Share
Explore BrainMass

Stress and the digestive system

We will investigate the effects of stress on the digestive system, including its effect on *regulating blood sugar levels. As you can see, dysregulation of blood sugar levels can cause metabolic problems and unusually high or low blood sugar levels, such as in diabetes. View the trends for **diabetes in America demonstrated in the graph.
Now continue to your readings for this SLP assignment:
***Why We Gain Weight When We're Stressed—And How Not To, in Psychology Today
****Cortisol Connection: Tips on Managing Stress and Weight, by Christine A. Maglione-Garves, Len Kravitz, Ph.D., and Suzanne Schneider, Ph.D.

Part I: Stress and Weight Gain
Using complete sentences in paragraph format, address the following questions:
What hormones are implicated in the weight gain response that some individuals experience when stressed? Which type of stressor elicits this response? How does this influence fat deposition? What role do dietary choices and cravings play in stress-related weight gain?

Part II: Blood Sugar Regulation
Now review the article from the Dartmouth Undergraduate Science Journal:
*****The Physiology of Stress: Cortisol and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis
How is the pathway described here different from those described in the first two articles? Which type of stressors influence the relationship between cortisol and insulin? Are the health risks different?

Part III: Conclusions
In a conclusion paragraph, compare and contrast the influence of short- and long-term stress effects on blood sugar regulation and fat deposition. Are these responses related to health risks in the cardiovascular system? Explain the connections between the body's response to stress described in these articles and other health risks such a high cholesterol and hypertension.

*http://www.pearsoncustom.com/mct-comprehensive/asset.php?isbn=1269879944&id=6822
**Diabetes in America (Attached)
***http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201308/why-we-gain-weight-when-we-re-stressed-and-how-not
****Cortisol Connection: Tips on Managing Stress and Weight, by Christine A. Maglione-Garves, Len Kravitz, Ph.D., and Suzanne Schneider, Ph.D.
*****The Physiology of Stress: Cortisol and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (Attached)

Solution Preview

Part I: Stress and Weight Gain
What hormones are implicated in the weight gain response that some individuals experience when stressed? Which type of stressor elicits this response? How does this influence fat deposition? What role do dietary choices and cravings play in stress-related weight gain?

Initially, the hormones adrenaline, CRH, and cortisol are released into the body to prepare the body for the "fight or flight" stressor response. This allows the brain and body to prepare themselves for the oncoming danger. In the short run, the hormone adrenaline causes us to feel less hungry as our blood flows from the our internal organs into the large muscles in our bodies as part of the "fight or flight" response. Over time, as the amount of adrenaline in our bodies decreases, cortisol takes over. Cortisol is the "stress hormone" that signals our bodies to resume our food intake.

During prehistoric times, the bodies of humans were capable of storing fat for the long term, for when they would be needed during stressors such as during a dangerous situation, or when food was scarce. Modern day stressors include life crises and requirements at our jobs Our bodies still deposit fat in a manner similar to those of our prehistoric ancestors. Humans are liable to have an extra layer of "visceral fat" deposited in our abdominal areas, as this area has the blood vessels and cortisol receptors necessary to facilitate the process. In addition, excess cortisol decreases the metabolic rate; this makes it difficult for us to lose the accumulated fat. During prehistoric times, responding to dangers can use up a large amount of our energy. In modern times, our stressors do not ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses stress and its affect on the digestive system in 890 words.

$2.19