Chronic stress is damaging to the brain. If you want to maintain brain health, you have to keep the stress hormone cortisol levels low to the extent possible. This is mentioned in many brain health related books and web articles.
- In Dr. Mark Hyman’s book The UltraMind Solution, key #7 is to “Calm Your Mind”. On page 53, he writes that cortisol damages the hippocampus part of the brain.
- The book Brain Longevity by Dr. Dharma Khalsa, it says similarly that cortisol affects the hippocampus, and that the hippocampus of Alzheimer patients are significantly smaller as the disease progresses. It also points out that day-after-day and year-after-year of chronic stress can kill billions of brain cells. [page 121] Dr. Khalsa talks more about stress on the brain in his web article and in a video on fora.tv.
- In the book You: The Owner’s Manual, Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz says that action number 4 of the section “Your Brain: The Live Younger Action Plan” is to “reduce stress”. And it again mentions the link between cortisol, stress, and brain health.
- Page 30 of Dr. Daniel Amen’s Magnificent Mind at Any Age points out that older adult with long-term elevated levels of cortisol had smaller hippocampus and performed worse on memory tests.
- The book The Memory Cure says on page 76 that chronic stress is one of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s. The type of stress can be that of a stressful job for example. The stress is damaging to many organs of the body including the brain.
- Page 176 of the book The Brain’s Behind It again mentions that stress can kill hippocampal neurons.
- In book Ultraprevention, page 112 of the Kindle Edition, it says “Cortisol kills neurons, especially in a particularly sensitive area called the hippocampus.”
- Page 66 of book Fat Chance it writes “In particular, cortisol kills neurons that play a role in the inhibition of food intake.”
Since it might be difficult for you to find the references to all of those books mention, here are some links to some web articles that say’s basically the same thing — that stress is harmful to the brain.
- In article stanfordalumni.org, Physiologist Robert Sapolsky looked at baboons and also came to the conclusion that high levels of stress hormones kills cells in the hippocampus. Similar article about Robert Sapolsky. Read also the article This is Your Brain on Stress.
- In the Q&A section of Dr. Andrew Weil’s website, he says that cortisol is toxic to neurons.
- ScienceCentral.com says “stress really is bad” and chronic stress can change our brains.
There are also YouTube videos about stress on the brain.
- Google Talks video of Dr. John Medina talking about brain health. Dr. Medina says that “stress damages cognition in virtually every way cognition can be measured”
- And here is a video reporting on stressed versus unstressed rats in a memory task of remembering location of submerged platform.
- In page 75 of the book, The Chemistry of Calm, it says that prolonged elevation of cortisol can lead to fat storage, insulin resistance, inflammation, and brain degeneration.