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The Impact Of Cortisol & Metabolic Dysfunction

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Introduction

Everybody deals withĀ stressĀ at some point in their lives. Whether it be a job interview, a huge deadline, a project, or even a test, stress is there to keep the body functioning in each scenario that the body is going through. Stress can help regulate the body’sĀ immune systemĀ and helpĀ metabolize homeostasisĀ as the body increases its energy throughout the day. When dealing withĀ chronic stressĀ can cause metabolic dysfunction in the body like gut disorders, inflammation, and an increase in blood glucose levels. Chronic stress can also affect a person’s mood and health, eating habits, and sleep quality. Today’s article will look at if stress is a good thing or a bad thing, how it affects the body, and the effects of what chronic stress does to the body. Refer patients to certified, skilled providers specializing in gut treatments for individuals that suffer from autonomic neuropathy. We guide our patients by referring to our associated medical providers based on their examination when it’s appropriate. We find that education is critical for asking insightful questions to our providers. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only.Ā Disclaimer

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Can my insurance cover it? Yes, it may.Ā If you are uncertain, here is the link to all the insurance providers we cover. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Dr. Jimenez at 915-850-0900

Is Having Stress Good Or Bad?

 

Do you feel anxious all the time? How about feeling headaches that are constantly being a nuisance? Feeling overwhelmed and losing focus or motivation? All these signs are stressful situations that a person is going through.Ā Research studies have definedĀ stress or cortisol as the body’s hormone that provides a variety of effects on different functions in each system. Cortisol is the primary glucocorticoid that is from the adrenal cortex. At the same time, the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis helps regulates the production and secretion of this hormone to the rest of the body. Now cortisol can be beneficial and harmful to the body, depending on the situation a person is in.Ā Additional research studies have mentionedĀ that cortisol begins and affects the brain and the rest of the body as stress in its acute form can cause the body to adapt and survive. The acute responses from cortisol allow neural, cardiovascular, immune, and metabolic function in the body.Ā 

 

How Does It Affect The Body’s Metabolism?

Now cortisol affects the body’s metabolism when controlled in a slow, steady sleep cycle that decreases corticotropinā€releasing hormone (CRH) and increases growth hormone (GH).Ā Research studies have shownĀ that when the adrenal glands secrete cortisol, it starts to have a complex interaction with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the nervous and endocrine systems. This causes the adrenal and thyroid function in the body to be closely linked while under the control of the hypothalamus and tropic hormones. The thyroid competes with the adrenal organs for tyrosine.Ā Research studies have foundĀ that tyrosine is used to produce cortisol under stress while preventing cognitive function decline that is responsive to physical stress. However, when the body can not produce enough tyrosine, it can cause hypothyroidism and cause the cortisol hormone to become chronic.


An Overview About Stress-Video

Have you experienced headaches that randomly show up out of nowhere? Have you constantly gained weight or lost weight? Do you feel anxious or stressed out always that it is affecting your sleep? These are all signs and symptoms of your cortisol levels turning into their chronic state. The video above shows what stress does to your body and how it can cause unwanted symptoms. When there is chronic stress in the body, the HPA axis (neuroā€endocrine) is imbalanced due to the stressā€mediated activators involved in autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD). When there is chronic stress in the body, it can cause excessive production of inflammatory compounds in the body can generate IR. The inflammatory substances can damage or inactivate insulin receptors leading to insulin resistance. This then contributes to the breakdown of one or more factors needed to complete the glucose transport process in the body.


The Effects Of Chronic Cortisol In The Body

 

When there is chronic stress in the body and has not been treated or reduced right away, it can lead to something known as allostatic load. Allostatic load is defined as wear and tear of the body and brain due to chronic overactivity or inactivity of the body systems typically involved in environmental challenges and adaptation.Ā Research studies have shownĀ that allostatic load causes excess secretion of hormones like cortisol and catecholamine to respond to chronic stressors affecting the body. This causes the HPA axis to do one of two things: being overworked or failing to shut off after stressful events causing sleep disturbances. Other issues that chronic stress does to the body can include:

  • Increased insulin secretion and fat deposition
  • Altered immune function
  • Hypothyroidism (adrenal exhaustion)
  • Sodium and water retention
  • Loss of REM sleep
  • Mental and Emotional instability
  • Increase in cardiovascular risk factors

These symptoms cause the body to become dysfunctional, andĀ research studies have pointed outĀ that various stressors can damage the body. This can make it extremely difficult for a person to cope with stress and alleviate it.

Conclusion

Overall, stress or cortisol is a hormone the body needs to function correctly. Chronic stress in the body from various stressors can cause many metabolic dysfunctions like hypothyroidism, weight gain, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome, to name a few. Chronic stress can also cause sleep disorders since the HPA axis is wired up and can seem to calm down the slightest. When people start to find ways of dealing with these various stressors, they can reduce their stress levels back to normal and be stress-free.

 

References

Jones, Carol, and Christopher Gwenin. ā€œCortisol Level Dysregulation and Its Prevalence-Is It Nature’s Alarm Clock?ā€ Physiological Reports, John Wiley and Sons Inc., Jan. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7749606/.

McEwen, Bruce S. ā€œCentral Effects of Stress Hormones in Health and Disease: Understanding the Protective and Damaging Effects of Stress and Stress Mediators.ā€ European Journal of Pharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 Apr. 2008, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2474765/.

McEwen, Bruce S. ā€œStressed or Stressed out: What Is the Difference?ā€ Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience : JPN, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1197275/.

Rodriquez, Erik J, et al. ā€œAllostatic Load: Importance, Markers, and Score Determination in Minority and Disparity Populations.ā€ Journal of Urban Health : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, Springer US, Mar. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6430278/.

Thau, Lauren, et al. ā€œPhysiology, Cortisol – Statpearls – NCBI Bookshelf.ā€ In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 6 Sept. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538239/.

Young, Simon N. ā€œL-Tyrosine to Alleviate the Effects of Stress?ā€ Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience : JPN, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1863555/.

Disclaimer

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "The Impact Of Cortisol & Metabolic Dysfunction" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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