Adrenal Gland and Adaptogens
- Mobilizes internal energy stores
- Reduces the impact of stressful conditions
- Activates whole-body defenses
- Prevents the body from overreacting to a stressor
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Ortho Adapt™ is AOR’s premium anti-stress formula, containing adrenal gland extract, adaptogenic botanicals ashwagandha, Rhodiola, licorice and Siberian ginseng, and vitamins C and B5. Adrenal gland extract provides a time-tested way of providing key factors directly to the adrenal glands (a.k.a. the “anti-stress” glands) in a way that single nutrients and botanicals cannot. As one of AOR’s best-selling formulas, the proof is in the results shown with improved energy and better stress coping abilities.
Ortho Adapt™ is designed to help the body deal with stress effectively, by stimulating the adrenal glands and helping to prevent adrenal insufficiency. Adaptogenic herbs are substances that provide support to the body during times of stress. They activate whole-body, nonspecific defenses, redirecting the body’s resources to provide energy for active engagement with any stressor, whether physical, emotional or environmental. Vitamins C and B5 are quickly depleted during stress and are required by the adrenal glands to make stress hormones. All of these factors work together to prevent fatigue and burnout, boost energy levels and support the ability to cope.
Ortho Adapt™ can provide a boost for anyone who is stressed, tired, fatigued or trying to keep up with the demands of today’s fast-paced lifestyle at work, school, sports, or family life at home.
OrthoAdapt™ contains adrenal gland extract and adaptogens, which are used in herbal medicine to help improve performance after periods of mental or physical stress. Ortho Adapt™ helps to relieve general weakness and aids during convalescence.
AOR™ guarantees that all ingredients have been declared on the label. Contains no wheat, gluten, nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, sulphites, mustard, soy, dairy, eggs, fish or shellfish.
AOR’s Ortho Adapt targets adrenal support from 3 different angles: adrenal extract to supply all the needs of the adrenals, orthomolecules to prevent deficiencies of key co-enzymes, and adaptogenic botanicals to modulate the stress response. AOR uses whole licorice extract, as opposed to deglycyrrizinated licorice extract, since it is the glycyrrhizin in licorice that benefits the adrenals. Ortho Adapt is also available in a vegan formula without the glandular extract.
Take 2-4 capsules daily after a meal, or as directed by a qualified health care practitioner. Consult a health care practitioner for use beyond 1 month.
Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are taking antidepressant medications, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or birth control pills, if you have any type of acute infection, liver disorder or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms persist or worsen. Headaches, mild gastrointestinal
disturbances (such as nausea), heart palpitations, or hyperactivity/insomnia may occur. Consuming ashwagandha with alcohol, other drugs or natural health products with sedative properties is not recommended. Do not use if you are taking thiazide diuretics, cardiac glycosides, corticosteroids, stimulant laxatives or other medications which may aggravate
electrolyte imbalance, or if you have hypokalemia, high blood pressure, a kidney or cardiovascular disorder or bipolar spectrum disorder.
- Adrenal support
The information and product descriptions appearing on this website are for information purposes only, and are not intended to provide or replace medical advice to individuals from a qualified health care professional. Consult with your physician if you have any health concerns, and before initiating any new diet, exercise, supplement, or other lifestyle changes.
Non-medical Ingredients: Microcrystalline cellulose, sodium stearyl fumarate, silicon dioxide and sodium benzoate. Capsule: hypromellose.
How Do You Handle Stress?
A good diet, regular exercise, a clean environment, and other good lifestyle habits can help keep your body healthy and thus ready for life’s challenges. And certainly, your genes and your upbringing play a big role in the way you handle the stress in your life. But science – often following clues left by the traditional medical practices of cultures living the demanding lives of hunter-gatherers or in extreme environments – has also identified key botanicals and nutrients that can help you to rise to the demands of life. Ortho•Adapt has combined the best of tradition and science to provide the most supportive formula for the adrenals to improve your energy levels and capacity to deal with stress.
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are substances, often herbs, that increase the body’s ability to dynamically shift gears when new demands are placed on us. Adaptogens mobilize our internal reserves of strength, lessening the severity of the initial shock of the alarm phase which occurs as the body desperately tries to gear up to deal with a new threat. They also prevent the body from overreacting to the stressor, thus avoiding, reducing, or delaying the exhaustion phase: the burnout that comes when the body’s resources are unsustainably “strip-mined” in response to stress. Instead, true adaptogens extend the poorly named “phase of resistance”, that golden zone in which the body’s energies and capacities are optimally mobilized to adapt to new challenges.
Adaptogens, then, are quite distinct from substances that address some specific threat to the body, such as chelating agents to deal with heavy metals, antioxidants to quench free radicals, or antidotes to biological poisons. Instead, adaptogens activate whole-body, nonspecific defenses, redirecting the body’s resources to provide energy for active engagement with all of life’s battles, from fighting sabre-toothed tigers, to handling long hours at work, to finding your way through grief or emotional chaos. Adaptogens must also be distinguished from substances like stimulants or steroids, which force the body down a rigidly defined metabolic path: instead, adaptogens work to enhance homeostasis, the ability of the body to adjust responsively to changes in the external environment in a way that maintains an ideal internal environment.
AOR Ortho•Adapt provides several of nature’s most powerful adaptogenic herbs: rhodiola, ashwagandha, licorice and Siberian ginseng.
Orthomolecules Essential to Adaptive Response
Pantethine is the stable form of pantetheine, which is the “activated” form of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). The biological purposes of pantothenic acid can only be fulfilled after your body converts it into pantethine, which forms a key component of the critical metabolic factor coenzyme A (CoA). But unfortunately, your body’s biosynthesis of CoA can be limited by a feedback “thermostat,” which turns off the conversion of pantothenic acid into pantethine as CoA levels rise – and unfortunately, in many people the “thermostat” is set too low, leaving you with inadequate pantethine (and CoA) levels. Providing pantethine directly lets you simply walk around this metabolic stonewall.
The importance of pantethine to adaptive response lies in the essential role of CoA in the biosynthesis of key adrenal hormones involved in the body’s release of energy reserves in response to stress. People who are deficient in pantothenate rapidly develop symptoms that are all too familiar to people suffering with burnout: fatigue, listlessness, depression, headache, sleep disturbances, low immune function leading to more frequent colds and other infections, high blood pressure, and hypoglycemia.
Vitamin C has long been known to be critical to the ability of your adrenal glands to respond to stress. Vitamin C is essential for adrenal stress hormone biosynthesis, and concentrations of vitamin C in the healthy adrenal glands are higher than in any other part of the body except the brain. When scientists subject living things to any of a wide range of stressors, one of the most well documented results is the rapid depletion of vitamin C stores, especially in the adrenal glands.
Pantethine & Vitamin C
Human and animal studies show that “megadose” pantothenic acid is more effective than “adequate” levels in both humans and animals at activating the adrenal glands and boosting adrenal hormone levels. But pantethine is more effective than common pantothenic acid at supporting adrenal function, and can be critical if your conversion of B5 to pantethine has been impaired or is set at a high threshold.
High-dose vitamin C supplementation has been shown in animals and humans to help to modulate the impact of stressful conditions, preventing immune suppression and buffering the extremes of cortisol secretion.
Interestingly, studies also show that vitamin C and pantethine work together in supporting adrenal function. For instance, animals deficient in pantothenate show disturbed vitamin C metabolism, and as the adrenals shrink they lose much of their vitamin C stores; and on the other hand, giving pantothenate-deficient animals extra vitamin C partially protects them against the ordeal.
Rhodiola rosea is one well-studied adaptogen which has received a lot of attention lately. Also known as “arctic root” or “roseroot,” rhodiola is an herb with a long history of use in the traditional medicine of Siberia, for adaptation to the rigors of life on the tundras of North-Central Asia. Its adaptogenic and balancing properties were extensively studied in animals exposed to a wide range of stressors by scientists in the former Soviet Union. More recently, interest in the herb has jumped in the West, after several randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trials documented the ability of standardized rhodiola to enhance the body’s physical and mental work capacity and productivity under conditions of stress. Users find that rhodiola is highly effective at helping with the psychological impact of stress, even as it enhances physical and mental endurance.
In one trial, 161 military cadets performing a 24-hour military exercise were randomized to receive either rhodiola supplements or a dummy pill. At the beginning of the exercise, the cadets’ mental performance and self-evaluated health and wellbeing were tested, and a general medical exam was performed. All groups began the study with very similar performance. At 0400 hours, the cadets took their capsules (rhodiola or placebo), and were re-tested an hour later.
Rhodiola users experienced a pronounced anti-fatigue effect: while the placebo group was performing almost 10% sub par, the study found that cadets taking rhodiola supplements actually experience marginally better performance than they do before the military exercise begins! There is also a tendency toward a better overall sense of health and wellbeing among subjects taking rhodiola.
Standardized rhodiola supplements have also been put to the test in physicians during two-week stretches on night duty and in students during final exams. These trials have confirmed the herb’s general anti-fatigue effect, showing that it improves tests of physical fitness, mental fatigue and neuromotor function under stress.
Many people who have tried rhodiolareport that they feel better while taking it. The experience is described in terms of a continuous sensation of physical and mental relief from stress, and anecdotally the effect appears to be most pronounced in people who typically respond to stress with anger or feelings of helplessness. Animal studies on rhodiola have given us some clues as to the neurochemical basis of these effects, such as its effects on the metabolism of the serotoninergic system, boosting brain levels of dopamine, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine. The evidence also seems to suggest that rhodiola influences the synthesis, levels, and/or activity of endorphins and enkephalins, since blocking the receptors for some of these “feel-good” peptides negates some of its effects.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), the so-called “Indian ginseng,” is actually not a ginseng species at all; and while it does provide powerful support against overwhelming stress, its effects are in many ways distinct from most other adaptogenic herbs. While most adaptogens primarily work by helping the body to mobilize and maintain the physiological response to stress, ashwagandha appears to work first and foremost by reducing the stress-related excesses of the alarmed nervous system.
Several studies show that ashwagandha is superior to panax ginseng at helping animals and humans rise to adversity, such as forced swimming in cold water. Ashwagandha has broader effects as well. In one double-blind trial, 101 healthy men aged 50 to 59 were evaluated for various aging parameters over the course of a year. Increased red blood cell levels, greater libido, and lower erythrocyte sedimentation rate (a measure of chronic inflammation) were observed in the men who were given ashwagandha instead of the dummy pills. And remarkably, ashwagandha prevents both over-activation and suppression of the immune system, strengthening the immune system under the yoke of immunosuppressive drugs yet protecting the body from inflammatory excesses.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is the source of the phytochemical glycyrrhizin, which is partly converted in the intestine to the more active glycyrrhetic acid. Both glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetic acid can activate the receptors for key adrenal hormones (mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids) involved in mobilizing your energy reserves in response to stress. Glycyrrhetic acid also helps your body to keep these hormones in their more active forms, by inhibiting the enzymes (5-beta-reductase and 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase) that degrade adrenal hormones into less active forms.
While some people can’t take this herb unless its glycyrrhizin has been removed (see cautions), the German Commission E monographs have established that for most people 200 mg of glycyrrhizin from licorice is a safe, effective dose, which helps the body to maximize the availability of the adrenal hormones necessary for the adaptogenic response.
Eleutherococcus senticosus, or “Siberian ginseng,” is another misnomer: as is the case with ashwagandha, it is not a ginseng species at all. But its adaptogenic properties are, if anything, better documented than those of Panax ginseng itself. This botanical was long the juggernaut behind Soviet Olympic dominance, as well as being extensively exploited in the Soviet military and space programs. After an initial focus on Panax ginseng, Russian researchers shifted their attention to eleutherococcus after comparative investigations and clinical experience revealed its superiority. Eleutherococcus lacks the side effects observed in some users of Panax ginseng, which overexcites some people and can ironically even cause them stress. “Siberian ginseng” also has a more global beneficial effect on the immune system than Panax ginseng, and its phytochemistry – and resulting benefits – is more reliable than its Panax namesake.
In a recent clinical trial, the effects of eleutherococcus on physical performance and cellular defense were compared with those of Echinacea purpurea (using the standardized Madaus preparation approved as a “drug” in Germany). At the end of the study, people supplementing with eleutherococcus enjoyed favorable changes in a variety of laboratory parameters, with no significant changes seen in the echinacea users. The immunological tests were especially revealing – and surprising.
Eleutherococcus supplementers experienced a 16.45% increase in the maturation of their lymphocytes in response to an antigenic challenge, as compared to an almost negligible 2.29% increase in those using echinacea. Eleutherococcus users also gained increases in their neutrophils’ phagocytic activity (the engulfing and digesting of foreign cells): both the number of cells engaged in phagocytosis under test conditions, and the mean number of bacteria phagocytized per neutrophil, were increased. No significant changes were seen in people supplementing with echinacea.
Finally, on the physical performance tests, people taking eleutherococcus supplements gained significant improvements in physical performance, increasing their VO2max by 0.26 L per minute (or 3.41 L per minute per kilogram of body mass), and the ratio of VO2max to heart rate. No significant change occurred in these parameters in the echinacea group.
Adrenal Glandular Extract
Clinical experience has long endorsed the use of glandular extracts to support the activity of the target gland. Glandulars provide peptides and nutrient cofactors which are found in the gland itself when it is healthy and fully functioning, and which are required for the gland to carry out its biological functions.
Despite the widespread belief that such peptide cofactors would be destroyed by the digestive process, it’s now known that the main route of absorption of amino acids is, in fact, by active transport in the form of peptides, rather than by totally breaking down proteins into individual amino acids. Evidence has also accumulated that many surprisingly large polypeptides and even proteins are directly absorbed by the gut. This is how protein allergens manage to find their way into the bloodstream, for instance. Other proteins known to be absorbed from the GI include lactoferrin (a relatively large immune glycoprotein at 80 kilodalton) and even ferritin (500 kD).
To eliminate any risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE/”mad cow disease”), adrenal glandulars may be porcine-sourced, in which case they may be absolutely guaranteed to be BSE-free. After extraction, the raw gland should be selectively pre-digested with enzymes and then subjected to ultra-filtration followed by lyophilization to preserve the integrity of the various components. Finally, it should be processed by a federally-inspected and -approved laboratory with expertise in handling glandular products.
Vegetarians, of course, will not use glandular extracts, but for most people needing more support for their adrenals, glandulars provide a time-tested way of providing key factors directly to the gland in a way that conventional, single nutrients or botanicals cannot.
The more popular herbs and nutrients used to support the adrenal glands and thus help the body to cope with stress include: ashwagandha, maca root, B-vitamins, curcumin, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, glandulars, Rhodiola rosea, and ginseng among others.
AOR’s Ortho•Adapt targets adrenal support from 3 different angles: adrenal extract to supply all the needs of the adrenals, orthomolecules to prevent deficiencies of key co-enzymes, and adaptogenic botanicals to modulate the stress response. AOR uses whole licorice extract, as opposed to deglycyrrizinated licorice extract, since it is the glycyrrhizin in licorice that benefits the adrenals. Ortho•Adapt is also available in a vegan formula without the glandular extract.
Bhattacharya SK, Bhattacharya A, Sairam K, Ghosal S. Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study. Phytomedicine 2000 Dec; 7(6): 463-9.
Fidanza A. Therapeutic action of pantothenic acid. Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl. 1983; 24: 53-67.Martinelli M, Abate G. The behavior of plasmatic corticotropin activity in subjects treated with high doses of a preparation of adrenal cortex extract. Minerva Med. 1970 Mar 17;61(22):1057-62.
O’Keefe MP, Scholz C, Campbell PS. Vitamin C attenuates the physiological response to stress. Book of Abstracts, 218th ACS National Meeting. 1999; 79.
Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, et al. A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar; 10(2-3): 95-105.
Szolomicki J, Samochowiec L, Wojcicki J, Drozdzik M, Szolomicki S. The influence of active components of Eleutherococcus senticosus on cellular defence and physical fitness in man. Phytother Res. 2000 Feb; 14(1): 30-5.
Tarasov IuA, Sheibak VM, Moiseenok AG. Adrenal cortex functional activity in pantothenate deficiency and the administration of the vitamin or its derivatives. Vopr Pitan. 1985 Jul-Aug; (4): 51-4
A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work.
Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar; 10(2-3): 95-105.
Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, Vol’skij VB, Korovin YP, Khristich MP, Roslyakova NA, Wikman G.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group clinical study with an extra non-treatment group was performed to measure the effect of a single dose of standardized SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract on capacity for mental work against a background of fatigue and stress. An additional objective was to investigate a possible difference between two doses, one dose being chosen as the standard mean dose in accordance with well-established medicinal use as a psychostimulant/adaptogen, the other dose being 50% higher. Some physiological parameters, e.g. pulse rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, were also measured. The study was carried out on a highly uniform population comprising 161 cadets aged from 19 to 21 years. All groups were found to have very similar initial data, with no significant difference with regard to any parameter. The study showed a pronounced antifatigue effect reflected in an antifatigue index defined as a ratio called AFI. The verum groups had AFI mean values of 1.0385 and 1.0195, 2 and 3 capsules respectively, whilst the figure for the placebo group was 0.9046. This was statistically highly significant (p < 0.001) for both doses (verum groups), whilst no significant difference between the two dosage groups was observed. There was a possible trend in favour of the lower dose in the psychometric tests. No such trend was found in the physiological tests.
The influence of active components of Eleutherococcus senticosus on cellular defence and physical fitness in man.
Phytother Res. 2000 Feb; 14(1): 30-5.
Szolomicki J, Samochowiec L, Wojcicki J, Drozdzik M, Szolomicki S.
The influence of active components of Eleutherococcus senticosus, contained in Taiga Wurzel preparation, were studied on cellular defence and physical fitness in man. 50 healthy volunteers of both sexes were selected, and basic clinical examination and laboratory tests were performed in all subjects. All were randomly subdivided into two study groups: group A with 35 subjects receiving Taiga Wurzel and group B with 15 subjects receiving echinacea. 20 healthy males were randomly selected from both groups and underwent an ergospirometric study. The preparations were administered for 30 days as follows: Taiga Wurzel 25 drops three times daily, echinacea 40 drops three times daily. After 1 month blood was drawn for control tests. Changes in the following blood parameters were observed in comparison to initial values in group A: total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose. No alterations were seen in group B. The ergospirometric test revealed a higher oxygen plateau in group A (Taiga Wurzel). On the basis of the present study the following conclusions were drawn: active components in Eleutherococcus senticosus contained in Taiga Wurzel preparation affect cellular defence and physical fitness, as well as lipid metabolism. Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Vitamin C attenuates the physiological response to stress.
Book of Abstracts, 218th ACS National Meeting. 1999; 79.
O’Keefe MP, Scholz C, Campbell PS.
The purpose of this study was to determine if vitamin C could act through the endocrine system to bolster immune function by limiting the secretion of anti-inflammatory adrenal corticoids. Rats were fed 50mg or 100mg of vitamin C twice daily at twelve-hour intervals for a period of three weeks. Stress was produced daily by one hour of complete physical restraint. Rats were euthanized by CO2 narcosis and blood obtained by cardiac puncture. RIA and ELISA were used to measure corticosterone and IgG, respectively. Vitamin C treatment at 200mg/day increased the serum IgG levels and alleviated the physiological response to stress, preventing the morning elevation of blood corticosterone produced by immobilization. Adrenal hypertrophy and thymus involution were also more pronounced under stress without vitamin C. We conclude that vitamin C may reduce the debilitation and illness associated with chronic stress by inhibiting glucocorticoid secretion and thus immunosuppression.
[Adrenal cortex functional activity in pantothenate deficiency and the administration of the vitamin or its derivatives]
Vopr Pitan. 1985 Jul-Aug; (4): 51-4.
Tarasov IuA, Sheibak VM, Moiseenok AG.
Study of the corticosteroid content in the adrenals and blood of rats under pantothenate deficiency has demonstrated a decrease in adrenocortical function. A single administration of pantothenate in a dose of 3.3 mg/kg reduced the influence of hypovitaminosis on the adrenals. The pantothenate derivatives (pantethine, 4′-phosphopantothenate and CoA in particular) injected to intact animals in a single dose equimolar to 3.3 mg/kg calcium pantothenate per kg bw had a marked steroidogenous effect.
Therapeutic action of pantothenic acid.
Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl. 1983; 24: 53-67.
Summary: Pantothenic acid plays a fundamental role in cellular physiology as a constituent of coenzyme A and as such it intervenes in the metabolism of lipids; in addition to that, in the form of active acetate, it is the precursor of cholesterol and of steroid hormones. An adequate vitamin intake is essential for tissue trophism, especially for the epithelial tissue, and for the functioning of organs and systems. The manifestations peculiar to the deficiency particularly involve the adrenal glands and the gonads, with particularly serious hypofunction pictures: lesions of the skin and of the mucosac are also observed with alterations of the cutaneous adnexes and in particular the hair. Moreover, through its intervention in the synthesis reaction of acetylcholine, the vitamin is capable of stimulating the depressed intestinal peristalis and is therefore extensively used for the resolution of postoperative paralytic ileus. Researches carried out in our laboratories in recent years have revealed that in rats, after administration of high amounts of pantothenic acid, there occurs an increase in hepatic and seric cholesterol; urinary 17-ketosteroid elimination is increased as well as the total amount of corticosteroids in adrenal cortex. In the course of recent experiments performed on humans, we could observe that, following administration of high doses of oral panthenol, a considerable increase is recorded in the urinary elimination of 17,21 dihydroxy-20 ketosteroids, an unmistakable sign of a functional activation of the adrenal gland. On the basis of our researches, we deem it advisable to suggest the therapeutic use of this vitamin in the corticosuprarenal hypofunction forms, in the reactivation of the intestinal mobility, and in all those conditions in which the structure of the skin, of the cutaneous adnexes and of the mucosae is altered.