You may not have heard of the HPA Axis but you would have experienced it’s effects whenever your body responds to a stressful situation. If you think of a stressful situation, say you have misplace or think you have lost your purse/wallet. How does that first thought impact you physically? My own physical stress response is best described as a mini explosion, it’s this feeling of dread that starts in my stomach and radiates upwards into my head. My heart rate increases but I can’t remember particular feeling sweaty but I’ll watch it closer next time and let you know!
So the HPA is the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis is the interaction between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland. It is the body’s stress system, responsible for controlling the stress related hormones. Watch this watch this short clip.
So optimal functioning of the HPA axis is essential for helping us deal with stress. The HPA was designed to deal with acute stressors and explains why chronic stress can therefore have damaging effects on health.
This links nicely to our previous article on Thyroid and Stress and as written by Chris Kresser “The thyroid gland is intimately connected with the HPA axis. When chronic stress alters HPA axis activity, a cascade of effects ultimately disrupts thyroid function”.
Stress is the common denominator in many of the chronic diseases we see today so looking after ourselves should now be non-negotiable. We all have choices. We just need to make sure that we are making the right ones around our diet, circadian rhythm, exercise, use of technology and environmental toxins.