Tag Archives: adrenal

How infections affect the HPA axis.

Happy Monday Tribe!

I hope you all have had a wonderful past couple of weeks.  As we move into October, sickness is in full swing already due to many factors.  As we know a big culprit is lower vitamin D levels as well as enclosed spaces with lots of shedding viruses! 
However, even not in “flu season”, there are many viruses and bacteria that can affect the way your brain can function.
I came across some research lately, that isn’t that new but was very interesting when I dove deeper into it.
It’s research done from the society for endocrinology in Maryland. ( If you want the article just let me know).

Before I begin, I should probably explain what HPA means.  HPA stands for hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland are in your brain, and your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys.  This is basically a signaling system.  The just HP axis, is a signaling system from your brain for many different hormones to be secreted, and organs to function.  You NEED that brain signal working first and foremost to be able to tell the organs what to do!

(not my image)

We know that for instance STRESS can make our immune system go down right?  Well, that is because of this pathway.  Stress activates the HPA axis and allows the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol (a stress hormone).  Cortisone controls the body’s blood sugar levels and thus regulating metabolism, acting as an anti-inflammatory, influencing memory formation, controlling salt and water balance, influencing blood pressure and helping development of the foetus. But chronic stress, means chronic cortisol being secreted and lots of problems.

The release of cortisol has many effects on bacterial and viral infections and on the immunity induced by these infectious agents. This study showed that HPA axis activation enhanced Mycobacterium growth in susceptible mice, and increased susceptibility to viral disease.  It also enhances the replication of some viruses.

This talk today though won’t be about that direction, because we know stress causes many problems.  Today we want to talk about the opposite direction: how these infections effect the HPA axis.

The HPA axis is a bidirectional communication between the brain and immune system.  The immune system will signal to the brain via something called cytokines, then the brain will respond by regulating the immune system in part through the action of the HPA axis.  It’s a feedback loop.

How do bacterial and viral infections activate this axis?!

The activation of this axis is probably the result of the action of inflammatory mediators (cytokines).  However, also possible that infections can get into the brain, and have a direct impact on how the HPA axis functions.

These are the infections they studied:
-Endotoxins like salmonella
-Clostridium difficile
-Staph Aureus
-cytomegala virus
-Herpes type 1
-newcastle disease

They also found that the release of cortisol during cytomegala virus infection, wasn’t mediated only through the HPA axis, but can be released from the adrenals directly by the immune system.  

The HPA axis release following a viral or bacterial infection is advantageous to the invading organisms, as it serves to minimize the host’s immune response, enhancing the organisms ability to survive. 

An intact and HEALTHY HPA axis and cortisol response are necessary for host survival after exposure to an infectious agent as well. The lethal level of a pathogen depends on a complex interplay between the specific organism’s induction of an appropriate level of the host’s HPA axis response, the health of that response and pathogen interactions at the level of the cortisol receptor. 

ok ok enough research..

Basically Infections cause problems with how our brain functions and signals… Some infections can even affect the brain directly by being IN the brain, but don’t have to be.  They can have an effect on the brain through this axis not being regulated properly because of an infection!

As I mentioned previously, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland have MANY functions, and so we really need this signal to work well.  But, the research shows in the presence of infections it can’t work well.

Where does that leave us?


WE know that first the HPA axis needs to be supported and healthy so that the immune system doesn’t allow infections to arise. 

But additionally, infections NEED to be cleared in order for this axis to work effectively as well.

How do we achieve this?!

Well we look for both!

In my practice, we can support the HPA axis through enhancing how the brain is functioning through craniopathy and chiropractic care.  If anything is putting pressure or creating tension directly on the brain or directly on these glands, it has to be released in oder for the intact HP axis. 
Nutrition can also be given to help heal and nourish the brain if there has been any previous damage to the hypothalamus and pituitary either from trauma, stress or hormone dysregulation.


WE must attack those infections!

I love using craniobiotic technique (CBT) in my practice to clear infections energetically.  More information is found on my website about this amazing technique.
We also use herbals and remedies if needed to kill the infections, but usually CBT will do the trick.

Lyme Disease Brain is a very real thing and needs MORE complex care, but infections in the brain like lyme disease and many other related viruses cause HUGE problems in brain function.

We then utilize genetic based nutrition to make sure that there are no cracks where infections can creep back in.  No detox pathways that are clogged, no blood brain barriers open, vitamin D is being absorbed (huge for infections) no hormone pathways blocked.


Utilizing these methods, we can heal the brain and regain that HPA axis health that we need!

That is all for now.
Wishing you a happy and healthy week.

Dr. Hamel

Nutrition, Bugs and Genetics…. Adrenal Depleters

Happy Monday!  It’s newsletter time!  And we are talking this month all about adrenals!!  Last week, we chatted about how mechanical dysfunction within your brain and nervous system depletes the adrenal glands.

This week we will be talking about nutritional deficiencies, Bugs and Genetics that can come into play and affect the health of your adrenal glands.

Are you ready?

Lets dig in!

Step 1.  Nutrition.

As mentioned in our first blog about adrenals, the adrenal glands secrete steroid hormones.  Steroid hormones come from cholesterol!

In order to have proper hormone function, we need to have proper fat absorption and utilization within the body.  Our hormones rely on fat, and a healthy balance of it.

As mentioned, cholesterol IS NOT BAD.  It is actually a superhero with many vital functions.  If we don’t get enough adequate cholesterol within our diet, our storage will start to rev up.  Again this is VITAL.  A good blood marker is around 180-220.  THIS IS NORMAL.  Lower levels and you will have significant hormone problems.  

If your cholesterol is higher than 220, then it is either a liver problem, genetic(rare), or the excess cholesterol is trying to put out a fire in your body .  You see cholesterol goes to area of the body where there is inflammation and tries to patch it up.  ( this is why cholesterol goes to arteries that are weak and inflamed and tries to patch it up).  It’s the superhero, not the culprit.  So we need to figure out what those flames are, which leads into our next portion.

Also important, if you have food allergies, these are CHRONIC adrenal gland depleters.  Sometimes they aren’t actual allergies, but inflamed digestive tracts from pathogens.  Once the pathogens are cleared the nervous system and inflammation will calm down, and the food sensitivities can go away.

I can desensitize certain allergies through craniobiotic technique in my office.  But a good rule of thumb is to eliminate gluten and pasteurized dairy if you have adrenal fatigue.  These are inflammatory for EVERYONE and shouldn’t be consumed, but especially for those with adrenal problems.

GMO and non organic foods are also problems.  We can’t digest GMO foods, they are foreign to our body.  And non organic foods have thousands of chemicals and pesticides which means more adrenal stress.


Did you know the prevalence of Esptein Barr Virus or Mono? In the research conducted in 2005, it was found that Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infects more than 98 percent of the world’s population!  Yep.

Know anyone with ulcerative colitis or Chrons?
Almost ALL causes of ulcerative colitis or Chron’s disease show positive for Mycobacterium species.

Alzheimers or MS?
Lyme Disease Bacteria has been shown to be prevalent in cadaver’s brains in Alzheimers patients, and MS can be misdiagnosed for the borrelia bacteria.

Chronic diarrhea or IBS?
You most likely have a protozoal/amoeba infection.

Almost every single nutrition patient that comes to me has parasites.  Its actually NOT normal to find someone without these days.  Things are all around.

I could go on… the fact of the matter is that almost ALL diseases can be traced to BUGS.  Things don’t just “happen”.  Auto-immune diseases don’t just “happen”.  Usually the gut/brain pathways are stressed through pathogens and nervous system distress.  Pathogens like microbes can hide in our bodies for years and wreak havok creating chronic stress and adrenal depletion.

It’s important to note, a lot of infections go undiagnosedThat’s because typical blood work and even stool testing doesn’t always find these hidden pathogens.  Testing isn’t perfect.

Thankfully I have functional medicine tools to use including Craniobiotic Technique to screen for these hidden pathogens.

You HAVE to take care of stealth pathogens, because they are chronic immune system and energy depleters.  
It’s also important to know that when you are killing these bugs, if you are able to actually eliminate them out of your body.  If you aren’t then you will have a lot of side effects, and it could be harmful.  We have to get pathogens and toxins OUT the shooter.

Which leads to Step 3.

Step 3.  Genetics

Genetics have been all the “rave” the past 5-10 years as we learn more and more about them.  It’s important to note the difference between genetics and epigenetic.  Epigenetics are specific genes we have that may be turned “on” or “off”.  But, the great thing is that we can change our epigenetics.  We know that the food we eat, environment that we are in, emotional stability all have effects on our genes. 

With genetics, specifically with the adrenal glands, if you have chronic adrenal fatigue, sometimes looking into genetics is necessary.

This is mainly because it you have a lot of genes that aren’t functioning well, then the pathways that we need are not functioning well.  Add in infections, nervous system stress and emotional instability and it’s a trifecta of improper detoxing.   Most of what we are looking at with the genetics here is the function of enzymes.

So, in these cases, genetics are very useful.

One gene in particular is called the MTHFR gene.  (yep that’s how its spelled!).  It stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase.  With this gene mutation (you can have many forms), you cannot convert a B vitamin called folic acid to folate which is the end product we need to make methylation (detoxing) happen.  So this enzyme is impaired.  That means ingesting folic acid in supplements is very toxic and harmful to this person because they can’t break it down to the end product folate.

So why is folic acid in supplements?  SYNTHETIC supplements contain folic acid (which I NEVER use) because it’s cheap.  It’s way better to use whole food supplements or ones that have FOLATE instead of folic acid.

Good to know right?

Absolutely!  Genes give us more information!

B vitamins are essential for many things, but ENERGY is a huge one.  If you can’t synthesize your B vitamins, you won’t detox well and your adrenals and energy will suffer.

This is just one example of how a gene could affect adrenal function.

Genes can affect neurotransmitters and mood disorders, and also other B vitamins.

It gets more complicated as we go, so it’s important to chat with someone who is versed in genes.  A great resources is the book “dirty genes” By Dr. Ben Lynch.  Meaning we need to clean up these dirty gene pathways to experience health and vitality!

So what to do???

Functional Nutrition is key.  Sometimes we need to support the adrenal glands with nourishing herbs and whole foods while we are cleaning out the bugs, clearing nervous system and emotional stress and working on the genetic pathways.  Also, with genes it’s not about giving supplements for every little gene mutation.  This is a big no no. It’s about looking at the whole picture.
Genes just give us more information, but remember we can change gene epigenetics!  Changing the diet is key, and stabilizing the blood sugar is number one.

I recommend a more Ketogenic high fat and low carb lifestyle.  With moderation for everyone with different needs.   Cutting out dead carbs will stabilize blood sugar and allow the body to burn fat.

A yo yo of glucose going up and down stresses out the adrenal glands immensely, so this is one of the first things that needs to be addressed.

Looking at the diet, when you are eating, and supporting as needed. Many people are deficient in vitamins and minerals and don’t even know it. Minerals, such as chromium and magnesium are essential to keeping blood sugars in the normal range. Also important to not eat sweets when you get that energy crash.. This is where herbal support comes in!  Eating a good fat/protein before bed will actually make you sleep better too!!

Often times people have insomnia because their blood sugar is so unbalanced.  They wake up multiple times in the night because they actually are starving.  Eating carbs will only suffice you for a few hours.   If you wake up tired, and go to bed energized, then your adrenals are ALLL kinds of messed up, and you need some help!

I’m happy to help!

Adrenals, Adrenals, Adrenals

Hello August!  I certainly can’t believe it’s August already!  But a new month means a fresh new topic!  Hope you all enjoyed last month’s topics around fertility.  If you missed it, or know someone that might benefit, please SHARE them!

This month we will be diving into the all important Adrenal Glands.  We will start this week with what are they and what is their job, and will continue the rest of the month talking about what depletes them:  Brain inflammation (clenching, cranial tension, spine and nervous system), nutritional deficiencies and imbalances ( including infections, hormones, toxins, heavy metals, genetics and more), Chronic STRESS and EMF or electro magnetic frequencies.


I’m SO glad you asked:)

The adrenal glands are little but powerful glands that sit on top of your kidneys.

(not my image)

These glands produce hormones which are in a class called “steroid hormones”.

Steroid hormones are a family of hormones made directly from Cholesterol!

The specific steroid hormones that are produced from the adrenal glands are cortisol and aldosterone.

WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THESE HORMONES! In fact, cortisol is so important we’d die without it in a matter of three days!
These hormones govern stress handling systems, growth, mood and metabolism and impact almost every cell and every organ in the body!  

But …. It all STARTS with….. CHOLESTEROL!!
This important FAT is manufactured in the liver AND intestines.
It is produced based on need. 
The benefits of cholesterol have been misunderstood for so many years, but as we know now with the ketogenic craze, that fats are so amazing for us and needed for adequate hormone production.

These are all the things Cholesterol does:

  • Cell membrane flexibility ( it is literally in our cell membranes, so you biochemically cannot gain weight from eating saturated fats, it’s IN YOUR CELL membranes)
  • Needed for brain health
  • Important for nerve conduction
  • Needed for vitamin D conversion in the skin
  • protects against heart disease and cancer
  • supports healthy immune function
  • increases cell wall permeability
  • mother’s milk is high in cholesterol as babies need very high amounts (BABY FORMULA has NO CHOLESTEROL in it, it’s not a good source of nutrition)
  • Maintains health of intestinal wall; helps prevent leaky gut and dysbiosis
  • Component of bile which is required to process and absorb dietary fats
  • contribute to longevity
  • supports health emotional responses
  • decreases suicide risk
  • important for healthy reproduction, intelligent offspring and hormone production
It’s kind of a SUPERHERO, if you ask me.. and HEALTHY levels are crucial.  The normal range is 180-220.  This is a functional healthy range. Probably not the range your doctor gave you. Levels below this range are associated with an increase in :
-cerebrovascular accidents
-liver cancer
-lung disease
-depression and suicide (its essential in the production of serotonin)
-addictive behavior.

The best sources to get this in your diet are in animal tissues:

  • Egg yolks
  • liver
  • sardines, trout, herring, salmon and cod liver oil
  • bacon
  • butter
  • grass fed meats
Although I do work with vegetarians, I do find it’s extremely hard to balance hormones when animal tissues are not consumed.  They usually don’t get enough from plant sources and will always be chasing hormone problems. Flax seed, olive oil and coconut oil have the highest levels of saturated fats to consume.


You see how cholesterol is at the top???

Now as we go down the chart you will see one route that leads to cortisol.
Cortisol controls our Stress Response.  That is: Fight or Flight Response.  This is vital so that when a threat is upon us we can react quickly!   However, the problem remains when chronic stress continues.
When chronic stress (we will go over what chronic stress is caused by the rest of this month) continues, cortisol is constantly being pumped out.  This causes something called the Pregnenalone Steal.

This means sex hormones won’t be made efficiently because we constantly need cortisol production for the chronic stress.
Here are the effects of chronic and prolonged stress:

  • estrogen dominance
  • depressed or elevated DHEA
  • weakened immune system
  • thyroid dysfunction
  • poor sleep
  • inflammation
  • digestive disorders
  • accelerated aging
And, here are consequences of stress ( we will go over this more in the weeks to come):

  • Weakness
  • hair loss
  • nervousness
  • lowered body temperature
  • weak muscle tone
  • irritability
  • depression
  • difficulty gaining weight
  • apprehension
  • hypoglycemia
  • inability to concentrate
  • excessive hunger
  • tendency towards inflammation
  • poor memory/confusion
  • digestion dysfunction
  • feelings of frustration
  • overall feeling of ill health
  • osteoporosis
  • auto immune diseases
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness upon standing
  • lowered resistance to infections
  • low blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • sweet/salt cravings
  • headaches.
So, as you can see… Just cortisol function is super important for many functions.

What about the second hormone the adrenals produce?  This is aldosterone.

Aldosterone’s main role is to regulate salt and water on the body, having a huge influence on blood pressure.
So, when the adrenal glands aren’t functioning properly blood pressure dys-regulation and electrolyte imbalance can also come into play.

I can tell you, almost every patient I see needs some form or another of adrenal support.  The reason because we are being attacked literally every day from every angle.  We didn’t used to have to use so many products or methods even 15-20 years ago.  This being because now more toxins are everywhere, infections, EMF’s, chemical products, foods, vaccines, crazy work schedules.  It’s often hard for our bodies and adrenal glands to keep up. The key is not to just continually keep supplementing the adrenal glands with specific nutritional supplements, but to find the culprits, which may be one or all combined.

A lot of MD doctors will also tell you adrenal fatigue doesn’t exist.  But it does!  Don’t be discouraged.  There are answers.

Next week we will go over nervous system and brain function and it’s role in Stress out and Helping this gland.

Stay tuned!