Tag Archives: HPA Adapt by Integrative Therapeutics

This Is Your Brain on Stress

BrainStressJacquie Eubanks RN BSN




When eight of ten Americans report feeling frequently stressed, one might wonder what’s causing so many to feel so stressed out. Per the American Psychological Association, there’s a significant percentage of Americans worried about the future of the country, followed by a high percentage who are worried about finances, work or family responsibilities. Almost half of Americans worry about healthcare, while a third find the economy, unemployment, high taxes and low wages worrisome. Three of four Americans report experiencing high levels of stress during the previous month, almost half have trouble sleeping, and one third feel chronically anxious, irritable or fatigued.

The National Institute of Mental Health simply defines stress as “the brain’s response to any demand.” Stress can be classified as acute (good), tolerable or chronic (toxic). Good stress can occur as the result of a single, short-term event, such as recovery from an illness or injury, or when we rise to a challenge, often with positive outcomes. Tolerable stress refers to a situation where one faces a difficult situation, but is able to cope with support of family, friends or others. Toxic or recurring stress can be the result of adverse life events not within our control, such as managing a chronic illness or dealing with an exceptionally demanding workload. When stress is both intense and sustained over a period to time, it becomes particularly problematic, as long-term stress can cause significant harm to normal and proper body and brain functioning.

Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the brain is the central organ of stress and adaptation to stress, as it perceives and determines what is threatening, as well as the behavioral and physiological responses to the stressor. Stress can cause an imbalance of neural circuitry affecting cognition, decision making, anxiety and mood. While it’s well known that chronic stress is detrimental to overall wellness, it now appears that long-term stress and stress related illnesses, such as post traumatic stress disorder, can actually change the physiology of the brain. This can negatively affect brain size, connectivity and mood, and quite possibly memory and cognition down the road. Simply put, persistent stress may actually rewire the brain, strengthening the part of the brain focused on survival and weakening the part of the brain tasked with more complex thought.

Often called the “stress” hormone because of its connection to the stress response, cortisol is actually a steroid hormone critical to protecting overall health and wellbeing. It plays a key role in the sleep/wake cycle, the maintenance of blood sugar levels, energy metabolism, sodium and water balance and blood pressure regulation, as well as the immune system’s inflammatory response. One of the primary functions of our many biological systems is the maintenance of  optimal balance or homeostasis. Cortisol aids the body in regaining homeostasis after a stressful event. As cortisol regulates a wide range of bodily processes, almost every cell contains cortisol receptors, including the hippocampus, the region of the brain where memories are processed and stored.

Normal cortisol levels have no adverse effects on the hippocampus, heavily associated with memory, emotion and learning. When chronically high cortisol levels overwhelm the hippocampus, atrophy and significant memory loss may result. Brain patterns may predict how the body physically reacts to stressful situations. Constant stress and the accumulation of stressful life events may make one more vulnerable to brain shrinkage when faced with future intense traumatic stressors, especially when the next demanding situation requires determination or emotional control. Studies have found that chronic stress has a negative impact on spatial memory, as well as memory retrieval. Additionally, an exaggerated stress response could mean a faster heartbeat and higher blood pressure, which can result in negative health consequences in the long run.

While not all stress is unhealthy or avoidable, taking steps to reduce persistent stress may protect brain health as one ages, as well as increase one’s ability to cope when the next stressful event occurs. Working to redirect behavior in more positive directions can help to promote wellness and enjoyment of life. Maximizing the time spent in a resting state can help address long-term elevation of stress-related biological factors. Finding ways to relax, prioritizing sleep, a healthy diet and moderate exercise, as well as social interaction can effectively reduce stress and help one feel more balanced and in control, as well as significantly promote overall health and happiness.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality formulations to help promote homeostasis and overall wellness:

Cortisol Manager™Cortisol Manager™ by Integrative Therapeutics®: This safe, non-habit forming product provides standardized proprietary blends to help stabilize cortisol levels, thereby supporting a more balanced cortisol response to stress, as well as natural restorative sleep. Gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, artificial flavor and artificial preservative free, vegan formulation.


HPA AdaptHPA Adapt™ by Integrative Therapeutics®: This non-stimulant formula combines five powerful adaptogenic herbs shown to support a healthy stress response, while reducing stress-related fatigue and mental tension. Gluten, wheat, soy and dairy free, vegetarian formulation.


Cortisol CalmCortisol Calm by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic formula is designed to help maintain healthy cortisol levels, while supporting relaxation, restful sleep and positive mood during stressful times. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Advanced Cortisol...Advanced Cortisol Balance by Life Extension: This unique formulation features patented ingredients to support healthy cortisol levels, thereby promoting a healthy stress response, healthy mood and a sense of vigor. Non-GMO formulation.


Diurnal Cortisol...Diurnal Cortisol Test by Professional Supplement Center Test Kits: This four panel adrenal function hormone test kit provides a full diurnal cortisol profile at four points during the day. This test is recommended for stress, chronic fatigue and/or symptoms of adrenal imbalance. Saliva collection instructions, prepaid shipping and all materials for the test included, as well as a 15- minute in person or phone consultation with one of Professional Supplement Center’s health professionals to discuss test results.

By the numbers: Our stressed-out nation. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/12/numbers.aspx
The Mind and Mental Health: How Stress Affects the Brain. http://www.tuw.edu/content/health/how-stress-affects-the-brain/
Chronic Stress Can Damage Brain Structure and Connectivity. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201402/chronic-stress-can-damage-brain-structure-and-connectivity
Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5476783/
Effects of Chronic Stress on Memory Decline in Cognitively Normal and Mildly Impaired Older Adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2864084/
Neurobiological and Systemic Effects of Chronic Stress. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573220/
Protect Your Brain from Stress. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/protect-your-brain-from-stress

About Adaptogens

AyurvedicMedicineJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Considered by many scholars to be the world’s oldest and most sophisticated mind-body healing science, Ayurvedic medicine originated in India thousands of years ago. It continues to be one of India’s highly respected traditional health care systems. As a widely accepted and renowned medical approach that has survived and flourished for centuries, Ayurveda encompasses an enormous knowledge of nature-based medicine. Based on the relationship of the constitution and function of the human body to nature and the elements of the universe, this wellness approach is expected to continue to grow and increase in popularity as it gains awareness and acceptance in western cultures.

Ayurveda’s complex approach to treatment is based on each individual’s distinct pattern of energy, as well as their specific combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics. However, the basic principles of Ayurveda are simply to prevent and reduce the risk of illness by restoring and maintaining balance in the body, mind, and consciousness though proper diet, lifestyle, and the use of herbal remedies. More than a system of treating illness, Ayurveda is guided by the belief that the mind and body are inextricably connected, and that the mind has the power to heal the body through awareness and restoration of mind-body balance. Meditation is one of the powerful tools prescribed for expanding self-awareness and inner calm in order to cultivate an innate state of balance to allow one to thrive and enhance wellbeing.

Those familiar with Ayurvedic medicine may be aware of the extraordinary benefits of adaptogenic herbs. These healing plants help to balance, restore and protect the body, and have the unique ability to adapt their functions in accordance with an individual’s specific needs. Their normalizing influences on the regulation of various metabolic processes improve hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) functioning, and counter catabolic processes associated with enhanced oxidative stress. Adaptogens form a unique group of nontoxic nutraceuticals that support the health of the adrenal system, and help to normalize the physiologic disturbances resulting from chronic stress by correcting imbalances in the neuroendocrine system and alterations in immune functions.

Safe for long term use, adaptogens calm the body and simultaneously boost energy without overstimulating. By supporting adrenal function, they counteract the adverse effects of stress, and enable efficient oxygen utilization without disturbing normal biological functions.

Ashwagandha – Prized for its restorative properties, ashwagandha is an ancient and powerful therapeutic herb that has been utilized for centuries to tone, support and rejuvenate bodily functions. It is perhaps most commonly known for its ability to support the body’s resistance to the negative effects of physiological and psychological stress. Ashwagandha helps the body to cope with external stressors such as toxins in the environment, as well as internal stresses such as anxiety and insomnia. Ashwagandha can help alleviate symptoms of stress, fatigue, low energy and difficulty concentrating.

Rhodiola rosea – Rhodiola is a potent adaptogen that contains phytochemicals that help to relieve anxiety and combat stress-related mental and physical fatigue. Described as a versatile adaptogen, rhodiola helps to increase the body’s stress resistance by balancing stress hormone levels, raising or lowering cortisol as needed. Rhodiola has demonstrated the ability to support cellular energy metabolism, and positively affect brain function and heart health. Studies on rhodiola suggest that this adaptogen holds promise for increased mental and physical performance.

Holy basil – Many studies support the use of holy basil as a therapeutic tonic for the mind, body and spirit. In addition to its adaptogenic properties, holy basil has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds. Research has shown that holy basil can help to reduce symptoms of stress, forgetfulness, exhaustion and sleep issues. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend holy basil to foster relaxation, mental clarity and a sense of overall wellbeing.

It is recommended that those who are pregnant, lactating, or taking medications consult their healthcare practitioner before staring on any supplement regimens.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality products in support of overall wellness:

Ayur-Ashwaganda 300...Ayur-Ashwagandha 300 mg by Douglas Laboratories®: One serving provides 300 mg of standardized ashwagandha root extract in support of a healthy stress response, energy production, improved mental and physical performance, and overall wellness. Gluten, soy, dairy, yeast, wheat and artificial ingredient free formulation.

Rhodiola RoseaRhodiola Rosea by Pure Encapsulations®: Each capsule provides 100 mg of standardized rhodiola rosea extract in support of occasional mental and physical stress, cellular health, and cardiovascular and metabolic function. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Holy BasilHoly Basil by Himalaya® Herbal Healthcare: This certified organic, broad-spectrum herbal adaptogen provides support for stress, emotional wellbeing, and relaxation. Holy Basil supports proper adrenal function and a healthy stress response, and promotes restful, rejuvenative sleep. Gluten and additive free, Non-GMO, vegetarian formulation.

HPA AdaptHPA Adapt™ by Integrative Therapeutics®: This stress resistance complex provides five powerful adaptogenic herbs in support of healthy stress hormone balance via the HPA axis. This non-stimulant nutraceutical reduces mental stress and fatigue, improves mood, calms occasional anxiety and supports cognitive function. Gluten, wheat, soy, yeast, sugar, preservative, and artificial ingredient free, vegetarian formulation.

Adaptogen Support...Adaptogen Support Complex by Professional Complementary Health Formulas: This adaptogenic herbal complex provides phyto-synergistic and nutritional support for a balanced stress response and overall wellness. Gluten and soy free, vegetarian formulation.


Ayurveda. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/ayurveda
A glimpse of Ayurveda-The forgotten history and principles of Indian traditional medicine. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411016000250
15 Surprising Benefits of Ashwagandha. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-ashwagandha-or-indian-ginseng.html
The Health Benefits of Holy Basil. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/basil-benefits#benefits1
10 Amazing Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea. https://www.organicfacts.net/rhodiola-rosea.html


Stressed? Adaptogens to the Rescue!

StressAdaptogensJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

While nearly everyone experiences stressful situations or events, the effects of persistent or chronic stress on bodily function is associated with declining health, including increased risk of stroke, depression, obesity, and heart disease. Prolonged stress, triggered by various emotional, physical, psychological or environmental factors, may ultimately result in increased levels of stress hormones, suppressed immune function, and dysbiosis. The ability of certain botanicals to produce general holistic effects on the health has been known and utilized for thousands of years in Eastern medicine. Herbs known as adaptogens have been shown to aid the body’s ability to adapt to stress, improve mental clarity, and support increased stamina, energy, and endurance.

The body’s natural ability to balance both internal and external stress is known as homeostasis. When the body is not in a balanced state, it is in a state of dysfunction that can lead to fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety, weight imbalance and lack of libido. Also known as “herbal pharmaceuticals,” adaptogenic herbs work at the molecular level to counteract the effects of stress. Taken supplementally these herbs help to stabilize and regulate the hypothalamic- pituitary- adrenal (HPA) axis, and also balance key mediators of the stress response. As part of the neuroendocrine system, the HPA axis controls the stress response and plays a role in regulating the gastrointestinal, neurological and immune systems. Supporting an optimal and balanced function of the HPA axis helps to maintain overall health and wellness.

Adaptogens are multitasking herbs with restorative properties that help to naturally rebuild health and vitality. They enhance the body’s resistance to stressors, manage endocrine and neuroendocrine balance, and mediate the inflammatory response. To qualify as an adaptogen, an herb must have wide ranging health benefits, be safe, non-toxic, and have no significant side effects. It must also induce a normalizing effect, improve the function of numerous body systems, and produce a total body response that increases resistance against the negative effects of emotional and physical stress.

Adaptogens have self-limiting properties that are active when the body needs them and inactive when it doesn’t. In this way, the broad-spectrum actions help to optimize the health of the entire body. Additionally, specific nutrients including vitamin C, certain B vitamins, lipoic acid, phosphatidylserine, plant sterols and the amino acid tyrosine may help to minimize the negative systemic effects of stress and aid the adaptive response.

Ashwagandha: Used in Eastern medicine for several centuries, ashwagandha is best known for its ability to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha appears to enhance endocrine function, and may help reduce cortisol levels and balance the adrenals in chronically stressed individuals. In addition to improving stress resistance, ashwagandha supports the immune response, healthy thyroid and nervous system function, and a promotes sleep cycle regulation.

Eleuthero: Beneficial for men and women and especially the elderly, eleuthero is a gentle, supportive adaptogen that is suitable for long-term daily use. It helps to normalize overall body function, aids restful sleep, and supports mental acuity and optimal immune response.

Holy Basil: Known in India as the elixir of anti-aging and utilized in Ayurvedic medicine for more than three centuries, this powerful adaptogen helps the body to function optimally during times of stress by enhancing the body’s natural response to both physical and mental stressors.

Panax Ginseng: The most well-known adaptogen, panax ginseng helps rejuvenate and invigorate the body, and provides a sense of overall wellbeing. Research has shown that this Asian herb strengthens the ability to withstand mental, physical and environmental stress.

Rhodiola Rosea: This well researched adaptogen helps to relieve anxiety, alleviate mental and physical fatigue, suppress cortisol production, and increase levels of stress-resistant proteins.

Astragalus: This adaptogen helps to boost immunity and lessen the effects of physical, emotional and mental stress. As well, it helps to increase natural anti-stress compounds used by the body to repair and prevent stress-related damage.

Maca: Widely believed to be an adaptogen, maca is a medicinal plant that grows high in the Andes mountains of Peru. Maca is valued for supporting hormonal health and increasing libido in both men and women. It also believed to boost energy and increase exercise performance.

Schisandra: This herb appears to be most helpful for individuals with overall exhaustion and low physical and mental performance. Utilized as a general wellness tonic, schisandra appears to promote good health and balanced function.


Professional Supplement Center offers these and other fine products to support a healthy adrenal response and overall wellness:

HPA AdaptHPA Adapt™ by Integrative Therapeutics®: Formulated with five powerful adaptogenic herbs, this non-stimulant formula improves the body’s response to mental and physical stressors. Key ingredients help to improve mood, calm anxiety, support cognitive function and reduce mental stress and fatigue. Gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, yeast and artificial ingredient free.


Schisandra Extract...Schisandra Extract 500 mg by Vital Nutrients:  This adaptogenic herb helps to improve energy, endurance, and the stress response, and supports liver, immune and nervous system health. Independently tested for potency, purity and toxic substances.


Adaptogen Support...Adaptogen Support Complex by Professional Complementary Health Formulas: Traditionally known to support balance under stress, these encapsulated single herbs provide phyto-synergistic support to enhance the body’s ability to resist the effects of stress. Gluten and soy free vegetarian formulation.


Maca-3Maca-3 by Pure Encapsulations®: Long considered the ginseng of the Andes, this formula provides three synergistic maca extracts to promote male and female libido and healthy reproductive system function. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Rhodiola Rosea...Rhodiola Rosea Extract Full Spectrum™ by Planetary Herbals: This highly valued strengthening tonic helps to increase mental and physical stamina. Standardized root extracts provide the full spectrum of rhodiola constituents.


Nutritional and botanical interventions to assist with the adaptation to stress. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10468649
Adaptogenic Herbs: List, Effectiveness, and Health Benefits. http://www.healthline.com/health/adaptogenic-herbs#overview1
Are adaptogenic herbs beneficial to your health? http://www.healthline.com/health/adaptogenic-herbs#herbs-list3
Stress. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/stress
Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/
12 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha. http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-ashwagandha-benefits#section1