The Gut-Adrenal Connection

In this post we discuss 3 questions:

  • What impact does your gut have on your adrenal glands?
  • Can hidden gut problems be a root cause of non-responsive adrenal fatigue?
  • What effect does probiotics have on cortisol levels?

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Dr. Michael Ruscio: Hi. This is Dr. Ruscio, and let’s discuss the connection between your gut health and your cortisol levels or your stress hormone levels.

Recently a randomized clinical trial in humans was published, looking at what would happen to the subjects’ cortisol levels if they were given a probiotic (1 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source). This study did find that after giving a probiotic to these human volunteers they saw a reduction in their cortisol levels. So what this tells us is that there’s a connection between your gut and your stress hormones or your adrenals.

Now, one of the things that I have found is one of the most commonly overlooked causes of adrenal stress is the gut. Oftentimes I have patients come in that are very curious about their adrenals, and they’ve been on adrenal supplements and they’ve done adrenal testing, and they’ve seen some improvement, but not what they’d ideally like to have or really kind of marginal adrenal improvement overall. And when we go through a more in-depth gut evaluation, we find something wrong in the gut, and by improving that, we see the adrenals finally able to function more normally.

So for me, I’ve started to look ever so increasingly at the adrenals as always malfunctioning secondary to something else, and in many cases, the gut. I think adrenal support is relatively straightforward, but finding and ameliorating the cause of the adrenal stress is where the real clinical win will hopefully occur, and that will be the make-or-break between someone recovering adrenal and stress hormone function or not.

This study, again, articulates part of that posit of mine, which is the importance of the gut in the adrenals because these subjects saw improvements in their cortisol levels after using a probiotic, likely because of the antiinflammatory and gut-healing, reparative effects that probiotics will help to garner.

So I guess, two things in close. One, probiotics can help with your cortisol levels, and two, if you have chronic adrenal fatigue or adrenal dysfunction that hasn’t responded to adrenal support, remember that there’s a fair likelihood that the underlying cause of that adrenal problem could be a problem in the gut because a problem in the gut can cause chronic stress. If you’re eating bad foods every time you eat, there’s a stress response. If you have an infection, all day that can be causing leaky gut, inflammation, and a stress response, and that, of course, will derange the ability of the adrenals to heal.

This is Dr. Ruscio, and I hope that helps. Thanks.

If you need help with your gut or adrenals, click here

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