Bulletin # 171



Box 165 Ashton,MO 20861-0165 (Founded in 1967)




          (202) 544-4044

    In Washington, D.C.


Our bulletin is not meant to be medical advice. It is written by lay people, dedicated to helping those with hypoglycemia. All cases are individual. If you need medical advice, see your physician.



Our Fight or Flight Glands

Part 1

by Dorothy R. Schultz

We are all aware that we have a brain, a stomach and a heart. We say, "I can't think" or "I have indigestion" or our heart is beating too fast, too slow or causing pain. How much thought do we give to our anrenal glands, which have a great influence on the functioning of all of the above as well as the rest of our bodies?




Adrenaline is mentioned frequently by sports commentators. The crowd is scream­ing, "We want a touchdown!" The compulsive gambler is yelling for his horse to win. Can you imagine the adrenaline that is flowing in both the spectators and the partici­pants? Does the player or the team whose bodies produce the most adrenaline win the game or the race? As Paul Harvey says we need to know "the rest of the story." Understanding our adrenal glands will help us to understand hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and how emotional stress can cause changes in the blood sugar levels and changes in the blood sugar levels can cause emotional stress.

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? We have two adrenal glands, each weighing about as much as a nickel, and they are sitting on top of each kidney, a little above the waist to­wards the back. They have been described as about the size of the tip of a finger or a lima bean and looking like a cocked hat. They can become smaller in conditions of stress or, when overworked, may become as much as four times larger.


To make things more complicated, the adrenals are sometimes called suprarenals, which Lloyd V. Grumbles, M.D. says is more correct. Ad means in front of, renal means kidney, so animals who walk on all fours would have adrenals. Their adrenals are in front of their kidneys. Supra means above. Therefore, humans who walk upright would have suprarenals (above the kidneys). But, the common term is adrenals so we will use that. Also adrenaline is sometimes called epinephrine, and noradrenalin is called norepinephrine.

THEY HAVE TWO PARTS: The center or core is called the medulla. The outer part of the glands is called the cortex which has three separate zones. According to Juan Wilson, M.D. the medulla produces adrenaline, which is stimulated or secreted when we perceive an experience with fear or anxiety, and noradrenaline when we perceive an experience with assertiveness or aggression. The normal response to stress is a shift to adrenaline dominance but, if you are already there, the reactions are ex­aggerated and rather disturbing. So, instead of being in balance, you might say that you are always at a tilt.

Page 2


The medulla and the cortex have no direct communication between them and act as separate glands. The adrenaline from the medulla sends a message to the pituitary when a stress occurs which, in turn, sends a message by way of adrenocorticotroptic hormone (ACTH) to the cortex. The message asks the cortex to produce the necessary hormones to prepare the body to handle the stress. According to John W. Tintera, M.D. treatment with ACTH may produce dramatic relief of symptoms but continued treatment leads to an imbalance of the three groups of steroids produced by the ad­renals.2 If the cortex is functioning well more adrenaline and ACTH may not be needed at that moment unless there is more stress. The rush of adrenaline accounts for the panicked mother who finds the super human strength to raise a truck off her injured child. It is also responsible for the pounding heart, sweaty palms and sinking feeling in your gut when the boss says, "Could I please see you in my office?"3

IN THE OUTER ZONE (glomerular) the mineralocorticoids control the salt and water balance as well as other minerals in the body. Those of us who have a deficiency of one of these hormones called aldosterone may need extra salt.4 The aldosterone sends a message to the kidneys to recycle the salt back into the blood stream to be used again. If this happens as it should, then the person does not need extra salt. If it does not happen, then salt is excreted in the urine and perspiration and may need to be replaced in the diet. Those of us who dehydrate easily in illness often suffer from an inadequate hormonal production in this zone. Other signs of this condition may be low fluid intake, dry scaly skin, and problems of perspiration (too much or too little or too much in one area and not enough in another), also urinating in small amounts frequently or large amounts infrequently. Dr. Wilson pointed out that a craving for sugar, but more commonly a craving for salt, is one of the clinical evi­dences of adrenal cortical insufficiency.


IN THE MIDDLE ZONE (fascicular), which is the largest, the glucocorticoids regu­late the body's defense against stress and infections, the control of carbohydrates and, to a lesser degree, protein, fat and calcium metabolism. The chief cause of symptoms resulting from a problem in this zone is the failure to utilize sugar pro­perly. Consumption of sugar can cause adrenal exhaustion as surely as stress and lack of nutrients will. The adrenals are the 1st line of defense against blood sugar levels gone awry.5

IN THE INNER ZONE (reticular) the gonadal (sex) hormones are secreted which supplement the sex hormones of the testes and ovaries. Dr. Tintera wrote that the adrenals produce 25% of the female sex hormones and 65% of the male. Before the body can produce the sex hormones, cholesterol must be present. These hormones are necess­ary for the growth and the development of the reproductive tract, the genital organs and the secondary sex characteristics such as hair growth, body shape, voice, etc.. W. D. Currier, M.D. commented that the female gland is larger than the male because it secretes more hormones.6


PREGNANCY: Lynn J. Bennion, M.D. writes that pregnancy is a special case of accelerated blood sugar outflow.7 The placenta, which transfers oxygen, glucose and other nutrients from mother to the unborn baby, acts as a glucose (blood sugar) "sink". It continually drains blood sugar from the mother's circulation, thereby making the pregnant woman particularly susceptable to hypoglycemia (nausea can result). It also drains amino acids, such as alanine, needed for making new blood sugar from the pro­tein and fat in body tissues. The mother must eat frequently to avoid hypoglycemia, especially in the first three months of pregnancy. Dr. Bennion explains that the blood is like a river. The inflow and outflow of blood sugar should be equal. Adelle Davis wrote that hunger is experienced at a certain level of blood sugar, cravings for sugar, etc. at a lower level, and, at a still lower level, nausea and vomiting.8


Page 3

The adrenals of the unborn baby develop with extreme rapidity so that in the third month they are the most prominent structures inside the body cavity. At birth, they are still relatively large but in early infancy a large part of the tissue is broken down and absorbed so that in adulthood they weigh about 1/8 of an ounce.9 Dr. Tintera felt that when the mother's adrenals are deficient, it apparently causes her body to take adrenal hormones from the unborn baby and it is presumed that his adrenals can be thus depleted before he is born. This is very im­portant to guard against and to do everything possible to ensure a stress free en­vironment and good nourishment for the mother.


GENERAL INFORMATION: Another interesting fact Dr. Wilson brought out regarding the adrenal cortex is that cortisone, hydrocortisone, aldosterone and other hormones (of which there are 16 of the total of 40 or more) represent 85% to 100% of the out­put of this gland and the trace hormones are something like 0% to 15% under normal circumstances. Under constant stress the trace hormones become 85% that are recov­erable directly from the adrenal vein. Deficiencies of adrenal hormones in the cortex can cause a patient to have 100 fold changes in taste, 100,000 fold in smell and 3 fold in sound. He might think he is being poisoned or he can smell how much salt is in the food or he cannot stand noise. Your body gets ready to fight when you hear a noise. If you are asleep you get a spurt of adrenalin, even if the noise doesn't wake you up, and your stomach tightens and your blood vessels con­strict.lO These reactions may change with the time of day when adrenal cortical hor­mones are produced at a lower or higher rate. A low point might be between 2 and 5am when some people wake up and cannot go back to sleep or they may have have an attack of some kind such as asthma. '

The adrenal cortex grows from without inward, new cells being formed at the out­er edge of Zone 1 and are in various stages of discharge in Zone 3 next to the core or medulla.ll Many macrophages (large cells that engulf foreign bodies and consume debris) are found there assisting in removing the exhausted and incompletely dis­charged cells. If the debris accumulates faster than it can be removed by the macro­phages in spite of the formation of new cells there is going to be a problem and an individual with this type gland can easily be thrown into complete adrenal insuffi­ciency by a slight additional demand for the vital secretion.


HISTORY OF THE ADRENAL GLANDS: In the year 1716 the Academy of Sciences of Bordeaux, France had an essay contest, "What Is The Use of The Suprarenal Glands?.12 Two of the answers were "To hold up the stomach which would otherwise press too hard on the veins of the kidneys" and "Black bile is preserved in them which serves to dilute the urine." In 1855 Thomas Addison, M.D., a British physician, gave the first clue as to their functions. In 1893 Dr. George Oliver fed his patients gland sub­stances of different kinds. Adrenal material had an "extraordinary effect upon the tone of the heart and arteries." In 1913 Prof. Walter B. Cannon at Harvard Univer­sity performed some experiments which showed that, when under stress, the digestive system comes to a standstill. Even though the stress only lasted a few minutes, the digestive system might take an hour or more to begin working again. The reason be­ing that energy was sent to the heart and muscles for fight or flight. (This shows the importance of tranquillity at mealtime. One disagreeable person can shut down the digestive systems of the rest of the family.)

(to be continued in Bul. 172)


NOTE: Some of this information was taken from our early bulletins written by Dorothy Sulzbacher, Co-founder of HAl and a patient of John W. Tintera, M.D. until his death in 1969. Dr. Tintera specialized in the field of endocrinology and was a pioneer in the treatment of hypoglycemia. He was a teacher as well as a physician and taught his patients what changes they would need to make to aid their recovery.

REFERENCES: See bottom of page 4


PEN IN HAND: A Case History from Florida - page 4




Page 4





I thought you would be interested in what happened to me before I learned I was a hypoglycemic and read the book, "Low Blood Sugar and You" by Carlton Freder­icks, PhD and Herman Goodman, M.D.. Grosset and Dunlap rub. N.Y. 1969

Mr. R. sent HAl a xeroxed copy of the record of his hospital admission in 1983. The following are some of the notes made by the doctor. "R.R. is 67 years old and has had dizzy spells and intermittent confusion which has been going on for five months. He has momentary unsteadiness especially on getting up and periods of men­tal lapses which make him think he is losing his mind. His judgment is poor. He

has lost 25 pounds and has been having chronic pain since the end of 1979. He gave up bowling and later golf. Apparently the patient has a history of paranoid schizo­phrenia treated with electroconvulsive therapy in 1945. He is on no medicines for mental disease. His physiological and neurological examinations were completely normal. He has depression."

After leaving the hospital a friend saw him experience one of his attacks and recommended that he read Dr. Fredericks' book. Then he realized that "I was indeed a hypoglycemic" and curtailed eating sweets, especially chocolate bars, and drinking highballs. As a result he has not experienced an attack in 4 or 5 years. He re­lated two incidences which show how low blood sugar had affected him before 1983.


The first incidence was in a bowling alley. He went to the washroom and when he got back he said his mind goofed off. He didn't know where he was. This was his first experience with and, after his mind cleared in about 15 minutes, he de­cided that someone must have put a "Mickey" in his drink.

The other incidence happened while he was visiting someone in whose home he had been many times before and had even helped his friend paint the whole inside. When the attack hit he couldn't even locate the bathroom and when leaving didn't know which direction to turn to go to his home two blocks away. Fortunately these episodes seem to be a thing of the past for him.






1.   Juan Wilson, M.D., The Mystique of Hypoglycemia, HAl BuL #82, 9-10/75

2.   John W. Tintera, M.D., Hypoadrenocorticism - Collected Papers, $10 + $2 S&H, Avail. HAI

3.         Jack Joseph Challem and Renate Lewin, Nutrients To Prevent Adrenal Insufficiency,

  Let's Live magazine, 6/81, P.o. Box 74908, Los Angeles, CA 90004

4.   Salt, HAl Bul. #152

5.   Steroids and Lipids, HAl Bul #48 (out of print)

6.   W. D. Currier, M.D., Preventive Medicine-a column in Let's Live magazine

7.   Lynn J. Bennion, M.D., Hypoglycemia, Fact or Fad, Crown Pub., 1983

8.   Adelle Davis, Let's Eat Right To Keep Fit, Harcourt Brace Janovich, Inc. 1970,

page 21.Also HAl Bul. #142, page 2.

9.   R. G. Hoskins, PhD, M.D., The Tides of Life, Harvard Medical School, Pub. 1933

10.  Organicville Newsletter, 4177 W. 3rd St., L.A., CA 90020,4/6/71

11. R. L. Zwemer, Information On The Adrenal Cortex, American Journal of Pathology,

      Vol. 12, p. 107, 1936         0

12.   The Tides of Life, see #9.