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Stress and Hormones

Dr Marco De La Cruz

Stress and Hormones: From Imbalance to Adrenal Exhaustion

In response to stress, the adrenal glands secrete stress hormones, mainly cortisol and epinephrine. Cortisol is involved in the regulation of glucose metabolism, immune system function; blood pressure; bones, muscle and skin; and mood and sense of well-being. Persistent stress can cause imbalance of cortisol, deplete the adrenal glands and lead to adrenal exhaustion. To find out if you have symptoms of adrenal imbalance take the following self-test and add up your symptoms. The more symptoms you have the more you are in adrenal stress and imbalance.

Do You Have Symptoms of Adrenal Stress?

□ Fatigue □ Sleep disturbance □ Headaches

□ Depressed □ Anxious □ Irritable

□ Memory lapses □ Abdominal fat □ ↓ sex drive

□ Cold body temp □ Heart palpitations □ High triglycerides

□ Sugar cravings □ Lack of periods □ Scalp hair loss

□ Increased facial hair □ Chemical sensitivities □ Food allergies

□ Acne □ ↓Concentration □ Joint pain

□ ↓ Muscle mass □ Infertility □ Allergies

Testing For Adrenal Imbalance

The level of cortisol measured in the saliva by salivary hormone tests is a reliable indicator of adrenal imbalance. Cortisol levels should be highest in the morning to energize us for the day and lowest at bedtime. With mild to moderate symptoms: cortisol is collected 2x; morning and evening. With severe symptoms: cortisol is collected 4x in one day to fully assess adrenal function.

High Cortisol associated with acute stress may cause loss of muscle and bone; and elevated blood sugars; abdominal fat and insulin resistance; weak immune function; and disturbance in sleep, mood and memory.

Low Cortisol associated with chronic stress may present as chronic fatigue and pain, allergies and recurrent infections; and overactive immune system as in disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Crohn’s disease.

Restoring Adrenal Balance (see Balancing Act – the book)

  • Learn stress management strategies/techniques

  • Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates

  • Improve the length and quality of sleep

  • Activity daily (walking, biking)

  • Eat more greens, vegetables and low-sugar fruits

  • Eat mostly organic, hormone-free foods

  • Drink plenty of filtered water

  • Take a multivitamin with B-complex and C

In moderate to severe adrenal exhaustion, adrenal supplements and bio-identical hormones under a physician’s guidance may be necessary.

Contact us to schedule a consultation about hormone testing for detection of adrenal imbalance


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