Are you stressed? Suffering from extreme tiredness? Need stimulants to get going in the morning? So dead tired at the end of the day that sleep seems like a dream that will never come true? Many suffer silently from a seemingly nebulous thing called adrenal fatigue. Prolonged physical, mental, and/or emotional stress, lack of rest, poor diet, antibiotics, and continual stimulation of the nervous system via electronics contribute to adrenal compromise.

Today on the Health and wellness show we discussed the good and bad aspects of stress and its effects on the adrenal system. The adrenals may be small and misunderstood, but in essence, there is no quality of life if they are not functioning properly. What steps can we take to provide the adrenals with adequate nutrition, supplements, herbs, lifestyle changes and alternative modalities such as meditation and bodywork.

In Zoya's pet health segment, adrenal issues in doggies are also covered. Listen to the show below.

Running Time: 01:34:22

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome to the Health and Wellness Show everybody! Today is Friday, April 29th 2016, my name is Jonathan and I will be your host for today and joining me in our virtual studio from all over the planet we have our full complement of hosts today, Doug, Tiffany, Erica, Gaby and Elliot; welcome guys.

All: [Hellos]

Jonathan: Today we are going to be talking about stress and the compromised adrenal system; are you stressed or are you suffering from extreme tiredness? Do you need stimulants to get going in the morning? Are you so dead tired at the end of the day that sleep seems like a dream that will never come true?

Many suffer silently from the seemingly nebulous thing called adrenal fatigue so we are going to be talking about that today; the good and bad aspects of stress and its effects on the adrenal system. The adrenals may be small and misunderstood but in essence there is no quality of life if they are not functioning properly.

This is actually a really important topic and there is a lot of material on it, but as we were talking about before the show, interestingly, it's not a common medical diagnosis. I wonder, just to get us going; Gaby could you just talk for a minute about the fact that adrenal fatigue is actually not a medical diagnosis and why do you think that is?

Gaby: Western medicine doesn't recognize adrenal fatigue; they do recognize severe adrenal fatigue but in the form of Addison's disease which is very specific; you need pharmaceuticals to deal with that. Adrenal fatigue as we understand it in alternative medicine is not recognized as such. It is considered an "internet disease" and even though arguably it can be really like the book Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome - The 21st Century Syndrome. A lot of people could identify with the symptoms of adrenal fatigue; like the majority.

Jonathan: It's a strange thing and of course in our modern society we have a lot of stress going on, we have much, much more stress now. It's not like stress never existed before but I think that it's compounded now. Let's start off by talking a little bit about stress and how it affects us. We have an article here on SOTT How Stress Affects your Mind and Body and according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, stress leads to some of the most debilitating diseases of our time including higher rates of heart disease, cancer, accidental injury and even suicide.

It produces more cortisol, noradrenaline and adrenaline, three hormones that deplete your vitamin B stores and suppress your immune system. Stress raises your heart rate, it interferes with your sleep cycles and finally, long term stress can cause adrenal fatigue. While this is not necessarily the main cause of fatigue, I think it is one of the prominent ones. I know that I have had experience with that before, just being stressed out over long periods of time and then ending up being physically and mentally exhausted. Have you guys had any experience with that? Do you think that you have had adrenal fatigue and if so, where do you think that it came from?

Doug: Well after doing the research for this show, I'm pretty sure I do have adrenal fatigue.

Tiffany: It looks like it can encompass nearly everything!

Doug: I found one page where a guy listed 75 different symptoms of adrenal fatigue and I identified with at least half a dozen; if not more. It's something that I don't necessarily consider because everybody experiences stress, so it's the norm. I never really thought about it that deeply but thinking more about it, I am maybe a little bit more stressed than I need to be.

Gaby: A lot of people normalize having stress, it is not normal to be stressed all the time, for years on end. Then spread through that, you have acute phases of stress like surgery or divorce or you lost your job; that is like the last straw.

Erica: Also stress acts on different levels right? You have the physiological level, the psychological level and then the social level and those multiple interactions can influence the actual state of your body and mind in specific circumstances.

Tiffany: I have had stress on all three of those levels, I don't know if it was what you would call adrenal fatigue or not but I was at a point in my life where my diet was pretty crappy, I was doing really heavy exercise in the morning including a lot of cardio; extensive cardio. The relationship I was in was not that great and I would get up, go to work and have my oatmeal or yoghurt or whatever for breakfast and then by the afternoon I was just wiped out.

I would come home, watch a little TV, fall asleep on the couch at 6 o'clock, wake up at 9 o'clock, try to go to bed and wake up at 2 o'clock in the morning, couldn't get to sleep, had thought loops going through my head all night long, couldn't sleep well. By the time it was time to wake up again and start it all over I was just tired and exhausted; by the time I was 35 I was waking up and feeling all achey and crampy like an old woman. So I just stopped going to the gym. Then I changed my diet and things got better.

Gaby: What you have just described is normal life for most people.

Doug: How many people are fueling their entire day on coffee or soda or some kind of caffeine? It's the only way that people can get by. I am the only one that I know that doesn't drink coffee.

Doug: I'm off it! I'm off the coffee!

Tiffany: I don't drink coffee; sometimes. I drink it a couple of times a month but I have never been a coffee drinker and I haven't had any for a while. It gives me the jitters.

Erica: It was interesting in doing the research for this stress topic, Dr. Han Selye first popularized the term stress in the 1950's. He based his research on extensive physiological studies of what happens when animals are injured or placed under unusual or extreme conditions. He says that "stress is an umbrella term used for all the various pressures we experience in life". So just like what you explained Tiffany, and in scientific terms stress is the stimulus or the response. It gives two good examples "I feel stressed" is the response and then "I have got a lot of stress in my life" is the stimulus.

He opted to define stress as a response and he coined the word "stressor" to describe the stimulus or event that produced the stress response. He also defined stress as "a non-specific response of an organism to any pressure or demand." Like Gaby was saying, I think we all feel that, it just depends on the person and what their life circumstances are.

Tiffany: We all respond to stress in different ways, what might stress me out might not stress you out; it just depends on the person.

Jonathan: I think that it can compound too, if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue then at a certain point those things that might be very small stressors actually become very large.

Doug: One of the symptoms of being adrenally fatigued is that you suddenly have a hair trigger. Well, you don't suddenly, it often comes up slowly but you have this hair trigger where you have this constant state of anxiety in the background and any little thing can really set you off. That's a good sign that your adrenals aren't functioning properly.

Gaby: Another clear sign is that you wake up very tired and fatigued even though you slept through the night. The need to skip breakfast and classically only drink coffee just to squeeze the juice out of your adrenals; the last drop; that's classical as well; I know that one.

Then, lots of infections like colds or lung infections or even throat infections; in the ear, that's also a hallmark. Lots of allergies like food intolerances, this is classical, people will find out about their food intolerances and then they realize they were almost only eating meat because they cannot tolerate anything else; that is a sign of adrenal fatigue. It's better to address adrenal fatigue so you can eat more food.

Elliot: A good way to tell whether your adrenals are slacking behind is to go by your cortisol rhythms. Ideally a well-functioning cortisol rhythm would be highest in the morning and then gradually lowest throughout the day until the sun sets and that's when your melatonin production occurs and therefore your cortisol is meant to be lowest in the evening.

But what many people experience and I myself have experienced many times is waking up, feeling extremely tired and wanting to stay in bed all day. That is a classic sign of low cortisol in the morning, but then what the problem is, is that when it gets dark at 9 or 10 o'clock in the evening, I feel absolutely buzzing like I'm wired. You go to bed and have heart palpitations, your heart is beating, you have got constant running thoughts and you can't get to sleep at night and this is a constant cycle.

What this demonstrates is that you have got severely damaged cortisol rhythms and this is a classic sign of adrenal fatigue.

Doug: Some of the other symptoms that are mentioned, there is another article up on SOTT called Eighteen Overlooked Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. I'll go through some of them here because some of them are ones that you wouldn't necessarily think. Asthma, bronchitis, chronic cough; in order for the lungs to respond to stressors like foreign material coming into the lungs like allergens and things like that they need cortisol; so if you didn't have enough cortisol then you start having chronic lung problems like asthma, bronchitis or coughs or something like that.

Recurrent infections, muscle weakness and back pain, sleep disturbances; like we just talked about. Dizziness; people who get very dizzy when they stand up, a lot of times that can be because of adrenal dysfunction. Inflammation; cortisol is a natural anti-inflammatory so if you don't have enough, you might be inflamed in places.

There was one article where they said, people who respond well to having injections of cortical steroids into joints or some other places, are probably people who are low in cortisol because they aren't producing enough to take care of that themselves.

Gaby: That's pretty much everybody. The emergency room's first drug is cortisone!

Doug: No kidding!

Tiffany: I came across a bunch of other symptoms too, like blood sugar imbalances, being hungry all the time, needing to snack, feeling light-headed and jittery without food, digestive problems, poor immune system functioning, hormonal problems like PMS, lack of sex drive, mental and physical fatigue, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, hyper sensitivity to noise, dry eyes, dry skin and hair, loss of head hair, armpit hair and pubic hair.

When you consider what the adrenals are, these two glands that sit on top of your kidneys and their job, when they are functioning optimally, is to produce glucocorticoids like cortisol and mineral corticoids like aldosterone, epinephrine, norepinephrine, DHEA, your sex hormones; the adrenals also regulate your blood pressure so when you take that in mind and you go through all the symptoms, it's no wonder if your adrenals aren't functioning optimally that it can affect so much of your life and cause so many symptoms.

Gaby: And a lot of people can check all the symptoms; all of them!

Doug: A couple more symptoms here; there are salt cravings, headaches, behavior and memory problems. With memory problems, people talk about things like having senior moments and things like that but it's not really something to joke about; it's actually probably that your adrenals are totally shot.

Excessive thirst and urination, hemorrhoids; that was something that was a surprise to me. Apparently hemorrhoids and varicose veins; it has to do with blood pressure and dizziness when standing up; the blood pools in the pelvis and doesn't get up to the upper extremities; that was an interesting one that I saw.

Gaby: The one that was really new to me was that there are certain muscles that are associated with adrenal fatigue; like in the legs; the Sartorius muscle, the gastrocnemius; these are all muscles in the legs. They create tension so that you cannot really stand up on your feet so-to-speak. It feels like you are so heavy that you cannot stand on your feet and that is adrenal fatigue too.

Tiffany: I've had that feeling before when my legs felt really heavy. It was a chore just to walk across the room.

Doug: Or when you get sore from just standing for any period of time and your legs are really sore even though you haven't really been doing anything except standing there; that's a good sign.

Gaby: The instability of those muscles can create knee pain, instability of the joints and lower back pains. When people are stressed and they get this in the lower back, you should also think about adrenal fatigue.

Doug: People usually look at back pain usually as a physical issue; sometimes it is but I think a lot of times it is actually a symptom of having totally shot adrenal glands. People don't generally think about that when they are experiencing back pain, they think "oh, I must have lifted something".

Erica: It could be from too much coffee too because it puts a stress on your kidneys.

Gaby: Also, drinking coffee is classically known as the populations' favorite addiction. It creates a vicious cycle because it stimulates your adrenals but then they crash; like having low blood sugar and eating candy just to spike your sugar levels up, it releases a lot of insulin and it crashes again; it's just very bad for the adrenals; that's people's general diet basically.

Doug: People don't really think about that much, and a lot of people will tell you that they are not under a lot of stress so they don't really suffer from this kind of thing, but people don't realize that their diet itself can cause a lot of stress on the adrenals. If you are reliant on sugar then you are spiking your blood sugar, then it crashes and once it crashes, the body goes into an emergency mode, releases cortisol to raise that blood sugar again.

One of the functions of cortisol is to raise blood sugar and it will actually eat away at your muscle tissue to be able to get that fuel just in order to get your blood sugar up again. So just by having a crappy diet, you can completely blow your whole adrenal system.

Erica: What was interesting was that in the research that the naturopath James Wilson did, he coined the term adrenal fatigue in 1998, calling it the 21st century stress syndrome. According to Wilson, people with adrenal fatigue often look and act relatively normally with no obvious outward signs of physical illness, yet they are unwell and live with a general sense of grey feelings and ill health.

Doug: Usually those people don't get any kind of pep except from doing things like drinking coffee or taking some kind of stimulant or sugar; otherwise life is completely grey until they get their coffee.

Gaby: Pretty much.

Tiffany: Nora Gedgaudas had some interesting things to say about adrenal fatigue; she wrote a book called Re-Thinking Fatigue and she says that a lot of times, it's not that the adrenals are the problem, it's a miscommunication between the brain and the adrenals. The adrenals are basically taking orders from the brain so you have to address what's going on in your brain in order to fix what's going on in your adrenals because the adrenals are primarily concerned with survival; fight or flight mode and the hormones that the adrenals produce, help you to flee danger.

When you are constantly in this state of fight or flight, that can burn out your adrenals so you have to go to the brain; the hypothalamus, which stimulates the adrenals to produce or not produce cortisol. So if you are inflamed and you have a lot of inflammatory cytokines that can influence your hypothalamus and the hypothalamus will send, not necessarily the wrong signals, but the signals to the adrenals to produce cortisol.
You have to start with the brain and what is going on in your brain; you have to support the adrenals through your brain and not just take some glandular substance to directly act on the adrenals because that might not be where the problem lies.

Gaby: That reminds me of a very important concept which is when people in the alternative community review adrenal fatigue and re-commence supplements, they sometimes forget that the most important thing is that there is a root cause; there is something contributing to that adrenal fatigue; several factors and one factor maybe weighting more in the whole syndrome; that is very important to address.

For example, according to some literature, some people say that antibiotics are really bad for your health and it compounds adrenal fatigue, but in my case, because one of my root causes was a stealth-infection, I actually felt much better after doing antibiotic cycles. After each cycle I had more energy, I could sleep better and I was actually recovering on these antibiotics, so it puts into perspective how important it is to do some detective work and find out what is really bugging you; literally.

Doug: I think that people can be pretty polarized in that manner; if somebody is a holistic practitioner then they think that everything that is coming from mainstream medicine is evil. I think that you really have to have a bit more of a balanced approach to things. Especially when you are talking about stealth infections, that's a pretty new area of research and finding stuff that actually works can be quite difficult.

Nora Gedgaudas, in the interview that we watched for this actually said that stealth infections can be responsible for causing that miscommunication between the hypothalamus and the adrenals. It might be absolutely necessary to actually get to the root cause of the problem.

Gaby: Even according to our own research on SOTT; if you have stealth infections, when you have mood problems, it's not necessarily that you have to focus on a neurotransmitter imbalance or lack of. Sometimes it's a clear indication of a stealth infection.

Elliot: Nora Gedgaudas' take on adrenal dysfunction is really interesting. She says that we should stop seeing it as adrenal dysfunction and start seeing it as adrenal dysregulation and that we shouldn't just assume that our adrenals don't know what they are doing; they're not stupid and often they do work.

It's our brain that doesn't work. It's the pathway from our brain that controls the adrenals, so quite often when we supplement with adrenal support, this only masks the issue and it doesn't get to the root cause of it; like we were just saying.

It's interesting because she speaks about how there is an area of the brain called the hippocampus and this is usually what controls daily cortisol's circadian rhythm. It's basically what controls the adrenals to release cortisol and release stress hormones in response to environmental stresses and funnily enough, the hippocampus is the first part of the brain to suffer from a chronically stressful environment.

When this part of the brain begins to degenerate, that's when you see things like memory problems; what we commonly know as symptoms of ageing. Like when you don't remember where you have left your keys or you can't remember someone's name who you live with; these common things. I see them in my parents; these guys are like 50. We see this as normal in our society but what she basically says is that this isn't normal, or isn't normal in terms of human biology.

It's very common at the minute because we all suffer from these issues but actually this isn't actually the way that the brain is meant to degenerate. She says that once the hippocampus begins to degenerate, that's when you see adrenal dysregulation. So if you have adrenal dysregulation the chances are that you have done, not necessarily irreparable damage, but you have done some damage to your hippocampus.

This could possibly be, as we said, a stealth infection, it can be chronic inflammation, it can be free radicals, iron deficiency, nutritional deficiencies, malabsorption in the gut, you have got auto-immune disorders, a high sugar diet, as we already know and obviously constant stimulants and excessive exercise. All of these factors play into dysregulating the signal from the brain to the adrenals.

Tiffany: It is said that the hippocampus has the richest deposit of cortisol receptors in the brain. If you think of cortisol and also adrenalin, they are catabolic hormones, they break things down, they don't build things up; if there's too much of them, they break things down.

Like you said Elliot, with Alzheimer's and dementia, the hippocampus is the first thing to go, so if you are having senior moments and you have that tip of the tongue syndrome, you should be thinking about what's going on in your brain, not just what's going on in your adrenals.

Doug: Something else that Nora said that I thought was really interesting, maybe it was in one of the other articles, but it said that cortisol actually signals the body to go into storage mode to try and go down into more of a maintenance mode than a build-up mode because it is a break-down hormone.

One thing that it tends to do is cause people to gain weight around the middle and it's like the body is storing fat for future famine situations or future situations where it's going to need very quick energy that it can access. People who have that spare tyre or their gut's hanging over their belt and it's very stubborn and won't go away no matter what kind of dietary changes the person makes or exercise; that's often a sign that the adrenals are over shooting.

Erica: It does add to that thing about stress not necessarily being a bad thing and that it's a survival mechanism.

Tiffany: If that tiger ever shows up, you're just waiting for it at your desk all day and it never comes.

Doug: Constantly, every day like 24 hours a day people are living in these stressed out environments all the time and the body is just not designed to function that way. We are designed to encounter a stressor, deal with it by either fighting or running away or whatever and then going back to your normal state. These days it's from the moment you get up, you are confronted with all this stress and it doesn't end until you go to bed at night and even then you are usually ruminating over things and the stress is still there.

Erica: It is even starting in children at a very young age because they are watching their environment and they are picking up on that; got to get up, got to go to school, got to go to dance class, got to go to soccer practice and there's never any moment not to have a response to their environment.

Gaby: The schedules we keep nowadays are crazy, we must learn the language or several different languages at the same time and it's crazy.

Tiffany: Take this class, take that class, don't just sit around and play with a block of wood or something; be outside for god's sake.

Doug: Even play is scheduled now where they have all got these play dates; "I've got a play date."

Erica: There was an article on SOTT how prisoners spend more time outside now than children.

Doug: Jeeze, unbelievable.

Jonathan: I wonder too, with the children of course, especially now in the Western world, kids are getting cell phones or they have a tablet; it's not just like the TV in the living room any more, it's always there and the EMF pollution might have a lot to do with the adrenal fatigue that's going on and just screwing up the systems of kids as they are developing.

Gaby: There are things that are very popular right now like ADHD; that is also compounded by adrenal fatigue, you cannot have memory concentration.

Doug: The technology is an interesting thing because as I see it, there's two things going on there. There's the EMF exposure and it's been shown that being exposed to EMF actually does raise cortisol levels; it is considered a stress, the body takes it as a stressor and will respond to it but then there is also the blue light issue and by staring at a screen constantly, especially before you go to bed, you are screwing up your day/night schedule. Your natural circadian rhythm is thrown off and that will also cause problems with the adrenals.

Jonathan: I can speak to that for sure. I work with computers and I try to regulate my schedule but it doesn't work all the time. Sometimes if I have to work late I'll just be completely exhausted, and I didn't really do anything physical, I'd just been sitting here all day. I'm sure that the blue light from the screen is having a detrimental long-term effect.

Doug: I remember there was a time when I was doing some sound editing work for a friend. I was basically staying up, not super late or anything like that but I was on the computer right up until bedtime and I would lay down to go to sleep and I was just wired. There was no way I was getting to sleep and I would toss and turn for hours before actually getting to sleep. I didn't know what was going on at the time but in retrospect I could tell I was sitting there staring at a screen for hours.

Jonathan: That's an interesting conundrum there; feeling exhausted and still not being able to sleep. You have to know that something is going on internally when that happens.

Tiffany: I don't know if you have heard people say that I'm so tired I can't go to sleep.

Gaby: Oh yeah, all the time.

Tiffany: What I think they mean is that they are so stressed out they can't go to sleep. Has anybody ever had the saliva test? You can do the adrenal stress index and have your saliva tested because it shows the rhythm of your cortisol throughout the day versus having a blood test where it only shows how much cortisol is found in your system. Has anybody ever had that test?

All: No

Gaby: I haven't but I have seen several patients with those tests and it correlates pretty well with how they feel. I think it's a pretty good guide to know about your cortisol levels.

Tiffany: Some people can test normal with their blood cortisol test and be very low with their salivary cortisol test.

Gaby: Yes, definitely. It's more accurate.

Doug: There is another test you can do and I don't know how accurate this one is but it's called the pupil test. Apparently what you do is you go into a dark room and stay in the dark room for two minutes. You want to be in front of a mirror with a flashlight and then you shine the flashlight across your eyes, not directly into your eyes but across your eyes, and you look in the mirror and watch how your pupils adjust.

What'll happen is, as soon as the light hits your eyes your pupils will contract and then the amount of time that it takes for them to relax and adjust again will tell whether or not you are having adrenal issues. First of all, with somebody who doesn't have adrenal issues, it'll take a full minute for your pupils to adjust to the amount of light that they are getting whereas with people who have adrenal issues it will happen much, much faster and they will be very twitchy and kind of just very quickly adjust. The idea being that these are people who are on edge, their entire physiology is on edge and reacting like it's hyper-reactive so that apparently is a good test.

I've never actually tried it myself and I don't know if it correlates well to the saliva test but if people are interested and they don't have a means of doing any kind of testing then that's something that you can try at home.

Tiffany: I think we should pause while Doug goes into a dark room and does this test.

Gaby: And reports back.

Doug: I'll report live.

Gaby: Well in that case, I have seen many patients and I that do that specifically. Yeah, it correlates with the 21st century syndrome; adrenal fatigue.

Doug: Oh it does? So you have seen it then?

Gaby: It's part of the physical examination, when the doctor shines the light in your eyes.

Erica: I've only seen it on TV.

Gaby: Actually those who respond slower is usually because they are taking so many drugs.

Doug: No kidding!

Erica: I wonder if that correlates, I don't know if any of you have had this experience but when you are having a real stressful situation, whatever it is, and your eyes start to twitch? Has that ever happened to anyone? Where you get almost like a vibrating in the eyes or it feels like a muscle twitch in your eyes?

Doug: I've totally experienced it. I always thought that that had to do with a mineral imbalance but that could be adrenal in and of itself.

Jonathan: I had that in the past when I used to drink a lot of diet soda and I just figured, while I was looking back and doing some recapitulation, that that might have been the aspartame poisoning.

Doug: Yeah, it could be.

Gaby: Yeah, it reminds me of that.

Erica: Lynn mentioned on the chat here that yes, it's in the eyelid and not the eye so it's almost like a sensation in your eyelids and not your eye.

Gaby: Oh yeah, I got that!

Doug: I always got it in my lower eyelid. I would get it right between the eye and the nose; that's where I would always get it.

Jonathan: Let's talk a little bit about the adrenal - thyroid connection which I think is pretty interesting. We have this article on SOTT called Healing your Thyroid by Getting out of Adrenal Survival Mode. We have talked about the fight or flight function and just one quote here says "when you are under prolonged chronic stress, your adrenal system tells your body to conserve rather than spend too much energy; your thyroid slows down as well. It's like a warning system that protects you from over-drafting on your energy bank account."

Gaby: You can see that in people with thyroid problems that even take medication and the medication doesn't work. It's usually very hard to heal the thyroid gland if you don't address your adrenals first.

Doug: In that article it says that the adrenals actually slow down the conversion of T4 to T3 so that's another connection right there.

Gaby: It also makes me think about iodine which helps the thyroid but also the adrenals and also the brain. I cannot think of a more holistic supplement to try when you have all these issues.

Jonathan: I would definitely say that that was one of the main ones aside from making sure that your diet is in order, that you are dealing with stress properly and all those kinds of things but of course we learned that when we did the show about iodine that it affects pretty much every system in the body.

Doug: The whole adrenal - thyroid connection is interesting. I talked about that site I found that had 75 different symptoms of adrenal issues and it's funny because a lot of them are actually ones that you think of more as thyroid issues. Like having the cold hands and feet, weight gain, it being difficult to lose weight, hair loss and all those sorts of things that we always talk about in terms of thyroid issues. They're actually signs that the adrenals are having problems.

Elliot: When you consider the effect that stress actually has on the thyroid gland and the thyroid hormones, it would make sense that perhaps what we see or what we often assume is a thyroid problem may actually be partly due to the adrenals. This article Heal your Thyroid by Getting out of Adrenal Survival Mode, talks about inflammatory cytokines released during a stress response.

These include interleukin - 1 beta, interleukin - 6 and TNF-alpha and what they basically do is they down regulate the production of key thyroid related hormones, thyroid stimulating hormone T3 and T4, they make the thyroid less sensitive to thyroid stimulating hormone and, as you said Doug, they decrease the conversion of T4 to T3.

Secondly, chronic inflammation also makes the thyroid hormone receptors less sensitive to the active form of thyroid hormone so what this can lead to is called thyroid hormone resistance. It's basically when you might be producing adequate amounts of thyroid hormones but the thyroid hormone doesn't manage to bind to the cells. It can't act so you become resistant to it and therefore you are not getting the action of the thyroid hormone in your body.

Tiffany: I think that we would all be remiss to think that if we have inflammation or inflammatory cytokines coursing throughout our body that it's only going to affect one system like the thyroid or the adrenals, I mean it affects everything in your body, everywhere. You might just feel it in one place but I think that you can guarantee that your whole body is being affected, not just one particular part.

Doug: Yes, stress really screws us up.

Jonathan: I wonder with the thyroid connection; it seems a lot more common now. I mean, it's not like I've always had my finger on the pulse of the medical community or anything but I don't remember years ago hearing a lot about the thyroid and now it's interesting, I know a few people personally who have thyroid issues and one person who had their thyroid completely removed. It seems to be coming up a lot more and I wonder if, aside from the obvious factors, environmental pollution, diet and so on, if it's a symptom of our modern disease; adrenal fatigue.

Gaby: Definitely. In that case when the surgery is the option, you will only get the adrenal fatigue much worse. It could take years to recover; literally years.

Jonathan: Let's talk a little bit about how we can address this. You guys have been talking about Nora Gedgaudas and her view on fatigue and its connection with the brain and Gaby, you had mentioned antibiotics and how they can be beneficial and sometimes you don't necessarily need to look at a neurotransmitter imbalance right away, you want to look into more of a root cause and figure out what's going on with these stealth infections but how can we begin to heal the brain?

Obviously, like we have been talking about, you can correct your diet, avoid sugar, avoid dairy, avoid gluten and things like that. You can also get more moderate exercise, regulate your patterns throughout the day, you can wear the blue-blocker glasses that were talked about in the past that block out blue light while you are using a screen. There are a lot of things that I think we can do here, but what I'm really curious about is the brain function specifically. Gaby, I wonder if you could speak to that a little bit? In your job, have you had experience with trying to restore brain function; what is the best way to go about that?

Gaby: For now, I think the iodine research has been the life saver. Even in my blog I have a post of adrenal fatigue and it's like a band aid. Basically if you have severe adrenal fatigue, yes, you can try a short course of cortisone in very low doses, but doses that your body can actually produce; a lot of people actually break the vicious cycle with that. But we come back to the same thing, the root cause.

The brain connection is interesting but I would not ignore how the rest is connected as well. A lot of people who tried iodine have said that yes, they have felt much better after years of trying to recover from their adrenal fatigue and also addressing root causes; it seems to be the thing that has made the most results in my experience. And sometimes the root cause is not always stealth infections, actually it can be something very specific their immune system might actually need; mainstream medical detective work.

Doug: I think the best way to go about it is to first off; go through a checklist so, the first thing you need to do is address the stress in your life and how you are responding to that stress. I think that that is one of the very first steps. One of the next steps would be diet, because diet is so important; if you want to heal your brain, get on the ketogenic diet; we have talked about that a lot in the past.
Of course, like Gaby was saying iodine, stealth infections and all those kinds of things but you want to knock off the easy ones first, the ones that you have more of an ability to deal with. Those are the ones that you want to address first; that would be my approach anyway.

Elliot: I would also say that another thing to focus on is actually how much daylight we are exposed to because our cortisol rhythms are intimately tied with our circadian rhythms and, as we all know, cortisol and melatonin fluctuate on opposites. When cortisol is high, melatonin is low and when melatonin is high, cortisol is low and so if you are in an environment where you are constantly exposed to blue light and you don't see the sunshine, you don't go outside in the morning, you don't get that AM light, then what can essentially happen is that your body doesn't know that it's daytime.

It doesn't produce that cortisol in the morning and then you get into a sticky situation where your body doesn't produce melatonin at night time. So that in and of itself can also be a cause of adrenal fatigue and I think along with the diet and the stress management we also need to focus on the environment in which we find ourselves.

Gaby: Which is completely anti-physiological.

Tiffany: Speaking of melatonin, taking melatonin supplements may not be the best thing in the long run; at least according to Nora Gedgaudas. She said that oral melatonin doesn't usually cross the blood brain barrier, so if you are having trouble sleeping and you think melatonin is natural and it's "not going to get me addicted" or anything, that can throw off your levels too. If you want to enhance the endogenous melatonin, the melatonin that your body makes naturally on its own, you can try taking L-tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin; serotonin converts to melatonin.

Like Elliot said, make sure you get enough bright light in the morning so your body knows that it's not nighttime anymore and your hormones can turn on or off as they need to do in order to get yourself back on track.

Gaby: You know what is interesting? L-tyrosine used to be so popular, not even in the alternative community, even the average person knew about it. Then came all the market of anti-depressants and the scandal that it was biased against L-tyrosine, there was a problem that it was related with GMO extracts and it got put in a very bad light and it was even banned in some countries. Then came the anti-depressants and everybody forgot about L-tyrosine.

Doug: Do you mean L-tryptophan Gaby?

Gaby: Oh, L-tryptophan, sorry. I was thinking about L-tyrosine, it's one of my favorite supplements. I was referring to L-tryptophan.

Doug: It was banned in Canada for a while because of that whole incident where there was a bad batch basically because they were using GMO bacteria to produce it. It ended up actually killing some people and it was banned all over the place, Canada included. It wasn't until the last couple of years that it actually got back on the market.

Gaby: Emphasizing that it's from natural extracts and non-GMO.

Elliot: There is also something that is quite interesting that our listeners could try out. I did try it out for 2-3 weeks and it really, really, really helped with giving me that kick in the morning. I've always been the type of person who stays up late at night and then would go to bed and wake up in the morning and just feel so tired and groggy and I needed that coffee to wake me up.

I can't remember exactly how this system works but I know that Jack Kruse recommends eating within half an hour of waking up. I know that can be quite difficult for some people because you have to cook breakfast and everything like that. The way that I got around that was to cook a bigger batch of dinner so there would be some leftovers that I could eat in the morning.

At first it is really quite difficult to force yourself to eat a big meal first thing when you wake up but when you get into the habit of it, you start to feel hungry when you wake up. Basically, you eat half an hour or within half an hour of waking up and apparently what this does is, if there are adequate amounts of protein, it stimulates gastrin and what this does is it basically triggers your circadian clock and it says "look, I'm awake now".
Say you wake up at half 6 and you eat by 7 o'clock, that activates your circadian clock and then by the time it gets to 8 or 9 o'clock at night you are starting to feel tired. What I experienced from that was I would have 7 and a half hours sleep roughly and I would wake up every single morning just full of energy, feeling absolutely great. That is the first time in my life that I have ever done that; it was so weird for me.

Then I stopped eating, I started eating 2 hours after waking up, I'd have a coffee and a cigarette and now I'm back in the same position of staying in bed and feeling really tired!

Gaby: Oh my god! Nevertheless, it is a great testimonial because it is one of the first lines of treatment for adrenal fatigue; don't skip breakfast. It's very healing for the adrenals.

Doug: I can testify to that too, for the last week or so, I've been waking up and right away I'm eating breakfast. I do find that I have a little bit more pep when I first get up in the morning.

Gaby: Even those who have severe adrenal fatigue wake up and they don't want to eat anything. The thought of eating something makes them feel "ugh". With time they end up waking up hungry already so they immediately eat.

Jonathan: I can certainly testify to that. I remember a time in my life when the thought of eating breakfast actually made me nauseous which is really bizarre in retrospect.

Gaby: It should be physiologically natural.

Erica: I think that's what happens with coffee addiction; people wake up first thing in the morning and they start drinking coffee and they don't feel hungry. Then that continues throughout the day and becomes that downward spiral.

Doug: Yeah, because coffee actually causes you to release cortisol, it's basically like Gaby was saying, a way of squeezing out that last juice that you have in your adrenal glands. People become dependent on it; their body isn't releasing as much cortisol because they are adrenal fatigued.

Erica: Start your morning with a cup of liquid stress! Another interesting component, there was an article, The Science of Adrenal Fatigue and How to Overcome It; I talked about James Wilson earlier in the show; the naturopath who coined the term.

He had an interesting little quote in his article talking about "anyone who does not get enough rest and relaxation to enjoy life, who drives him or herself constantly, who is never satisfied or is a perfectionist who is under constant pressure, especially with few outlets for emotional release, who feels trapped or helpless, who feels overwhelmed by repeated or continuous difficulties or who has experienced severe or chronic emotional or physical trauma or illness is probably already suffering from some sort of adrenal fatigue."

There is that emotional component there too; that internal drive. As we talked about, it's like adrenal fatigue is a symptom of modern life.

Doug: I think everybody could relate to something mentioned in that paragraph.

Gaby: There are diagnostic tests other than symptoms like the cortisol in saliva test, but I think that clinical symptoms are a good correlation of your adrenal fatigue. Only if you have difficulties or blind spots for reading your body signs would it be a good idea to have the cortisol saliva tests.

Tiffany: Something interesting is that if you're on a strict ketogenic diet and you have been for a while, your cortisol might be a little bit lower in the morning than someone who just eats a SAD diet. Cortisol prompts the liver into gluconeogenesis to produce more glucose for your blood stream to wake you up and give you that kick to get going in the morning.

If you are keto, you might not actually need that response, so if you get this saliva cortisol test and you find that your cortisol is a bit lower than you would expect, that could be a reason.

Gaby: It could be a good sign that you are in ketosis.

Jonathan: We have talked about some ways of dealing with this and I think you made a really good point that looking at the surface "easy things" first, looking at what is going on in your life, begin to manage your stress and then get into the heavier scientific medical things as you go.
In our notes here we had some herbs that are effective for dealing with stress if you need a little bit of help. I think it is short sighted to say "just turn it off, you just shouldn't feel stressed" because sometimes that is just not possible for people.

Gaby: A little help can go a long way in that sense so it would be great to hear about favorite herbs and supplements.

Doug: Basically, with the herbs, you have two categories of herbs that you can use to help you. One is adaptogens which are herbs that actually help with the adrenal fatigue itself. In most holistic circles they will say that they actually help the adrenals but I think that actually their mode of action is more about what Nora Gedgaudas was talking about; helping with the hippocampus and the communication between the adrenals and the brain.

Some of those include things like rhodiola, tulsi, ashwagandha, American ginseng and reishi mushroom; those are some great adaptogens that you can try. Other herbs that you might want to try are calmatives; those are ones for actually calming you down. A lot of people who are on this dysregulated cortisol schedule would really benefit from taking these calmatives at night before they go to bed. That includes things like chamomile, lemongrass, passionflower, lavender and skullcap.

Jonathan, you know quite a bit about kava right?

Jonathan: Yeah, it is commonly known as kava-kava but it is actually just kava. Some people may have heard a little bit about it and if you have, you have probably heard that it's bad for your liver but there is a whole controversy around that. In the kava community it is referred to as the great liver scare of the 90's because there was some research done and it showed that it was damaging to the liver.

However, one thing is that they were using extracts for those tests and the kava root, it's the root of a plant that grows in the South Pacific area. The root is really high in glutathione and when you take the root by itself, the glutathione allows your liver to process it correctly but when you take kava extract, it doesn't have that glutathione and so it can cause some problems.

It is much better to actually take the root in its natural form than it is to take a pill or a tincture of kava. There were also some problems with people using the above ground portions of the plant; the root is what you want to be taking, the above ground portions are actually quite toxic to the liver and I think that is where a lot of that came from too. If you got a kava extract in the mid-90's, sometimes they would actually be green. That would indicate that they had processed the plant material which is toxic; the above ground portions of the plant.

It's something that requires some caution and some research but it is quite effective for stress relief. It is used a lot in addiction recovery circles because it's non-addictive and it is also non-psychoactive.

Gaby: That sounds pretty good.

Erica: It aids your muscle relaxation and increases your concentration, decreases insomnia, lowers inhibition which I thought was interesting, it's good for pain and as Jonathan said, it is from the South Pacific. I've actually sat in kava ceremonies with Polynesians and they chew the root and spit it in a bowl and sometimes they pass the bowl around for other people [general uproar] but you don't have to do that, that's more of a bonding ceremony.

Gaby: Great way to do bonding.

Erica: I'm going to share my germs with you today. It is very calming but I will say that you can chew too much and have almost like a hangover from it; you can be too relaxed; that was a personal experience.

Gaby: Have you guys tried it then?

Erica: Yes, I've done it, I've chewed the root.

Jonathan: I've tried it.

Doug: I've tried kava mixture before.

Jonathan: I have been for a little while and I actually order a powder form of the root which was processed in the sense that it's ground down so that you can mix it like an instant drink mix. There is another important factor, if you are going to check out kava make sure it is what is called Noble.

Gaby: Noble kava.

Jonathan: Yes, because there are two forms, Noble and what is called Tudei. What that means is that tudei kava is very low quality and that can result in extreme grogginess and mental fatigue but Noble kava, which is a higher quality strain of the plant, is much cleaner and more effective and has very little side effects. If you are going to look into kava, I would say, first, don't take pills or tinctures. Try to order the root itself. Then make sure that it has been tested as being Noble. A lot of the kava vendors around online will state that; if they don't state specifically that it is Noble then I would just pass it by and look for something else.

Doug: I think I probably tried the Tudei because it was a very heavy feeling; I wasn't tired per-say but it was like I didn't want to leave the couch.

Jonathan: It can have that effect and there are different cultivars or strains that have different effects so there are some that are actually quite strong. In fact, that's part of what it's used for, like I was saying, in the addiction recovery circles.
I am familiar, not on a personal level, but online having talked to people who have quit alcohol, benzodiazepines and a lot of - I'm having the tip of my tongue syndrome here.

Doug: Adrenals! You're too stressed!

Jonathan: Drugs that are relaxing; people will quit those substances using a heavier version of kava to compensate for that in the beginning and it's beneficial because it's non-psychoactive and it's not addictive.

Gaby: That's very handy to know; thanks!

Jonathan: The benzodiazepine thing is actually quite fascinating. People have come off of some really powerful drugs utilizing kava in that process.

Gaby: Do you know that nowadays benzodiazepines are some of the milder ones? Now there is stuff like fentanyl; patches with hundreds of times the power of morphine and people are getting hooked on this so this is very good to know.

Jonathan: Gaby, you had mentioned earlier sort of by accident, L-tyrosine? I think that is another important one too, I have had beneficial results from that. It's a precursor to dopamine.

Gaby: Me too, and a lot of people too. They always report back that L-tyrosine is good!

Jonathan: As with anything, I think that it is important when taking supplements, to look at the source and make sure the quality is good. If you can, contact the company, if not, at least do your research online and read about what they are actually sourcing their materials from.

Erica: Another one is the ashwagandha, in Hindi it means "horses smell". It is actually related to the garden tomato and it originated in South East Asia and it is found in Africa and North America. There are over 200 medical studies about its benefits and some of the benefits, especially if you are suffering from stress or adrenal fatigue, is it reduces anxiety and depression without causing sleepiness.

It also calms your nerves, improves your memory and reaction time and your cognitive abilities. It also boosts the immune system, it's an anti-inflammatory so it protects against gastric ulcers and arthritic conditions and it is one of those adaptogenic substances, so it helps fight against anxiety triggers.

Gaby: I have used that before and I have found it very helpful. Anecdotally I wanted to mention that at least one person that I know had reacted to ashwagandha with pains; it's from the nightshade family.

Erica: So people could have an inflammatory response to it?

Gaby: Yeah, like a personal intolerance.

Doug: One interesting thing about ashwagandha, the nightshade thing aside, is it actually does lower cortisol so people who are having issues when they can't fall asleep and have that whole wired and tired type thing, ashwagandha is one of those ones that can be very helpful for that because it actually will lower cortisol.

Magnolia is actually another one that is really good for that. I have seen a couple of formulas out there that actually will have things like ashwagandha, magnolia; phosphatidyl serine is another one that will actually reduce cortisol.

Gaby: I tried that because I had high cortisol levels, just from clinical experience, in the late evening/night. It would be very hard for me to fall asleep even though I was so tired, so I tried phosphatidyl serine and it was at the same time that I tried the iodine, the lugols solution, so I don't know which one it was but something really helped there between the two of them.

Doug: Ok, good! There are a couple of adaptogens that you don't want to do before bed; rhodiola is one of them. Rhodiola does have a bit of a stimulating effect, you do actually get a bit of a boost from it so it is not recommended that you do that one before bed; that would be one to do in the morning.

If you are suffering from a cortisol dysregulation, you might want to be doing rhodiola in the morning and then ashwagandha, phosphatidyl serine and magnolia before bed. Ginseng is another one that has a stimulating property.

Gaby: I was going to ask about ginseng, you mentioned American and Korean? Which one would you recommend?

Doug: American ginseng is one that is good for its adaptogenic properties; I would probably go for American ginseng but some people will go for the Korean because it is more heating so a lot of times, in traditional cultures, they will say it is not appropriate for women because it is red; it is heating and it's a very stimulating one; it is traditionally thought of as a men's herb; I wouldn't do the Korean one before bed at all.

It does have stimulating properties but you could try it out because it does have adaptogenic properties as well but the American ginseng is much milder and I would probably go for that one instead.

Erica: Doug, do you know if the dong quai is a good type of ginseng for women? I have read that before; instead of taking the regular ginseng, it's the dong quai ginseng. Have you heard of that?

Doug: Is dong quai ginseng or is it different herb? I didn't know it was ginseng. It's really good; it is often recommended for women who are menopausal or perimenopausal because it actually does support the adrenals and during menopause, when women's main hormonal production moves from the ovaries to the adrenals. A lot of people who have really rough menopausal symptoms is because their adrenals are shot basically. Taking supportive herbs like dong quai can be very helpful; rehmannia is another really good one. Those ones are quite good for the adrenals themselves.

Erica: Another one is Holy Basil or tulsi, again, it's an Ayurvedic or Indian herb. In Hindi they call it the "incomparable one" and it is also known as the "elixir of life" or the "queen of herbs". It is actually a very beautiful plant and it's part of the basil family; it's purple and red and very hardy. It is also an adaptogen so it lowers stress and normalizes blood sugar. It protects the lungs from infection and respiratory issues, protects against inflammation and arthritis and it is rich in anti-oxidants.

Doug: That is a good bedtime one actually.

Erica: I drink that every night before bed. I really like it, it's not too strong of a tea. Again. It is in the basil family so it has got a little bit of that basil taste to it.

Jonathan: If you guys are done I think this is a good time to go to our pet health segment for today? Zoya has some information for us on adrenal support for animals so let's check that out and we will come back and wrap up after this.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. My name is Zoya and today I would like to talk to you about diseases of the adrenals in dogs. But first, a few words about the dangers of prescribing steroids or glucocorticol steroids.

All the adrenal steroids have specific functions; complicating the picture is the fact that they also perform some overlapping functions. Their activities are all pervasive, affecting a multitude of organs in a complex manner. What's more, dogs may have a wide range of responses to steroids, depending on a number of factors. Practitioners can only guess what any individual dog's response will be to any dose of steroids they choose to prescribe.

This means that any steroidal drug that is prescribed by a veterinarian with the intention of having one effect, may well have other unpredictable and unwanted effects. This is why drugs that are supposedly strictly glucocorticol steroid in action, may well cause a dog to experience excessive thirst and urination. Because of the functional overlap of these steroids, there is no way to separate the beneficial effects from the potentially harmful ones, no matter how hard the drug companies try to convince us otherwise.

To give an example, let's say that you have chosen to treat your dog's skin condition with a prescribed steroidal product like a glucocorticoid because it has potent activity as an anti-inflammatory agent. Unfortunately, the same steroid will have an adverse effect on the immune system, slowing your dog's normal immune response and retarding healing. He may also experience increased thirst and urination.

In addition, glucocorticoid hormones, either naturally produced or from prescribed medications, stimulate the adrenal medulla. There are several potential results of this low level adrenal stimulation, the increased load on the heart may cause heart failure, the chronic excess blood glucose may lead to diabetes mellitus and the persistent stimulation of the adrenals may lead to adrenal fatigue or ultimately to adrenal failure.

So, what are the diseases of the adrenals? There are two major diseases of the adrenal glands, one involves hyper secretion of the hormones of the gland; it's called Cushing's disease or hyper adrenal corticism. The other, Addison's disease or hyper adrenal corticism is the result of hypo secretion.

Cushing's disease may be the most frequent endocrinopathy in adult to aged dogs. The lesions and clinical science associated with the disease result primarily from chronic excess of cortisol. Animals can exhibit any number of a wide variety of clinical signs, making proper diagnosis a challenge, even after evaluating a number of appropriate laboratory tests. The disease tends to be insidiously slowly progressive.

There are three primary ways that increased cortisol levels can create a Cushingoid reaction in dogs: tumors of the pituitary gland, functional tumors of the adrenals and long term administration of corticosteroids.

Clinical science of Cushing, no matter its primary cause, may include one or most of the following: increased frequency of urination, increased thirst and increased ravenous hunger. Also weakening and atrophy of the muscles of the extremities and abdomen resulting in gradual abdominal enlargement; lordosis, muscle trembling and weakness. Also weight loss; while most dogs appear fat, they may actually lose weight due to the loss of muscle mass; fat deposits in the liver resulting in diminished liver function.

Skin lesions are common and are often the most recognizable symptoms of the disease. The skin may thin or mineral deposits may occur within the skin, especially along the dorsal midline. The dog may also exhibit hair loss in a non-itchy, hormonal pattern. The hair loss may be concentrated over the body, growing in flanks, sparing the head and extremities. In chronic hormonal conditions the hair thinning may be associated with a thickening and black discoloration of the abdominal skin.

There are also behavioral changes; lethargy, sleep/wake cycle disturbances, panting and decreased interaction with the dog's owners. Tentative diagnosis may be inferred from the clinical science but positive diagnosis requires laboratory confirmation. Differentiating pituitary dependent from primary adrenal Cushing's is impossible without lab tests.

Cushing's syndrome, due to the administration of corticosteroids, is easy to diagnose by asking the question "is your dog being treated with corticosteroids?" This form of the disease is easy to treat by discontinuing the drug but almost any hormonal condition may produce skin lesions similar to the Cushingoid dog and increased thirst and urination may be due to a variety of diseases such as diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus or renal failure. Also, normally aging animals may have many of the same symptoms as Cushing's.

After other differential diagnoses have been ruled out, there are several tests available to help ascertain the cause of the syndrome; pituitary related or adrenal. Your vet may need to run a series of tests to help understand the causal pathway of the disease. The conventional medical treatment for Cushing's is aimed at attempting to shut down the excess production of hormones. There are several drugs that are specific for destroying the functional capacity of the particular cells from the area of the pituitary or the zone of the adrenal that is affected. In some cases, surgery may be used to remove the affected cells. In all cases, the drugs will be effective only against certain cell lines. Furthermore, all drugs that have been used to date have at least a week of adverse side effects.

Surgery is also a difficult option; cutting into the pituitary that lies on the base of the brain is not an operation for a novice and tumors of the adrenals tend to be microscopic in size and scattered throughout the gland.

Now, about Addison's disease or hypo adrenal corticism. It is common in young to middle aged dogs and like Cushing's, which is a more insidious and chronic disease, Addison's can have rapid and fatal consequences. Many of the ongoing symptoms of Addison's disease are not specific, they are more into the category of slowly progressive loss of body condition, failure to respond to stress and recurrent episodes of digestive problems. The dog may lose weight; often an excessive amount of weight, urinate more frequently, refuse to eat and suffer bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.
As the disease progresses, a lack of aldosterone, the principal mineral corticosteroid, results in marked changes in blood serum levels of potassium, sodium and chloride. These alterations in electrolytes may lead to an excess of serum potassium which then causes a decrease in the dog's heartrate. This, in turn, predisposes to weakness in circulatory collapse after even light exercise. The diminished circulation may be severe enough to trigger renal failure and the condition may progress to complete failure and the dog may collapse. Without treatment, the dog may die.
Diagnosis is often presumed from the dog's history and clinical science and laboratory results may be used to confirm the condition. Changes may be seen in the blood picture, ECG and sodium/potassium ratio. An adrenal crisis is an acute medical emergency, the dog will need fluids, emergency doses of glucose and perhaps glucocorticoids and supportive, immediate therapy. Long term therapy will likely be indicated; you need to consult with your holistic vet for alternatives to the corticoid drugs that will likely be recommended by conventional vets.

There are other adrenal diseases, like for example, diseases of the inner zone of the cortex; but they are relatively rare and they are generally associated with neoplasia or tumors and as a rule, they create an excess secretion of hormones associated with the specific cells involved with the tumor. Depending on which steroid is secreted in excess, the dog's sex and his or her age at onset, the affected animal may exhibit development of masculine traits in the feminine or feminization.

Because the primary hormones secreted by the adrenal medulla are related to stress, its primary disease is usually related to chronic over-stimulation which, in turn, might create adrenal fatigue and lead to other conditions such as diabetes mellitus or heart failure. One type of tumor in the medulla, while it is uncommon, has been occasionally reported because the tumor increased the secretion of hormones, its symptoms include increased heartrate, edema and enlarged heart.

So, what are the alternative therapies for conditions of the adrenals? It should be obvious by now that the adrenals are an integral part of a complex of interactive organ systems; all with independent but overlapping functions. Put all of this together and you have a real challenge for trying to select the best therapeutic regime. On the other hand, since they typically work with entire body systems, alternative medicines may offer the best approach to overall and long term healing.

Note that an Addisonian crisis is a medical emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention. A general approach to treatment for either Cushing's or adrenal fatigue might include the following:
► You need to discontinue chronic use of glucocorticoids if at all possible. The number one cause of Cushing's symptoms in dogs is the prolonged use of corticosteroids. Find a good holistic vet to help you slowly wean your dog from steroidal drugs.

► Another factor is proper nutrition, use a fresh, healthy, balanced diet that will ensure proper organ system functioning. Natural fresh food won't contain toxins that may compromise the functions of organs. Also minimize life stressors, important components include proper exercise, correct weight for the breed, socialized behavior to live at ease with humans and other animals and a well-defined place in the hierarchy of the family's relationship. Most of all, let your dog be a dog.

► Minimize exposure to toxins; plastics, pesticides and herbicides have been shown to affect sex hormones. Preservatives and other artificial additives in food and vaccines may adversely affect hormonal output. When indicated, use whole body therapies; acupuncture and homeopathy are examples of techniques that when used properly, offer balance to the whole body.

► Also, what is effective is licorice root; it is specific for the adrenal glands, especially for fortifying them after Addison's or adrenal fatigue. Since the herbs' activity actually helps balance the adrenals as well as most other organ systems, it is often recommended for any condition that might stress those glands. Check with a qualified herbalist for dosages and best uses of the herb.

► Finally avoid the temptation to chase symptoms, conventional medicine is notorious for "take a shot and run" treatments that address current symptoms and do little for the long term health of the individual. With diseases of an organ system as complex as the adrenals, this approach may be satisfying for the short term but may never result in a complete resolution of the disease. Have your holistic vet come up with a long range plan of action that both of you are comfortable with and follow the plan until you see some results.
This is it for this segment, thank you for listening and have a nice weekend!

Jonathan: Alright, thank you Zoya, that was fascinating; really good information.

Erica: I agree.

Jonathan: Let us go to our recipe for today; Erica, you had one for us right? Summer cucumber salad, is that correct?

Erica: Yes, so now that the weather is warming up, hopefully for most of you, maybe you are going to plant a garden and grow some cucumbers. A very easy recipe; I don't tend to cook with measurements so just roll with it.

Basically just start with cucumbers and what I found works best, especially if you're buying store bought cucumbers, is you want to peel them because a lot of times there is a very waxy cover on the cucumber and it tends to not taste very good. I peel the cucumber, cut them in half, take a spoon or a peeler and scoop out the seeds, put them aside; you don't need to use them. This way your cucumber salad doesn't turn into water by the end of the day because cucumbers have a lot of water in them. Then what you can use is lemon juice; a couple of tablespoons depending on how acidic or lemony you like it, a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, raw garlic if you can tolerate it; in a garlic press or finely crushed; onions, you can use either white onions or green onions are also good; you can use the entire green onion; meaning the top as well as the bottom; then salt and pepper.

Then, three very nourishing cooking herbs, one is cumin, the other is coriander and then; I'm having that senior moment on the third one; I'll come back to it. Also fresh cilantro, one thing that is really good, if you can add it, is to get the actual cilantro root. If you are growing cilantro that won't be a problem, I have noticed now that a lot of stores cut the root off because people don't eat it but in Thai culture, they make dishes or broths with the root and so the root is really excellent in the cucumber salad. Just make sure you clean it really well, especially if you are going to marinate the salad for a couple of hours. You can put the root in there and then take it out before you serve it.

You can also add a little bit of grapeseed oil or olive oil to make a little bit more of a moist texture. I still never thought of the third herb in there! What is great about this salad is that you can add different spices depending on how you like it; I know nightshades are kind of off the menu but if you wanted to make it a little bit spicy you could add cayenne or even a garam masala.

When you take the seeds out of the cucumber, this salad will last in the refrigerator for up to a week, as long as you make sure the seeds aren't in there so it doesn't turn watery or soupy. It also makes a good garnish so if you are making a meat dish or a fish dish you can add it on top as a little garnish.

Doug: I'm glad you said that about the cilantro Erica because I have noticed that a lot of people, when they are using cilantro, will pick all the leaves off and only use the leaves but I have found that the most flavor is in the stem; I always chop it really, really fine. Whenever I am cooking with fresh cilantro I always use the stem; the root, I have never used before but the stem, for sure.

Erica: You know you can make a broth with the root too. It's a base of a lot of Thai curry dishes; I learnt this from a Thai woman. You boil the roots to make a broth and then you make your curry dish with that. Harrison asked if it's dill, it's not dill, it's an actual herb but I am so sorry. Senior moment; it's going to drive me crazy for the rest of the day.

Be liberal with your use of spices as well because cucumbers tend to not have a lot of taste; they taste kind of watery and so the more herbs you add; that's why I never follow a recipe because whenever it says "one table spoon of this" I add like 4 or 5. Just start with 3 tablespoons of cumin, coriander and then add to taste.

Jonathan: That sounds delicious.

Gaby: Sounds delicious!

Erica: And nutritious!

Jonathan: Alright, that's our time so thanks everybody for tuning in, thanks to our chat participants for taking part in the chats. Be sure to tune in to the next SOTT podcast on Sunday at noon Eastern US time. I know that the Truth Perspective and Behind the Headlines are merging, is there a title for the merged show?

Tiffany: Behind the Truth Perspective? I don't know if there is a new title.

Jonathan: I'm not sure.

Doug: Truth Headlines.

Jonathan: Be sure to check on Sunday for that show and we will be back next Friday at the same time so thanks again everybody and have a great weekend.

Erica: Oh, I remember! It's curry powder!!!! So report back if you make cucumber salad.

All: Goodbyes