The HP Axis is considered an abbreviation for the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis. Doing a search will yield a multitude of pages focused on the Adrenals. However, the adrenals are only one pair of endocrine glands whose hormones are sampled in the blood by the Hypothalamus. Every hormone produced by other endocrine gland in the body are also sampled by the Hypothalamus. The following description is quite common throughout healthcare.
The hypothalamus is highly involved in pituitary gland function. When it receives a signal from the nervous system, the hypothalamus secretes substances known as neurohormones that start and stop the secretion of pituitary hormones.
This statement is usually accompanied by a graphic with arrows depicting the Hypothalamic – Pituitary Axis being described.
Arrows are always considered to be nerves, based on the statement, “receives a signal from the nervous system.” This can be interpreted in a multitude of ways, for example; as a signal from the brain, if one is focused on the brain. If the focus is the vagus. Then the “signal” would be from the vagus. Very few would ever question those interpretations.
However, those interpretation are very inaccurate. When in fact the arrows are blood vessels through which the hormones travel. When questioned, some healthcare providers would profess to knowing the arrows represented blood vessels. I have one question for them. If you knew the arrows represented blood vessels through which the hormones travel. Why does your website, podcast, and social media posts, all reflect the arrows as being nerves?
Many parts of the cerebral cortex can excite or inhibit the hypothalamus. This is used to validate the meme that the arrows represent nerves. However, when considering the popular Hypothalamic – Pituitary Axis diagrams are depicting endocrine hormones that only travel through the blood. The meme that the arrows represent nerves is inaccurate.
Your endocrine system includes eight major glands throughout your body. These glands make hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers. They travel through your bloodstream to tissues or organs. Hormones work slowly and affect body processes from head to toe. These include
- Growth and development
- Metabolism – digestion, elimination, breathing, blood circulation and maintaining body temperature
- Sexual function
When the fact that hormones and neuroendocrine transmitters are transported through the blood are brought into the conversation. This becomes important in understanding the Hypothalamic – Pituitary – Axes. For most in healthcare, blood is always flowing, except for when there is a clot. Then there is a problem. But not until then. There is a lack of understanding of Poiseuille’s Law as it relates to blood flow in the body. This has a direct affect on hormones making it to the hypothalamus for sampling.
Blood Flow in the Body
The task of maintaining an adequate interstitial homeostasis (the proper nutritional environment surrounding all cells in your body), (the proper hormonal, neuroendocrine transmitter, neuropeptide and immune responses), requires that blood flows almost continuously through each of the millions of capillaries in the body.
When the circulatory system is out of balance, it is like living in a house where if someone flushes the toilet or starts the washing machine while you are showering you get scalded or frozen. The water does not shut off. But the temperature and pressure change.
The vast majority of the Healthcare community would say there is still blood flowing past the hypothalamus. So there is no problem. Everything works the same. The same could be said for standing in the shower. Why are you jumping out of the way, cursing at who ever flushed or started the washing machine.
One could ask what is the problem? The traffic (blood flow) is still moving? Yes, it is. Then traffic during rush hours does not affect deliveries either. A traffic jam is one part of the city should not affect deliveries in the remainder of the city either then. However, anyone that lives in the big cities knows that traffic jams in one area also affect deliveries in other parts of the city. Especially when Amazon or UPS shipping hubs are located areas where the jams are.
In addition to that, there is no tracking number. There is no tracking number or guaranteed delivery of hormones to the hypothalamus from the endocrine glands in the abdomen or neck. Although enhanced sympathetic tone is a well recognized component of the autonomic control of the vasomotor system, the contribution of parasympathetic withdrawal to this autonomic imbalance is relatively unknown and undescribed.
Hepatic portal hypertension increases splanchnic blood flow. This increase is caused by increased perfusion of all organs drained by the portal vein, and by increased hepatic arterial blood flow.
Does your Functional Doctor look at MRI or CT images? Do they look for vasodilation of the Hepatic Portal Vein? The answer would be only if you were diagnosed with Cirrhosis of the Liver. Just to get scenario straight. Your Functional Doctor practices “Functional” medicine for all the popular diagnosis du jours using the narrowed standards. But will wait for the diagnosis of Cirrhosis of the Liver before considering vasodilation of the Hepatic Portal Vein to be a contributor to your health condition. My Functional Chiropractic colleagues will scroll past the Hepatic Portal Vein vasodilation so they can look at the spine. Granted they are doing what they are trained to do. But why claimed they are “Functional” practitioners, if they are not going to consider the entire body.
Ironically, the Vasomotor dysfunction of the blood supply to the organs is directly correlated to vertebral disc degeneration and spinal stenosis. You would be find it nearly impossible to view a Chiropractic website, podcast or social media post that show any blood supply to the brain, vertebrae or spinal column.
All the cells of the body must receive oxygen, glucose and nutrients from the blood as well as removal of carbon dioxide, lactic acid and cellular waste or toxins. Yes, even bone requires blood for healthy bone. Calcium does not magically appear in the bone like food does in a Harry Potter movie. All nerves depend wholly upon the arterial system for their nutrition and the quality of their function, such as sensation, signal transmission and motion, even though by the law of reciprocity they furnish force for vasomotor control to the artery itself. Nerves control the diameter of the blood and lymph vessels but they do not control what is flowing in the vessels.
No guaranteed delivery of oxygen by Red Blood Cells (RBCs). Simply jumping is a Hyperbaric Oxygen Tent does not guarantee that RBCs are going to pick up oxygen and deliver it to the brain. The same lack of guaranteed delivery occurs with hormones, neuroendocrine transmitters and neuropeptides.