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Fight or Flight… the rise in cortisol and what it’s doing to both parent and child

Fight or Flight…

When your body gets stressed out, internally you feel it more than you show. It effects your emotions, your digestion, your mental abilities and then it starts to work on your hormonal systems. That response, you know the “fight or flight”, that is what you are feeling when you get stressed. This sends a signal from the brain through the nerves to the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol. We’ve seen this rise in stress-induced obesity that is directly linked to our rise in cortisol and what it does to our bodies.

Fight or Flight Cortisol Response I Barbara Christensen I Paleo Vegeo

So let’s talk first about what symptoms you may have if your are dealing with too much or chronic stess, or even chronically elevated cortisol. There is muscle pain and tension, fatigue, low sex drive, sleeping problems, upset stomach, chest pains and headaches. You may overeat and withdraw socially. Feel angry, restless, irritable, sad, depressed and have a lack of motivation and focus. You may even have outbursts of emotion and turn to chemical abuse of many different types. (Soda, Drugs, Alcohol, Sugar, Tobacco) This stress hormone group triggers your liver to produce more blood sugar, but the problems is that with chronic stimulation that elevated glucose could turn you into a type 2 diabetic.

I had severely high stress levels during my pregnancy because I had suffered from a miscarriage two months before I was pregnant again. They were worried about the hole in my heart, my asthma, how this all was going to affect my IBD, and I started eating like crap. I didn’t know that these high levels of stress make bacterial vaginosis more likely. This during your pregnanc may increase the chance of your baby’s developing asthma or allergies later in life. And my baby did. Had I know I would have started doing prenatal yoga and meditation, but I didn’t. I also would have been making sure I was givng my child a toxic-free body to grow in, and I think that it’s only that we live that way now that she has been able to overcome so much of what her epigenics started out as.

Cortisol has a well-defined circadian rhythm. The cortisol awakening response (CAR) is an increase of about 50% in cortisol levels occurring 20–30 minutes after awakening in the morning in some people. So think about what it’s doing to you, and what about your children.

I found a study that they did in daycares on children very reflective of what happens to us when our cortisol levels are out of whack the the HPA axis activity which I’ve talked about before.

“We examined the increase in salivary cortisol from mid-morning to mid-afternoon in 151 children (3.0-4.5 yrs) in full-time home-based daycare. Compared to cortisol levels at home, increases were noted in the majority of children (63%) at daycare, with 40% classified as a stress response. Observations at daycare revealed that intrusive, over-controlling care was associated with the cortisol rise. For girls, the cortisol rise was associated with anxious, vigilant behavior, while for boys the rise was associated with angry, aggressive behavior. Child behavior did not mediate or moderate relations between care quality and the cortisol rise, except for evidence that boys scoring low on angry-aggressive behavior were more sensitive to variations in warm-supportive care than boys scoring high on this behavior.”

There was no significant associations between any of the structural measures of care quality and the rise in cortisol at daycare, and so this was completely child based.

Someone like myself and my daughter can easily sucomb to allergies and infections if we don’t watch how we eat, how we supplement and how we react to this world around us. When your adrenals crash, which mine have done many times even though I am healing, I feel just constantly drained and exhausted. It comes after even just a few short days of not getting to bed on time, eating something outside of my regular healthy diet for a number of days – although that is often a trigger from not enough sleep. Then if I am working out too much, like this last weekend, I hit the low. I need to know that I cannot do two P90X3 workouts just because I missed one if I’m going to stay up until midnight and wake up at 6am and start it all over again.

Many of you that have gone through this know how that low blood sugar and blood pressure feeling goes. Did you know that our asthma sprays contain adrenal-like hormones that mimic cortisol in the body. It’s how it works to keep you breathing. And adrenal fatigue goes hand in hand skipping through the court yard with chronic fatigue. And unfortunately then thyroid problems overlap adrenal problems. YIKES.

So what are we setting our children up for?

How can we heal our own bodies from this cortisol issues as well? 

Astragalus is both a tonic and an adrenal support herb. I noticed that when I use a supplement with this in it, I feel better. It’s why the Mito2Max from doTERRA is called an “Energy & Stamina Complex” promotes health and wellness up to the cellular level – but it’s only one part, and for me I need more than that. I take the LLV, and then the powdered greens, the shake, the irons supplements, the b-vitamins… and so on. I would like to figure out how to use just the most minimal supplements and the essential oils in the future and I believe this research is leading to that.

The Astralagus root extract is also helpful in boosting immune system function, influencing the killer T Cells, and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Dr. Axe has talked about a number of herbs to support our systems and lower our cortisol levels. That includes the astralagus root and cordyceps. We also know what ginko, and turmeric root extract (95% curcuminoids) and resveratrol are going to do to squelch that inflammation that the cortisol creates. In several experiments, ginkgo components showed activity against arthritis, skin inflammation, eye inflammation, and colitis in laboratory rats. You’ve read tons on my blog about turmeric. Also resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes, appears to suppress inflammation and may fight aging, according to a new study on professional basketball players.

Another study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. It investigated the effects of resveratrol extract on oxidative stress and inflammation. The University suggests that resveratrol may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation through increased expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines and a reduction in the pro-inflammatory molecules.

Now, the real secret is to find something that actually works on all of this, is organic, healthy?? Well, I’ll try to share more as I do more research, but just know that I am looking at products and foods every day because there is nothing more important to me than my health, and the health for my family.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product nor anything written about on this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This blog is a purely entertainment practice. 

Detox and the role in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The information I learned that effects those wishing to detox, with CFS

My daughter had a lot of tummy issues when she was born. The more or less forced us into taking her off of goats milk, and into 9 months of horror. She wouldn’t nurse because afterwards she would just scream. They wanted me to give up dairy, and grains, and I was already not well myself most of the time. I didn’t see how I could possibly eliminate more food from my plate. Who know several years later I would just that, but I wasn’t in a place where I could do that at that moment. So they put her on expensive formula, and then acid reflux medication, and getting to a year was something I just couldn’t wait to hit.

We were doing all organics, and as she started eating we were doing all pastured meats too. The majority of her diet was dairy. As was mine. What I didn’t know was that there is something called a dysfunctional methylation cycle. My daughter lived on organic chocolate milk, cheese sticks and yogurt squeezers. Sound familiar to any one else out there?

So what effect does this have on the body? 

So dairy, as we know from me talking about the Ocean Avenue shake, or at least undenatured whey gives you this boost to glutathione. Some of what she was getting should have been giving her some of this natural glutathione support. The belief is that for those with CFS or those on the Autism spectrum, that there is digestive issues that surround both gluten and casein. Casein is in all of those yummy dairy products.

But WHAT if the real problem is with an inability to detox, and we’re filling our bodies with hormones and items that will ferment in the digestive tract. We have all of this sugar too. Then we have an overgrowth of candida, and our bodies still can’t detoxify. We start filling up with all sorts of other toxins from our environment and our foods. Our bodies cannot react in any other way beyond: Fatigue, Inflammation, Pain, Problems Regulating Our Emotions, Sleep Dysfunction and other symptoms encompassing the brain. All of these items can be found to be very similar to both CFS and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Many CFS patient have low glutathione levels. Many of those on the Autism Spectrum have low glutathione levels. If you struggle to use the glutathione that is entering your body – then all of these items would start being problems for you, because you need glutathione support in your system. But your system is struggling in the glutathione production department.

There is also the production of melatonin from serotonin as well as the metabolism of the catecholamines require methylation, without this we see sleep dysfunction. It’s all connected. Now when my daughter is tired, she gets irritable and is a totally different person. When I am feeling fatigued by my adrenal issues I am the same way, cranky, maybe hyperactive, and irritable. What if that is the problem for your autistic child when they creatively yell or throw a tantrum. Fatigue maybe?

At the International Conference of the AACFS they talked a lot about the methylation cycle, how it’s a major part of the biochemistry of sulfur and methyl groups in the body. How it’s tightly linked to folate metabolism (think about MTHFR) and B12 and enabling the use of these amino acids to provide energy to the cells. And with 40% of the population carriers of the MTHFR genetics, 10% where this has been activated through birth or epigenitics… and then approximately 1/3 of Americans who are missing an important gene needed to create and recycle glutathione and we have now created a mess that is going to be a breeding ground for more CFS kids, and yes there is guides for kids with CFS/ME now…which breaks your heart. And I know I’m seeing a greater number of children being determined to be on the spectrum, as well. So there has to be something more to this.

The Paleo Vegeo I Paleo Vegetarian I Barbara Christensen, HLWC, CPT, SN

I know that this is really just me talking out loud, and you may or may not understand what I am talking about, or you may think it’s all hooey. But I think it’s something important to think through. Dr. Wilson talked about sulfur, and I just didn’t get it … until now. If you can’t effectively detox, then you won’t ever heal. For every CFS patient out there, I think this one sentence is huge!! You know more than anyone how much you want to heal up and feel better.

I believe what happened to me when I went on the two week vacation was what they call Relapsing.

Relapsing (Crashing) (160): Many CFS patients have chronically low glutathione levels. According to this Hypothesis, when the level of stressors is temporarily increased, the levels of reduced glutathione become more severely depleted, and this produces the so-called crashing phenomenon. After a period of rest, reduced glutathione levels are increased to the chronically low levels that existed prior to the increased stressors.

So I am going to work on some of this information over the next few months and see if I can create a parent/child friendly detox program that we can both do together and see what we find. In the meantime, we’ll be getting our sulfur