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Jan 10, 2015 - 12 comments

brain fog




HPA axis





This is the HPA axis (see picture).  It starts in the brain and ends up with the production of a stress hormone called cortisol.

So for example, a traumatic event can result in elevated production of cortisol.  Same thing with interferon and depression.  They can disregulate the HPA axis and cause high levels of cortisol to be produced.

Why are high levels of cortisol bad?  

Because that increases your blood sugar and having elevated blood sugar (and obesity) cause a low grade chronic inflammation.
Because it lowers immune system markers.  Haven't you noticed how Hep C patients are more prone to catching flu, etc after treatment?
Continual activation of the HPA axis and excess cortisol release eventually cause cortisol receptors to become desensitized leading to increased activity of the pro-inflammatory immune mediators and disturbances in neurotransmitter transmission. In other words....BRAIN FOG.

And if you continue doing things that disregulate the HPA axis and increase cortisol then you can expect that the brain fog won't get better.

For example, Dallas felt better when he decreased the stress level, and lowered the insulin resistance.  And the writer with the blog felt better after he left his stressful job and moved to the lake and got himself a beautiful blond.  That's probably because sex decreases cortisol.

So when I see pictures of the people spending the weekend visiting somebody and all the pictures show them smoking, drinking coffee and eating candy and then they complain about the brain fog not going away, I wonder why they can't see that they're doing it to themselves.  

I think that brain fog should be approached as a problem and there are things that make it worse...and there are things that make it better. Granted, you may not be able to eliminate all the things that make it worse.  For example, you may not be able to quit smoking.  But you can try doing some of the things that lower cortisol.  

Things that increase cortisol (causes brain fog to get worse)    
commuting inceases cortisol relative to the length of the trip  
lack of sleep  
Physical exertion  
Temperature extremes  
Low blood sugar  
Oral contraceptives.  
Fasting for prolonged time  

Things that decrease cortisol:
Sexual intercourse
Relaxation techniques  
black tea  
Omega 3  
Soy-derived phosphatidylserine interacts with cortisol; the correct dose, however, is unclear  
Dancing tango.

My sources:
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in depression
" RELEASE OF CORTISOL into the circulation has a number of effects, INCLUDING ELEVATION OF BLOOD GLUCOSE.  The negative feedback of cortisol to the hypothalamus, pituitary and immune system is impaired. THIS LEADS TO CONTINUAL ACTIVATION OF THE HPA AXIS AND EXCESS CORTISOL RELEASE. Cortisol receptors become desensitized leading to increased activity of the pro-inflammatory immune mediators and disturbances in neurotransmitter transmission."

Effects of Acute Psychological Stress on Glucose Metabolism and Subclinical Inflammation
"acute stress induces postprandial blood glucose peaks and elevated insulin levels and a selective decrease of systemic immune markers and the proinflammatory regulator of the NFkappaB cascade, which are associated with type 2 diabetes. This points towards an independent effect of acute psychological stress on glucose metabolism and inflammation."

Is visceral obesity a physiological adaptation to stress?
"obesity could also be a source of stress promoting the visceral fat accumulation since visceral fat is able to release cytokines which stimulate the HPA axis"$=relatedreviews&logdbfrom=pubmed

Effects of Smoking on Hormones, Brain, and Behavior
"In addition, smoking increases insulin resistance and is associated with central fat accumulation. As a result, smoking increases the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes"

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317787 tn?1473358451
by Dee1956, Jan 10, 2015
Thank you so much, I have only read it once, intend to read it again.  Thank you for all of this information.  I just realized it was  back in May 2013 when MikeSimon submitted an article in the cirrhosis forum about probiotics helping HE.  At the time I was taking them and was feeling better  Then I guess I stopped.
Now I think I  understand why I will feel better, then start to feel bad again.  I am not consistent.  Thank you so very much for sharing this.  It will take me a while to absorb this but I wanted to thank you first :)

10175413 tn?1427170251
by Ekkiemom, Jan 10, 2015
Thanks Co...I have read similar reports with the same info, nice to know info is consistent. I find this really interesting because I have read about pregnant mothers with the cortisol does not stop so to speak. They have linked it with emotional behavior problems in people thru life. It was said it stays active therefore the "fight or flight" thing.
Going to keep this article, thank you again

317787 tn?1473358451
by Dee1956, Jan 10, 2015
Ekkie, that is interesting "fight or flight".  Thanks for posting, that has got me thinking.

10175413 tn?1427170251
by Ekkiemom, Jan 10, 2015
Welcome...its been documented. If you are interested Google ""cortisol". There are specific details on that and also fetal imprinting, which meshes with Co's info. Did you know that you learn trust,fear and many other emotions while in the womb? Stress=cortisol=behavioral problems well into adulthood. It's like the cortisol faucet gets stuck in the "on" position and can wreak blew me away
Enjoy your day

2059648 tn?1439766665
by dontworry_behappy1, Jan 11, 2015
This is interesting.  But when I had the most brain fog.  My cortisol levels were extremely low.  

568322 tn?1370165440
by CoWriter, Jan 19, 2015
What time of the day did you have the test done?

317787 tn?1473358451
by Dee1956, Jan 19, 2015
Hey there, I have been back on the pre and probiotics for about 3 weeks, feeling much better, thanks so much!!

568322 tn?1370165440
by CoWriter, Jan 20, 2015
Glad to hear that Dee.

317787 tn?1473358451
by Dee1956, Jan 20, 2015
Thanks, I am also finding out that my thyroid is not working right so that is adding to problems

568322 tn?1370165440
by CoWriter, Jan 22, 2015
There's a connection.  Cortisol makes thyroid work more efficiently. A physiologic amount of cortisol—not too high and not too low—is very important for normal thyroid function.  So an imbalance in adrenal cortisol levels can affect your thyroid.

317787 tn?1473358451
by Dee1956, Jan 22, 2015
Really good information, thanks so much!

Avatar universal
by Livelife777, Jan 22, 2015
Great article and so true!   Tnx for posting.

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