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The New Health Rules for happiness: Fortify your adrenals
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The New Health Rules for happiness: Fortify your adrenals

134_Fortify Your Adrenals-1

When you’re running, to-go latte in one hand, today’s terrifying to-do list on your smartphone in the other – we bet your adrenal glands aren’t anywhere near the forefront of your mind.

But, according to one of US doctor Frank Lipman, author of The New Health Rules (£14.99, Artisan) they should be. Because these two small endocrine glands that sit near your kidneys control how you react to stress. And when there’s too much of it, stress can be toxic.

Read more: Life hacks: 3 ways to be kind to yourself

The crazy lives most of us live—perpetually multitasking, staying ‘on’ even when we’re not at work, doing too much too often, and grabbing carbs and caffeine because we’re too busy for a proper meal—do a real number on the adrenals,’ says Dr. Lipman.

‘The constant stream of negative thoughts and anxiety make our body churn out stress hormones’

It’s not like our bodies have evolved to handle all this either. ‘In the old days  stress was being chased by a lion, or being on a boat that was sinking, and then we’d be safe and the stress would be over,’ explains Lipman. ‘Now, whether from work, our relationship, or just the pressure we put on ourselves – it’s constant and unremitting and that constant stream of negative thoughts and anxiety makes our body churn out stress hormones.’

And what does all this stress do to our bodies?

‘After churning out stress hormones,  they get exhausted. Then they signal the thyroid for help and it too becomes depleted, which messes with our metabolism and makes us gain weight,’ says Lipman. ‘If you’re feeling generally and inexplicably crummy, it could be that your adrenal glands and thyroid have just about had it with your current patterns.’

‘If you’re feeling generally and inexplicably crummy, it could be that your adrenal glands have had it’

There are herbal supplements that help, called adaptogens. ‘Take them daily for three months, then give your body a month off. Make sure the formulas you choose contain Asian ginseng, eleuthero, ashwagandha, and Rhodiola rosea,’ advises Lipman.

But, herbs don’t equal calm, happiness and equilibrium on their own.

‘They work best when fixed in with other formulas. I recommend the Headspace app, and Budddafy to my patients, as well as calming exercise like restorative yoga,’ says Lipman. ‘Teaching people to chill out is the most important thing.’

Partially extracted from The New Health Rules by Frank Lipman, M.D. & Danielle Claro (Artisan, £14.99). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.

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