The stress is response is designed to protect the body from harm and ensure survival so even though the stressor may be from a car accident or death in the family – the body will react to the stress via the HPA axis stress response system.
A stressor, internal or external, stimulates the “fight or flight” response via the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which signals the adrenal medulla to secret catecholamine neurotransmitters (epinephrine and norepinephrine) into the bloodstream. These catecholamines, also knowns as adrenaline, are our body’s own innate emergency response mechanism to help us react to danger and escape quickly.
The body will actually conserve energy from other activities not involved in the emergency response system to help us survive- and use all resources to get us out of the danger. The result is an increase in heart rate, relaxed airways, increased respiratory rate to help us get more oxygen to the heart, brain and muscles. The blood flow is redirected from the digestion system and redirected to the heart and skeletal muscles – resulting in slowed digestive processes. In order to generate quick energy to “flight or fight” the threat at hand, the hormone insulin is inhibited, and liver is stimulated to create more glucose (stored glycogen converts into glucose in the liver) into the bloodstream. This is if SHORT TERM stress…but what happens if this stress is constant or prolonged? Then the HPA Axis is activated.
We use the BH205A to measure the communication of the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland to the adrenal glands to respond to stress. Acute stress creates an immediate response to the HPA Axis but if the signals progress to chronic activation then we are depleting our adaptative reserve, increasing HPA Axis dysfunction and cortisol dysregulation. If acute stress becomes constant or chronic then cortisol is secreted via the HPA Axis to enhance epinephrine and make the response longer.
The hypothalamus sends signal to the pituitary via CRH to stimulate the pituitary gland. Then the pituitary sends another hormone signal, ACTH, to tell the adrenal glands-adrenal cortex to release stress hormones as cortisol and aldosterone. This activation promotes long lasting body responses to stressors. The adrenal gland is actually four sections, but the hormone cortisol is released from the zona fasciculata in the adrenal cortex. The HPA Axis modulates the heavily regulated stress responses system including the adrenal glands. Cortisol exchanges epinephrine/adrenalin activity to help it last longer (longer stress response/chronic stress) and provokes gluconeogenesis (breakdown of muscle via protein to make glucose). Cortisol also depresses the immune system response by suppressing white blood cell activity and SIgA. The hormone aldosterone is found in the zona glumerulosa ad causes the kidneys to retain sodium so blood pressure will rise to ensure blood is delivered to the essential organs needed in the stress response.
Various hormones are released from the Hypothalamus – pituitary glands to help regulate homeostasis –especially in the endocrine system. Acute stress that is left elevated then the stress leads to the chronic stress cascade or what we find as FDN practitioners “METABOLIC CHAOS”.
The hypothalamus in the master gland as a thermostat- to link the nervous and endocrine systems together. During any stress response, internal and external stressors, the HPA axis will be activated sending signals to the adrenal glands but the H-P axis also sends signals to the thyroid, gonads and other glands. Adrenal glands release stress hormones as cortisol and adrenalin.
We have external stressors and internal hidden stressors that can accumulate and contribute to HPA axis dysfunction which leads to “METABOLIC CHAOS” for an individual. “Stress is any influence, internal or externa, that causes or leads to malfunction” – Reed Davis.
What are the sources of chronic stress that contributes to METABOLIC CHAOS?
Acute stress is essential, healthy and natural. We want the body to be able to respond quickly to an emergency or threat but when stress is prolonged, then the HPA Axis continues to be stimulated. We are designed to deal with stress on a constant basis (as a leaky faucet), then return to “normal” for an extended time, recover, reset and repair, until the next acute stressor (threat or emergency) comes along. Acute stress is healthy for us and we need to have the ability to rebound and recover quickly from a quick “dose” of stress.
Chronic stress overloads and overstimulates the HPA Axis leading to weakness and imbalances. If we continue to experience chronic constant stress- we over stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) “fight or flight” and suppress the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) “rest, repair and digest” resulting in sympathetic dominance. The result of chronic stress (leaky faucet) leads to dysfunction and chaos as with our digestion, repair, metabolic and hormone balance. Our hormones, DHEA, Growth Hormone, Testosterone, and Estrogen become suppressed – contributing to hidden stressors and METABOLIC CHAOS! Chronic stress leads to a widespread dysfunction of organ systems including the cardiovascular, respiratory, hepatic and immune system!
Chronic stress impacts the WHOLE you from the inside out. Trust me… the struggle is real, and I have lived through it and now a survivor of the Chronic Stress Disease- METABOLIC CHAOS!
Three external stressors: as mental and emotional stress can stimulate the SNS, cause vasoconstriction and raise the blood pressure. If the stress enhancing event will actually create harm or not, the physiological changes that occur during the stress response are the same: sensory information inputs and interpretation in the brain then signals the hypothalamus to initiates the stress response. We could learn how to let go of a perception that an event or experience is a stressor and change our mindset- let it go!
- Physical stress–
- Car accident or bike crash can impact nerves, organs and cells leading to dysfunction.
- Excessive exercise or lack of exercise
- Extreme exposure to cold or heat
- Overweight or underweight
- Poor posture and spinal alignment
2. Mental and Emotional factor is perceived as a stressor- is based on the personality, life experiences, memory, emotion and other factors. The loss of a family member or illness; lack of purpose, bad attitude and negative outlook in life. Rushing to from the time they wake up until they go to bed at night. Technological stress as working on a computer that doesn’t want to keep up with my pace.
3. cold exposure: extreme exposure to cold temperatures for an extended period of time
Three internal stressors: chronic stress related dysfunction result, as well as contribute, to METABOLIC CHAOS. The test results will identify hidden chemical and biochemical stressors as below. The stressor activates the hypothalamus directly when we experience a chemical/biochemical stressor which then initiate the stress response. In order to reduce or eliminate these chemical or biochemical stressors, we run the five basic labs to identify the HIDDEN stressors and dysfunctions then we work on creating the right food plan for the client’s metabolic type to balance blood sugar, optimize sleep, implement the right type of exercise, reduce stressors and supplement as needed for the individual client.
Sources of hidden chemical and biochemical internal stressors include:
- Bacteria, Fungi, Parasites – could be related to chronic stress lower stomach acid, maldigestion and lack of immune system.
- Electromagnetic fields: EMF’s physical field produced by electrically charged objects extending indefinitely throughout space. We can turn off our Wi-Fi or at least turn off or move EMF productions out of the bedroom. Turn phone and devices off or in airplane mode. Make your house a “dumb” house instead of a “smart house” to reduce EMF exposure.
- Dietary stress- eating the wrong diet as the body will try to adapt and create stress by making up imbalances or the body will create energy from wrong fuel mixtures. Also, the body will create inflammation if we eat the wrong foods as the body will break down the food in the small intestine creating dysbiosis and malabsorption, impaired immunity and leading to leaky gut. We help avoid this stress by following the Metabolic Typing diet and food sensitivity test to help create the right food plan for the individual that doesn’t create a stress.
- Consuming foods with pesticides, herbicides, and GMO that create stress- chemical stressors
- Prescription medication, antibiotics and over the counter medications– chemical stressors
HIDDEN Stressors, as we work as health detectives to help solve the metabolic chaos. Once identify external stressors from our client meetings and evaluating paperwork, we can discuss solutions how to reduce external stressors and identify sources of stress as toxic energy robbers- work, people, family, financial, environment, food. Coaching tips on stress
Chronic stress impacts to the function of our HPA Axis and leads to creating dysfunction in all of our body systems including:
- innate immunity- intelligence in each cell that you are born with; prolonged stress can have opposing effects on inflammation – causing an imbalance of the SNS and HPA Axis then immune system and then into immune dysfunction (pro-inflammatory cytokines)
- adapt immunity- body learns how to be immune to certain things as the measles. Stress causes an increase in humoral immunity (B cells) and a decrease in cell-mediated immunity (T cells)
- blood glucose and lipids as a result of body breaking down stores of glucose, lipids and proteins into their components then released into the blood. High blood glucose levels – contribute to “Metabolic Chaos”
We need to focus on reducing stress in order to optimize health and improve the aging process. Chronic stress impacts our whole health including our impacting our innate immunity and adapt immunity …raising the chance of new infections with lowered immunity, increases risk for autoimmune disease, as well as risk for cancer and viruses!
Cortisol breaks the body down… it is catabolic. DHEA builds the body up as it is anabolic. We need to have cortisol and DHEA more in balance as DHEA helps us tackle stressful situations and counters some of the effects of cortisol especially when stress shifts from acute stress to chronic stress.
DHEA helps people thrive under stress and it also reduces the risk of anxiety, depression, neurodegeneration and other diseases. DHEA helps our brain grow, speeds up wound repair and enhances our immune function – which is decreased when cortisol is elevated and DHEA is too low! Stress is not a bad thing. Some stress is good for us but not too much… the “goldilocks effect”.
Another reason to avoid chronic stress… as it may impact your ability to burn fat as …
- Cortisol stimulates the liver to increase blood glucose levels which causes AGE formation (sticky cells), oxidative stress and inflammation. Is longevity a priority to you?
- Cortisol also impacts our ability to gain muscle as it inhibits protein synthesis and also increases protein breakdown in skeletal muscle.
- Cortisol impacts thyroid function resulting in a decrease in metabolic rate and calorie burn rate
- Low cortisol (“exhaustion phase”) can cause chronic fatigue symptoms as well as muscle weakness, irritability, depression and increased pain perception.
- Low cortisol reduces our willpower to exercise, slower recovery from exercise sessions and may lead to seeking comfort foods to combat moods
- Low cortisol may cause to excessive blood sugar swings, insulin resistance, low testosterone and inflammation.
Now who wants to manage their stressors???
Strategies to reduce stress start with changing our mindset and perception of life experiences. If we can learn a new point of view of a situation then take a moment to reflect what we have learned in an experience or situation. If we could look at a situation as an opportunity to learn something new, gain a new experience or benefit rather than a negative or weakness. Our mindset of mental and emotional stress is key… we should strive to maintain positive vibes, a positive attitude and a positive outlook.
Learning a new point of view can help you take a negative emotion into a positive emotion filled with energy and enthusiasm. If we stop and take a self-assessment of ourselves by creating awareness of our breathing, reactions, body response, and more stress responses then we can calm ourselves down and create a positive growing experience instead. We can make a past behavior that created chronic stress and allow it to be an acute stress- a quick dose of stress then recover. If we acknowledge our instinctive response to a specific source of stress, then instead welcome the stress into your mind/body/spirit and then make use of the energy to respond to that stressful situation into a positive response.
Stress can cause a heightened response by the nervous system, but we can reduce the harmful effects of stress by taking steps to reduce tension and pressure off our nerves created from various types of trauma that get stored in our body for years. Bike crashes, falls, concussions, auto accidents and more stress related problems can create trauma in the body and damage our nerves leading to a hidden source of chronic stress.
Relaxation techniques include writing in a journal, meditation, breathing exercises and taking time to be mindful- gratitude. Acupuncture, reflexology, chiropractic care, or massage is a great method to relax and help shift into the parasympathetic nervous systems as well as getting treatment from a chiropractor. Relaxation techniques by doing box breathing, nasal breathing, humming, or even gargling, can help strengthen the vagal nerve- activating the parasympathetic nervous system and produce a relaxation response. Measuring our heart rate variability with a heart rate strap while focusing on deep, slow, nasal breathing can help improve the relaxation response and our resiliency to stress to help heal, repair and restore our body from the inside out. Just take a moment to stop, pause, reset and reboot the system by just doing nothing but breathing, being quiet and staying still.
The internal stressors can be improved with the DRESS For Health Success protocol along with the lab tests and clinical correlation for creating the recommended protocol with supplements to create healing opportunities. Eating the right diet for your type is a key starting point to reduce internal stress to reduce digestive issues and blood sugar dysregulation. By eating organic and non-GMO foods as much as possible to avoid herbicides and pesticides is beneficial as well as drinking filtered water to avoid toxins. We can replace our toxic personal care products and cleaning products with natural, chemical-free products. There are many affordable options now available for toxic/chemical-free products for personal use and household products. Clients can check www.ewg.org to learn more about the review of their favorite products to create awareness of the level of toxins/chemicals they are putting in their house and on/in their body.
Labs testing to identify the HIDDEN stressors and dysfunctions include:
- Biohealth 205: hormone imbalance
- Biohealth 101: impaired digestion, oxidative stress, liver and detoxification dysfunction
- Biohealth 110: impaired digestive and immune function
- Biohealth 401H: dysbiosis and pathogens
- MRT or Great Plains: IgG panel (food sensitivities
- Plus, Metabolic Typing Diet test to determine if slow or fast oxidizer
Often people hold a traumatic experience to themselves, even from childhood, and hold the stressor in their body. Finding an expert that can help the client talk about the trauma and unload their stuffed emotions may be beneficial healing for hidden stressors. We can take time for ourselves to “put the oxygen mask on first” and take time out to breathing and be more mindful.