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Miss Nutritionist was founded by Rosie Millen who trained at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition. Graduating with a Diploma in Nutritional Therapy she is a fully qualified nutritionist therapist.
Are your adrenal glands stressed out?
There are two adrenal glands which are our stress glands situated on top of the kidneys. They are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of numerous hormones. Healthy adrenal glands secrete a number of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These allow our bodies to deal with physical and emotional stress.
Every time we experience stress the adrenal glands release cortisol into the blood stream so that we can deal with the fight or flight response. However if we are exposed to significant amounts of stress over a long period of time then these delicate glands can become exhausted and not work as efficiently.
The Stress Response:
When we experience physical or mental stress the adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol into the blood stream to prepare us for the stress. The heart beats faster, pupils dilate and sugar is sent to the muscles to deal with the stress. There are three stages of stress:
1) The alarm stage
This is the initial stage of stress. This stage experiences an over acting of the sympathetic nervous system where adrenaline and cortisol increase and blood flows away from the brain to the muscles.
2) The resistance stage
Overtime, if you are under constant stress your adrenal glands continually release adrenaline and cortisol to deal with it. They are going to full efforts to cope with the situation and often you can start to feel irritated and pressured.
3) The exhaustion stage
This is where the adrenal glands have been so over worked that they no longer function efficiently and optimally. They are exhausted which means the body can’t cope with anymore stress. As a result the person can feel exhausted, weak, burnt out and depressed.
Symptoms of Adrenal Dysfunction
Difficulty falling asleep
Dizziness when standing up suddenly (especially in the morning out of bed)
Slow starter in morning
Clenching or grinding teeth
Poor appetite (no breakfast)
Digestive issues (low HCl, IBS…)
PMS, menstrual problems
Poor memory and concentration
Insomnia, poor sleep
Inability to deal with stress
Weight gain (around the middle)
Poor exercise tolerance and exhaustion afterwards
Lower back pain
If you suspect you have adrenal fatigue or would like to test your adrenal glands and stress levels then there is an easy saliva test you can do for £70.
Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 3719 032 and we can send you a test kit.
How to Support Your Adrenals!
Diet – Blood Sugar Balancing (cornerstone of adrenal support)
- Eat little and often – about every 3-4 hours
- 3 main meals with snacks in between
- Avoid refined carbohydrates
- Increase whole grains
- Good quality protein at each meal and snack
- Increase high fibre foods (water soluble especially as slows digestion, absorption of carbohydrates, increase cell sensitivity to insulin)
- Increase essential fats such as oily fish, avocados nuts and seeds.
- Drink enough water/fluids
- Avoid stimulants –alcohol, tea, coffee, cola drinks, chocolate, cigarettes
Foods to Avoid
Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause irritability and lead to over stimulation of the adrenal glands so the body is less able to cope with stress. It can prevent the absorption of some essential nutrients – zinc and iron.
Alcohol – Excessive intake depletes many vitamins and minerals which can impair the detoxification process of the liver and cause adrenal stimulation.
Sugar in excess impairs the function of the adrenal glands and has been linked with suppressing the immune system.
When under stress your body requires more B vitamins which are involved in protecting the nervous system. As they are not stored in the body they must be taken in sufficient amounts at all times. Supplementation of a B complex is important for energy production. Good food sources of the B vitamins are yeast extract, green leafy vegetables, eggs, salmon and whole grains.
Vitamin C – 2-3g per day
Vitamin C is vital to help the body cope with stress. Large amounts of vitamin C are stored in the adrenal glands and levels are significantly reduced when one is under stress. Good sources are from fresh fruit and vegetables. A daily supplementation of at least 1000mg of vitamin C per day should be recommended too.
Zinc – 15mg per day
Zinc is necessary for the production of the adrenal hormones and it is therefore extremely important to ensure optimum levels of zinc are maintained in the body. Zinc is often lacking in today’s diets and therefore a zinc supplement could well prove extremely beneficial.
Magnesium – 300 mg per day
Magnesium helps to reduce the risk of adrenal exhaustion from chronic stress. It is essential for production of enzymes and energy needed in adrenal cascade. It is key in blood sugar control. It also helps to relax the nerves which can be very helpful in maintaining nervous health.
Herbs to Help Stress
Siberian Ginseng maintains adrenal function by supporting and rejuvenating adrenal function. It is an adaptagen meaning it either helps to increase or decrease cortisol and DHEA. It has calming effects.
Liquorice Root can help anxiety disorders and encourage restful sleep. It increases energy and can raise cortisol levels. It also helps decrease symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Adrenal cell extracts from bovine or porcine can help to restore adrenal function which is useful in adrenal fatigue/exhaustion. It encourages the secretion of a variety of adrenal hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenalin.
Stress can play havoc with the digestive system by inhibiting digestive enzymes. This can lead to indigestion, bloating, gas, heartburn, constipation or diarrhoea. Supplementing digestive enzymes prior to, or during a meal, can help to eradicate some of the problematic symptoms.
- Stress Management – meditation, prayer, deep breathing
- Time management –learn to say “no”
- “Me time” – pamper yourself, massage, relaxation, hobbies
- Enhance and cherish important relationships – family, friends, better communication
- Identify “energy robbers” in your life – person, place, environment, work
- Appropriate exercise – regular but not excessive – tai chi, yoga, pilates, walking, swimming.
Fit After Pregnancy
Allyson started out as a certified boot camp instructor and since then has become a certified personal trainer and nutritionist. She competed in her first WBFF Fitness Atlantic competition taking second place in her category and was awarded her pro card in her second show. She has appeared in World Physique Magazine, has been a model of fitness wear in the Caribbean Islands is a frequent special guest on FTNS radio and has appeared in the movie “The Heat” and a hip hop music video.
Fit After Pregnancy
Having a baby is the most joyous time of any woman’s life, but after 9 months of weight gain and watching your body get larger and larger, a woman may start to wonder if she will be able to lose the weight, as quickly as she gained it. I have always been a thin woman but I would not say I was “fit”. During my pregnancy I was taunted by women who would make comments that I should not expect to ever be thin again; or that pregnancy will ruin my body. I began to believe what these women would say. I was bothered by their comments and feared that I would never lose the weight. I wanted to prove them wrong and prove to myself that losing the weight was achievable. I was motivated but wasn’t sure where to start. I had joined gyms in the past and used personal trainers, but I never saw the results I was looking for.
We always hear about “Diet and Exercise” but what does it actually mean? I had to learn about CLEAN eating. I had to take my workouts to a level I never thought possible. I think the biggest misconception about losing weight is, people often confuse eating clean as a diet. A diet to me restricts what you can and cannot eat. I have always been a good eater; I cook fresh home cooked meals and do not rely on the closest fast food restaurant. I didn’t have to change much, but I needed to realize when I had a craving for something sweet I could still have it on my cheat day and not at that point in time of my craving. I had to look temptation right in the eye and beat it!
I fed my body every 2-3 hours, sounds easy right? Not so much when you are taking care of an infant. My worst enemy was that I did not eat breakfast. I would not eat my first meal until lunch. Once I was able to train my body, it became very natural to eat small meals every 2-3 hours. The second misconception I had was eating that many meals would make me gain weight. I learned you need to eat the right foods and have the proper exercise program to give your body the fuel it needs.
I am often asked where I find the time to juggle my family and workouts. It is very simple; you find and make the time for yourself. For me, it is very easy. I want my daughter to grow up proud of her mother. I want to teach her to live a healthy life style. With the epidemic of child obesity and obesity in general, it is up to me to teach my family the importance of living a happy and healthy life.
I have become so motivated and so dedicated to living a healthy style, that I have reached my ultimate goals of inner belief, self-confidence and an amazing body! I am now a Fitness Model, a certified Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and most importantly a mom! I competed in the WBFF Fitness Atlantic Competition taking second place in the Diva Model Division and Fourth place in the Diva Bikini Division in my first show and ultimately being awarded my Pro Card at my second show. I have been featured in magazines, commercials, a Sandra Bullock movie, a music video and am a frequent special guest on a fitness radio show.
So many women have told me how inspired they are from hearing my story. I hope to continue to inspire other mother’s and women around the world, that they too have it within them to reach their goals, especially after having a baby!!