When people use the word “health,” they usually associate it with concepts like diet, the heart, the digestion, etc.  Few people associate it with their adrenal glands.  Like most other systems of the body, the adrenal glands require “care and feeding” to remain healthy.  Unfortunately, the adrenal glands are among the most overworked and least understood organ systems of the body.


             The glands themselves are located on top of the kidneys, just below the rear rib cage (therefore, the name “ad-renal” (on top of the kidney)).  About the size of your thumb, the adrenals secrete several hormones which are crucial to maintaining good health. 


             Perhaps the most critical function of the adrenals, however, is their ability to deal with stress.  The functions are complex, but can be summarized as preparing the body for “fight or flight,” to confront or escape a physical threat to survival.  The brain, the heart, energy production, the immune system, the liver, and muscle and skeletal function are all impacted by the secretion of adrenal hormones, predominantly cortisol, during this process.  In fact, over 1400 bodily functions are directly impacted by a stress response.


            When our bodies react physically to “fight or flight,” with physical exertion to escape or confront a threat, the functions normalize in a very short period of time.  However, when the stress becomes chronic, as is usually the case in today’s society, and is not healthfully alleviated, all these processes negatively impact one’s health. 


Most people don’t realize the huge impact the adrenal glands have on their health.  But what can be done about it?  Quite a lot, in fact.


            A combination of diet and lifestyle modification and proper application of nutritional supplementation can go a long way toward addressing these health challenges.  Nutritional science has made great strides in offering both modified nutritional protocols and targeted supplementation to help people with these health concerns.  For example, it is imperative that anyone who is dealing with adrenal stress discontinue the use of caffeine.  The primary consequence of chronic caffeine use is the ultimate exhaustion of the adrenal glands.  Likewise, cutting edge nutritional companies have made great strides in perfecting sophisticated nutrient delivery systems which effectively address specific health concerns.  An example is the development of phosphatidyl serine creams which can help restore compromised adrenal function.


            Addressing adrenal health is obviously a crucial part of any person’s health plan.  We can show you the most effective, cost efficient ways to integrate maintenance of adrenal health into your lifestyle so you can enjoy vibrant good health!


Peter M. McCarthy, ND

Martin's Wellness


Peter M. McCarthy, ND is a nationally board certified traditional naturopath, and a wellness consultant with Martins Compounding and Wellness Centers in Austin, TX.  He is the author of Adrenaline Nation: Chronic Stress is Ruining Our Health and Bankrupting Our Economy – Discover What YOU Can Do About It NOW!  Trained in both functional blood work analysis and saliva hormone analysis, he is a former member of the Advisory Committee of the American Naturopathic Certification Board. He is available for individual wellness consultations by appointment at Dripping Springs Pharmacy, 100 Commons Road, Suite 1, Dripping Springs, TX, Monday through Friday from 10 am til 4 pm.