Stress Affects Males & Females Differently
According to a study out of the Wizmann Institute of Science which was published in Cell Metabolism, in mice studies, the stress receptor in the brain that regulates metabolic responses to stressful situations affects males and females differently. The researchers focused on an “Area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which has a number of functions, among them helping the body adjust to stressful situations, controlling hunger and satiety, and regulating blood glucose and energy production.”
When stress hits, cells in the hypothalamus step up production of a receptor called CRFR1. It also rapidly activates the stress-response sympathetic nerve network – including increasing heart rate. It was also thought to play a role in this situation as well. After noticing surprisingly that the receptor is expressed in around half the cells that arouse appetite and suppress energy consumption (since the common thought would be the opposite) they removed the CRFR1 receptor in mice from just the cells that arouse appetite in the hypothalamus and observed the bodily functions. There were no significant changes, meaning that this CRFR1 receptor is saved for stressful situations.
When exposed to cold, the sympathetic nervous system activates a certain kind of fat that maintains the body’s internal temperature. Interestingly, when the receptor was removed, the mice got really cold – but only the females. The same sort of affect was seen with fasting and satiety. The male mice weren’t as affected by losing the CRFR1 receptor.
The applications of this researcher are wide-ranging, including the development of treatments for regulating hunger or stress responses, anxiety disorders or depression.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.