A few years ago, I heard a presentation on adrenaline dominance, and I never forgot it. It was one of those moments that shifted some understanding in me, helping me make sense of what didn’t fully make sense.
Adrenaline is a hormone most commonly associated with the body’s fight-or-flight response. The adrenaline rush of the body helps you react in dangerous situations. But there is another purpose of adrenaline that is less commonly talked about, to ensure the brain has received enough fuel (sugar).
Many people force a need for adrenaline onto the body through restrictive diets or excess stress, sometimes leading to adrenaline dominance. Adrenaline dominance is a condition that creates problems such as; anxiety, cold hands and feet, IBS, muscle tension, fibromyalgia, over-active bladder, teeth grinding, restless leg syndrome, ADHD, headaches, and incurable disorders like PMDD.
Many of these symptoms can feel overwhelming and even permanent. But when you understand the role of adrenaline in producing these symptoms, you can create a concrete solution to experience healing.
Inside today’s podcast, I invited leading expert Dr. Michael Platt to talk about adrenaline dominance and the role of progesterone in treating it. Dr. Platt is the founder of Platt Wellness and the author of several books, including Adrenaline Dominance. Make sure you tune in to learn more.
Signs you may have adrenaline dominance
I had no idea I was suffering from adrenaline dominance. I just thought having cold hands and feet, ADD, and the constant urge to urinate was part of being a mom. But when I started to scan my entire life, including how I felt as a child, I realized I had experienced signs of adrenaline dominance since childhood.
Dr. Platt believes adrenaline dominance is a genetic condition. If that is the case, I can see how it has been part of my genetics for many generations. And one I, unfortunately, have passed down to at least a few of my girls, if not all of them.
Of course, it’s frustrating to question if my daughter’s carsickness is because of something I could have stopped. Or a host of other things my girls must work through. What’s promising is to know there is a solution. It might not be perfect, but it’s another tool to help support our body to create health.
If you’re wondering if you have adrenaline dominance, here are a few common ways it shows up.
- Restless leg syndrome
- Teeth grinding and tightness in the jaw (TMJ)
- Urination at night (usually around 2:30-3:00 am)
- Weight Gain
- Cold hands + feet
- Headaches or neck tension
- Quick to anger or rage
- Cyclical vomiting
This is just the tip of the iceberg. But whether you suffer from one or multiple symptoms, there are ways to treat it.
Ways to treat adrenaline dominance
Dr. Platt described adrenaline as both a hormone and neurochemical (or neurotransmitter). It acts on numerous levels of the body because it’s critical for survival. There’s no denying our stress hormones are powerful.
While it might be partially genetic, adrenaline dominance, what we know about the study of epigenetics is it’s not only about what genes you have but how those genes are being expressed.
You might have adrenaline dominance in your DNA, but something in your environment has made those genes come to life. In the case of adrenaline, it is most often associated with restrictive dieting and excess stress. Potentially two of the most common problems in the health space.
But like all things, there is always something you can do to help it. Healing adrenaline dominance means adequately fueling your brain by eating a well-balanced diet, including healthy, nutrient-dense carbohydrates, protein-rich foods, and healthy fats (a metabolic diet). Especially those containing ketone-producing fats like MCT oil or coconut oil.
But it also means dealing with the excess and often chronic stress you deal with.
Balance your nervous system
Adrenaline is part of our stress response. And that stress response is a powerful force in our lives. It’s one of the tier one hormones that control other hormones like your sex hormones. Meaning if adrenaline is firing non-stop, your sex hormones are going to be out of whack.
I don’t want to villainize hormones or stress because we’ve already spent a lot of life villainizing things that are helping us. Yes, stress can be bad. But not all stress is bad. In fact, stress is needed to change.
But the prolonged and frequent bouts of stress and the constant pressure on your nervous system to live out of the fight-or-flight state continuously pump adrenaline into your body, creating adrenaline dominance.
The goal is not to eliminate stress but to manage it with relaxing techniques and play. Take time to unwind, get curious about life, and do something creative – find a hobby, walk, ground yourself in nature, or do anything that centers you. Balance your nervous system by stimulating the vagus nerve and reaching a state of rest. Here are some helpful ways to balance your nervous system for healing.
The role of progesterone
But even when you do those things, they’re sometimes not enough to get you back on track. Some people, especially those who think deeply or are excessively creative, need a boost through a supplement like bio-identical progesterone.
Progesterone aids the brain by naturally metabolizing in brain tissues to the metabolite allopregnanolone, which is known to produce a calming, anti-anxiety effect. It has also been found to enhance memory effects.
However, like all supplements and medications, there could be side effects. It’s important that you consult with your physician before taking a medication, giving it to children, or putting it on your pets. If you choose to use an over-the-counter medication, let your physician know and take it in appropriate dosages.
Dr. Platt recommends a 5% bio-identical progesterone cream, not a pill or a synthetic version. Head to Platt Wellness to learn more about progesterone, its use, and its effectiveness.
**THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. Advise your doctor before purchasing or using a product, or reach out to Platt Wellness Center to learn more. I’m always a proponent of natural lifestyle changes before supplementing with an aid such as progesterone.
I’ve listened to this twice. Waiting on the book to arrive. I’ve been using the progesterone cream for about 10 days. I can’t even explain how big this AHA moment was when I listened to this podcast. I’m talking about a near life time of struggle and I’m thinking this could be at the root. I’m working through this with much hope!
I’m so glad! Please keep me posted how things go! Also, let me know if you have any additional quesitons!