If you missed Part I “Adrenal Fatigue is NOT Real?” click here.
If It’s NOT Adrenals, What Is It?
Welcome. Today, we get into part two, tied into what we were discussing first last week, that, typically, people, including yourself, do not have adrenal fatigue. Really it becomes something much deeper than this. Now, if you did not see last week’s video, I would suggest scrolling down below the video, and I will have a link to last week’s video and text version, so you can first learn about the reality of adrenal fatigue or not.
Your HPA Axis
Once you’ve got this information, I want to go a little bit deeper to help you understand what’s really going on when you think you have adrenal fatigue. It’s really tied into a combination of your brain, your hypothalamus, your pituitary and the adrenals. Look in this picture right here, follow along with this. The first thing that happens as any reaction or restate to stress is it’s going to stimulate the production of either epinephrin or norepinephrine in your brain.
Now, from there, as you follow the arrow from the brain, it goes to the hypothalamus. Now the hypothalamus decodes what the epinephrine and norepinephrine is communicating. And then, that hypothalamus will then produce something called corticotropin-releasing hormone, or we’ll just use the acronym CR for short. And then, what happens is the CR that’s produced in your hypothalamus, following that arrow along, it travels to the anterior pituitary.
Now, from there, this anterior pituitary will actually decode what the CR is saying, that communication, and it will actually create its own hormone called adrenocorticotropin hormone or ACTH, which is the acronym for that. Now, what’s interesting, before I give you the full story about what ACTH does, I want you to also understand that your anterior pituitary also produces something called human growth hormone, that while you don’t need the same amount of that as when you were a developing child, you still need regular production of human growth hormone for general maintenance and repair of your body. Back to the ACTH. Now, as you follow the arrows on this picture, you’ll recognize that the ACTH will then be the hormonal response to actually convert your stored cortisol in your body into free and active cortisol.
Just remember, your adrenals are producing cortisol on a regular daily basis, and it’s storing in the body for a fight or flight response. So then, literally, in the millisecond that you recognize danger, your body will actually use this ACTH to convert your stored cortisol into free and active cortisol. This is important, and the human body has been designed like this for literally, basically, forever, as far back as we can actually record what’s going on in the body. The recognition is tied into, let’s say, the saber-toothed tiger that’s going to attack you. As soon as you would recognize this potential attack, this whole system would be initiated, and, literally, within that millisecond, as I mentioned, you would actually take that free cortisol from the stored cortisol in your body, and that would give you that superhuman ability to run away from that potential danger or to fight through that danger, in essence, to save your life.
Now, thankfully, nowadays, where we don’t have to worry about being attacked by a saber-tooth tiger. The reality is, is that most people aren’t dealing with true life or death situations. The challenge, though, is how our mind works, is that our mind can actually create, based on perception, this same life or death situation. Your stressor, while it might not be the attack of the saber-tooth tiger, it could be traffic on the interstate that you weren’t prepared for, or running late for a meeting, or a bill in the mail that you don’t have money to pay for. It could be an argument with a spouse, a coworker, any myriad of many different things in your life that can create these stressors.
What’s happening is people are constantly converting this cortisol from the stored cortisol and the free and active cortisol on a regular, daily basis, and that system isn’t designed for this. Eventually, the system fails, and when the system fails, now you start to have these deficiencies in hormones. Not just cortisol, but hormones across the board, whether we talk about what are known as female or male hormones or the stress response hormones, and the list just goes on from there. When we deplete this HPA access, that’s when you start to feel symptoms. That’s when you start to recognize your sleep isn’t what it used to be, or maybe some weight gain around the midsection, or maybe you’re a little fatigued, or maybe you’re recognizing if they’ve got this regular stiffness or aches or pains in the body. The good thing, though, is that you can actually do something to shift what’s going on with your HPA access.
What I’m going to do next week is now that you understand the HPA access and how this really works, and that it’s really not adrenal fatigue, next week we’re going to get into how this impacts your body on a holistic level. To recognize whatever symptoms that you might be dealing with today are directly and substantially impacted by deficiencies in this HPE access. Stay tuned until next week when you learn the impact this has on your body, and until then have an amazing week.
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