What You Can Do If Stress Is Affecting You

How To Cope With Stress Infinite Wellness

Welcome to the Infinite Living Project with me, your host, Dr. Ryan Cleland. From exercise, nutrition, functional and healing medicine, supplementation, testing, and so much more, we bring you all things health in a real, raw, no nonsense approach to getting and staying healthy. So let’s get started.

Hey everybody, what’s up this is Dr. Ryan from the Infinite Living Project. I hope all you guys are doing great out there. And we’re going to jump right in with talking about the adrenals and the general adaptation syndrome or maladaptive adaptation syndrome. Basically, what those two mean or what they refer to a lot of times are people who are just burning the candle at both ends and become ultimately adrenally fatigued potentially.

Now that’s a very loaded sentence or subject because a lot of folks that are out there, they really do think that their adrenals are tapped out or their adrenals are fatigued. And honestly, if you just look at just straight symptoms, most of us fall into that category. So because we’re running, we’re running, we’re gunning, we’re wore out. But there are a lot of things to consider when looking at this.

How Do I Know I’m One Of Those People?

And so I just want to bring this subject to the forefront, and this is probably a 30-part series and we’ll jump into these in different reasons and different ways. But if you wake up in the middle of the night, you’re just like 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, even 1:00 PM or 1:00 AM and you’re just wide awake or about 1:00-2:00 PM in the afternoon, you can’t even, you feel like you just can’t go on any further.

Now these are signs that your adrenals could be tapping out for more. I mean, when you get into a chronic fatigue then things like working out, stuff like that just make you feel absolutely horrible. But if you need that cup of coffee in the afternoon just to keep going so you can get that caffeine push, these could be potential signs that you are in trouble and you need to start taking taking a look at your adrenals, and just a lot of other things for that matter. We’re going to jump right into what I mean by that.

What Causes Our Body To Feel Stressed?

So one thing that a lot of, or that even just recently I had a conversation with a friend and they were at a natural health place. The doctor did a blood test on them and is going to test their cortisol. But what you have to understand about cortisol, cortisol is a stress hormone that your body releases from your adrenal glands. It’s there to help meet the need of whatever stressor is in your life.

Now, unfortunately, we’re stressed out all the time because we’re constantly looking at our phones. We’re constantly worrying about X, Y, or Z about our kids, about what we’re going to eat, this, that, and the other. That’s why being a neurotic nutrition person isn’t always a great idea because then you just become, you know, you’re just stressed out and worried about it. That’s why I personally don’t like to measure macros, because that would stress me out.

Some people, it makes them feel good, whatever. Everybody can do their own thing. But so we’re going to jump in here. So cortisol, what you want to do is if you’re going to test your cortisol, because we want to see how our adrenals are doing. You don’t, just because you have a certain set of symptoms does not mean that you have a certain issue. And what do I mean by that?

So if you test cortisol in the morning, it may be high. If you tested in the evening, it’s going to be, it should be low. So you basically have a curve for your cortisol levels. You want to be high in the morning, you want that to slowly dip down and then plateaus. A lot of different things that could be going on there. So for instance, a lot of times what I’ll see when we do what’s called the hormone testing. We use Dutch testing for some of this or saliva testing sometimes as well.

What you want to see is this nice little bell curve and what you’ll see if someone who isn’t being able to meet the needs or the demands of their day is that peak in the morning is much less and they plain out and plateau much sooner. And they’re just never really within that normal what’s considered normal or optimal health range.

What Are The Signs Of Stress?

When we see that that’s an issue, obviously that’s an issue. Our body isn’t meeting the needs of what it has to have to just deal with the day, to keep you awake and also to help you get to sleep. So if you have blood sugar regulation or depression, ADHD, these are potential signs that this could be an adrenal issue. And again, it may not be.

So what are some things that… So first off testing. Not that blood tests are bad, but what you have to understand when doing and checking your adrenals and checking to see if this is an adrenal issue. And you know what the scary part is too is adrenal issues or infections can look like. So if you’re just wore out all the damn time, your body just can’t meet the needs of the day. You could have a chronic infection like Lyme disease, which is becoming more and more prevalent.

Things like Epstein-Barr virus are very prevalent in and latent in a lot of people what I mean by latent, you don’t even know you have it. I’ve had loved ones and myself included, me personally have done some of these tests and I’ve shown them that I may not have an active issue, but not too long ago I had an Epstein-Barr going through my body or Lyme going through my body and things like that.

And so that can be a huge issue because of your immune system is affected that alone, that’s just going to tank everything. Your liver is going to be wore out and in these chronic fatigue type things, usually there’s a liver issue in there, you know? But unfortunately too, like thyroid, some folks, they feel like when they’re wore out and they’re drained, they think it’s a thyroid issue. So they go straight to getting their TSH or their T3 or T3 measured, which is fine, but again it gives you a small picture of what’s actually going on.

No Control Can Cause Problems

And what we have to understand too is, I’m going to jump all over this. This is going to be attention deficit on steroids here today. But you can’t control your cortisol, what can happen with that is your insulin can get out of whack and vice versa. If you can’t control your insulin levels aka your blood sugar levels, then your cortisol can get out of whack. And this can cause problems like centripetal weight gain. So you’re gaining weight around your hips, around your belly and you just can’t get rid of it. It is hugely common.

I mean, you see this every single day with folks who are thin their whole lives and as they get a little bit older and a little bit older, they just start gaining weight right around that midsection. Their shoulders stay thin, their ankles stay thin and it all gains right around. They just start expanding in the middle. And I’ll tell you, that’s the hardest place for even guys like myself to lose weight, because of things like stress.

So let’s jump back into thyroid. So one thing that cortisol can do, increase cortisol can do to thyroid is it can actually decrease the body’s ability to push T4 to T3. Now, T3 is what we all want for our thyroid to ultimately deliver our body. Because T3 is that energy is the energy aspect. T4 is the inactive form. So our bodies, when our cortisol is out of whack, our bodies cannot convert T4 to T3 as efficiently as it could otherwise, or if at all. And so we think we have a thyroid issue, but meanwhile this is a stress and cortisol issue that we’re not addressing.

So then we’re just, we’re way down the loop here on treating thyroid and we should be treating the actual cause of the problem. So again, this is why this type of testing is so important. So again, we want a four-stage approach. We want to look at morning before noon, early evening, and then right before bed we want to look at all of those different levels of cortisol so that we can get a better idea.

Ways To Test & Treat Stress

We want to know what our blood sugar is, we want to know what our HgA-1C is. We want to know also what our inflammatory markers are, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, homocysteine, fibrinogen antigen, things like that. Those are really, really important. Not only do we want to know what cortisol is, but then we have to go a little more upstream and because so cortisol helps to meet the demands of what stress in our life.

Well, oo does DHEA and so we want to know what that DHEA is as well. Because what can happen there is if our DHEA is, if we’re not creating enough of that because of overstressed, then we have problems with testosterone and possibly estrogen, and so on and so forth. So there is a lot going on here and that’s why some of the testing is so vitally important.

Again, one test that we have that I even have online now is the saliva testing. One test that we do in the office is the Dutch testing, it’s a urine metabolite test. But these are important because it shows us many different hormones. But you can’t just go off of this alone. You also have to look at, again, some of the inflammatory markers and the ability of the body to control inflammation. Because if you’re super inflamed, you’re also going to feel like crap.

So let’s see here. I’ve got notes all over here. So if you’re chronically low, I’m sorry, your cortisol can also flip flops. So you can have start out low and then end up high, and that’s not good either. So, what do you do? Ultimately, what do you do if you’re sitting there and you’re worn the hell out and you can’t figure out what’s going on? So there’s some things that are absolutely necessary that you have to do to reset your cortisol diurnal curve and your health, basically.

What Can I Do To Help My Adrenal Glands?

So one of the biggest things that you have to do to help to reset your adrenal glands is you have to get good quality sleep. Now, everybody knows this, but so many people… Of all the things in health and health care and not being healthy, sleep is one of the things that most people don’t focus on.

So what are a few things that you can do? One, you have to set times where you’re going to fall asleep. You cannot continue to go to bed one night at 9:00, the next night at 11:00, the next night at 1:00 and then 9:00 and then jump around like crazy. You need to have set bedtimes. You think this is common knowledge. You think, “Oh no, duh.” I mean because we all know this for our kids. We’ve got to get them to bed at a certain time every night no matter what. So that way we create this basically system in their brain. You’ve got the pineal gland that’s going to release melatonin and all of these different things.

Well, there’s a reason this is all important because we’re keeping these kids healthy. So bedtimes for us as adults is also vitally important. What are some other things when we’re sleeping? And again, you may have heard this on numerous different podcasts, I’m not making, you know, this isn’t my idea. You have to make sure that your room is dark. You cannot have nightlights and all sorts of different crazy things.

I was just talking to a parent the other day that was one of the biggest things that their sleep specialist was talking about for their child who was just a hair under two-years-old. So you’ve got to get that room dark because otherwise when there’s light, that pineal gland doesn’t shut all the way off and your body is not producing the correct hormones that it needs to get you and keep you to sleep.

Also too, being on your phone or your kids being on their devices later in the evening. I truly believe, I think about 7:00 is a good time to start shutting stuff down. And I’m not perfect at this. The bad thing is our televisions now have the blue that come out of them. So things like, I can’t think of the name of the glasses, but they’re basically blue blocker glasses where they block that blue light so that way it doesn’t get to the eye and then ultimately the pineal gland, so your body will start to know that it’s nighttime and start to go through the processes that it needs to go through.

Understand Health & Wellness Takes Time

Now understand you’re not going to put a pair of blue blockers on tonight at 7:00 and your life be different. This is stuff that it takes time for your body to reset, but if you’re not getting good quality sleep, your adrenals can never truly heal because that is the number one thing your body needs to reset your adrenal glands properly and to reset your cortisol cycle.

Melatonin is a supplement that you can take. Start slow, ease into it, but you need to take if you need that, take that about an hour before bed and start low, see what works and you want to take. You can increase that as needed. Some other things to supplement wise that you can do to help to at least support your body when you are going through these tougher adrenal times too, as you’re trying to increase your good quality sleep.

Things like L-Theanine. L-Theanine is an amino acid that you can get in liquid form or pill form. This is a huge, huge support for the adrenal glands and we can talk more about that later, but I mean putting this in your drinks, putting this with caffeine will actually help to reduce the effects; the peaking effects of energy for caffeine, so it’s more of a sustained reaction there for the caffeine.

Phosphatidylserine is something that’s out there that helps to block the cortisol and how it affects the body. B vitamins are always good and important for adrenal health. That’s why it’s a part of our multi that I take and that I recommend. You always want to make sure that those are methylated B vitamins. And then there’s a couple of what’s called adaptogens that are really, really big. You may have heard of some of these. Ashwagandha is a big adaptogen.

What Does Dr. Cleland Suggest?

If I’m going to take an adrenal settlement, personally, I like Ashwagandha, but there are other ones. There are other supplements out there that don’t have it in there for whatever reason, Rhodiola is another good adaptogens that is a pretty popular for helping to support the adrenal glands.

Again, they’re never going to heal the adrenal glands, and the reason being is that’s not their job. They can help to support through times of extreme stress or if you’re always stressed, maybe have some sort of a nutrient that you take on a regular basis. One thing about adaptogens that you always got to remember is they do have a quick half-life.

So if it’s three pills or four pills a day, maybe take two in the morning and take two at lunch. That’s just a side fact that it has come up through all the reading and listening that that I’ve done. So again, if you’re chronically fatigue, if you those moments where you’re just waking up in the middle of the night and you’re ready to go and it’s happening a lot or you just can’t hardly make it through your afternoon because you’re just beat down.

What Does Infinite Wellness Suggest?

Again, I would say first and foremost you must control your insulin levels and control your sleeping habits. Those are the first two big things. If you’re not going to do anything else, those are the first two big things that I would personally do. Because ultimately you should do those things anyway for so many other health issues. But if that’s not doing or if you just can’t get ahold of that, getting the testing done is going to be helpful.

And again, if you’re going to do the testing, you want to make sure that you’re doing for cortisol, you want to have those three to four different tests throughout the day to test your cortisol levels. Because again, it peaks and valleys later on in the evening.

If you need help with that, you know, those are things that we can obviously help you out with and point you in the right direction or if you have a functional medicine doctor that you work with that does these kinds of things, definitely look them up and ask for their help. But again, this is such a big issue because we’re all chronically stressed. So don’t jump into just I’m tired or I’m gaining weight, so it must be my thyroid because I think thyroid is way, way over-diagnosed.

Because again, if you remember from where one of our last podcast, they’re not doing the right tests on your damn thyroid anyway. You need to have probably seven to eight different tests on your thyroid to make sure they are doing the right things to make sure your thyroid is converting from T4 to T3 or your thyroid doesn’t do that, but it makes T4 and then make sure your body’s converting T4 to T3. Make sure your brain is talking to your thyroid properly. Make sure your thyroid is producing T4 properly. Make sure that there’s no antibodies out there attacking your thyroid, which could create the whole autoimmune issue that so many people are starting to experience now because of food sensitivities.

Address Health Issues

And that’s another thing, you have to address inflammation. Because your cortisol can increase with increased inflammation. I always recommend food sensitivity testing on some sort of regularity. The cool thing is the fit test that we use, there’s actually a FIT 22 it’s a little less expensive, but it looks for the 22 most impactful foods or the most allergenic foods. So it’s a way to save a little bit of money, but you can do it a little more frequently because your body will change. And so because we need to make sure if we’ve got a leaky gut, if we’ve got food that our body’s attacking, we need to know what that is.

And the problem is with our diets is it changes and even our gut health and our gut biome changes. And so we need to know on some sort of regularity what’s going on. So that’s a great test to do. And again, we can point you in the right direction if you have any questions on that. With food sensitivity tests, always make sure you’re doing an IgG and an IgA. That is food sensitivity, not IgE.

IgE is more of again, the anaphylactic shock type of scenario. So again, L-Theanine, phosphatidylserine, B vitamins that are methylated, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, those are good support supplements. Don’t go straight to thyroid. Look first at your blood sugar and your rest, and your sleeping habits. If that doesn’t help you, then also go to a more of a four-time testing hormone test of either saliva or urine. Those are just going to be easier.

You could do blood, but then you got to draw blood four times a day, which is, I’m not doing that personally. I don’t like doing it once a day, so I hope this helps. I hope this raises at least… Nothing perks your ears up. Stay tuned. We’ll jump into all of these subjects a lot more because they are all interrelated and I know I jumped everywhere from hormones to blood sugar, to supplements to sleeping.

Join Infinite Wellness On A Health Journey

But if we really going to understand this and you really want to understand the body, they all kind of work together and so stay tuned. We will continue on our journey to be as healthy as possible and I just appreciate you all so please share this with your family because I can guarantee you, your family and friends are stressed out and wore out right now even if they don’t tell you that.

This is a podcast that, if nothing else can start to open their eyes and give them a few tools, even if they just start working on their sleep alone, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, their life will be better. God bless you all. Have a great day and I hope this helps to create an infinite life for you. So I have a great day. Bye bye.

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