The brain’s main function in the central nervous system is to send out neuron signals all throughout the body. What this does is that these signals go from the brain through the spinal cord and send out the information for the body to function and vice versa. These signals make sure that the organ system is doing its job properly and making the body move as well. When there are unwanted pathogens entering the body, it can disrupt the neuron signals from reaching the brain and cause chronic symptoms that can develop over time causing the person pain. In this 2 part series, we will be taking a look at how cortisol and inflammation affect the brain as well as how the gut and the brain make a connection. Part 1 discussed what is the central nervous system and what factors can affect the brain. By referring patients to qualified and skilled providers who specialized in neurological services. To that end, and when appropriate, we advise our patients to refer to our associated medical providers based on their examination. We find that education is the key to asking valuable questions to our providers. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
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The Central Nervous System
The central nervous system is consist of the brain and the spinal cord in the body. What this system does, as research shows, is that it signals all the neurons in the body and transports them back and from the brain to the entire body. Each nerve signal makes sure that the entire body is moving and each organ system is getting the signals and sending them back to the brain. Some of the functions that the central nervous system does are that it controls how a person breathes, releases hormones, controls body temperature, and controls emotions as studies show. With the brain’s main function is to send out signals throughout the body, surprisingly, some of the factors can actually affect the brain signal if it becomes too chronic and they are cortisol and inflammation.
Cortisol & The Brain
Now cortisol is a stress hormone that gives the body a little boost of energy when an individual is dealing with a situation. Even though stress can be beneficial to the body it can also become chronic if it is not taken care of. Too much stress can lead to chronic pain and as studies have found, cortisol is released by the activation of the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis, and when that increases can lead to age-related cognitive disorders in the brain. Other studies have found that when there is long-term elevated cortisol affecting the brain it can negatively influence cardiometabolic changes in the body. See the brain can send signals to the endocrine system to release hormones to get the body to function at normal levels, but when cortisol levels begin to rise in the body it can affect the brain.
Other studies have shown that when stress begins in the brain and starts to affect it, can cause pathophysiology changes to the neural, cardiovascular, immune, and metabolic systems in the body. The brain gives the signal of a “fight or flight” response to the body as it endures stressful situations. When the cortisol levels become chronic, the brain signals will be disruptive and cause chronic symptoms to develop over time and cause the individual pain.
Inflammation & The Brain
Just like cortisol, inflammation does the same thing to the body. When there are unwanted pathogens entering the body and causing havoc, the immune systems send out inflammatory cells to the affected area and attack the pathogen. Studies have found that inflammatory cytokines are produced by the nervous system to produce behavioral symptoms and characteristics of the illness to stop the infection from spreading and healing the body.
However, if the inflammatory cells start to attack the body out of nowhere and there are no unwanted pathogens attacking the body, then it can become chronic. Studies have found that chronic inflammation can increase the peptides and age can become the risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease while also becoming a role in the development of neurodegeneration.
HCTP (human cellular tissue products) or stem cells* have been used in regenerative therapy treatments in both international and nationally affiliated clinics and distribution organizations to help individuals with chronic pain. HCTP has been used to help boost up the body’s own natural healing process by regenerating and repairing damaged tissues, diseased organs, and cellular structure back to their original state in the body. With more upcoming research discussing about the beneficial properties of HCTP, it can help the individual be pain-free and let them continue their wellness journey.
The Gut-Brain Connection
Research studies have found that the gut and brain are connected to each other as they send a bidirectional connection to each other and promote the proper maintenance of gastrointestinal homeostasis. Other articles have talked about how the brain and gut are even more connected through the endocrine system. While the effects from the gut microbiota can help regulate the neurotransmitters from the brain and the brain’s effects on the gut can help intestinal development and barrier integrity and function as studies show. When unwanted pathogens like chronic inflammation and chronic cortisol affect both the gut and the brain, it can cause the body to be dysfunctional and can cause the individual person pain in their body.
All in all, by regulating cortisol and inflammation levels in the body can provide beneficial results to the brain signals to be functioning normally. By eating nutritious food, making small changes in a certain lifestyle, and exercising regularly can help the individual get their life together and be pain-free. Not only that but keeping a healthy brain can dampen the effects of neurodegenerative disorders from progressing even further as the body ages naturally and the brain is “young” and healthy.
Blasko, Imrich, et al. “How Chronic Inflammation Can Affect the Brain and Support the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease in Old Age: The Role of Microglia and Astrocytes.” Aging Cell, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2004, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15268750/.
Braniste, Viorica, et al. “The Gut Microbiota Influences Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability in Mice.” Science Translational Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 19 Nov. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4396848/.
Carabotti, Marilia, et al. “The Gut-Brain Axis: Interactions between Enteric Microbiota, Central and Enteric Nervous Systems.” Annals of Gastroenterology, Hellenic Society of Gastroenterology, 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4367209.
de Souza-Talarico, Juliana Nery, et al. “Effects of Stress Hormones on the Brain and Cognition: Evidence from Normal to Pathological Aging.” Dementia & Neuropsychologia, Associação De Neurologia Cognitiva e Do Comportamento, 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5619133/.
Echouffo-Tcheugui, Justin B, et al. “Circulating Cortisol and Cognitive and Structural Brain Measures: The Framingham Heart Study.” Neurology, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 20 Nov. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6260201/.
Ludwig, Parker E. “Neuroanatomy, Central Nervous System (CNS).” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Oct. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK442010/.
McEwen, Bruce S. “Central Effects of Stress Hormones in Health and Disease: Understanding the Protective and Damaging Effects of Stress and Stress Mediators.” European Journal of Pharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 Apr. 2008, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2474765/.
Newman, Tim. “Central Nervous System: Structure, Function, and Diseases.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 3 Feb. 2022, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307076.
Sartori, Andrea C, et al. “The Impact of Inflammation on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: Implications for Healthcare Practice and Research.” The Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: Journal of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390758/.
The information herein on "Factors That Can Affect The Brain | Part 2" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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