We have two adrenal glands, each perched atop a kidney. With your spine dividing your back in two, you can locate a kidney in the middle of each half, with the bottom of the kidney right around the bottom of your rib cage. A few inches above that sits an adrenal gland, topping the kidney like a little beanie.

The adrenals handle our everyday energy needs, and our fight-or-flight response in stressful situations. Healthy adrenals don’t even let you know they’re on the job; they just go about their complicated business. Unfortunately, these babies own an uncanny ability to get into trouble.

If heavy stress goes on and on, it can conk out in adrenal fatigue, which is fixable if you take care of business. The first advice you’ll hear is to get rid of your stress, as if you took it up as a hobby.

Here’s some advice you generally won’t hear: Get to bed by 10:00 p.m. every night and get good nutrition. Any form of sugar stomps on the adrenals, so get rid of sugar–even though you probably crave it. Instead of sweets, eat fatty protein. (Political correctness aside, saturated fat is the endocrine system’s friend. Brain’s friend, too.) Then add a good program of vitamins and minerals to your daily routine so your adrenals have something to work with.

Adrenals can also go down by trying to help a bum thyroid. Treating thyroid problems without first checking your adrenal status is asking for trouble, but most doctors do just that. It’s a good news/bad news situation: Not checking the adrenals is the bad news. The good news–of a sort–is that most doctors treat hypothyroidism with Synthroid, which doesn’t help the thyroid enough to get the adrenal glands’ attention, so at least things don’t get worse. You’re still in a mighty deep ditch, but, hey, things could be worse.

A damaged hypothalamus can cause adrenal problems, as can a whacked out pituitary. And things in the environment that we eat, drink, breathe or rub on. And so it goes.

Most doctors use blood tests to check the adrenals, which makes no sense. First off, it measures adrenal levels in the blood, not in the tissues where the action happens. Second, accurate tests of adrenal function cover many hours. A one-shot blood test isn’t accurate–especially since it tests the wrong thing.

Of the doctors who test properly, some use a saliva test while others prefer a 24-hour urine test. Both test adrenal levels in the tissues. The saliva test, done at home, tests for hormones four times in a 16-hour period. The 24-hour urine test explains itself. In that test, both hormone levels and the quantity of urine matter.

Symptoms of adrenal problems are a lot like those of the thyroid–constant fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, etc. Symptoms specific to the adrenals include an itchy back, a patchy loss of leg hair, a craving for salt and difficulty in word recall, especially names.

Small doses of hydrocortisone treat underactive adrenals, but it’s hard to get a prescription. Almost impossible, in fact, so you usually have to take care of business in other ways.

Well, help would be nice, but sometimes it isn’t offered. Sometimes it’s refused. In either case, helping yourself beats giving up.

Author's Bio: 

Here’s a fact: Our endocrine system is a nutrition hog. And our diet can’t give us the nutrition we need, no matter how hard we try. To be healthy–and stay healthy–we need to bump up our nutrition with vitamins and minerals. Which brings up another fact: Most of us have no idea what’s good, what’s hype or how to build a balanced program.

Based on years of research and experience, Bette Dowdell wrote an e-book to get you past the vitamin learning curve and into health. Pep for the Pooped: Vitamins and Minerals Your Body Is Starving For helps you build a solid health foundation even if you can’t tell one vitamin from another or explain why we need minerals.

Besides giving you the information you need, the book has links to take you directly to the right brand, the best type, at the lowest price, which will save more money than the cost of the book. Get a free sample chapter of the e-book at http://PepForThePooped.com.