Some of the most common complaints I hear from clients is how exhausted they are, they crave either sugar or salt, they are irritable or apathetic, they can’t sleep a wink, and no matter what they do they just can’t lose a darn pound. Sound familiar? Well, me too – you are not alone!
I want to share with you my personal adrenal hormone test results, which simply assesses my body’s stress response. Let’s face it – we all have stress. How our body adapts to it is the real question at hand. A common response I hear from my clients is ‘I handle stress just fine’. Do you? Unless we are testing, we may be fooling ourselves. I know I was.
Why is it so important to know how our adrenals are functioning? Well, to start, they affect all other hormone systems:
- Insulin – our fat storage hormone whose function is to drive glucose into our cells for energy. No matter the stress (physical, emotional, nutritional, environmental, physiological), our body prepares for fight or flight. This triggers the body to release glucose to fuel the muscles to FLEE or FIGHT. When we release glucose, we release insulin too. What if you don’t need it? You guessed it – it hangs out in our body and causes us to gain body fat, particularly in the midsection.
- Thyroid – the hormone system that drives metabolism/weight management and energy production. When our body is under excess stress, itrequires a lot of energy so we don’t have enough to also supply our thyroid, so it slows down. What happens then? Weight gain, among many other symptoms.
- Sex Hormones – I’m going to stay simple here until we go over my sex hormone results next month. Under stress, we steal from progesterone to make cortisol (our stress hormone), which lowers the conversion to testosterone and DHEA. Progesterone supports fertility, mood, cognitive health, immunity, and sleep. Testosterone helps us build and maintain lean muscle and strength, libido, fertility, mood, and energy. DHEA is our anti-aging hormone. It supports our cognition, immunity, and body composition as we age.
So now that you can see the importance that our adrenals and stress response have on our health and weight, let’s look at the test. It is is a saliva test that you can do in the comfort of your own home. You collect your spit 4 times during the day. Cortisol ‘should’ follow the optimal diurnal pattern in green you see on the graph above. Cortisol aligns with our circadian rhythm, meaning it’s highest in the AM with sunrise (which gets you up out of bed without hitting snooze 10 times) and slowly lowers throughout the day until it’s at its lowest point at sunset. This is when melatonin is at its highest (cortisol and melatonin oppose each other), which supports you falling asleep when its dark out.
What about my results? You can see that I start the day ok, which makes sense since I don’t need an alarm. Morning is my best physical and brain energy time of day and why I schedule big work projects and my workouts then. But then my cortisol tanks for the rest of the day. This totally makes sense! I am ready for a nap after lunch and bed no later than 9. I’m not surprised. I’ve been so tired, moody, can’t sleep, can’t lose those stubborn 5#, and my joints hurt! I had a ton of stress over the past 1.5 years, losing both of my parents who lived 2 states away.
So what did I do with these results? I started an adrenal supplement with adaptagenic herbs, glandulars, and licorice to help nudge my adrenals back into optimal functioning. I also use Redmond’s sea salt on my food since low cortisol tends to lower blood pressure, which I can feel dizzy when I rise too fast. I rebooted my meditation practice and carved time each day to get outdoors in nature. I have also been reading fiction (can’t remember the last time I did that) before bed to help quiet my mind.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because I want to relay the value of lab testing when you are frustrated with not feeling great or can’t lose weight no matter what you are doing you’re your diet and/or exercise. Just like me, I kept chugging along getting more frustrated because I kept guessing what was happening to my body vs testing it. Now I have a customized, tailored plan to help optimize my body’s function and you know what? After a few short weeks, I can tell the difference.
*Lockhart Wellness Solutions, LLC offers lab testing to their clients (except those living in NY or NJ). Schedule a consultation with Cindi to discuss what the best options are for you.