Discover the list of main groups of stress hormones. Adrenaline and cortisol are stress hormone. Recognize your own responses to stress and develop skills to deal with it well.
What are the Hormones of Stress
Adrenaline and Cortisol
Our physical reactions to stress are determined by our biological history and the need to respond to sudden dangers that threatened us when we were still hunters and gatherers. In this situation, the response to danger was ‘fight or flight’. Our bodies still respond in this way, releasing the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
Stress Hormone 1: Adrenaline
The release of adrenaline
The release of adrenaline causes rapid changes to your blood flow and increases your breathing and heart rate, to get you ready to defend yourself (fight) or to run away (flight). You become pale, sweat more and your mouth becomes dry.
Your body responds in this way to all types of stress as if it were a physical threat. You may merely be having an argument with someone, but your body may react as though you were facing a wolf. If the threat is physical, you use the effects of the adrenaline appropriately – to fight or to run, and when the danger is passed your body recovers. But if the stress is emotional, the effects of adrenaline subside more slowly, and you may go on feeling agitated for a long time. If the causes of stress are long-term, you may always be tensed up to deal with them and never relaxed. This is very bad for both your physical and your mental health.
Stress Hormone 2: Cortisol
Cortisol is in your body all the time
The other stress hormone, cortisol, is present in your body all the time, but levels increase in response to danger and stress. In the short-term, its effects are positive, to help you deal with an immediate crisis, but long-term stress means that cortisol builds up and creates a number of stress related health problems.
Short-term positive effects:
• a quick burst of energy
• decreased sensitivity to pain
• increase in immunity
• heightened memory.
Long-term negative effects:
• imbalances of blood sugar
• increase in abdominal fat storage
• suppressed thyroid activity
• decreased bone density
• decreased muscle mass
• high blood pressure
• lowered immunity
• less able to think clearly.
People’s tolerance of stress varies. A situation that is intolerable to one person may be stimulating to another. What you feel is determined not just by events and changes in the outside world, but how you perceive and respond to them.
The important point is that you can learn to recognize your own responses to stress and develop skills to deal with it well.
Hormones to Adapt your Body to Stress
Following are the four main groups of hormones manufactured by the adrenal glands (Adrenal Hormones)
These control the balance of electrolytes in your body. Electrolyte balance controls nerve function, muscle function, transport of nutrients into every cell of your body (and waste products out), and even the chemical processes of metabolism.
These hormones regulate your blood sugar, control the maintenance, repair, and regeneration of every cell of your body, regulate your immune system, and act as antiinflammatory agents (control inflammation). The primary glucocorticoid is cortisol.
The adrenal glands account for about 15% of a male’s testosterone; for females, it is significantly higher. Testosterone increases muscle mass, bone density, rate of metabolism, libido, and blood count. Though the amount of estrogens produced by the adrenal glands is relatively small, it is enough to control the symptoms of menopause and prevent osteoporosis.
Adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) stimulate the nervous system and trigger the fight-or-flight response (sympathetic nervous system). The fight-or-flight response is characterized by increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased nerve and muscle tone (resulting in nervousness and muscle spasms), pupil dilation, and cold, clammy skin (especially of hands and feet).
Consequences of Stress Hormone
The Results of Stress on Body Function Chronic stress
affects not only the overall levels of adrenal hormones, it also alters the circadian rhythm of hormones released throughout the day. The integration of this day/night cycle of hormones is profoundly important to your health. Hormones work in cycles and in rhythm with one another. Many of the hormones in your body work in antagonistic ways and must be released at different times to be effective.
People who are able to reset their circadian rhythms
to match their work/sleep cycle rather than the day/night cycle can remain healthy. Many don’t, and their health suffers. Cortisol
, the adrenal hormone most profoundly influenced by stress, is normally released in a cycle, with the highest value being in the morning and lowest at night. When the cortisol rhythm is disrupted, energy won’t be available to you when you need it during the day. And when you’re asleep at night, your body won’t be repairing itself. Low cortisol
allows your body to repair and regenerate itself while you’re asleep. If cortisol remains high, you may be able to sleep, but your body doesn’t recharge or rebuild. If that pattern continues, things will eventually start to break down.
Guidelines for Restoring Hormonal Function
• Sleep eight (or more) hours a night. • Use recreation, play, and exercise regularly. • Take some time out for relaxation (reading?). • Have work that you enjoy, if at all possible
Balance the autonomic nervous system
• May require chiropractic care, cranio-sacral therapy, or acupuncture • Yoga, tai chi, chi gong, and general exercise are useful • Full and natural breathing is essential • Meditation, contemplation and prayer Balance your blood sugar • Insulin Resistance Diet (decrease carbohydrate intake) • Balance B complex deficiency (must be food based forms) • Eat more unrefined foods and exercise
• Increase intake of raw fruits and vegetables • Take an antioxidant formula
• Cigarettes, coffee, sodas, candy, sweets in general.
• Alcohol, recreational drugs (especially marijuana), and over-the-counter and prescription medications, whenever possible
• Zinc decreases cortisol. Dose three times a day, as the cortisol lowering effect lasts approx. 8 hrs
• Avoid known food allergens • Use HEPA-rated air purifiers • Frequently clean ductwork and use electrostatic filters • Use dust mite –proof bedding • Avoid carpeting when possible • Avoid mold
• Avoid hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, flavorings, colorings, preservatives, solvents, air pollution, etc.
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