Volume 10 Issue 4

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Page 22 | Abby's Magazine | Despite the advancements in modern veterinary medicine, we have the sickest pet population in history. If we include cancer, autoimmune disease, arthritis, obesity, allergies, and gastrointestinal disorders, nearly 100% of our fur family are affected with some form of chronic degenerative disease. The immune system is a complex mechanism that integrates and impacts every cell of the body. There are massive amounts of information discussing how 70% of the immune system lives in the gut and is impacted by the microbiome and lifestyle. This article will discuss the role stress plays on the immune system. Chronic Inflammation Is the Root Cause of ALL Disease Though intermittent stress is positive, chronic stress, chronic inflammation and "Adrenal Fatigue" negatively impact the immune system. Stress is one of the mechanisms the ancestors used to help them survive challenging times and come through it more resilient. But there is an equally important mechanism of recovery and repair that is necessary to shift from surviving to thriving, which is the goal. Autonomic Nervous System Sympathetic vs Parasympathetic As information comes into the brain (through sight, sound, feel, taste, and smell) it is processed through the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing. Depending on how the message is received and interpreted, one (of the 2) branches of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) will be activated. If the message is danger, it sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This area of the brain functions like a command center, communicating with the rest of the body through the ANS to activate the sympathetic branch for a fight or flight response. When the sympathetic branch is activated, it sends a signal to the adrenal gland. Cortisol and adrenaline are released, energy and blood supply increase to the muscles, and the fight/flight response takes over (runaway from the danger or fight to survive). The parasympathetic branch of the ANS that regulates rest, repair, digestion and detoxification is shut down. This is critically important, because all resources need to be diverted for survival during times of danger. Once the danger/threat is gone, then it is important to repair, regenerate and detoxify. The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis - (HPA axis) The collaboration of the adrenal gland, pituitary and hypothalamus is known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). Their joint activities help control the body's reactions to stress, (physical or psychological). They also help regulate digestion, the immune system, and energy usage. If there is no danger, the vagus nerve stimulates the parasympathetic branch of the ANS so the body can rest, repair, digest and detoxify. Stress and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Stress, whether real or perceived, increases heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. When the threat is over, the body relaxes, heart rate, breathing and blood pressure reduce and there is a return to the resting state. Heart rate variability (a measure of the variability between heartbeats) is a metric of how the body is recovering (the ability to adapt) from stresses throughout the day and an evaluator of overall fitness. Low heart rate variability is considered a sign of current or future health problems because it shows the body is less resilient and struggles to handle changing situations. Low HRV may be an early indicator of adrenal fatigue. When The Lion Is ALWAYS In Pursuit The brain does not distinguish between the threat of the lion chasing you and the S.A.D. day (Standard American Day, though it is not just in America that these stressors exist). The S.A.D. includes the S.A.D. Diet (Standard American Diet). Other stressors for humans include being sleep deprived, having persistent financial concerns, lock downs, processed foods, toxins, nutrient deficiencies, EMF pollution and FEAR (Future Events Appearing Real). Animals also experience stress from processed foods, toxins, nutrient deficiencies and EMF. One of the biggest contributors to animal stress is entraining (absorbing) stress from their human companions. High cortisol, whether it is naturally produced by the adrenal glands in response to stressors or from prescription medications, creates a risk for blood sugar imbalances, contributes to leaky gut, perpetuates high inflammation and hormone imbalances. Signs of persistent cortisol elevation includes weight gain, low energy and poor vitality. Adrenal Fatigue Adrenal fatigue begins when the body is unable to properly respond to "threats", whether real or perceived, with the appropriate steroids. This usually occurs when the body gets "stuck" in sympathetic tone (stays in fight/flight) and is unable to shift into parasympathetic (rest, repair, digest and detoxify). Early warning signs of adrenal fatigue in and Adrenals, Stress THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

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