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Beyond Adrenal Fatigue Reframing our Understanding of Stress and the HPA Axis

Presented by Tom Guilliams, PhD

For too long, complex stress-related changes to HPA axis function have been labeled as “adrenal fatigue.” This outdated and incorrect nomenclature has often prevented clinicians from properly understanding how the HPA axis adapts to stressors and why simplistic solutions (i.e., adrenal support) are inadequate for most patients. Our knowledge of the stress response system, HPA axis maladaptation and the factors that influence glucocorticoid signaling have greatly advanced in just the past decade, though much of this knowledge is not well leveraged in most clinical practices. Reframe our orientation of stress in a way that focuses on the brain (rather than the adrenal gland), and shows that the stress response is not as linear as often perceived. While navigating through a premier resource to help clinicians understand the functional medicine approach to stress and the HPA axis, this lecture re-frame the stress response within the larger (non-stress) functions performed by the HPA axis.