The Adrenal Glands and Stress

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,388
    Nutrition and Expert Elizabeth Blumberg discuss the adrenal glands and stress.

    Elizabeth Blumberg: Hi I am Elizabeth Blumberg and I am talking to you today about understanding the connection between nutrition and stress. Now, I'd like to give you a better understanding of how the Adrenal gland works. The Adrenal gland is your stress coping gland and it's responsible for a wide variety of functions. First, it's very helpful in regulating the blood sugar levels, it supports metabolic function and of course it helps in terms of stress management. Cortisol is the hormone that's secreted by the Adrenal glands during the stress response. So I'd like to take you through an understanding of how stress is actually perceived by the brain. When the stressful event occurs, the brain gets the signal and it's received by the Hypothalamus, which then send its signal through your Pituitary and finally the Adrenal gland receives the message that it's being under attack. From there, Cortisol is then stimulated into the blood stream which sense a flood of fat and sugar into the body. Now this fat and sugar is going to be used for the quick energy that the body needs to fight or flight. Now it's very important here that we understand the difference between the way in which our bodies respond to stress, in modern daytimes versus in what we can call prehistoric times. So let's take a look back at how one would have responded when they were in fact threatened by a dangerous predator. Let's say we have a cave man who's being chased by a dinosaur. While his body receives the stress response and he runs for his life. Well, the fat and the sugar that's flooded into his blood stream, gives him that quick energy that he needs to outrun the danger. Now, modern day society or primitive brain does not know the difference between being chased by a dinosaur or just being told by your boss that you have a deadline to meet in 24 hours. So, this end result is still the same. Sugar and fat are flooded into the bloodstream, in order for the body to have quick energy to fight off the danger. The problem is, is that most of the time, we don't have the physical outlet to be able to actually burn through that extra sugar and fat. So when it isn't happening, we end up storing that sugar and fat, especially around our midsection which is the dangerous, most dangerous place to store fat because that surrounds our organs and puts it at risk for Diabetes and heart disease. Let's take a closer look how you might experience stress on a daily basis. If we think about, perhaps you wake up in the morning, you didn't have a good night sleep, or your energy levels are low. Typically, you're going to find some way of picking your energy levels up. So, most of the time, people go for caffeine, sugar, or even some kind of a processed junk food because it gives you that quick burst of energy. Now, even though it has an effect to the short term in making you feel better, in the long term, these foods, while we know these are not nutritious, actually deplete our bodies of essential nutrients we need such as B vitamins and vitamin C that are required for managing our stress levels. Ultimately, the high of the sugar wears off or the caffeine and we end up feeling cranky, tired, lethargic or even have that sort of fuzzy brain feeling, that brain fog. From here, the vicious, like will continue. We'll find ourselves somewhere around 3 O'clock or 4 O'clock in the afternoon, probably looking for a soda or a candy bar. If any of these sounds familiar to you then it's very possible that your body is responding to stress and unfortunately might end up leading to weight gain and slowing down of your metabolism. Now that you have a better understanding of the science behind stress and the stress response, I want to help you better understand the science and symptoms that you need to be able to recognize in order to actually make a change and make a difference in your life style, the health habits,. Next we will be discussing how to recognize these science and symptoms.