Many of you may have probably heard about Nutrigenomics, have done a DNA test, or are considering doing it in order to understand their body, and how it performs at the cellular levels. It is also a great tool to understand where body functions are falling short and what room is given for improvement, and what can be done to help the body in other ways.
When it comes to stress, I have explained that DNA can be affected due to mutations force upon it through nutrient deficiencies or food overload (especially of the wrong type. e.g. empty calorie type foods, highly processed, or junk foods), lack of or extreme exercise, sleep depravation and chronic stress due to inflammation (occurring anywhere in the body, the most damaging within the gut), injury or trauma, or emotional stress, in all of its forms, including anxiety, and depression.
Being aware how food can interact with DNA can be amazing, and the new craze about Nutrigenomics in the Nutritional world, is now opening new doors to understand the human body even further.
Lore Marks, specialist in patient-centred functional medicine and chiropractic care, New York, explains: “Nutrients exhibit powerful effects on our genes. The right nutrients help, the wrong ones hurt! Foods exhibit profound effects on our genes and physiology. Immuno-competence vs. immune dysregulation. Epigenetics encompasses dietary, environmental and emotion experiences that influence genetic expression.”
This applies to Adrenals and their function in the very same way, especially during phases of extreme and chronic stress.
Reading “The Chronic Stress Cascade” article within this newsletter, as well as “The stress and Fatigue” and “Cognitive impairment, Metabolic syndrome and Stress”, will make this article really easy to understand and follow.
“In humans, any stressor good or bad stimulates the Hippocampus to activate the hypothalamus to release Corticotropic Releasing Factor (CRF), which travels through the Hypophyseal portal system to the pituitary stimulating the Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH). ACTH then travels through the systemic circulation to the adrenal cortex, where it releases the glucocorticoid Cortisol.” Adds Lore Marks, making a clear point: “It is estimated that 75–90% of all visits to primary care physicians, are for stress related problems. Unmanaged reaction to stress have been shown to be greater risk factors for cancer and heart disease than cigarette smoking or eating high cholesterol foods! An incalculable amount of human morbidity and perhaps mortality exists due to the failure of physicians to understand and effectively treat “the chronic stress response”. Stress can come from how we perceive and deal with the world around us, as well as how healthy our internal organs function. Dealing with financial woes, marital issues, stress at work, guilt, worry frustration, anxiety, depression are all contributing factors. Organ dysfunction such as GI [gastrointestinal] disturbances, microbial overgrowth, cardiac disease, chronic musculoskeletal pain, injury, etc. collectively these issues constitute our stereo load. In the presence of stressors, the body almost immediately attempts to increase Cortisol levels […]; however, elevated Cortisol levels for extended periods negatively affect virtually every aspect of physiology. For example: it becomes more difficult to maintain proper blood sugar levels; to slow down for rest, recovery and repair; to get good quality sleep; to balance hormones; to maintain mucosal immune integrity; to maintain bone mass; to produce effectively regulate inflammatory processes; or to detoxify the body. Without proper intervention, continued high adrenal stimulation can lead to adrenal exhaustion and lowered Cortisol levels. Eventually adrenal or cardiac failure can occur.”
Marks echoes what researchers call today the “Pregnenolone Steal” or “Cortisol Escape”, explaining in very simple terms: “Cortisol DHEA is the counter-regulatory hormone to Cortisol. When the body is in Chronic Stress response, Pregnenolone, the precursor to all the rest of the steroidal hormones, is diverted to Cortisol-Cortisone. This is to the detriment of all other steroidal hormones; i.e. Progesterone, Aldosterone, DHEA and its metabolites; the sex hormones, Oestrogens and Testosterone. As Pregnenolone is diverted to Cortisol-cortisone, DHEA depletion begins.”
DHEA levels also decreased naturally with ageing, augmenting predispositions of many conditions, including chronic illnesses, chronic fatigue, obesity, low libido, insomnia, and depression, in constantly stressed, or anxious individuals.
Registered Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Iridologist, Lecturer, NLP practitioner and Personal Performance Coach.