Stress Hormones Defined

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

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Here’s another excerpt from my 10th book, The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions every year are:
*Lose Weight
*Get in Shape
*Reduce Stress
*Get Healthier
*Win the Lottery

The Secret of Vigor can help you with 4 out of 5 of the most popular resolution goals, so I’ll be posting excerpts from the book for the next several weeks – so please stay tuned for each installment.

If you simply can’t wait, then you can certainly get a copy at or at your favorite library or bookstore.

Stress Hormones Defined
A number of different biomarkers have been used in studies of chronic stress and stress-hormone balance. To help you better understand some of the concepts and vocabulary used to explain the biochemical activities that stress sets into motion, here are brief descriptions of these biomarkers:

* Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Its main “acute” functions are to increase blood-sugar levels (via insulin antagonism), reduce inflammation, and stimulate immune function. Its main “chronic” effects are to increase blood-sugar levels (via appetite stimulation), increase inflammation, and suppress immune function.

* Testosterone and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) are hormones produced by the adrenal glands. They suppress inflammatory cytokines, reduce oxidative damage, and improve insulin sensitivity—but testosterone and DHEA levels are suppressed when cortisol production is elevated, so you “lose” much of their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits during periods of chronic stress.

* Epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine are catecholamines produced in the brain. They increase during acute stress and are involved in brain function and vigilance, but production is suppressed during chronic stress, leading to fatigue, depression, and low vigor.

* Interleukin-6 and TNF-alpha are inflammatory cytokines produced by immune system cells. They normally are produced to slow acute tissue damage, but when produced chronically, they actually lead to accelerated tissue damage.

* C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein synthesized in the liver. It is elevated during chronic inflammation.

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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