Is Your Weight Gain Tied to Adrenal Dysfunction? 3 Steps to Recover Your Energy and Shed the Pounds
What happens when you are halfway through your day, and your energy plummets? Often, people turn to coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks that may give you a lift in energy, but only temporarily. These foods create a massive surge in cortisol, which, in the long run, further depletes your ability to manage stress.
At some point, the adrenals can no longer support elevated levels of stress.
When Stress Wrecks the Body
It comes as no surprise that stress is affecting our lives on major levels, according to research by the American Psychological Association (APA). In recent survey’s of 3,440 adults in the U.S., above money, work, violence or crime, 63% said the future of our nation was a significant stress.1 In another APA Stress in America survey, 60% of Americans reported that personal or family health concerns are also a source of stress.2
Stress does things in the body that eventually lead to the breakdown of tissue or to a dramatic disturbance in hormonal function. Because of this, many of our modern disease patterns are heavily related to the stress in our lives and how we manage it.
Weight gain, mood changes, low libido, and fatigue don’t have to be considered typical of a busy American lifestyle. A tasty and nutritious fermented green drink like Vitality SuperGreen may improve energy levels, strengthen immunity, and encourage detoxification to help you maintain a healthy weight.
These are common disorders, like:
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune disorders like celiac disease, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Gut disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome
- Hormonal imbalance, such as irregular menses or possibly infertility
- Anxiety symptoms common in disorders related to stress – dysbiosis of intestinal microbiota may be related to anxiety 11
While common, these conditions are typically at the end of the spectrum. Meaning, stress has been severe enough or chronic enough to lead to the breakdown of many systems within the body.
Chronic stress that goes unchecked for years can take its toll. Several studies show that chronic stress changes DNA, specifically the shortening of telomeres (the protective cap at the end of a DNA strand that protects the chromosome from deterioration) which are linked to cellular aging, poor health and the increased likelihood of disease. 3 The everyday effects of chronic stress can be far-reaching. Chronic maternal stress levels have been linked to shorter telomeres in newborns, preterm birth and higher instances of dental cavities in children.4,5,6
Yes, stress experienced early in life, even as early as in the womb, can have a devastating effect on the gut. Babies born to mothers who experience stress during pregnancy are more likely to have poor gut diversity, leading to a higher risk of intestinal problems and allergies.7 As researchers pointed out, babies need good gut bacteria to promote early development. While chronic stress over a lifetime can affect the body’s ability to regulate inflammation, opening the door to disease, the regulatory hormones produced by a healthy gut may help to thwart a collection of stress-response behaviors, including smoking, drinking, and over-eating.8
If you are under stress and are eating an unhealthy diet, watch out.
Under stress, some can turn to a high-fat and high-sugar diet, which has been shown in studies to be disruptive to the inflammatory response in the brain and liver and physically damaging.10 High stress levels coupled with an unhealthy diet could lead to an even greater risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.8
Understanding Your Adrenals
The adrenal glands are small, walnut-sized glands that are located just above the kidneys and release hormones in response to stress. Some of us are better equipped to handle stress. The rest of us have adrenal glands that are overworked, tired or just exhausted.
Many women push past the point of exhaustion, and Dr. Sara Gottfried, Harvard-trained M.D. and New York Times best-selling author of The Hormone Cure, considers hormone imbalance and its link to underlying health issues like adrenal dysfunction especially problematic for women.
When the adrenals need repair, it can leave a person feeling tired, heavy, and susceptible to illness. And in an exhausted state, the adrenals are no longer able to maintain appropriate levels of cortisol. Cortisol is secreted by adrenal glands in response to any stressful event, whether real or perceived.
When we are locked into an ongoing state of stress, we are responding to one small, stressful stimulus after another. Add to that other common stressors like poor diet, lack of exercise, irregular sleep, and long work hours — and you have a recipe for confusion, especially when you enter the doctor’s office wondering what’s happening!
When we internalize stress in a negative way, we are far more likely to feel sick, tired, and depressed.
Important Warning Signs of Adrenal Dysfunction
At some point, the adrenals can no longer support elevated levels of stress.
Before the adrenals fall fully into exhaustion, other aspects of the endocrine system are affected first. Signs of adrenal exhaustion are often related to one another.
Common warning signs to look out for include:
- Changes in mood
- Gut disorders
- Low sex drive or irregularity in menstrual cycle
- Weight gain
Cortisol levels rise and fall depending on what and when you eat. Remember, the key to good adrenal health is keeping cortisol levels within their normal range. High cortisol may contribute to stubborn weight gain. A study published in the Journal of Obesity demonstrated the powerful weight loss effect of lowering the stress response. Women who practiced mindful eating and stress-reduction techniques helped to prevent weight gain without dieting, even among women who were obese. The women who had the greatest reduction in stress levels also had the greatest loss in deep belly fat, associated with a higher risk of disease.9
When it comes to diet, stabilizing blood sugar is crucial since cortisol is released to manage blood sugar levels:
- Avoid excess sugar and carbohydrates.
- Eat regularly throughout the day and avoid eating late at night.
An excessive level of cortisol is often the real culprit that can keep you from losing weight.
Infection and gut disorders lead to inflammation and elevated levels of cortisol. The gastrointestinal system is one of the most common places in the body to suffer from low-grade inflammation and infection. When our inner ecology is out of balance, we can experience anything from heartburn to gas to bloating. Unfortunately, sometimes the gut remains symptom-free. Instead, there may be other signs of inflammation and irregular levels of cortisol, including hormone-related problems in women.
Other signs of adrenal dysfunction may be:
- Achy joints, stiff neck, tight shoulders, and low back pain
- Compromised immune function, leading to frequent illness
- Declining bone health
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Wrinkles and premature aging
Adrenal Dysfunction and Weight Gain: 3 Quick Tips to Restore Adrenal Health
Those of us who are stressed, tired, and suffer from depression often have an irregular release of cortisol throughout the day. Adrenal dysfunction may affect mood, metabolism, and immune system function.
In order to assist the adrenals, apply these three tips:
1. Choose nutrient-dense foods that give authentic energy to your cells and supply your body with the power it needs to control inflammation.
The 7 Principles of the Body Ecology Diet can teach you the basics of nourishing the body to support the adrenals. While inflammation and infection typically begin in the gut, the consequences are almost always systemic if allowed to persist. Keep in mind that gastrointestinal problems are often closely related to poor adrenal health.
You can strengthen your adrenals by restoring your gut ecology first of all:
- Vitality SuperGreen literally gives the cells in your small intestine the fuel they need.
- InnergyBiotic can help to heal digestion by sweeping away disease-causing bugs and inoculating the gut with beneficial microorganisms.
- Immune Power Protein Shake can support gut health and healthy weight loss at the same time — providing 15 grams of vegan pea protein per serving, known to reduce inflammation.
2. Use tools that help to curb inflammation and gently detoxify the body.
The process of cleansing can make a big difference in adrenal health. For example, if your liver is damaged from poor diet, prescription drug use, or alcohol, you will have a harder time bringing your adrenals into balance.
The liver helps the body to metabolize and eliminate toxins, as well as hormones. An unhealthy liver can undermine an adrenal repair program.
When restoring adrenal health, it is essential to support the liver. You can do this with Digestive Care Multi, which contains the Liver Power Cleanse formulated to cleanse the liver of toxic buildup while protecting and repairing liver tissue.
3. Rebuild the adrenals.
The adrenals need minerals to thrive. Eat plenty of ocean vegetables and supplement with the highest quality blend of humic, fulvic, micro, and macro minerals and amino acids found in Ancient Earth Minerals. These organic compounds enhance mineral and trace element uptake and support detoxification, rebuilding cellular energy.
Remember, stress is mostly perceived. Adrenal dysfunction typically involves more than one lifestyle factor. Because diet is something that we can control, it is the first step that we can take in managing stress. A program that sets out to both energize and detoxify the body can help us safely navigate through adrenal repair into a healthier, happier state of being.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
If you rely on coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks to make it through the day, you may get a temporary boost, but you’ll also get a massive surge in cortisol. In the long run, this will make it even more difficult for your body to manage stress to support your health.
When the adrenal glands become overworked and overtired, it leads to adrenal dysfunction. You may feel fatigued, heavy, and susceptible to illness as the body is no longer able to maintain appropriate levels of cortisol. Common warning signs of adrenal dysfunction include weight gain, fatigue, mood changes, gut disorders, and a lower sex drive. Symptoms of adrenal dysfunction can progress as far as premature wrinkles, trouble sleeping, declined bone health, achy joints, and more.
To restore adrenal health and improve your quality of life, put these simple tips into practice today:
- Eat nutrient-dense foods that will give your body the power to control inflammation. Along with following Body Ecology’s 7 Principles, Vitality SuperGreen and InnergyBiotic can help to restore balance to the gut, and the Immune Power Protein Shake can support daily energy levels and reduce inflammation.
- Focus on cleansing to curb inflammation and gently detoxify. Digestive Care Multi, containing the Liver Power Cleanse, has been specially formulated to cleanse the liver of toxic buildup, while repairing delicate liver tissue at the same time.
- Rebuild your adrenals with essential minerals from ocean vegetables. You can get even more adrenal support from taking a supplement like Ancient Earth Minerals to aid in detoxification and restore cellular energy.
- Stress in America, The State of Our Nation. American Psychological Association. November 2017.
- Stress in America, Uncertainty about HealthCare. American Psychological Association. January 2018.
- Shammas MA. Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011;14(1):28–34. doi:10.1097/MCO.0b013e32834121b1
- Inge Christiaens, Kathleen Hegadoren, David M Olson. Adverse childhood experiences are associated with spontaneous preterm birth: a case–control study. BMC Medicine, 2015; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12916-015-0353-0.
- King’s College London. “Maternal chronic stress linked to more dental cavities in children.” ScienceDaily.
- Marchetto NM, Glynn RA, Ferry ML, et al. Prenatal stress and newborn telomere length. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2016;215:94.e1-8.
- Maartje A.C. Zijlmans, Katri Korpela, J. Marianne Riksen-Walraven, Willem M. de Vos, Carolina de Weerth. Maternal Prenatal Stress is Associated with the Infant Intestinal Microbiota. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.01.006.
- Imperial College London. “Weight loss, quitting smoking and giving up alcohol may be aided by hormones from our guts.” ScienceDaily.
- Jennifer Daubenmier, Jean Kristeller, Frederick M. Hecht, Nicole Maninger, Margaret Kuwata, Kinnari Jhaveri, Robert H. Lustig, Margaret Kemeny, Lori Karan, Elissa Epel. Mindfulness Intervention for Stress Eating to Reduce Cortisol and Abdominal Fat among Overweight and Obese Women: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Study. Journal of Obesity, 2011; 2011: 1 DOI: 10.1155/2011/651936.
Maria Elizabeth de Sousa Rodrigues, et al. Chronic psychological stress and high-fat high-fructose diet disrupt metabolic and inflammatory gene networks in the brain, liver, and gut and promote behavioral deficits in mice. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Volume 59, January 2017, Pages 158-172.
- “Effects of regulating intestinal microbiota on anxiety symptoms: A systematic review”. Beibei Yang, Jinbao Wei, Peijun Ju, Jinghong Chen. General Psychiatry. doi:10. 1136/gpsych-2019-100056