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How Does Stress Affect Your Hypothalamus?

by | Last updated: Jan 12, 2023 | Hypothalamus | 0 comments

When you’re under any kind of stress, it can affect your hypothalamus. Your hypothalamus suffers when it’s an acute stressor, meaning something’s happening to you right now. Or it’s a long-term stressor or stress that’s ongoing.

Two systems are activated in your body when you experience stress. The first system is neuroendocrine, called the sympathetic adrenal medulla axis. Or SAM. The second system is hormonal, called the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. Or HPA. 

SAM activates your adrenal glands’ production of adrenaline. Adrenaline raises your heart rate and your blood pressure. Adrenaline also activates your hypothalamus to produce cortisol-releasing factor, which tells your pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic hormone. Which then tells your adrenal glands to release cortisol. Cortisol then stimulates your body to release stored sugar to fuel your fight or flight response. This is your basic stress response. Whether you’re stressed because you are late for work, or you’re fighting off a wild animal. 

If the stress is chronic because you have been physically ill or unable to sleep for a long period of time, the same system is reactivated over and over and over again. In an acute stressor, the hypothalamus bounces back pretty quickly. But if the stress doesn’t stop, your hypothalamus will be adversely affected. Which can have a universal body effect. This is because your hypothalamus controls so many aspects of your vital systems. All of your hormones, your immune system, and your nervous system. This includes your cognition, your memory, and your moods. 

When you’re under stress, everything is affected.

Chronic stress can cause your hypothalamus to actually shrink by at least five percent. A shrunken hypothalamus does not function properly. The good news is that you can reverse the damage to the hypothalamus. The first thing you need to do is change your stress response. That may mean that you need to get away from the stressor itself. Whether it’s your job or an unhealthy relationship. You may need to get therapy to learn healthier coping mechanisms. There are lots of modalities to help change the way you respond to stress. Many help retrain your brain by desensitizing your hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. When stress becomes chronic, you may develop a hyperreactive stress response, for which modalities like biofeedback and EMDR can be helpful. 

When you support your hypothalamus nutritionally, you can make a huge difference. A poor diet will not help your hypothalamus heal. You may crave sugar, salt, or fat because your adrenals are fatigued so you’re not giving your hypothalamus what it needs to heal. When you provide your hypothalamus with nutraceutical support, it can make a huge difference in the reversal of the damage to the hypothalamus. 

This is one of the reasons I created Genesis Gold®.

Stress is a huge issue in our modern society. Everyone has issues with stress, whether due to their relationships, their finances, chronic illnesses, poor nutrition, or learned maladaptive stress responses. Supporting your hypothalamus with Genesis Gold® can be the first step in healing your hypothalamus. In fact, trying to retrain your brain and your stress response is less likely to stick if you’re not supporting your hypothalamus nutraceutically. It takes time to heal your hypothalamus – at least 90 days and even longer if you’ve been out of balance for years. So if you’ve been having chronic stressors for years, you’re going to add one month per year to that first 90 days before you can expect your hypothalamus to function optimally. 

If you have any questions whatsoever regarding the hypothalamus and its relation to stress, please join me in our Hormone Support Group. You can get access through our free Hormone Reboot Training. I hope you’ll join us!

Research Reference:

Neurons containing messenger RNA encoding glutamate decarboxylase in rat hypothalamus demonstrated by in situ hybridization, with special emphasis on cell groups in medial preoptic area, anterior hypothalamic area and dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus, Relevance of Stress and Female Sex Hormones for Emotion and Cognition, How Stress increases Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke.

*Statements not reviewed by the FDA.

About the Author - Deborah Maragopoulos FNP

Known as the Hormone Queen®️, I’ve made it my mission to help everyone – no matter their age – balance their hormones, and live the energy and joy their DNA and true destiny desires. See more about me my story here…



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