on the Adrenaline
Gland - Cortisol
Behind the formulation Stress stands a
thunderstorm of interacting biochemical reaction, which serve the
energy production and distribution. The body is being prepared to
react fast in stress situations. 1932 DDDr. Hans Seyle*) discovered
these connections for the first time and described them in detail,
since then he is known as the father of stress research.
Oxidative Processes - what does it mean?
Oxidative processes are chemical reaction using oxygen.
During this process single electrons are freed, which are called free
radicals. Let's imagine these little things are flying around
and looking for a new home, but before they have found it, they are
changing other chemical substances and physically damaging the cell
the body it mean the damage to the inside of the cell walls, the
chemical disturbance to other bio chemical processes and the
'garbage' of oxidized, chemical useless substances, these little
One example are oxidized lipoproteins, which are of major
role and impact in the artery calcification process.
The constant elevated adrenaline
- and cortisol
levels during stress supporting oxidation processes. It is
developing a chemical-physical negative balance in the bio network
of the system. Anti oxidative substances, like Vitamin C, E and
Beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, manganese and copper protect the body
from these free radicals. It seems very important to raise the the
supply of above mentioned substances during high stress periods.
Schematic diagram of the
procedures in the body during stressful times
Please look at the picture to the right, to enlarge click on
With every stress demand the autonomous vegetative nervous system is
the first to react. The first principle is being followed:
"Energy production, to withstand the highest demands”. The
gastro-intestinal secretion is stimulated, to obtain more energy out
of the nutrients already in the system and through higher output of adrenaline
more energy is being accumulated, since more oxygen is available. At
the same time the heart and blood vessels engaging a faster
transport of the blood.
If these demands increase or taken longer than 20 minutes the brain
will take the command. A new chain of reactions is taken place,
cortisol is set free. When cortisol is secreted, it causes a
breakdown of muscle protein, leading to release of amino acids (the
"building blocks" of protein) into the bloodstream. These
amino acids are then used by the liver to synthesize glucose for
energy, in a process called gluconeogenesis. This process raises the
blood sugar level so the brain will have more glucose for energy. At
the same time the other tissues of the body decrease their use of
glucose as fuel. Cortisol also leads to the release of so-called
fatty acids, an energy source from fat cells, for use by the
muscles. Taken together, these energy-directing processes prepare
the individual to deal with stressors and ensure that the brain
receives adequate energy sources.
At the same time the brain is communicating with the immune system
through the neuropeptide. Neuropeptide are better known under
the name endorphins. They are not only used for communication among
cells, they also activate opiate receptors. Besides behaving as a
pain regulator, endorphins are also thought to be connected to
physiological processes including euphoric feelings, appetite
modulation, and the release of sex hormones. Prolonged, continuous
exercise contributes to an increased production and release of
endorphins, resulting in a sense of euphoria that has been popularly
labeled “runner’s high.” These facts are known since 1985.
Endorphins are responsible how well our immune system is
So, what is happening if the
body is under chronic stress = constant adrenaline
can directly suppress DHEA [dehycltoepiandrosterone] and
progesterone, both adrenaline
hormones. It can also suppress thyroid activity. This means that all
of the conditions and symptoms associated with low DHEA, low
progesterone or low thyroid can be caused by high cortisol. Cortisol
can mobilize calcium from our bones, and circulate it back into our
blood stream. This means that an excess of cortisol will cause bone
loss and therefore osteoporosis. Research now correlates chronically
elevated levels of cortisol with blood sugar problems, fat
accumulation, compromised immune function, exhaustion, and even
heart disease. Memory loss has also been associated with high
cortisol levels. Continual stress over years can indeed have a
negative impact on your health. New studies demonstrate that
elevated cortisol levels can lead to abdominal weight gain, loss of
verbal declarative memory (words, names, and numbers), insulin
resistance, and Type 2 Diabetes.
Used as a medication, cortisol is given in
auto-immune illnesses to suppress the immune system. It is also used
in leukemia to suppress the excess number of white blood cells.
The following is a list of physical signs of
elevated cortisol. Anyone can experience any of these symptoms from
time to time without having elevated cortisol. However, the more of
them are experienced, the greater the chance that cortisol is
An additional problem of long-term elevations of
cortisol is that the adrenal
gland may wear itself out and no longer be able to
produce even normal levels of cortisol. This is called "adrenal
exhaustion" and is associated with many other health
problems and the last stage before death. Common symptoms include:
fatigue, lack of alertness, anxiety, feeling of being driven, poor
memory, moodiness, dizziness, irritability, low immunity, sugar
cravings, and tendency toward hypoglycemia and diabetes. Ever heard
the term "chronic fatigue syndrome"? Well, it is a result
of adrenaline maladaption and one of the foundations for allergies.
Is your horse suffering from
allergies since it started HS or did it start about the same time?
You might want to look closer "into" its immune system.
But first we are going to have
a deeper look into the 2nd stage of the adrenaline
dysfunction, the "adrenaline
The terms once again, a short definition.
Adrenal (Adrenal Gland,
The adrenal glands sit on top of each kidney and consist of an outer
cortex and an inner medulla. Of the 50 or so hormones the adrenals
make, only cortisone and adrenaline are recognized by most people.
Some of these hormones must be produced to preserve life, while
others help resist stress. Other hormones from the adrenals control
normal energy output (along with the thyroid) and govern the
breakdown of stored energy into quick energy sources. The medulla
produces epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are specifically
designed to help the body deal with stressful situations. The
adrenals control the body's potassium/sodium balance, which is vital
for energy production. They also produce sex hormones in minute
amounts, which is important for later years when the gonads drop or
cease their production.
(Adrenal Exhaustion, Low Adrenal Function)
A condition in which the adrenal gland is compromised in its
production of epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, corticosterone
or aldosterone. Symptoms include primarily fatigue, weakness,
decreased appetite with ensuing weight loss, as well as nausea,
vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, or increased
pigmentation of the skin. Cortical insufficiency (low or no
corticosteroids) produces a more serious condition called Addison’s
Disease, characterized by extreme weakness, low blood pressure,
pigmentation of the skin, shock or even death.
A hormone. Its most important function is to help the body respond
to stress. It also helps regulate your body's use of protein,
carbohydrates and fat; it helps maintain blood pressure and
cardiovascular function; it stems inflammation.
Hans Selye: since publication of his first scientific work, 1936
"Stress" , he wrote more than 1700 abstracts and 39
books about this subject. When he had passed on in 1982 his life
work was known throughout the world in more than 362,000
scientific articles, books, and abstracts. He still is the
most mentioned author in regards to stress.