Functional Hypoadrenia


"I don't know what's wrong
          I just don't feel good."


    The adrenals are two small glands, one over the kidney, which are important for many body functions.
    A condition very prevalent today is functional hypoadrenia. This is not a disease process as such; it is a condition in which a particular gland,
the adrenal is incapable of meeting all the demands put upon it. Since the adrenal glands are responsible for many actions, this condition causes a myriad of symptoms fatigue, dizziness, moodiness, mental anxiety and nervousness, joint pain, allergies, digestive disturbances, asthma, palpitations, back pain, mental sluggishness, headaches, impotency, colitis, and on and on.
    Most doctors today are concerned with disease processes. Because they are geared to thinking in terms of disease rather than functional problems, they do not recognize functional hypoadrenia until it becomes frank Addison's disease-a complete failure of the adrenal glands to function. When Addison's disease is present, hormone medication is necessary to preserve life. Fortunately, Addison's disease is fairly rare, whereas functional hypoadrenia is very common in our society today. It is a condition in which the body is not functioning optimally, but a disease process is not present.
     Standard laboratory tests may not revel functional hypoadrenia They are designed to find Addison's disease. Relative hypoadrenia can be detected very easily by case history and general clinical and applied kinesiology examinations. The condition usually develops as a result of three factors: (a) more demand - distress in many forms - placed on the adrenal glands than they are capable of handling, thus depleting their reserve; (b) dietary indiscretions; and (c) structural dysfunction within the body.
    Hans Selye, MD., added greatly to our current understanding of adrenal function in the 1920s and 30s. He described the general adaptation syndrome (GAS), which consists of three stages. The first stage is the alarm reaction, which is a call to arms of the body's defensive mechanisms - provided by the adrenal glands - against stress. The alarm reaction is present during any stress, which can be emotional, an injury, a demand to fight, or any upsetting factor. The second stage is that of resistance. This occurs when the stress that activated the alarm stage is present for a prolonged period; the adrenals actually grow in size to meet the demand of the long-term stress. Third is the exhaustion stage, when the adrenals become depleted. This is the stage of functional hypoadrenia.
    Functional hypoadrenia has so many symptoms that many doctors not knowledgeable in its diagnosis and treatment have classified patients with this condition as hypochondriacs, or as having "nervous" conditions, and have given them tranquilizers. To better understand why there are so many symptoms, let's look at the major classifications of hormones produced by the adrenal glands.

Adrenal Cortex

    The adrenal cortex is the outside portion of the adrenal glands that produces three major type of hormones.
    1. Glucocorticords are responsible for converting fats and protein for use as sugar in the body, and they release stored sugar. This activity helps prevent low blood sugar. Glucocorticords also act as anti-inflammatory hormones and help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, duodenal or gastric ulcers, rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, hay fever, asthma, chronic upper respiratory infections, skin rashes, and/or other inflammatory disorders that do not serve a useful purpose.
    2. Sex corticords are the male and female hormones, testosterone and estrogen. The female hormone, estrogen, is produced by the adrenal in very small quantities compared to the production by the ovaries; however, it is thought that this hormone is important to balance in the menopausal female.
    3. Mineralocorticoids play a major role in the mineral balance of the body. Minerals that are out of balance affect the body's fluid balance, including the fluid inside and outside body cells. Blood volume is also affected. The mineralocorticoids are the body's pro-inflammatory hormones, working with the glucocorticoids to keep inflammatory processes in check.

Adrenal Medulla

    Two types of hormones are secreted by the inside portion of the adrenal gland. The first, epinephrine - sometimes called adrenaline - has been known for a long time; it is the hormone primarily correlating with the "fight or flight" mechanism, enabling an individual to fight stress. Epinephrine and norepinephrine from the adrenal medulla help mobilize sugar from storage and control the autonomic nervous system. Since sugar is needed by nearly all of the body, and since the autonomic nervous system controls the body's organs and glands, you can see the wide range of the adrenal medulla's effect.
    Along with the actions noted above, the adrenal gland plays an integral role in symphonic balance of the glandular system. It stimulates some glands and, in turn, other glands stimulate it. Failure of any glands tends to throw the entire glandular system off balance.
    People inherit their glandular patterns much the same as they inherit facial characteristics and body build. Some people inherit very strong adrenal patterns that make them capable of abusing the adrenal glands with many forms of stress or dietary indiscretions without having health problems. Others, unfortunately, inherit weak adrenal patterns, allowing the cumulative factors of stress to cause health problems rather quickly and easily. When functional hypoadrenia is diagnosed in a person, it should be suspected that his children, aunts, uncles, and any relatives with the same genetic pattern may have the same condition, causing some of their health problems.
    Fortunately, there are effective methods of correction available for functional hypoadrenia. Fist the condition must be recognized and the causative factors found. The advancement of applied kinesiology in the health evaluation picture provides a better opportunity for finding these functional conditions. This evaluation system also enables the doctor to find the exact cause of the hypoadrenia. Treatment consists of certain procedures you must do for yourself, which may include reduction of stress, dietary changes, nutritional requirements, and stress involvement, and will suggest appropriate changes.
    When functional hypoadrenia is present a person tends to use large amounts of adrenal stimulants and carbohydrates, such as sugar and starch. Whenever there is stimulation, depression follows that eventually needs more stimulation. This continuing cycle may eventually lead to addiction.
    In order to rebuild the adrenals, it is necessary to withdraw from stimulants such as caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, and sugar. Be careful, caffeine is present in many over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin compounds, cold medications, and pain-relief drugs. The adrenals cannot rebuild when they are constantly being stimulated.
    If the condition has been present for a long time, a rebuilding program is necessary. The more accurately you follow your doctor's recommendations, the faster correction will be obtained. Persist with the corrective approach prescribed, and you will leave the state described by Selye as "just being sick."


JIM BARTLEY, DC DIBAK is a Chiropractor and Applied Kinesiologist practicing Applied Kinesiology in central and Bend, Oregon who treats conditions such as Sports Injuries, neck pain, back pain, headaches, shoulder problems, elbow problems, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, orthopedic conditions, TMJ jaw or temporomandibular joint problems using natural Chiropractic healthcare and Applied Kinesiology