FAQs Stress

FAQs Stress

Why should I have a stress panel done?

What are the organs involved in the stress reaction?

What are the adrenal glands?

Which are the main stress hormones?

What is the circadian and cortisol rhthym and why is it important in the stress reaction?

How are the adrenal glands related to stress?

What symptoms may be related weakened adrenal glands and stress?

If I have suboptimal adrenal function , what can that influence long term?

How specifically can chronic adrenal fatigue affect my energy?

Can the adrenal hormones affect bone health?

How can the adrenals affect muscle and joint function?

How is immune health affected by stress?

Why are allergies increased during this time?

What happens to sleep quality?

What does stress have to do with skin regeneration and or eczema?

Can stress impact my digestive system?

What about the effects of stress on the thyroid gland?

What about the impact of stress on other hormones?

Why should I have a stress panel done?

These panels are measures for an individual’s ability to adapt to different stressors. With this information a program can be developed to suit your needs.

What are the organs involved in the stress reaction?

  • Nervous System
  • Adrenal Glands
  • Thyroid
  • Digestive System
  • Skin
  • Ovaries/Testes
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Inflammatory Pathways leading to chronic disease such as cardiovascular weakness, diabetes, arthritis.

Take your reviVelife score© to assess which of your organs have been affected….

What are the adrenal glands?

The adrenal glands are one of the organs involved in the stress reaction and are responsible to produce many hormones.

The adrenals are two small glands that sit above the kidneys in the midback region. The adrenals have one of the highest rates of blood ?ow per gram of tissue, and the highest content of Vitamin C per gram of any tissue in the body.

Each adrenal gland is composed of two separate functional entities. The outer zone, or cortex, accounts for 80% to 90% of the gland, and secretes adrenal steroids (Cortisol, DHEA(S) and Aldosterone).

The inner zone, or medulla, comprises 10% to 20% of the gland, and secretes  adrenaline and nor-adrenaline.

Which are the main stress hormones?

Cortisol, DHEA and adrenaline are the three main adrenal stress hormones.

What is the circadian and cortisol rhthym and why is it important in the stress reaction?

Your steroid hormones including cortisol are produced in a circadian rythm, with a rise so that the highest levels are about 1/2 hr after waking and a reduction throughout the day to the lowest levels in the evening preparing you for sleep.   When the body is chronically fatigued and adrenal function is low, it takes longer for the cortisol to rise and for you to feel awake .  This is often when you feel like you may need 2 or 3 cups of coffee to get going.  Coffee however in the long run further depletes the adrenals.  An adrenal restoration program is most important to implement with the direction of your Naturopathic Doctor.

Figure 1- Circadium Rhythym ( Diagnos Tech Lab , 2010)

How are the adrenal glands related to stress?

Abnormal adrenal function can alter the ability of cells to produce energy for activities of daily living. People who have a hard time rising in the morning, or who suffer with a low energy level during the day, often have abnormal adrenal rhythms & poor blood sugar regulation.

What symptoms may be related weakened adrenal glands and stress?

If this gland is not functioning well, one may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chronic stress and related health problems
    Lack of vitality and energy
    Muscle and joint pain
    Hypoglycemia
    Migraine headaches
    Osteoporosis
    Sleep disturbances
    Poor memory
    Alcohol intolerance
    Stress maladaptation
    Low sex drive
    Low body temperature

If I have suboptimal adrenal function , what can that influence long term?


Abnormal adrenal rhythm can influence:
• Energy Production
• Bone Health
• Immune System Health & The Development of Allergies or Sensitivities
• Sleep Quality
• Skin Regeneration and Eczema
• Thyroid Function
• Muscle and Joint Function

How specifically can chronic adrenal fatigue affect my energy?

When the adrenals remain low for a long period of time , the body’s energy production centre’s are depleted. Both your day to day energy and the stores areas of energy have no reserves.  If left long term without proper repair, one may experience chronic fatigue syndrome or ” burn out” which may lead to depression.

Can the adrenal hormones affect bone health?

The adrenal rhythm determines how well we build bone. If the night cortisol level is elevated and the morning level is too high, our bones do not rebuild well, and we are more prone to the osteoporotic process. Stress reduces our body’s ability to maintain strong bones.  In postmenopausal women, the effect of stress worsens due to the female hormone imbalances.

How can the adrenals affect muscle and joint function?

Abnormal adrenal rhythms are known to compromise tissue healing. Reduced tissue repair and increased tissue breakdown can lead to muscle and joint breakdown with chronic pain.  That’s why often when you are tired you are more suseptible to injuries and slow recovery.

How is immune health affected by stress?

Various immune cells (white blood cells) cycle in and out of the spleen and bone marrow for special conditioning, and possible nourishment and instructions. This immune system trafficking follows the cortisol cycle. So, if the cycle is disrupted, especially at night, then the immune system is adversely affected.

Why are allergies increased during this time?

Short and long-term stress is known to suppress the immune response on the surfaces of our body as in lungs, throat, urinary and intestinal tract. With the reduction in the surface antibody (called secretory IgA), the resistance to infection is reduced and allergic reactions are believed to increase.

What happens to sleep quality?

Changes in the cortisol rythm make falling asleep difficult and or create frequent wakings and or early morning awakening all due to rises in cortisol . This impacts that body’s ability to enter REM sleep cycles, i.e. regenerative sleep. Chronic lack of REM sleep can reduce the mental vitality and vigor of a person and induce depression.

What does stress have to do with skin regeneration and or eczema?

Human skin regenerates mostly during the night. With higher night cortisol values, less skin regeneration takes place. So, a normal cortisol rhythm is essential for optimal skin health.   Also when the body is fatigued the parasympathetic nervous system is reduced and the body’s ability to digest is impaired.  When one is not digesting optimally more sensitivities or allergies are created leading to larger molecules of undigested food particles being left that the body recognizes as foreign and potentially being absorbed in Leaky Gut Syndrome aggravating skin conditions like eczema.

Can stress impact my digestive system?

When your nervous system looses it’s balance between the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) ( active states of mental or physical energy) and the parasympathetic nervous system ( PNS) ( where digestion , rest , healing occur) the body doesn’t release enough enzymes to digest.  This leads to further developement of food sensitivities, allergies, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Celiac Disease, Irritable Bowl Disease, Collitis, Chron’s , Heartburn or other digestive dysfunctions.

About 12-18% of the U.S. population suffers from a genetic intolerance to grain. Speci?cally, a high incidence occurs in Celtic, Germanic, and Nordic derivation. The gut becomes in?amed within 30 minutes after consuming the grains and this can lead to an adrenal stress response, increased cortisol and reduced DHEA.

What about the effects of stress on the thyroid gland?

The level of cortisol at the cell level controls thyroid hormone production. Often, hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, changes in hair, skin or nails, weight changes and low body temperature are due to an adrenal maladaptation.

What about the impact of stress on other hormones?

When you are under stress the adrenal gland produces those hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, DHEA which breaks down into Estrogen and Testosterone.  This leads to an imbalance in females called “ Estrogen Dominance”  which is a relatively larger amount of estrogen to progesterone especially in the second half of the cycle luteal phase day 14-28 when progesterone should be higher.  This is significant in health prevention because conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, fibroids migraines may be related to ” Estrogen Dominance”   Hormone Testing and balancing is recommended with your Naturopathic Doctor.

A proper evaluation is vital to managing stress and supporting restoration of health.

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