Adrenal Glands, What Are Ye?

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Update: I received a comment from Dr. Lawrence in response to my TSW question. 

Me: Thank you for this wonderful information! Question, if you don’t mind… Would your “healing adrenals” advice be applicable to those who are recovering from an underproduction of steroids/cortisol as a result of corticosteroid (creams, pills, shots) addiction? I am currently undergoing something called Topical Steroid Withdrawal as a result of using synthetic steroids to control my eczematous skin for many years.

Dr. Lawrence: Yes, the recommendations are generally for underactive adrenals and would apply to your concern.

I hate Topical Steroid Addiction. Hate it. I want it to run for its life, flip on its back and slowly slide onto the edge of a cliff and die. It angers me that the medical community has been irresponsible to the point of all this suffering of addiction and withdrawal. Just read the ITSAN forums.

I was walking the doggie the other day and was thinking about how empowering it would be to see what my adrenal glands look like in the process of healing. Withdrawal is only apparent on the outside, in our reflection and as a result can sometimes makes me feel guilty about feeling awful about my skin. But we very well know that we’re going through this stuff because our adrenals have been paralyzed by the use of corticosteroids. I didn’t know too much about the adrenal glands, except that they’re unable to function properly because corticosteroids have been overfed to the body.

Because Topical Steroid Addiction is still very young in the medical community, it will be awhile until there will be media explaining TSA and how the adrenal glands become damage and heal with TSW. In the meantime, I feel like educating myself on the various aspects of TSW would be very empowering. Because, let’s face it, I feel pretty darn helpless in my painfully dry, itchy, red, flakey, oozy affliction.

The first helpful video I found was this video, simply called “Adrenal Glands Class,” which is a 50 minute lecture by Dr. Vaughn Lawrence, on the basic functions of the adrenal glands and ways to heal overworked adrenals. I think that watching the whole thing is while worth it. I’ve made brief point-form notes for myself and have posted it below.

Lawrence talks about natural ways to heal the adrenal glands, although he discusses this in the context of adrenal fatigue (aka overproduction of cortisol and steroids), which is a form of adrenal damage. Although adrenal fatigue is not the same issue as the adrenal damage created by TSA, the advice is geared to overworked adrenals. The adrenals are underworked during TSA when our adrenals stop working because of the excess corticosteroids we feed our bodies, and must re-start its engines but does so very slowly. Either way, I will be taking his advice with a few grains of salt. Most of it is nutritional advice, so following it will be healthy at worst.

Adrenal Glands Class – Notes

–       Adrenal glands determine overall health

–       Function – produce numerous (50) hormones – including Corticosteroids, Steroids

–       Conventional medicine replaces what your body does naturally, which ALWAYS has side effects because it’s synthetic and too much. Steroids are given 10-50x more than the body normally produces*

–       Stress affects adrenal glands, antagonizes everything

–       Body not able to rejuvenate itself when stress stresses adrenal glands – i.e. why some people have digestion issues

–       Environmental stressors – Food #1 thing stresses adrenal because it is a chemical stressor and the body must produce hormones to combat those chemicals

–       Adrenal Related Disorders

  • Mid to lower back pain – 50-60% of pain caused by adrenal glands
  • Affects mood swings, PMS, agitation, chronic headaches
  • Normalizes blood sugar, normalizes body temperature, heart beat*
  • Low blood pressure, low blood sugar (dizzy when you quickly rise from laying down) – sign adrenals aren’t working
  • Allergy and Asthma – adrenal normally produces steroids to stop reaction (reduce inflammation)
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Adrenals CRITICAL to our life force – 1930’s/40’s – doctors removed tumors in adrenals (occurs when too many toxins in body and body cannot expel them) and resulted in death; unlike removing a kidney. Modern medicine can now remove adrenals but leads to miserable life in cases where allergies are very extreme
  • Autoimmune diseases*

–       “Adrenal Type” – Poor concentration, depression, insomnia

  • Unable to cope, unable to multi-task
  • Easily stressed out, often anxious and depressed, prone to panic attacks, very sensitive
  • From birth – children’s parents who were sugar-addicts and alcoholics
  • Positive traits of Adrenal Types – Easily able to react to stimuli, heightened awareness (senses, auras), instinctive
  • Physical signs – physically weak, weak and dragging voice, thin structure to face
  • Too often given psychiatric medicines because of mental issues (i.e. OCD) leading to widespread misdiagnoses

–       Healing the Adrenals*

  • Sleep – 9-10 hours a night is okay for adrenal types
  • Fats – Critical to adrenal types; Essentially fatty acids, saturated fats (coconut oil, lean animal protein)
  • Fruits, Vegetables – Fruits are better from adrenal types as to avoid bad sugar in junk food
  • Sugars are bad because body has to produce steroids to neutralize sugar blood levels; Will eventually result in adrenal failure if overdone
  • Water and Salt – Adrenals run on H2O water and salt; Salt – right kind of salt – i.e. Himalayan pink salt, sea salt; no iodized salt (table salt)*
  • Wild rice, oats, no white rice/flour
  • Avoid stimulants and caffeine
  • Avoid Standard American Diet – If Adrenals are functioning properly, we don’t need too many calories – reason why some cultures can eat 1000 calories or less per day; the reverse is true: if our adrenals are not functioning properly we need “junk” (sugar) to sustain our bodies throughout the day
    • Dangerous situation because body relying on sugar to survive
    • Taking sugar away from adrenal type is like “starting a war” – so must wean onto natural sugars (i.e. honey)
  • Grounding & Earthing – Meaning touching the earth; look up Grounding/ Earthing Mats – normalizes cortisol levels when sleeping**
  • Yoga – turns the adrenals “off” – inversion yoga moves are best
  • Chinese Tonic Herbs – Ginseng (Siberian, Eleuthero* are taken by many athletes for their adrenals), Deer Antler*, Holy Basil (used to reduce excess cortisol), medicinal mushrooms (Chaga tea); See “22 superior” Chinese Tonic Herbs
  • 2 main nutrients that adrenal glands run on: 1) Pantothenic acid – form of vitamin B; Found in royal jelly, B. Pollen, rice bran 2) Vitamin C – whole foods, very powerful

–       Strong Adrenal Glands – Athletes need strong adrenals to perform; Healthy functioning adrenal glands means a more calm, relaxed, energy, inner groundedness, balanced personality

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4 responses »

  1. I love the “science” bent to your blog, not only telling about your experience but educating others. (do you have a science degree by chance? lol) this kind of stuff is really helpful because the more we know as TSW sufferers, the more we feel empowered that we’re doing everything we can to beat it. I didn’t watch the video yet but I will… Great post!

  2. Haha, no I don’t have a science degree – far from it! I’m glad you’re digging the science bent. I really feel like the knowledge is empowering, which we totally need during at a time like this. Someone was telling me that she’s noticed a difference when her daughter (who is going through TSW) when she has increased salt intake. The guy who does this talk, Dr. Lawrence, got back to me regarding my TSW question. I asked him if his healing advice is applicable to someone with an underactive adrenals, to which he said yes. You should definitely make the time to watch the video!

  3. Leizel, Hi I am a Mom from Facebook group my 7 1/2 yr old daughter is healing from Red skin. I just wanted to thank you for your blog and tell you I was fascinated by Vaughn. I am so glad he responded to you. I am still considering paying for Skype session with him for my daughter. She is adopted from China and I notice her skin having very similar bruising to some Asians in the group. She will have almost black and blue marks but, not as dark. I have a question for you, I read where you mentioned anti dander wash and sprays. Could you tell me the name of them? I wrote down just like you after watching the adrenal video! I hope your healing moves speedy! Take care Krista

  4. Hi Krista, Glad to hear you found Vaughn interesting. I’d love to just sit with him and find out what he’d have to say about TSA/TSW. He obviously recognizes that “synthetic steroids” are an issue and that we need to simply help the adrenals deal with inflammatory reactions. If you do end up talking with him, please let us know how your daughter does! He seems like a very intelligent man, very aware of natural health.

    The anti-allergen/dander products I use are:
    – Allerpet. I mix this liquid solution in with a mild body wash and use it for my hands. I get my boyfriend to use it before we go to bed as he has cats in his home. I see a noticeable difference; when he hasn’t used it, I get skin reactions! This is meant for use on your pet but I’ve taken the leap and use it personally. http://www.achooallergy.com/pets-allerpetc.asp

    – Febreeze Allergen Reducer. You can use this on your drapes, couch, wherever you need it. http://www.amazon.com/Febreze-Refresher-Allergen-Reducer-Freshener/dp/B001D1YJJ8

    – Anti Allergen Laundry Detergent. I use the one by Ecology Works.

    You can also check out http://www.theallergystore.com or other allergy specialized stores. Good luck!

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