Addressing Your Adrenals | Nutritionist Andie Jones Talks Hormones
I had a great email back and forth with my dear friend Andie Jones a few months ago when I told her we were relaunching Of The Wolves and we all would LOVE her sage advice on hormones and adrenals from time to tie. Andie is a Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Practitioner based in Denver with her husband and baby son. Andie’s work revolves around addressing the root imbalances that can result in a storm of symptoms and health conditions. Her core philosophy is to address the whole person with a mind/body approach to health and well-being. Andie is also passionate about raising awareness about the environmental toxins we’re exposed to through personal care products and offering safe and effective solutions through her work as an Educator and Director with Beautycounter.
So let’s just get straight to the dialogue she and I had via email, and should you seek or need her services, or anyone’s, after reading this, you know you can email your Wolf Pack.
If you had to guess, how many of your patients, men or women, come to you ultimately with adrenal or hormonal issues as their primary affliction?
I’d say there is an adrenal or hormonal component to at least 75% of the clients I support. Many come with symptoms and challenges, and with some deeper investigation we uncover that there are adrenal or hormonal underpinnings to address. Some do come with a prior diagnosis or understanding that their health challenge is hormonal in nature.
What are some of the telltale signs?
The classic signs of adrenal dysfunction (most commonly low adrenal function) is fatigue and difficulty sleeping, but there are many nuances that are both upstream and downstream, including weight fluctuations, resistant weight loss, blood sugar imbalances, food cravings, chronic inflammation (which can show up in many ways — I often see digestive and/or skin challenges), and sex hormone imbalances (which can impact libido, fertility, menstrual cycles, mood, etc.).
Knowing that you’re a practitioner and it’s your livelihood to work with clients, would you honestly tell all people likely suffering from some level of adrenal fatigue or hormonal imbalances to work with a health/holistic practitioner?
Yes, I think particularly in the later stages of adrenal fatigue having outside support, in the form of a qualified practitioner, can make a difference. There are lifestyle, food and supplement therapies that can be very targeted to the specific situation. In some cases, I’ve helped clients plan for a leave of absence from work or create other levels of support that they may have been challenged to do on their own. I find that most human beings living in this modern world have some level of strained adrenal function, so it’s something that we can all be aware of and working to address on our own or with the support of healthcare practitioners.
What are some of the signs that the strain and imbalances are healing?
First, I find that lifestyle changes are the first sign that someone is creating a cradle for themselves to come back into balance. Generally, as symptoms improve, we’ll also see that hormones and the regulatory systems in the body are coming back into balance.
How long can the process towards balance normally take, if someone is experiencing moderate to a little more heightened imbalance?
It’s hard to say definitively, as the healing process is so individual. I like to prepare my clients by helping them understand that the patterns that often set the stage for imbalances to occur can be a long time in the making, and thus the healing path can also take some time. That said, I have also seen cases resolve fairly quickly and smoothly.
Do you discuss meditation with clients ever?
Yes, though it’s not my area of specialty, and meditation as a regular practice is something I’m always working towards myself. I discuss the principles of mindfulness and medication and help clients find the approach that appeals to them and tools and resources to build a practice.
Any gurus you look to in the adrenal/hormone space? Specialists who have really focused on this area?
There are probably too many to name here, but some of the first to come to mind are: Dr. Robert Sapolsky, Dr. James Wilson, Dr. Sara Gottfried, Dr. Alan Christianson, Dr. Mark Hyman.
What other wisdom would you love to share?
While adrenal fatigue is so often associated with life stressors, I find that so many physiological stressors are often overlooked, and these are commonly at the root of what created the opportunity for the later stages of adrenal fatigue to develop, and what also must be addressed to restore balance. These include blood sugar imbalances (often a result of diet and lifestyle), chronic inflammation (sometimes resulting in long term use of steroid medications), etc.
A holistic approach is so beneficial. It’s important to address both the mental/emotional factors, the physiological factors, and take a look at the often deep-rooted patterns that often lead to adrenal imbalance.
Do you believe adrenal fatigue is more and more prevalent in society with the exceptional amount of life and work expectations? Any other reasons it might be heightened now?
Absolutely. And, just to expand on what I said above, most people are living and eating in a way that is creating more physiological stress. The body doesn’t differentiate between different types of stress — they all create the same physiological response, which is taxing on the adrenals.
Balanced living – we’ll always have our work cut out for us, Wolfies, but we’re working together.