Adrenal Issues and Weight Loss or Gain

Word chart of the endocrine system to illustrate adrenal issues
Medically Reviewed
May 4, 2022

Was one of your New Year’s Resolutions to hit your target weight this year? How’s that going for you? Whether you’re having a hard time losing weight or gaining weight, you aren’t alone. Blogs, commercials, and diet fads all make it seem like anyone can control their weight with diet, exercise, and supplements. But this isn’t true. Many factors may be contributing to your ability to lose or gain weight. One of them is adrenal issues.

What Are Adrenal Issues?

When your adrenal glands have problems, then you’ve got adrenal issues. Your adrenal glands are part of your endocrine system, and you can think of them as the engine of your body. They are small, triangle-shaped, and located just above each kidney. As part of the endocrine system, their job is to make hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and aldosterone.

These hormones

  • regulate metabolism,
  • maintain blood pressure,
  • support your immune system, and
  • balance your stress response.

If you’ve been struggling with your weight, then we probably had you when we linked adrenal glands to metabolism.

If you aren’t already familiar with what your metabolism has to do with your weight, let’s take a quick look right now.

Metabolism is the process by which your body burns calories to release energy. If your metabolism is efficient, then you’ll maintain your target body weight. However if your metabolism is sluggish, you’ll have trouble losing weight. If your metabolism is over the top, you may have difficulty keeping weight on.

We could go on about metabolism all day long, but for the purpose of this article, we’re going to get back to adrenal issues that may affect weight gain or loss.

Adrenal Disorders Can Happen to Anyone at Any Time

Many conditions are rooted in adrenal issues. Some of the most common related to your adrenal glands include:

  • Addison’s disease. Also called adrenal insufficiency, this occurs when you don’t produce enough cortisol and/or aldosterone.
  • Cushing’s syndrome occurs when your levels of cortisol are too high.
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia describes a genetic condition in which your adrenal glands aren’t good at producing cortisol, so your ACTH is elevated.
  • Adrenal gland suppression is a type of adrenal insufficiency that can occur when you put outside sources of cortisol or related synthetic hormones – like prednisone or dexamethasone – into your body.
  • Hyperaldosteronism is a condition in which your body produces too much aldosterone, leading to blood pressure elevation and potassium loss.

There are also adrenal issues related to growths like tumors. These include:

  • Tumors on or in the adrenal glands, which disrupt hormone output.
  • Adrenocortical carcinoma – a rare condition that occurs when cancer forms in the adrenal gland’s outer layer.
  • Pheochromocytoma – when your glands make too much epinephrine and norepinephrine (both of which can raise blood pressure and make your heart race).
  • Abnormal growths on the pituitary gland – these can cause adrenal issues by disrupting the amount of hormones the adrenal glands make.

Basically, if a condition or medication affects your adrenal glands, you’ll probably have some adrenal issues symptoms and these symptoms can begin to develop months or even years before your practitioner can diagnose a full-blown disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Adrenal Gland Problems?

Having an adrenal issue can be rough. The symptoms you experience will depend on which hormones are being affected and the severity of the dysfunction.

For example, if you have high levels of cortisone, then you may experience:

  • Upper body obesity with thin arms and legs
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Skin that bruises easily
  • Broad purplish streaks on your abdominal skin

If your cortisol levels are too low, then you may experience “adrenal fatigue,” which can include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Food cravings (salty and sweet)
  • Digestive issues
  • Lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent urination
  • Poor circulation
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased libido

You May Be Wondering, “Is Adrenal Fatigue Real?”

A diagnosis of adrenal fatigue may still be controversial, but it’s becoming more and more common. Doctors call it HPA axis dysfunction and many more of them are recognizing adrenal fatigue as a condition.

Adrenal fatigue indicates depletion of the adrenal glands.

For example, if you’re stressed out or consistently in situations where you feel threatened, then your cortisol levels skyrocket. And if your adrenals become overtaxed by excess cortisol release, they may malfunction. This means they may no longer be able to produce the levels of cortisol your body needs to operate at its best.

How Do Adrenal Issues Relate to Your Weight?

Researchers believe that high cortisol levels can cause weight gain, particularly around your waistline. Once you get to the point of adrenal insufficiency, it will be hard to lose weight because

  • you crave (and eat) junk food,
  • cortisol can increase your appetite and sugar cravings, and
  • chronic fatigue and pain don’t make it easy to exercise and consistently cook healthy meals.

How to Cure Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue treatment, adrenal insufficiency treatment, and other adrenal disorder treatments depend on the disorder itself. Treatments for adrenal issues are likely to include:

  • Lifestyle choices around nutrition and exercise that maintain healthy blood sugar levels and support balanced cortisol levels.
  • Medications or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to rebalance hormone levels.
  • Stress management practices like breathing techniques, meditation, and minimizing negativity by having a good laugh or taking part in other activities that will boost your endorphins.

How NAVA Can Help With Adrenal Issues

Do you see yourself anywhere in this article? Are you experiencing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue? Adrenal insufficiency? Or are you just sick of trying to figure out why you can’t hit your target weight by yourself? We’re here for you!

First things first, at Nava we believe in the motto “test, don’t guess.” Your Nava practitioner may recommend advanced diagnostic testing to assess the status of your adrenal glands including:

Our integrative approach focuses on preventing, restoring, and optimizing your health with the Nava Method, our proprietary method for achieving overall wellness.

We customize the Nava Method for each of our clients using The Nava 5 for total wellness:

  • Hormone Balance & Sexual Health
  • Stress Management & Life Balance
  • Healthy Weight & Digestion
  • Inflammation Control
  • Restorative Sleep

By optimizing The Nava 5 based on your specific adrenal testing, you’ll be able to achieve your best overall wellness and find a healthy life balance and your optimum weight!

We can also support you with the integrative therapies that we offer in our clinic, including:

Contact us for a consultation today and get back to your 100%!

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Article Name
Adrenal Issues and Weight Loss or Gain
We discuss adrenal issues and the many varieties of adrenal disorders that can affect weight loss or gain, and show how the Nava Method approach can optimize your health and your weight.