Think you’re an adrenaline junkie? New info shows you’re not.

It's a bone hormone, not adrenaline


In a life or death situation, it’s your bones that save you!


Hi, and welcome to Stay Mobile KC, your source for inspiration in getting and staying active in Kansas City. I’m Dr. Steph and I’m the chiropractor who makes house calls, so I come to you whether it’s at home or at work, and I get you feeling better faster so you can get right back to being productive.  

Today I want to talk to you about an exciting new discovery in physiology, or in how our bones affect our hormones. Now, if you’re not up on physiology and not into this type of thing, don’t worry – don’t go away yet because you’re going to get this. And I guarantee this information is going to blow your mind. 

So, imagine you’re getting ready to go on stage and you’re going to make a speech in front of thousands of people. Or imagine you’re in a car and you have people that you love in the car with you. You’re coming up to an intersection, someone runs a red light and almost hits you. What happens in that moment is our bodies release a hormone, our body dumps a bunch of this hormone into our body, this hormone that causes our pulse to increase, our breathing rate to increase, it causes our bodies to sweat. And you know the name of that hormone, right? What’s that hormone called? If you’re saying adrenaline, I hate to tell you this, but you’re wrong. I was wrong, too. You’re not alone.

Researchers at Columbia University have found that it’s not adrenaline, but a hormone called osteocalcin that causes our bodies to go into fight, flight or freeze mode. And how this works is that we have multiple nervous systems in our bodies. One of them is the one we have conscious control of – we use it to move our arms, legs, our facial muscles, everything we do to move our bodies through life. The other nervous system is the autonomic nervous system. That’s the one we don’t have conscious control of. And that nervous system kind of has two modes. You have the “rest and digest” mode and you have the “fight, flight or freeze” mode. And you’re in one mode or the other. The rest and digest mode is where our bodies do all the maintenance work it does, things like clean up cellular debris. It’s where our immune system fights infectious invaders. It’s where our immune system also kills cells that have genetic mutation that may eventually become cancer. 

So we have the rest and digest mode and we have the fight, flight, freeze mode. Now, it’s better for us to stay in the rest and digest mode as much as we can because that’s where  maintenance occurs. But of course when our lives are threatened, it’s also important to flip over to that fight, flight or freeze mode because that’s where we fight for survival.

And how this works is, when our brain senses danger it sends a signal not to our adrenal glands, which sit on our kidneys and release adrenaline, which is what we’ve always thought. Instead it sends a signal to our bones. Our bones release a hormone, that hormone, osteocalcin. Osteocalcin goes to the organs in our bodies and it stops all those processes that keep us maintained and alive, keep us maintained and functioning well. It stops all those processes to allow our survival instincts to kick in.

The researchers at Columbia University who produced these studies, weren’t studying stress at all. They were actually studying how bones form. Bone typically forms when, it actually starts with a collagen framework and the body lays minerals on top of that collagen framework to form bone. The researchers used mice genetically engineered to not make osteocalcin. They expected through their studies that the mice would not would not form bone, but they were surprised to find that they actually did form bone normally. But what happened instead is those mice had excess body fat, they were not fertile, they couldn’t reproduce, and they had a weak stress response. 

I find this information so exciting and potentially opening new of understanding in how our bone health affects our health in general, how stress affects our body and our health, potentially opening new avenues of understanding and treatment in helping people to conceive. And something that so many of us struggle with, excess body fat. I’m Dr. Steph with Stay Mobile KC. Let me know if you’ve enjoyed this, I hope you have. And I’m looking forward to seeing you again next time.



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