Jan 10, 2015
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
Low blood sugar
Fasting for prolonged time
Things that decrease cortisol:
Soy-derived phosphatidylserine interacts with cortisol; the correct dose, however, is unclear
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"
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"