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There is a special class of supplements used for treating Adrenal Fatigue called “glandulars”. In some cases these glandulars can be a very effective tool to use, but in other cases it is definitely not recommended to make use of glandulars. So should you be using glandulars as part of your recovery from Adrenal Fatigue?
Glandulars contain dried and ground up raw animal glandular tissues or extracts of those tissues, commonly they include the following: thyroid glandular, thymus glandular, adrenal glandular, testis, and ovary. Less regularly used glandulars are from the pituitary, kidney, pancreas, liver, spleen, lung, brain, heart, uterus and prostate. In theory glandulars can come from all sorts of animals, but usually they are derived from cow (bovine), pig (porcine) or sheep (ovine).
Commercially the use of glandulars goes back nearly 100 years. But 2000 years ago, the great physician Hippocratus already stated that “If a person has a weak liver, give liver. For weak kidneys, give kidney.” Homeopathy, a natural form of medicine, shares a similar principle that is termed “like cures like”. Using glandulars for healing has been a part of many medical systems across the globe. From the mid 1800s to 1950 thyroid glandular extracts were regarded a standard treatment for hypothyroidism, dessicated pancreas for those with “sugar disease” and indeed (bovine) adrenal glandular extract for those with adrenal insufficiency.
Well, the idea behind taking glandulars is that consuming the organ or gland from another animal can strengthen and support the function of that organ in the human. Exactly how or why glandulars work is to this very date not well understood, but they are quite effective to help rebuild their target organ or gland.
When you suffer from Adrenal Fatigue especially useful are adrenal glandular extracts. Adrenal glandular extracts are no replacement hormones (they contain minimal amounts of the actual hormones). But they provide the critical compounds for adrenal restoration. Adrenal glandular extracts can be a very effective tool to use for those with mild to moderate Adrenal Fatigue. This is because of their adaptogenic properties; they improve energy production in very mild to moderate Adrenal Fatigue. However these same adaptogenic properties become more stimulatory in more advanced stages of adrenal insufficiency, so its use is generally not recommended for those individuals with more severe adrenal insufficiency (1).
There are a few more matters you need to know with regards to the use of adrenal glandular extracts (2). A problem with these extracts is not knowing how much hormones and other substances are available in them. Since they are non-standardized and the amount of hormones and other substances present in the extracts vary from animal to animal, finding the optimal dosage is not always easy. A further complication next to the lack of standardization is the lack of formal research, leaving room for common misinformation and misuse. Nevertheless, there is more than 80 years of evidence in the form of case studies and clinical anecdotes showing that adrenal glandular extracts indeed enhance adrenal activity and speed up recovery. Additionally, adrenal glandular extracts have been commercially in use since 1918 and have only rarely produced unwanted side effects.
Historically adrenal glandular extracts have been used extensively and were even considered to be the most important aspect of the treatment. The first recorded use of an adrenal extract was in 1898 by Sir William Osler and by the late 1930s they were being used by tens of thousands of prominent doctors throughout Europe and North America. Leading pharmaceutical companies such as Upjohn and Eli Lilly were manufacturing them until the 1950s and 1960s, but when synthetic cortisol became available, they switched over to this much more profitable source of income (but besides more profits this source came with many more detrimental side effects too!).
Adrenal glandular extracts typically come in either liquid or tablet form, with the liquid form being usually the most potent. Depending on severity, dosage for adrenal glandular extract is usually 6-12 tablets per day or for the liquid form 2 to 3 vials weekly or as directed by your healthcare professional. It is possible to develop physical dependence from use of adrenal glandular extracts, so careful monitoring is necessary for efficacy, minimizing potential side effects and identifying signs of dependency.
When using adrenal glandular extracts (or any animal glandular) it is highly important that the animals were raised under healthy circumstances as the nutritional values of the organs and tissues of these animals will obviously be highly linked to the foods they ate and how they lived. New Zealand, where the animals are free from pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics and disease, is perceived as one of the best sources for glandular extracts.
As always the information here should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. The information provided here is for informational purposes only.
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