The adrenal gland consists of two distinct endocrine glands; the adrenal cortex and adrenal medulla. They are under separate regulation and produce different hormones.
The adrenal cortex produces the steroid hormones cortisol, aldosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Cortisol affects metabolism and generally results in the release of stored fuels. DHEA is a precursor to testosterone and estrogen and its concentration decreases as we age. A high level of DHEA may help slow down the aging process. The adrenal medulla functions as part of the sympathetic nervous system and secretes primarily epinephrine.
Siberian and Panax ginseng are adaptogens, providing tonic qualities. The ginsengs guard against the effect of chronic cortisol supplementation. Ginsengs help regulate output, and improve the tone and function of the adrenal glands. Glycyrrhizin in licorice lowers the effect of excessive cortisol output by binding to mineral corticoid receptors and decreasing the conversion of active cortisol to inactive cortisone. Pantothenic acid is specifically required by the adrenal gland and deficiency results in adrenal insufficiency. Beta-carotene and lycopene are the predominant carotenoids found in the adrenal gland and have a major responsibility in protecting against free radical damage. Tyrosine helps relieve the feelings of depression often accompanying adrenal insufficiency.
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