Saturday, March 19, 2011

How's Your Cake?

The bakery cakes looked great.  Beautiful in every detail. 
I asked the girl, "Do you make them everyday?"  She pointed to the wedding cake, "That's not real.  Underneath, it is styrofoam and cardboard.  It's just frosted."  You could not tell the real cakes from the styrofoam ones.  The frosting made them all look the same.  Beautiful.

All of us present our best selves to the world. 

We seldom reveal our struggles, therefore, no one knows what is going on underneath.  Today we are going to take the frosting off the styrofoam and enter the world of adrenals.  I am going to give you a lesson, a life-saving lesson for you or someone you love.  Welcome to today's class, Cortisol 101.  Never heard of cortisol?  Neither had I until two weeks ago after sitting with a friend for six hours while she suffered through wave after wave of panic attacks.   I want to share with you some things that I learned while trying to help her.

We have all heard of the kidneys, well, the adrenal glands sit on the kidneys.
The adrenals pump out hormones when we need them.   When you have feelings of  "fight or flight" the adrenals fire off adrenalin AND cortisol.  Adrenalin acts fast and comes and goes in waves.  Cortisol builds up and up and up, keeping your body in a constant state of readiness.  I call it "cortisol poisoning".  Now the little adrenals cannot tell the difference between a real danger (saber toothed tiger) and a perceived one (have to speak in church).  In fact ALL stresses are of equal weight to the adrenals, emotional, mental, physical - also, illnesses, medications, poor eating, lack of sleep, hard exercise, caffeine, sugar, (alcohol, tobacco-aren't you glad we know to avoid those), chocolate, get the picture.  Life. 

Here are some of the symptoms research has found to be the result of unhealthy cortisol levels:  fatigue, anxiety, anger, frustration, paranoia, panic attacks, over reaction to pain, social phobia, separation anxiety, moody, irritable, insomnia, indigestion, frequent infections, irritability, bowel problems, eczema, headaches, psoriasis, muscle tension, peptic ulcer, allergies, neck and back pain, asthma, atheroscierosis, appetite problems (increased and prolonged), nutritional deficiencies, high blood pressure, PMS, diabetes, weight gain (especially around the abdomen, upper back, and face), psychological problems, depression, memory difficulties, blood sugar imbalances, thyroid problems, decrease in muscle tissue, slowed wound healing, bruise easily, stretch marks on breasts, abdomen, thighs, chronic yeast infections, water retention and more.  Colicky babies have been found to have high cortisol levels.  Men with high cortisol have low testosterone.

So, how do you bring down high cortisol levels?   B-vitamins, especially B-5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin C (lots of vitamin C), Vitamin E,  & magnesium.  Garlic, gingsen, and ashwaganda also help to normalize levels as does regular, moderate exercise, rest, and meditation.  Castor oil rubbed on the abdomen is good, too.  If you think that cortisol might be a problem for you, do an internet search and study it for yourself.  Also, your doctor can test your levels.

As I've been writing for you, I've tried to to think of little things that might be helpful, brighten your day, or give you uplifting thoughts to think.  But, I thought, feeling good does not last if you don't feel good.


Amber said...

I was just saying to my husband that I was never going to "feel good" until I got healthier. Which can be overwhelming, with the toxic society we live in, but I've set a goal lately to do one thing a day for my mind, body and spirit and to just focus on that instead of the overwhelming big picture. I really feel like our physical health is way connected to our emotional and spiritual health. It's amazing the changes I've seen since doing that. Thanks for the information about cortisol.

Jenny said...

Thanks for all your helpful info., Mom. I'm definitely trying some things out.