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What Are the Adrenal Glands

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Keep on hearing adrenal glands but not quite grasp what they are and what they do? They’re two glands on top of the kidneys. They’re the stress glands as they respond to physical and mental stress, helping the body adapt to a stressful situation.

They also help us cope. When they’re triggered, they signal the body with their hormones to activate more blood flow to the muscles, increasing the heart rate and blood pressure and heightening mental acuity to prepare us for the impending threat or deadlines.

This is the adrenal response. It’s what gives us the energy and focus to either fight or flee when we’re in danger. The adrenal glands are two small, triangular-shaped glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They may be small, but they play a big role in keeping us alive.

The adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate our metabolism, blood pressure, immune system, and responses to stress. While we can’t live without adrenal glands, we can live without one of them. If one adrenal gland is removed, the other one will usually take over its functions. But if both adrenal glands are removed or damaged, it can be life-threatening.

How your adrenal glands function determine the type of adrenal body you have. Your adrenal body type is based on how your adrenal glands respond to stress. If your adrenal glands are slow to respond to stress, you’re said to have a sluggish adrenal response. This can lead to adrenal fatigue, a condition where your adrenal glands become exhausted from repeatedly being triggered.

The glands are made of nerve bundles and they’re set in a rather strategic location where they can access the different organs faster with their neurotransmitters (adrenaline, noradrenaline, catecholamines, and gamma-aminobutyric acid or the GABA).

Being a part of the sympathetic nervous system, they’re responsible for the flight or fight mechanism. The outer part of the glands also produces steroid hormones, namely cortisol, mineralocorticoids, androgens, estrogens, and androstenolone.


Learn more about Adrenals from Dr. Berg Video Blog.

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