daily stressors, positively impacting your health.
Consider herbs, such as L-theanine or Rhodiola, which are known to naturally target stress levels. With that being said, this will only block the effects of increased adrenaline, not address the underlying cause of your excess adrenaline levels.
As mentioned, hypoglycemia (more specifically low glucose levels in the brain), are linked to increased levels of adrenaline. There are two key reasons why your brain would lack enough sugar. First, is an overproduction of insulin. Secondly, an individual does not eat properly.
The key is focusing on low-glycemic foods, as opposed to high-glycemic carbohydrates. Since low-glycemic foods release sugar in a steady manner, there is no dramatic insulin spike. Great sources include green vegetables, legumes, and unprocessed grains.
Coconut oil is another option. It provides ketones, a reliable source of brain fuel. (More on coconut oil and its impact on the brain here.) If you’re not eating properly, like skipping breakfast or only eating once a day, there’s a good chance that your body is running on adrenaline and you fall into this category.
It’s also a good idea to consume foods which support natural progesterone production. Some of the best options are:
1 .Foods Rich in Vitamin-B6: To achieve optimal levels of progesterone, foods rich in vitamin B6 are recommended. These include whole grains, walnuts, fortified cereal, beans, spinach, and more.
2. Foods Rich in Zinc: Foods such as pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, grass-fed beef, and wheatgerm, all help stimulate progesterone production.
3. Foods Rich in Magnesium: There’s some overlap in terms of the foods recommended, such as spinach, pumpkin, nuts, beans, and whole grains. These not only provide zinc and/or vitamin B6, but they also increase your magnesium intake. Magnesium supports your adrenal glands, as well as the enzymes required for hormone production.
4. Use Fresh Herbs: Seasoning with fresh herbs is not only delicious, but beneficial. Options such as oregano, thyme and turmeric, are believed to naturally enhance progesterone levels.
The bottom line: Follow a whole food diet, eliminating processed foods and high-sugar foods. Focus on more lean meats, whole grain, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Progesterone is the only hormone needed to help control excess adrenaline. Progesterone not only reduces the release of adrenaline, further reducing insulin-induced hypoglycemia, but also blocks its effects. I take oral progesterone before bed each night and I have noticed better sleep, less stress and anxiety and more energy. By taking a progesterone supplement or utilizing progesterone cream, you can also decrease excess estrogen.
If you decide to use progesterone, make sure that your prescription is bio-identical (meaning its molecular structure is identical to the natural hormones you produce in your body). If you’re using cream, it’s best to apply to areas where there’s a good blood supply like the face, upper chest and inner forearm. Some patients report feeling more relaxed within minutes of applying progesterone cream. Consult with your doctor about the cream that’s best for you and your needs.
Being proactive to maintain your health and positively impact the overall quality of life is plain, simple and smart. Reduce stress, eat well, and keep a keen eye on your adrenaline levels. The physical and mental benefits you’ll reap are endless.