Article Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy
We know what a surge of adrenaline feels like. It is the hormone that gives us the strength for “fight or flight”. Our hearts beat harder, stronger, faster. Blood is diverted from less important things like digestion to our muscular tissue. Thought processes seem to happen at lightning speed. There are many stories of superhuman feats performed under extraordinary circumstances with surges of adrenaline.
Dr. Michael E. Platt has written his book “Adrenaline Dominance” because he feels that practitioners and their clients lack understanding of this very important hormone He finds that knowing how adrenaline functions enables him to successfully guide his patients towards wellness.
Adrenaline is produced by an inner part of the adrenal glands. Dr. Platt explains that there are TWO reasons for adrenaline to be released. One reason is in response to stress as described above and the second reason is to ensure that the brain has received enough sugar (glucose). The body uses adrenaline to help create more glucose from protein as well as stimulate the release of glucose stored in the liver. Consequently, as glucose releases, insulin releases. These two hormones are intimately involved with adrenaline.
Dr. Platt organized his book according to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, the classic Clint Eastwood western, to illustrate that adrenaline has both desirable and undesirable effects. He believes that right brained creative thinkers acquire those qualities from plenty of adrenaline ensuring lots of glucose to the brain. Superb athletes also get their edge from adrenaline. These are “good” mental and physical effects of generous amounts of adrenaline.
It starts to get “bad” when adrenaline output is too generous or our bodies don’t have the ability to moderate the high adrenaline. High adrenaline can be tied into depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, headaches, restless leg syndrome, addictions, and bedwetting. It gets “ugly” when syndromes such as fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, road rage, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder appear.
Progesterone, which is also produced by our adrenal glands, is the natural modifier of excess adrenaline. Dr. Platt recommends progesterone in men and women, as well as children. Along with progesterone, Dr. Platt guides his patients with their food choices. Dr. Platt recognizes the relationship between glucose and insulin and claims the timing and types of foods ingested can make significant changes in the presentation of excess adrenaline.
It is not difficult to imagine the ramifications of adrenaline being out of balance since Dr. John Lee introduced us to the concept of “estrogen dominance”. Many practitioners surprisingly don’t recognize the significance of progesterone in moderating both the effects of estrogens and adrenaline.
Thanks to Dr. Platt, we can raise our awareness on an ever enlarging picture about hormone balance. He reveals his evidence and thinking in great detail in his book which is sure to expand every reader’s thinking about our bodies.