Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands, also known as suprarenal glands, are endocrine glands located above the kidneys with the right adrenal gland being triangular shaped, while the left is semilunar shaped. Each adrenal gland is composed of two distinct structures, the adrenal cortex (outer part of the gland) and the medulla (center of the gland).

The adrenals play a key role in a number of critical physiological processes such as blood pressure regulation, steroid hormone synthesis, and the body’s stress response mechanism. They do this by producing hormones.

The adrenal cortical (cortex) cells produce a number of hormones including cortisol, corticosterone, and androgens such as testosterone, and aldosterone. The hormone production activity of the cortex is regulated by neuroendocrine hormones that are produced by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, as well as by the renin-angiotensin system.

The adrenal medulla is the principle source of the circulating catecholamines adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine), key players in the body’s fight-or-flight response triggered by the sympathetic nervous system. Epinephrine production is also promoted by cortisol which is produced in the adrenal cortex and reaches the medulla at high levels.

Optimal adrenal function is very key for a healthy body. The process whereby the adrenal glands produce their hormones can be effected by various factors which at times may nagatively impact adrenal health/function. Failure to produce adequate amounts of steroid hormones leading to adrenal insufficiency is one of the commonly seen adrenal maladies. Another common condition related to the adrenal glands is the problem of suboptimal adrenal function.

A thorough diagnostic process coupled with a proper adrenal healing program can very often address the most common adrenal issues.

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