How Lifestyle Affects Our Brain’s Ability To Deal With Stress

How well do you understand your body’s signals to make decisions about maintaining your health and preventing disease?

Stress has a tremendous effect on our health and memory in a way that there is a downregulation in the signals sent by our brain to the rest of our bodies. There is a rich neurological symphony that comes under threat when we are stressed.

Our healthcare system is focused on traditional treatment methods of medication and surgery. But evidence-based research has come up supporting how lifestyle medicine can prevent and even reverse chronic diseases.

This is very crucial as the more we know how our bodies react to stress and how deeply it affects the cells, tissues, and organs of our body, the better we can help our bodies heal.

Because ultimately, this is the reason our brains are sending these signals.

In this show you’ll learn about:

  • Whether we are doing the best approach to improving our health
  • Evidence-based support on ways to heal and reverse chronic diseases
  • Why and how lifestyle medicine works

To Grow Your Brain Skills To Their Potential You Need These 9 Things In Your Life

In today’s show, you will learn the mechanism of how stress affects our bodies and what we can do to improve our life.

Listen To The Podcast Now.

About Our Guest

About Our Guest

Dr Tom Guilliams has a doctorate in molecular immunology from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He has spent two decades investigating the mechanisms and actions of lifestyle and nutrient based therapies. He serves as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-School of Pharmacy and is VP of Science for Ortho Molecular Products. He is the founder and president of The Point Institute and has written several teaching manuals functional to the integrative medical community. He is the author of several publications, including The Original Prescription.

Understanding the Human Condition 

Why Does Dr Tom Focus On Lifestyle Medicine?

  • Dr Tom has always been interested in biology and how the world works.
  • Working with a dietary supplement company exposed him to non-traditional ways of asking questions and looking at connections between healing and lifestyle medicine.
  • Access to research literature allowed him to continue investigating the healing properties of the human body.

How Lifestyle and Environment Affects Our Bodies

  • Our bodies will prioritize certain mechanisms, behaviours, and cellular performances that are most important when dealing with a stress response.
  • The cumulative effect bad habits have on our bodies.

The Signals Of Life We Should Pay Attention To

Health Sphere: Making Sense of Lifestyle Approaches For Health
  • The seven areas we want to look at – diet and nutrition, physical activity, stress response, circadian rhythm, environmental factors, hygiene and health factors, and purpose and community.
  • The seven areas are interdependent and aren’t isolated from each other.

Our Concept of Stress

  • People’s perception of stress is tied to the ability to control the outcomes they want to control.
  • Most of the time stress has to do with time and responsibilities.

How the Exposure to Stress Changes our Bodies

  • There are two levels of the stress response – the fight or flight response and the HPA axis.
  • An imbalance happens when a physical response is triggered when there is no physical need for the energy generated.
  • Our body maladapts to the constant disconnect between our stressors and our physiological needs. 

Chronic Stress and Our Body

Stress and The HPA Axis: The Overactivation Impact on Health
  • Physiological functions in the body are downregulated by chronic stress.
  • We learned to self-medicate through durational use of drugs and caffeine to distract ourselves from being under chronic stress.
  • Our brain protects us from constant stress by downregulating leading to low cortisol levels.

How Do We Get People to Take Control of Their Personal Habits and Routines to Reduce Chronic Stress

  • Clinicians and patients need to know the importance of understanding signals and how nutrients affect the body.
  • We have to empower people so they’ll realize that they make the choices on what they put in their body. 
  • We should shift our mindset from evidence-based medicine to medicine-based evidence.
  • Our current system is not geared towards avoiding drugs or surgery. 
  • Answering a perceived stress questionnaire or doing a stress inventory are simple yet effective ways to increase awareness of stress.
  • Think about what you can do about things that are NUTS – things that are New, things that are Uncontrolled, things that Threaten us or give us a Sense of disequilibrium.
  • We need to think outside of the box and not deal exclusively with just cortisol or epinephrine.

People’s perception of stress is tied to the ability to control the outcomes they want to control. Click To Tweet

The Epigenetics of the Stress Response

  • One generation’s stressors are passed down to the next generation.
  • How we responded to stress while we were young affects our ability to deal with stressors later as we get older.
  • Children do not produce Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which acts as a counterbalancing beneficial hormone. This makes them more vulnerable to stress.

Reducing Your Risk

  • Your genetics or the healthcare system should not dictate whether you’re healthy or not. 
  • Healthcare professionals should believe and empower their patients to do the things they should do. 

Stress and the Hippocampus

  • Stress impairs many hippocampus-dependent memory tasks.  
  • The ability to connect and have a robust memory is reduced.
  • The neural behaviour at the heart of learning is under threat by stress. 
  • Stress affects our buffering capacity or our resilience to deal with changes.



You can reach out to Tom on his website, where you can also access his whitepapers and ebook.

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To better memory health, 


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Disclaimer: The purpose of Memory Health Made Easy Podcast is to educate and to inform. It is no substitute for professional care by a doctor or qualified professional. This podcast is provided on understanding that it does not constitute medical or personal professional advice or services. Instead, we would encourage you to discuss your options with a health care provider who specialises in your particular needs.