“Springtime is here!” Depending on whether or not you suffer from seasonal allergies, that statement can be read with either an excited or an anxious tone. For those filled with anxiety, chances are you already know the typical treatment plans: anti-histamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, mast cell stabilizers, eye drops, allergy shots… and the list goes on. How about this year we try something different?
Your adrenals are small glands that sit on top of your kidneys. They produce the following hormones (among others):
- In the Medulla (center part of the adrenal gland):
- Epinephrine (adrenaline): helps with your fight-or-flight response, or your ability to react to stress, reduces swelling of tissues and decreases the release of histamine and other mediators of inflammation. We use epinephrine to help control anaphylactic reactions due to allergies.
- Norepinephrine (noradrenaline): helps regulate your fight-or-flight response.
- In the Cortex (outer layer of the adrenal gland):
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): the precursor to your sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen).
- Aldosterone: major player in the regulation of your blood pressure.
- Cortisol: released each morning to increase your blood sugar, which warms and wakes you up, this hormone also helps you respond to stress and suppresses immune system reactions. When this hormone is used as a medication to reduce inflammation, it is called hydrocortisone.
Our adrenals do not have an endless supply of these hormones and can only make so much of each every day. If you are under chronic stress, you can deplete your levels leading to adrenal fatigue, which presents as chronic fatigue syndrome, blood pressure control issues and decreased libido. It can also cause an inability to regulate your immune system and inflammation responses well, leading to a worsening of your allergy symptoms.
Each spring there is an increase of pollen in the air. As we inhale these particles, everyone’s immune systems will rev up to inspect these foreign invaders to make sure they are not unwanted viruses, bacteria or parasites. If you find yourself over-reacting to these particles this year, struggling with allergies, talk with your AIM practitioner about a NeuroAdrenal test or ways to support your adrenal health right away.