Dr. Penny Kendall-Reed spoke at the Integrative Health Symposium conference in October, 2015. Her lecture highlighted the complexity of how stress affects hormone activity.
Research has sought to identify the unique characteristics of hormones for decades, but this is difficult because hormones do not act in a vacuum. They have distinct relationships with each other.
Introducing the Hypothalamus, Pituitary Gland and the Adrenal Glands
One of the more complicated hormone relationships involves the HPA axis. The HPA axis is a set of interactions and signals that exist between the Hypothalamus, the Pituitary gland and the Adrenal glands. This relationship is an indispensable part of our existence.
The hypothalamus is a very tiny area in the brain with an enormous number of functions. Some of these functions include the regulation of body temperature, hunger, attachment behaviors, thirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian rhythms. The hypothalamus produces a number of hormones which directly stimulate the pituitary gland.