Our adrenal glands are essential to keeping us protected from illness and stress. Located on top of the kidneys, the adrenals release a variety of hormones that respond to stress to help keep us protected and alert when times are tough. If you’ve dealt with eczema for any length of time, you know that it can be a deeply stressful and draining experience. While this shows on the surface., what may not show is what’s happening on the inside. The adrenals are not an endless well of stress hormones and they can be depleted if they don’t have enough time to recharge and heal between stressful periods. When this happens, children and adults can both suffer from adrenal fatigue which leaves us tired, weak, and unable to defend ourselves against the negative effects of stress and strain.
Since eczema is deeply related to the immune system, a weakened ability to fight stress can make things worse. An eczema outbreak can trigger the immune system which also brings out the stress hormones of the adrenals. If the situation goes on for some time with no rest, the adrenals may burn out leading to weakened rest and rejuvenation meaning that the immune system simple cannot do its job anymore. As you can see, the work of the adrenals and the immune system are interconnected on many levels!
In order to protect the body and mind from the damaging long term effects of stress, adrenal health is paramount. The good news is that there are several things you can do to help feed and nourish the adrenals while also giving them a healing rest as often as possible.
R & R
When possible, good old fashioned rest and relaxation is the best way to love the adrenals. Allowing for extra sleep, sleeping in without feelings of guilt, taking naps when needed, and really paying attention to when the body needs rest is extremely important. When we deny our bodies sleep when they ask for it, we are likely ignoring the adrenals’ call for us to take healing action. If you or your child needs a few more hours of sleep per week than usual, or if naps need to be part of your daily schedule, by all means do it!
Processed foods require the adrenals to work overtime. Eating foods that have been overly prepared or processed makes the entire body and immune system go into high gear since this ‘food’ doesn’t really make sense to our bodies’ wisdom. Avoiding processed, preserved, and fast foods is probably the most important way to support adrenal health and remove the negative effects of adrenal fatigue. Many people also find that their eczema flareups are related to diet – and processed foods are always at the center of it!
Vitamin C is a food for the immune system, and the adrenal glands use more of it than any other part of the human body. Not enough vitamin C means that the body will be scrounging for ways to make up the deficit while the immunity and the adrenals suffer instantly. Instead of going to supplements and vitamins, try looking at foods that are high in available vitamin C first. Citrus fruits like oranges are a kid-friendly place to start.
Sedentary lifestyles are a heavy blow to the immune system and the adrenal glands. The body simply cannot process or ‘vent’ stress and strain without movement. It’s like trying to boil water in a pot with no steam vents. Taking time for play, walks, jumping, or other physical activity can boost adrenal health and lead to deeper sleep at night and greater relaxation during the day – both things that adrenals love!
Astragalus and ginseng are both Chinese herbs known for their adrenal support. While ginseng is best reserved for older people, astragalus can be added to lots of foods, juices, and snacks without changing the flavor. This is an essential herbal staple for many people with diagnosed adrenal fatigue, and it can be a real help with both adults and children who deal with eczema and adrenal issues. While astragalus is generally considered to be safe, it’s a good idea to research it in depth and talk to your family doctor before adding it to your healing plan.
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Love your adrenals with rest, hydration, good food, and gentle exercise – the results will astound you!