by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
So many people are reaching out, trying to find adrenal balance, but not sure where to start, so here you go:
I first want to bring up something mentioned by Dr. Daniel Kalish in my Adrenal Summit. Dan mentioned that adrenal function has become a much more popular focus for practitioners these days, but unfortunately, many people are being tested with little knowledge to properly balance adrenal function. Add to this the fact that many practitioners are not aware on the need to assist the body in resetting the feedback loop also known as the HPA axis, or the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal axis. Understand that this feedback loop is essential to bring your body into a state of relaxation after a stressful event, situation or time frame in your life. If the HPA axis is not functioning properly, you may be focusing on your health yet still living with the frustration of very little or no improvement. Yikes!
So knowing that you have to help the body reset the feedback loop, how do you know if your feedback loop is dysfunctional? Testing of course, and more importantly, how do you test this properly? Testing adrenals properly requires looking at cortisol throughout the day, which is easily accomplished by saliva testing. Yes, it is as easy as expressing saliva into a tube 4 times per day. While some may not feel that this sounds enjoyable, it is completely invaluable to understand your adrenal function as well as the fore mentioned HPA axis. If this is burnt out, you want to know!
I do not recommend blood testing because this will only provide one cortisol level through the day as opposed to four times within the day. Unfortunately looking at only the total cortisol will often leave you in the dark when assessing your adrenal function. This saliva testing provides a DHEA average, four cortisol levels through the day, a total cortisol and the cortisol:DHEA ratio. For those using a comprehensive test kit, which is always my recommendation, you would also get a look at estradiol, estriol, progesterone, testosterone, androstenedione and melatonin. This is often invaluable because I cannot tell you the countless times I see estrogen type hormones either too high or low, elevated and often toxic levels of progesterone due to the use of creams and even men that are converting testosterone into estrogen due to an over production of an enzyme referred to as aromatase. This can be some scary stuff but really, only if you do not look at it. As long as you are living and breathing, there is always hope of balancing your adrenals, but the key is understanding where your adrenal function is currently.
Now once you have the adrenal function assessed you can work on a protocol to balance. The protocols used at Depke Wellness are focused at the beginning of hormone production. This would include the use of the Prime Adrenal Support (vitamin B5) and the two baseline liquid sublingual hormones pregnenolone and DHEA. The vitamin B5 is needed as one of the raw materials to produce the mother hormone pregnenolone and the DHEA and pregnenolone support will allow the adrenals to find their balance and reset that HPA axis discussed above. This way you can eventually get off the protocols and enjoy normal healthy functioning adrenals in the future.
Notice that I did not mention taking bio-identical hormones, progesterone creams or testosterone creams. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen these toxin in clients when we review their saliva test kits due to the use of the hormone creams. Recently I reviewed the results of a women that was taking progesterone creams for only two months that should have a level of approximately 5 to 95 that is actually living with a level over 2,500. No 2,500 was not a typo! I have even seen men that were working with other practitioners recognizing low testosterone, only to take testosterone without knowing that this is being converted into estrogen and they are now toxic in estrogen type hormones. Again, this can be scary if you do not know what you are doing and that is exactly why we are discussing this here.
Other support I would also offer to aid in hormone conversion and general adrenal support is a liquid ionized form of zinc, Buffered Effer C, Liquid Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Formula and a liquid DHA/EPA-CoQ10. These are all supportive factors but the nuts and bolts of the protocols are the Prime Adrenal Support (vitamin B5) and the liquid sublingual forms of DHEA and pregnenolone.
*DO NOT take these on your own without testing and under guidance. Hormones require a delicate balance and while you do not want them too low, you do not want them too high either. Please be careful and work with somebody that uses saliva testing that also knows how to assist your body in resetting that HPA axis.
Another important point to make is that when your adrenals challenged, this truly is not an adrenal issue. The deeper issue that absolutely has to be addressed is the triggers for the adrenal issues. Here are the main triggers.
(SAD) standard American diet high in sugar, caffeine and processed food
Chronic stress or suppressed emotions
Chronic inflammatory states
Poor fundamentals of health
Understand that if you only use an adrenal protocol and do not get to the triggers, this will be an ongoing problem for you. So in the end, if you want to get to the bottom of your adrenal issues, properly test adrenal function, address your adrenal function with the proper protocol and understand your triggers. Of course do this with a practitioner that understands how to walk you through this process.
If you are wondering where your adrenal function is after reading this article, feel free to contact Glen Depke for more information. Knowledge is power!