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The Effects of Stress


We live in a time of high stress that causes anxiety and interferes with Sleep.  The ability to manage the effects of stress without concern of dependence or interactions is possible with RELAX.*


 

The Effects of Cortisol on the Body

Cortisol affects many different functions of the body, helping to control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, reduce inflammation and assist with memory formation. It also has a controlling effects on salt and water balance while helping to maintain healthy blood pressure. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands and then released into the blood. As Cortisol levels rise they block the release of corticotrophin-releasing hormones from the hypothalamus and adrenocorticotropic hormones from the pituitary and the drop of these hormones should naturally lower cortisol levels back into range. 

However, medications such as benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, antidepressants, prolonged periods of stress, poor diet and health challenges can cause prolonged high levels of Cortisol that cause negative effects that include: anxiety, depression, insomnia or irritability, Impaired cognitive performance, blood sugar imbalances, decreased bone density, decrease in muscle tissue, suppressed thyroid function, higher blood pressure, lowered immunity, poor inflammatory response in the body, and increased abdominal fat.

Additionally, there is a close relationship between Cortisol and Melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone. Melatonin and Cortisol are designed to run opposite to each other. Cortisol levels should be high in the morning and reach their lowest point at bedtime, whereas Melatonin levels peak a few hours after Cortisol levels drop and decrease by morning. Sustained high levels of Cortisol interfere with the natural sleep patterns by reducing Melatonin production. Over-the-counter pain relievers, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications and some antidepressants can interfere with Melatonin secretion at night, thus increasing Cortisol levels.

Prolonged use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) elevate Serotonin levels which cause the adrenal glands to release both Cortisol and Adrenaline (Epinephrine) to combat the excessive Serotonin. This initial calming gives the impression that boosting Serotonin is pleasant. However, over a prolonged period of time the adrenal glands may lose their efficiency and “Adrenal Exhaustion” can occur, with adrenaline levels dropping and Cortisol levels rising. Eventually, even Cortisol levels fall and this may help to explain why so many antidepressant users eventually experience extreme fatigue. 

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The Effects of Stress on the Body


Cortisol release is regulated by our circadian rhythms (24-hour sleep/wake cycle), with levels the highest in the dawn hours, which coincide with the time that melatonin levels begin to dramatically decline. There is a balance between Cortisol levels and Melatonin; one is high when the other low and this dance helps to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. Benzodiazepines and Sleeping Pills can suppress

Melatonin production and interfere with nocturnal secretion, which in turn affects Cortisol. High levels of Cortisol at night can result in difficulty falling or staying asleep and in turn can cause a one-to-two hour delay of melatonin release. Benzodiazepines have also been shown to increase plasma Cortisol and Prolactin concentrations. This may help to explain why long-term use of benzodiazepines can cause menstrual irregularities and pre-menstrual tension in women and breast enlargement in men. Clonazepam may alter insulin secretion after a single dose.

GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is the most important and widespread inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Excitation in the brain must be balanced with inhibition or anxiety, restlessness, irritability, insomnia and even seizures can occur. GABA are a class of receptors that include GABA-A, GABA-B and GABA-C and although all induce relaxation and sleep, benzodiazepines and most sleeping pills work by excessivly attaching to GABA-A with a binding ability that is hundreds of times stronger than anything natural. GABA-A also counteracts the effects of Melatonin. Neither GABA-B nor GABA-C alters the effects of Melatonin.

 Millions of neurons respond to GABA, meaning that it has a general calming influence on the brain and body. Benzodiazepines enhance GABA-A dramatically, reducing the brain's output of excitatory neurotransmitters such as Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline), Serotonin and Dopamine. These excitatory neurotransmitters are essential for mental alertness, muscle tone and coordination, memory, emotional responses, endocrine gland secretions, heart rate and blood pressure control – all of which may be impaired by the drug. Other receptors for benzodiazepines that are not governed by GABA-A are in the kidneys, colon, blood cells and adrenal gland. The receptors react to prolonged use of the medications by increasing in number and/or reducing sensitivity to GABA-A. As dependence to the drug occurs GABA becomes downregulated, allowing the excitatory neurotransmitters to overwhelm the nervous system. 


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How Medications and Drugs can Alter GABA


Benzodiazepines, Alcohol, Barbiturates and Steroids bind to GABA-A, but Benzodiazepines also affect three GABA-A categories including 1) those that mediate sedation and tolerance 2) the hippocampus, striatum, and spinal cord to mediate anti-anxiety activity and spinal cord function; and 3) the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor that are found throughout the body and brain affecting the heart, immune response, steroid synthesis and inflammation (to name a few).

The brain then reduces its own production of GABA, and during a too rapid withdrawal from Benzodiazepines or Sleeping Pills insufficient GABA is present to alleviate the anxiety and over-stimulation. This can result in increased heart rate while sleep decreases as the body and brain are left in a 'flight or fright' response. A gradual reduction allows the GABA-A receptors time to regenerate.

The active peptide in Relax naturally stimulates GABA-A, B and C, providing calming properties without inducing Benzodiazepine side effects that include memory loss, disinhibition, muscle weakness, tolerance or addiction. Whether in the withdrawal process or just suffering from too much stress, Relax is a welcome tool to combat stress and over-stimulation. And unlike herbs, Relax will not interact with medications.

References:

Pubmed/15338100
Articles/PMC3268361/
Sciencedirect
Articles/PMC2257874/
Articles/PMC2732004/


Disclaimer:


*While great care has been taken in organizing and presenting the material throughout this website, please note that it is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as Medical Advice.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure disease or illness.    *Always consult with your healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking or stopping any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have any health problem. 
*Because prescription medications can cause severe withdrawal reactions, do not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician. The decision to quit any medication should be discussed with your doctor and with their consent and support. More...