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Support Your Body’s Natural Way To Combat Life’s Stresses With HPAdapt
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Support Your Body’s Natural Way To Combat Life’s Stresses With HPAdapt

Most of us have heard that stress can cause a wide range of negative effects on the body, but do we really realize just how much damage chronic stress can cause?

Stress and its crippling effects are becoming so common that between 60-80% of all primary care visits are now stress related.

Ever felt exhausted (even with ample sleep)? Notice more instances of brain fog? Find yourself getting sick more often?

These are only a few of the effects of chronic stress.

But, once you begin to notice these things, chances are this means your body’s built-in response to stress is already hindered.

And sure, sometimes we can rearrange priorities, avoid stressors altogether, or make scheduling changes in an attempt to mitigate stress, but these may only serve as external bandaids on an internal problem.

Your body’s response to stress is controlled through an internally interconnected web of sorts, known as the HPA axis.

Here we’ll learn exactly what that is, what it entails, what HPA axis dysfunction looks like, and how you can support your body’s natural stress response system. 

What Is The HPA Axis And How Does It Work?

HPA stands for hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal.

The HPA axis refers to the interaction of these three components, which in cooperation help the body to remain in a state of balance and appropriately respond to stress.

First, let’s examine the hypothalamus.

This gland is located in the brain, and its job is to produce hormones responsible for regulating body temperature, heart rate, hunger, sleep, and mood.

But, it also helps your body release hormones from the pituitary gland.

This gland, located in the base of the brain, is small but mighty as it helps to control the functioning of many other endocrine glands.

The main job of the pituitary gland, however, is to produce hormones that regulate growth, metabolism, and reproduction.

And, the last component of the HPA axis is the adrenal cortex, or the outer part of your adrenal gland. It produces hormones like cortisol and aldosterone, as well as some of the building blocks for other crucial hormones such as estrogen.

Essentially, this axis of hormone glands works as a phone tree. Once alerted, the three communicate to one another, setting in motion a chain of actions in response to stress.

Here’s a description of what this looks like inside your body:

When you encounter stressful situations, your sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear.

First, hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine are released which can cause physical reactions, such as perspiration or an increase in your heart rate.

Then, your HPA axis is triggered, which prompts the release of another hormone known as CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone) into your bloodstream.

And, this hormone in particular, CRH, is tasked with regulating the HPA axis.

CRH sends signals to the pituitary gland to release a hormone that targets the adrenal glands, which then produce hormones such as cortisol to regulate your peripheral tissues (such as your skin, lungs, and gut) as they respond to stress.
So then, what does this look like on the outside? When encountering stress:
  • You experience a heightened awareness of your surroundings.
  • Your cognitive abilities sharpen.
  • Your respiratory rate increases.
  • Eating becomes less important.
  • Your body’s digestive processes slow down.
  • You are less fertile.
For our ancestors, this response was perfect, allowing their body’s to tackle minor stressors intermittently, even major stressors sporadically. 

Think about it this way (ancestrally):

Danger approaches, so your sharpened brain power and heightened awareness keep you healthily alert to the situation, able to think fast.

Your breathing speeds up, helpful in delivering needed oxygen throughout your body.

Your hunger subsides and your digestion slows as these would only hold you back when fighting an enemy (a physical enemy or a natural catastrophe).

And, your desire or need for reproduction is lessened, certainly unneeded when facing a foe of any kind.

Unfortunately, things look very different today.

From work to home to school, from family to illnesses and more, we often encounter stress without reprieve, or on a continual basis.

So, imagine those stress responses kicking into gear for every traffic jam, work project, illness, spousal argument, teenage rebellion, headache, financial woe, sweat session, friendship spat, and more.

We may not be escaping immediate death or danger from a predator, an erupting volcano, or storm to weather out in the wilderness, but we do encounter different stresses much more frequently.

And frankly, the HPA axis wasn’t intended to handle these amounts of stress on a routine basis.

When we experience acute stress, the kind we encounter mildly and intermittently, this can be healthy as it strengthens the HPA axis for future stresses.

In these cases your cortisol levels spike temporarily which work to regulate your body’s response to stress.

But, in the case of continual or chronic stress, this results in your HPA axis releasing cortisol at inappropriate times and disproportionate levels, which creates a cascade of effects.

So then, what happens when the HPA axis isn’t operating smoothly?


HPA Axis Dysfunction 

When functioning properly your HPA axis keeps your whole body balanced, maintaining homeostasis, where your body systems function harmoniously.

But, chronic stress (emotional, physical, and physiological), poor nutrition, exposure to environmental toxins, inflammation, and undiagnosed infections, these can all lead to an imbalance in the HPA axis.

Scientifically speaking, chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to insulin resistance which in turn can create a greater amount of oxidative stress in the body. This leads to neurodegenerative changes which causes a greater amount of dysfunction in the HPA axis.

This can then disrupt immune functioning and impair your metabolism.

In those individuals already dealing with inflammation throughout their body, the HPA axis can be further impaired which can cause an increase in abdominal fat, specifically the kind that accumulates around your organs, which can increase the risk of cardiometabolic disorder.

And once again, this can then further impair the functioning of the HPA axis.

Then practically speaking, earlier we likened the HPA axis internally to a phone tree. Well, just imagine this phone tree being activated non-stop…due to chronic stress.

A call comes in, and before each person on the list is notified of the first issue, another call comes in, then another, then another. Eventually, misinformation occurs, wires get crossed, people are left off the list, and before you know it, the entire system breaks down.

In relation to the HPA axis, this entire system can malfunction too as a result of continual exposure to stress, sometimes leaving a person suffering with a “phone tree” that never stops, meaning your body is seemingly exhausting itself, over-responding to stress.

You’ve heard of burn out, right?

HPA axis dysfunction occurs when this system is burned out.

And when this happens, not only is your body incapable of appropriately responding to stress, since the HPA axis largely involves hormone production and release, a myriad of other complications can occur as well. 

Broadly speaking, HPA axis dysfunction can cause:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Damage to the lining of the gut
  • Mental health issues
  • Hypertension

When getting down to specific symptoms, each of the following are a result of HPA axis dysfunction:

  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty waking up in the morning
  • hindered immune system functioning
  • dry skin
  • mood changes
  • poor circulation
  • decrease in blood pressure
  • inability to regulate blood sugar
  • fatigue (mid morning or afternoon
  • brain fog
  • dizziness
  • decreased libido
  • slow wound healing
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • cravings for sugary or salty foods
  • poor muscle tone
  • nausea
  • unexplained hair loss
  • unexplained weight loss
  • unexplained weight gain (abdominal fat)
  • decrease in appetite

Mitigating stressful situations may help to reduce the number of times your body encounters stress, but supporting healthy functioning of your HPA axis is critical to regain, achieve, and maintain balance. 

And, you can support this stress response system in a few ways:

Diet

The Standard American Diet is filled with an abundance of sodium, saturated fats, refined sugars and grains, and highly processed foods. Each of these contribute to HPA axis dysfunction.

Primarily seek to incorporate nutrient dense foods, healthy carbs, healthy fats, probiotic and prebiotics foods, each of which support your body’s HPA axis.

A few examples include:

  • Lean meat and poultry
  • Fresh fruits (low sugar varieties) and vegetables
  • Winter squash
  • Plantains
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Coconut oil
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • miso

Exercise

Physical activity can lower HPA axis activity. It also decreases oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory immune responses.

Exercise also increases adrenal function while decreasing inflammation in the hypothalamus brought on by poor nutrition. 

Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals

Many vitamins, minerals, and herbs are absolutely critical to optimal HPA axis function.

From supporting proper nervous system functioning, to providing anti-inflammatory benefits, and enhancing the production of hormones crucial to a healthy stress response, a combination of these (through diet and supplementation) may mean the difference between healing and hindering the HPA axis. (find a detailed list of vital vitamins, minerals, and herbs in the next section) 

Mindfulness/Meditation

Practicing meditation and mindfulness promotes calm and relaxation. These practices also facilitate healthy levels of serotonin and melatonin. 

Healthy Sleep

Creating a healthy sleep schedule keeps your circadian rhythm normal, and this in turn supports the natural rhythm of HPA activation and cortisol release.

When there is dysfunction within the HPA axis, restoring balance is critical for healthy stress responses and overall health and wellbeing.

And, when it comes to the vitamins, minerals, and herbs needed to support a healthy balance within the HPA axis, providing the right components needed to help our body systems function properly, HPAdapt contains today’s most advanced formulation for HPA axis health and adrenal support.

Some of the vitamins and minerals included in HPAdapt cannot be made by the body, meaning you must consume these either in food or supplement form.

And, the adaptogenic herbs, amino acids, and other items in HPAdapt are highly needed for HPA axis health, as they support the brain, nervous system, and HPA axis by aiding in hormone production and secretion as well as healing and protecting these same areas.

Take a look at this exhaustive list, detailing each of the ingredients in HPAdapt and how each one powerfully supports your body’s natural responses to stress: 
Thiamin - also known as vitamin B1, your adrenal glands need thiamin to produce cortisol and adrenaline so you can appropriately respond to stress

Riboflavin - also known as vitamin B2, an essential B vitamin needed to support adrenal function, promote calmness, and maintain health in the central nervous system

Niacin - also known as vitamin B3, this used by the body to produce stress related (and reproductive) hormones

Vitamin B6 - a vitamin that must be obtained through food and supplementation as the body doesn’t produce it, vitamin B6 helps the body produce calming neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA which combat overwhelming feelings in the face of stress and trauma

Vitamin B12 - helps produce cortisol and keeps levels balanced, also keeps the nervous system healthy, regulating responses to anxiety

Biotin - optimizes adrenal and thyroid function, biotin supplementation is associated with stress resiliency and reduced anxiety and depression

Pantothenic Acid - critical to the production of stress hormones within the adrenal gland, improves acute stress response and stress resiliency

Palatinose - naturally sourced smart carb produced from sugar beet, low glycemic, provides sustainable energy while improving metabolism

Rhodiola Root Extract - adaptogen that improves your body’s resistance to stress, improves symptoms of stress and depression associated with burnout

Alpinia Galanga - herb that supports healthy nervous system activity, needed to allow HPA axis to effectively communicate and work together for appropriate stress response, preserves mood boosting neurotransmitters within the brain

Ashwagandha - adaptogenic herb known for reducing stress levels, supports the body during chronic stress by reducing cortisol levels, neuroprotective, neuroregenerative

Asian Ginseng Root - regulates hormonal changes due to stress to maintain homeostasis, able to prevent stress related physiological diseases

Matcha Green Tea Leaf - reduces strain on the adrenal gland, reduces cortisol levels to promote calm and serenity

Schisandra Berry - adaptogenic berry, reduces cortisol levels and regulates changes in serotonin and adrenaline caused by stress

From mental alertness and increased energy to helping your body adapt to physical, mental, and emotional stressors, HPAdapt offers powerful adrenal support, helping you de-stress by achieving and maintaining HPA axis health! 

    Check out Lifeboost Cofee's HPAdapt Adrenal Drink

    "Medical Disclaimer
    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program."

    References:
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002380.htm#
    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/the-pituitary-gland#
    https://www.barrowneuro.org/resource/about-the-pituitary-gland/
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/22983-adrenal-cortex#
    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/8719.htm
    https://wholisticmatters.com/the-role-of-the-hpa-axis-in-stress/
    https://doctormattintampa.com/hpa-axis-dysfunction-is-a-legitimate-and-accurate-medical-diagnosis/#
    https://www.mypuremd.com/blog/hpa-axis-dysfunction-adrenal-fatigue/
    https://nutritionaltherapy.com/hpa-axis-dysfunction-symptoms-root-cause-and-how-to-support/
    https://balancewomenshealth.com/hpa-axis/#
    https://traditionalcookingschool.com/food-preparation/foods-that-nourish-the-hpa-axis/
    https://www.integrativepro.com/articles/hpa-axis-supplements-support-optimization
    https://www.emersonecologics.com/blog/post/how-to-combat-hpa-axis-dysfunction
    https://caltonnutrition.com/nourish-your-nerves-access-food-energy-with-thiamine-vitamin-b1/#
    https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/vitamins/vitamin-b2/
    https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/vitamin-b3-niacin#
    https://chandramd.com/vitamin-b6-benefits/
    https://www.drlamcoaching.com/blog/vitamin-b-complex-benefits-adrenal-fatigue-recovery/
    https://interplexus.com/blogs/news/synergistic-powerful-nutrients-for-adrenal-support-part-1#
    https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/vitamin-b5-pantothenic-acid
    https://www.beneo.com/ingredients/human-nutrition/functional-carbohydrates/palatinose
    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/rhodiola-rosea#
    https://switchnutrition.com.au/blogs/news/the-secret-to-more-energy-with-less-caffeine-alpinia-galanga

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