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Functional Endocrinology: The Mind-Body Connection and Stress Part 2

Do you feel:

  • Tired or sluggish?
  • Muscle cramping?
  • Afternoon fatigue?
  • Agitated, easily upset, or nervous?
  • Hormone imbalance?

If you are experiencing any of these situations, then it might be your stress hormone affecting your mind-body connection.

By discovering how hormones and stress can alter the brain’s function, it is impressive how science and psychology are behind the mind and body connection and how it is disconnected due to two concept idealism. Amazingly though, hormones in the body can affect a person’s perception of the world as well as showing how stress is producing in the body while making visible changes in the brain by enhancing the neurological functions. In the previous article, it talks about how the mind-body connection was formed.

By exploring how stress can rewire the brain’s neural architecture, researchers can see how this is being done, understanding allostasis and how the body responds to stress, as well as seeing how five molecules are being required to help rebuild the brain in the body.

How Stress Remodels the Brain

Known as cognitive deficits, any altercations to the brain can make a person more susceptible to neurological dysfunction in their bodies. Studies show that people can become acutely sensitive to stimuli in their bodies, like having fearful facial expressions due to amygdala hyper responsivity. This condition can happen to schizophrenia patients, and recent research shows that the amygdala response can become hyperactive and can decrease over time gradually. With the bidirectional relationship between the environment and the mind, it shows the spheres of the brain can correspond with each other. When there is chronic or severe stress in the body and affecting the brain, it can result in behavioral abnormalities that can be manifested into cognitive impairments.

In a study, the research shows how animals were being exposed to stressful situations, and researchers are examining their stress response. The results show how animals are being exposed to different situations that are causing them to be stress, and the stress hormones are producing dendritic remodeling in the hippocampal neurons.

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When the human body is continually adapting to its environment, the brain is being rewired since the brain is the center for regulating the cytoskeleton, epigenetic, and nongenomic mechanism for the body. Surprisingly, the stress hormone can remodel the neural architecture of the brain by gene expression that is continually being mediated by epigenetic mechanisms. This mechanism makes the human body to adapt to its environment and helps the response and corresponding changes in the body; there is a factor that can help mediate these changes.

BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a factor that is being directly involved in the neurological function of the brain while also playing an essential role in the hippocampal aging so the brain can function correctly. So when stress is affecting not only the brain but the body as well, it can cause cognitive dysfunction to a person depending on the stress and the situation a person is in.

How Allostasis and The Body Responds To Stress

When the body achieves homeostasis, a process known as allostasis helps the body be adaptive and is connected to the entire human body. Since the HPA axis, the nervous system, the metabolic system, and the immune system are involved with the stress response and can become a stressor. If there is an overabundance of stress, the body can start to fail and cannot regulate these mechanisms, causing the body to burn out. This is known as “allostatic overload.”

With homeostasis, it is there to make sure that the body is doing okay by adapting to stressor mediators. These mediators include the endocrine system that produces hormones, the metabolic system that helps regulate glucose levels, and the immune system. With these meditators, they are there to help maintain the body, while allostasis and “allostatic overload” are the biological concepts that can describe how the body can adapt to stressors. When a person is overly stressed or is suffering from a high allostatic load, they may develop some bad habits in the future. Whether it is smoking, consuming alcohol, eating poorly, or even sleeping less, this can cause their body to develop chronic illnesses over time.

There are three main types of stress that the body can undergo. They are:

  • Good stress: This type of stress is an essential part of life that everyone has. What good stress does to the body is that it briefly increases the heart rate and mild hormone rate. This type of stress is a good motivation boost to anyone that is getting their work done.
  • Tolerable stress: This type of stress is a bit more severe and temporary in the body. What tolerable stress does is that it is associated with non-normative that can be presented from a more significant threat. This type of stress can be from experiences of the death of a family member, natural disasters, or an act of terrorism.
  • Toxic stress: This type of stress can cause prolong activation of the stress response and can cause chronic impairments to the body. Research at Harvard showed how toxic stress could alter the developmental process on kids, thus producing damaging effects that can affect a child’s development throughout their life. Toxic stress can produce long-lasting abnormalities to a person and can hinder them from being socially active.

The 5 Molecules To Remodel The Brain

Even though the body gets involved when there is a stressful experience, the brain becomes the primary target. The stress hormone can alter the brain’s function and structure, causing the body to have neurological impairments. Surprisingly though, the brain can rebuild itself, and many healthcare professionals can offer patients that have neurological dysfunction a positive therapeutic advancement through the correct internal, external, and environmental conditions that the patient is in.

There are five main groups of molecules that the brain needs, so it can be remodeled and can offer positive treatments for the person. They are:

  • Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF
  • Serine Protease Tissue-Plasminogen Activator (tPA)
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Factor
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Endocannabinoids

Conclusion

With the mind-body connection being in a bidirectional relationship, it is essential to know that these two are not separate entities and that they affect the body by sending out hormones to the crucial organs to make sure that it is functioning correctly. When it comes to stress, however, it can cause the brain to rewire itself, and if there is prolonged stress in the body, it causes many disruptive factors that will impact not only the mind-body connection but the body’s system as well. Some products can help the mind-body connection by providing support to the endocrine system, the gastrointestinal system, as well as relieving temporary stress the body may encounter.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.


References:

Team, Biotics Education. “Managing Inflammation through Gut Microbiota.” Biotics Research Blog, 7 May 2019, blog.bioticsresearch.com/managing-inflammation-through-gut-microbiota.

McEwen, Bruce S. “The Neurobiology of Stress: from Serendipity to Clinical Relevance.” Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, The Rockefeller University, 25 Sept. 2000.

Shi, Shou-Sen, et al. “Acute Stress and Chronic Stress Change Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Tyrosine Kinase-Coupled Receptor (TrkB) Expression in Both Young and Aged Rat Hippocampus.” Yonsei Medical Journal, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Sept. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908888/.

Suslow, Thomas, et al. “Automatic Amygdala Response to Facial Expression in Schizophrenia: Initial Hyperresponsivity Followed by Hyporesponsivity.” BMC Neuroscience, BioMed Central, 13 Nov. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24219776.

Team, Biotics Education. “Stress – The Mind-Body Connection Part 2.” Biotics Research Blog, 12 Dec. 2019, blog.bioticsresearch.com/stress-the-mind-body-connection-part-2.

Team, Harvard University. “Toxic Stress.” Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 2019, developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/toxic-stress/.


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