By Kevin Lamberg
We know from the ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) program conducted by the CDC that the impact of the modern diet is a formidable hurdle that hinders the best efforts of some practitioners to make long-term progress in the lives of their patients. In conjunction with the impact of dietary choices on outcomes, we know that chronic stress can lead to numerous physiological effects. These include increasing intestinal permeability, mast cell activation and degranulation, as well as colonic mucin depletion and increased susceptibility to colonic inflammation.
The additive effect of stress and poor dietary choices can create a health crisis that may require expensive, aggressive therapeutic strategies to correct. And in some cases, the long-term result can ultimately mean premature mortality for the individual. So what can be done to confront this ever increasing reality?
Ongoing “maintenance” in the form of regular office visits is the preferred method of administering preventative medicine, but convincing a patient to commit to a proactive treatment plan before they are symptomatic, or at the “walking wounded” stage, is not an easy task. It necessitates a fundamental change in how a patient views their role in achieving wellness. There has to be an internal desire to change course before the personal crisis occurs and an acceptance that being healthy really is a choice in most cases.
However, maintaining wellness is a multidimensional effort that is not always easy and quantifiable; especially when it comes to emotional health and the stress response. As a practitioner you are their coach that understands at a much deeper level how to balance their body, identify why their cravings exist, and understand how their immune system and their inflammatory process is being triggered. Helping patients understand their options and hopefully make better choices as a result can make a big difference in health outcomes.
The Endocrine Thermostat
Supporting the body’s ability to maintain an already healthy stress response is one key to the puzzle. The body secretes stress hormones to help us effectively handle situations in life. Hormone levels return to normal once the stressor is removed in a healthy stress response. A study done on excessive stress levels induced by exercise demonstrated that “excessive exercise training can push the neuroendocrine exercise stress response to become inappropriate, resulting in the potential development of chronic fatigue and the overtraining syndrome condition.” While the physical stress induced by exercise is controllable, the study clearly shows that while low to moderate levels of physical stress can be beneficial, high levels can be detrimental to health.
In a practical, real-life setting, the lower levels of chronic stress to the sympathetic nervous system that we face everyday can have a similar effect on our health. Our body attempts to adapt by adjusting physiological responses and behavior in order to maintain stability. A recent study explained the fundamental role of the HPA axis in orchestrating our physical reaction to stress and how chronically elevated cortisol levels suppress the immune system and induce glycogenolysis and insulin resistance. Could this be one of the smoking guns that will help to explain the dramatic increase in the rate of obesity?
So assuming stress is unavoidable what can a patient do in addition to making dietary changes and implementing stress management techniques? Providing daily adrenal support in the form of adaptogenic herbs for an already healthy system is a crucial piece that is gaining awareness. Adrenal Response by INNATE Response contains Sensoril®*, a patented extract of Ashwagandha root and leaf that has been clinically shown to strengthen the body against the negative effects of chronic stress.* Sensoril is the only form of ashwagandha concentrated to 8% withanolides.
Furthermore, Sensoril was the subject of a recent multi-phase, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trial using both objective and subjective criteria. A 98 subject study with 3 doses (125mg OD, 125mg BID and 250mg BID) of Sensoril showed that Sensoril reduced experiential feelings of stress and anxiety*, serum cortisol and C-reactive protein levels and increased serum DHEAS levels in a dose-dependent manner, though not linear. The two higher doses also improved the lipid profile, cardiac risk ratio and fasting blood glucose levels. The dosage of Sensoril in Adrenal Response was recently increased to 250mg per serving, which mimics the dosage in the study.
The use of Ocimum sanctum (Holy Basil, or Tulsi) for supporting the body’s stress response is backed by some impressive research and is the primary reason why INNATE Response also recently increased the amount of the herb in Adrenal Response. A recent study published in 2014 confirmed the benefits of Ocimum sanctum by showing that the adaptogen can “address physical, chemical, metabolic and psychological stress through a unique combination of pharmacological activities.”
Most importantly, “Tulsi has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals, and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion”*. Moreover “Tulsi has also been shown to counter metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function and through its anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties. * Adrenal Response now features the increased dosage of 150 mg of Holy Basil per serving.
In addition to Ashwagandha, and Holy Basil, Adrenal Response contains a full range of whole body primary adaptogens including Rhodiola, and Astragalus. These comprehensive botanicals deliver a synergistic effect that eliminates the need for g * One of the most attractive benefits of this formula is that it is suitable for vegetarians. This group tends to have a difficult time sourcing an efficacious adrenal support formula because of their dietary restrictions, so Adrenal Response provides a needed option for an important and growing segment of your patient base.
The modern diet in conjunction with the stressors of life are two causative factors that influence the development of chronic disease. Most integrative practitioners embrace the need for a proactive treatment plan prior to the development of a serious illness by educating their patients on both diet and lifestyle changes. However, the excessive levels of stress that patients are routinely exposed to and the additive effect of poor food choices demand a fundamental change in how patients view their role in disease prevention. Fortunately, providing additional daily adrenal support in the form of adaptogens has recently gained attention as a result of several new research studies which explored the pharmacological capabilities of these herbs. Utilizing these therapies daily in conjunction with making better food choices and lifestyle changes when necessary holds the promise of a healthier future.
*Sensoril® is a trademark of Natreon, Inc. and is protected under U.S.Patent 6,713,092
*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any disease .
 A Moshfegh et al. What We Eat in American NHANES 2005-2006, Usual Nutrient Intakes from Food And Water Compared to 1997 Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium, USDA, Agricultural Research Service. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/
 Berz MD, J. Diet and the Prevention of Chronic Disease. Medscape Public Health, (August 21, 2012) http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/769218
 Bhatia V, Tandon RK. Stress and the gastrointestinal tract. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Mar;20(3):332-9. Review.
] Hackney A. Stress and the neuroendocrine system: the role of exercise as a stressor and modifier of stress. Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Nov 1; 1(6): 783–792.
 Luccassan E, Cizza G. The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, Obesity, and Chronic Stress Exposure: Sleep and the HPA Axis in Obesity. Curr Obes Rep. 2012 Dec; 1(4): 208–215.
 Biswajit A. et al. Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. JANA, 11(1), 2008: 50-56.
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