Adrenals: Overlooked and Under-Appreciated

When we think about self care, we generally think about eating a proper diet and getting good sleep and exercise. While those three are absolutely foundational to sound health, many don’t know what to do when health still seems out of balance. Hello hormones! The missing link that makes or breaks the proverbial cake.

When talking about hormones, our sex hormones capture all the headlines, and rightfully so, sex sells. But what is undersold and arguably deserves top billing is the adrenal gland, aka your adrenals: two walnut shaped glands that sit north of your kidneys.

The quality of your life is largely determined by the health of your adrenal glands.


They produce hormones to assist you in handling all types of stress, regulate mineral and fluid volume, balance blood sugar an aid in inflammatory regulation, assist in rebuilding and tissue repair, play a role with sex hormone production (esp for the ladies post menopause), and they help with mood regulation.

They do A LOT. The interesting thing is that conventional medicine really only recognizes two adrenal conditions: Addisons’ disease (insufficiency) and Cushing’s Disease (excess). There is no real attention paid to any state of adrenal health between those two disease states. Knowing that health exists on a spectrum, choosing to be proactive and care for your little glands is a major flex and sign of physical agency and anatomy.

But what would cause them to go rogue and make you feel crazy, lethargic, and sabotage your immune system, etc? Let’s briefly chat about a variety of offenders and what we can do about them:


A nutrient poor diet, a diet consisting of foods that your body is sensitive to, and high carbohydrate diets are the main offenders (Maffetone, Laursen, 2015).  Before you freak out about the carbs, remember carbs that cause higher blood sugar spikes and the amount of carbohydrates is bioindividual-- high for you. We know that highly processed foods are taxing, but it doesn’t matter how “clean” your diet is, if you are eating foods that your body is sensitive to, you are stressing your body. Do your best to avoid what isn’t serving you.


Exercise is best in balance. Over exercising and under exercising have adverse effects on our adrenals.  Good sleep is paramount-- if you’re struggling with sleep, address it like you would with chronic pain.  The “sleep when you’re dead” attitude  has been trending--dare to be unfashionable.  And while we’re at it, the hustle mentality that creates a lack of life balance should also be flushed down the toilet. We are human beings, and our complex systems need joy, rest, and space. Your adrenals are begging you for it.


Your negative thoughts have detrimental effects on your body. Be on the road to finding your purpose-- an unfilling life is rather stressful and depleting on your walnuts.


The loss of a loved one, romantic troubles, loneliness, and lack of joy are very taxing and may cause secretions leading to detrimental physical effects (Mughal, Azhar, Siddiqui, 2021). While we will all undoubtedly experience these things from time to time, it’s paramount that we have strong tools to help our bodies through the healing process.


Injury/trauma, illness, surgery, and chronic pain take a toll on our adrenals. Make sure that if you have experienced or are experiencing any of the physical, that it is properly addressed and true recovery happens as swiftly as possible.


Blood sugar imbalance, dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance), infection, and xenobiotics are another type of stress that puts a lot of pressure on your adrenals.

What is wonderful about caring for your adrenal glands is that you don’t need to do anything “extra”-- in fact, the opposite is true. Some practices may be a bit harder to put into action as our culture pushes for something different-- but now you're equipped with some knowledge to guide you in the direction you want to go and achieve your wellness goals.


Maffetone, Philip B, and Paul B Laursen. “Athletes: Fit but Unhealthy?.” Sports medicine - open vol. 2 (2015): 24. doi:10.1186/s40798-016-0048-x


Mughal S, Azhar Y, Siddiqui WJ. Grief Reaction. [Updated 2021 Jul 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:



BB Arrington


she / her


Philadelphia, USA


Functional nutritionist (NTP,RWS) and NASM personal trainer


Fav Health Hack:

Drink your liquids away from meals for better digestion





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