In this episode of What I Wish I Knew, host Irene Ortiz-Glass speaks to Sumi Epie, a functional nutritionist and founder of Wellness MedX, to discuss the role of the adrenal system, cortisol, and stress in our bodies, especially during perimenopause and menopause.
1. Understanding the Adrenal System: The adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys, play a crucial role in regulating our bodies’ response to stress. They produce hormones including cortisol, which is responsible for our fight-or-flight response.
2. Impact of Stress: Chronic stress can lead to sustained elevated cortisol levels, which can negatively impact our bodies, leading to symptoms such as anxiety, weight gain, exhaustion, burnout, and intolerance.
3. Role of Cortisol in Menopause: During menopause, cortisol levels automatically increase. This elevated cortisol can lead to a decrease in the production of progesterone, leading to a range of symptoms from mood swings to depression.
4. Managing Stress: While stress is a natural part of life, managing our response to stress is crucial for maintaining balance in our bodies. This can include getting adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and engaging in regular physical activity.
5. Role of Progesterone: Progesterone is critical for balancing estrogen levels. During perimenopause, if cortisol levels are elevated for a long period, it can impact the production of progesterone, leading to symptoms such as tender breasts, mood swings, and depression.
6. Impact of Elevated Cortisol: Elevated cortisol can also down-regulate melatonin production, leading to sleep issues.
7. Importance of Balance: Maintaining balance in our bodies, particularly during periods of change such as menopause, is crucial. This includes managing stress, maintaining a healthy diet, and ensuring adequate sleep.
8. Sumi’s Journey: Sumi shares his journey from a career in technology to becoming a functional nutritionist, emphasizing the importance of integrating both allopathic and functional medicine for optimal health.
Listen to the full episode for more insights into the adrenal system, stress, and cortisol, and how to manage these for better health during menopause.