Skip to main content

Depression Part 3: Labs that measure stress response

By September 21, 2012October 30th, 2014No Comments

STRESS! What effect does it have on our bodies?

Now we can know. It is the number one complaint of Americans. We complain about it, we live with it, and sometimes it gets the best of us. Can we measure stress levels? No. But we can measure how well an individual handles stress, and if it might be causing mood changes such as irritability, fatigue, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance or insomnia. Sometimes we hear people say the stress is getting to me. Or I can’t handle the stress anymore. These are all true statements of how the body is handling stressful situations. Now we can do something about it. Evaluation of neurotransmitter levels through Lab Corp or Sonora Quest allows us to view the production levels of stress neurotransmitters produced by the brain. The main neurotransmitter produced is called nor-epinephrine. This neurotransmitter elevates under any stress situation even a simple one such as going from a lying position to standing(which shouldn’t be to overwhelming for most). At our East Valley Naturopathic office we evaluate levels of neurotransmitters in individuals by doing just that, putting them under stress. In healthy individuals, who handle stress well, nor-epinephrine should increase. In chronically stressed patients, nor-epinephrine is either already very low or fails to rise under stress. This will cause symptoms of anxiety, panic disorders and even loss of sleep, such as waking in the early hours. The consequences of low nor-epinephrine have been linked to exhaustion, inability to handle even simple tasks of daily living and even complete immune fatigue leading to cancer. If you deal with any degree of depression, anxiety, panic disorders, sleep disorders(insomnia), or inability to handle stress appropriately, you may be suffering from nor-epinephrine deficiency. Anti-depressants are unable to treat this disorder. It requires specific therapies targeting increases in production of nor-epinephrine.

Depression Part 4: Testing nor-epinephrine, epinephrine, and serotonin