A proper functioning stress response is at the core of our health. Our main stress hormone, cortisol, manages our alertness, mental focus, inflammation, digestive health, mood, etc. It play a role in almost every system of our body. It is intimately connected with other hormones, such as melatonin, to create the circadian rhythm which keeps us alert and productive during the day and sleepy at night. It governs our fight-or -flight response and rallies our resources in the presence of acute stress. This proper ebb and flow of cortisol worked well for millions of years, as life was probably pretty boring, punctuated by moments of terror. We would either survive and our stress hormones would reset or we wouldn’t. What the system was never designed for is the chronic day to day grinding stress we experience in our modern world. This chronic stress profoundly dysregulates these hormones leading to a condition called adrenal fatigue (not my favorite term), adrenal insufficiency, or HPA-axis dysregulation.
This adrenal fatigue is an experience many of us can relate to. We feel constantly under attack, as our fight-or-flight system is always activated. We feel drained of energy, but also over stimulated. This “tired, but wired” state means that we are groggy in the morning, but also anxious and buzzy when we try to sleep. We often require coffee to stimulate us in the morning and sleeping pills to finally transition to rest.. Systemic inflammation leads to achy joints and irritated digestion. The body loses resilience across the board. We lose interest in hobbies and patients often tell me that “even going out to dinner with friends seems like a pain in the ass.” (pardon my language!)
I think most of us can appreciate why this hormonal balance is a priority. A proper stress response is critical for our health, job performance, and relationships. If this cortisol production and rhythm is not corrected it is extremely difficult to make progress on other health challenges. It is at the core of our health, productivity, rest, and happiness. So, when it goes out of whack how do we correct it? With a simple functional lab test called an Adrenal Stress Profile.
An Adrenal Stress Profile is a simple lab test that you can take in the comfort of your own home. It is a saliva based test, so there’s no need for blood draws or sharp needles. It requires 4 saliva samples through the course of the day, so we can measure not only the amount of cortisol your body is producing, but also the rhythm of its output. Wonky rhythm leads to us feeling like we are crashing in the afternoon or waking at 3am unable to fall back to sleep. We also test for the hormone DHEA, which is the primary anabolic (repair) hormone of the body and the precursor to sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone. Once we get the results of your adrenal stress lab we can create a lab based supplement program that gently and effectively corrects the production and rhythm of these critical hormones. You will finally feel like you have your life back!
Here at Origins Medicine, in conjunction with the Kalish Institute, we have reviewed thousands of adrenal stress profiles from all of the major labs. We currently use the Biohealth 201 lab as our primary and if we need more specific information on sex hormones we use a DUTCH test. We will happily explain which test is appropriate after completing a consult with you.
If there was just one thing I could do with every patient I interact with it would be to correct their stress hormones. Many nagging health problems correct themselves when the hormones are restored and inflammation cooled. Give us a call and let’s get you started on an adrenal restoration program today!
Duncan Macdonald, L.Ac.