Upwards of 80% of North Americans suffer from some degree of cortisol imbalance, otherwise known as adrenal fatigue.
Our adrenal glands are pyramid-shaped glands that sit on top of each kidney, and are responsible for producing multiple hormones. Included in this list of important hormones are progesterone, testosterone, estrogen and cortisol. The role of cortisol is to help us manage all types of stress – emotional, physical (inflammation) and environmental. Although the system was designed to cope with the ‘occasional stressor’, in today’s world there are no ‘occasional stressors’. Instead, our bodies are constantly being subjected to an unparalleled range of everyday insults.
Between cell phones and emails clamoring for our attention, fast-paced lifestyles, and environmental pollutants like pesticides and plastics taxing our hormonal systems, our adrenal glands are on overload. Because of this constant demand for cortisol production, there is a ‘steal’ effect, whereby cortisol is produced in large amounts at the expense of the other adrenal hormones. This can impact on progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone production, causing an overall imbalance and hormonal dysregulation. In many cases, all of these hormones, including cortisol production itself, cannot be maintained, and the result is ‘burn-out’. This is but one example of how disruption of one hormone can impact on many others.
Dr. Kristy Prouse MD, FRCSC on Cortisol Imbalance (Adrenal Fatigue).
Sign up for interesting and useful information on hormonal health.