Sanesco Blog

Your “Desert Island” Go-To Stress Solution


Imagine yourself stranded on an island. You are likely experiencing lots of stress, leaving you feeling “wired and tired.”

Where are you? How will you find food and water? How will you find shelter? Will you need to build it? “What was that noise in the bushes?” Is a predator lingering around the corner, looking at you like you’re it’s next meal?

You might want something to help you decrease your anxiousness, yet help you focus and provide the energy you will need to start figuring out what you need to do next. I mean, you ARE stranded on an island, likely sleep deprived and not feeling so great.

Modern-Day Stress

Now, even if you don’t find yourself stranded on an island, building shelters, finding food, or fighting off predators, today’s modern world brings many stressors that tax your body’s systems. In fact, the body responds to stress the same way whether it’s caused by a need to survive, or by modern-day over-stimulation—whether real or imagined.

It is estimated that 75-90% of visits to primary care physicians are related to stress. Modern-day stress tends to be more inescapable and subtle because it often stems from primarily psychological rather than physical threats.1

Stress is a natural physical, mental, and emotional reaction to life experiences. Everyone experiences stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family responsibilities to serious life events such as a newly diagnosed illness, divorce, or the death of a loved one. All these life circumstances can trigger stress.

Often for short-term situations, stress can be a good thing. It can help you react to potentially serious situations, such as a car swerving into your lane unexpectedly. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond. You can put on your brakes quickly and avoid the crash.

Yet, if your stress response doesn’t stop and stress levels stay elevated for longer than necessary to deal with the acute situation, or you keep replaying the situation over in your mind, it can take a toll on your health.

Central Nervous and Endocrine Systems

HPA axis infographicYour central nervous system (CNS) oversees your “fight or flight” response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling. It tells your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, and cortisol. These two hormones are your body’s main “stress responders.” They are triggered whenever you experience any kind of stress, physical (illness, infection, injury, allergens, toxins, etc.) or emotional.

These hormones increase your heart rate and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most in an emergency, namely your muscles, heart, and other important organs. Meanwhile, digestion and other non-essential bodily functions are put on pause during the stress response.

When the perceived fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to normal. If the CNS fails to return to normal, or if the stressor doesn’t go away, the response will continue. This process uses the body’s communication system called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA).

Over-stimulation of the stress response can lead to inadequate recourses within the HPA axis. Depleted hormones like cortisol and adrenaline can cause a negative domino effect on other systems. Our sleep patterns, metabolism and immunity are a few of the major systems that rely on adequate levels of these hormones and proper functioning of the HPA axis.

Feeling Imbalanced?

An overtaxed HPA axis may lead to manifestations of many symptoms affecting your quality of life. Stress, illness, and poor diet are examples of things that can lead to imbalances in our bodies.

These imbalances can cause a range of negative health concerns such as:

  • Poor Memory and Focus- Anxiousness; Mood Concerns
  • Apathy- Lack of Motivation
  • Agitation- Fatigue
  • Poor Sleep- Brain fog
  • Decreased Stamina- Headaches
  • Discomfort; Joint or General- Dizziness; Weakness
  • Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain- Digestive Issues

Natural Rebalancing Formula* – Contegra™

Contegra was formulated to rebalance the HPA-T (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-thyroid) axis.* Its well-researched ingredients work together to provide inhibitory and mild excitatory neurotransmitter, adrenal and thyroid support.* This combination of ingredients is why we can call it our “if you were stuck on a desert island” product. Let’s take a deeper look into what makes this formula a great well-rounded option for HPA axis support.

Meet Your “Desert Island” Survival Team

B Vitamins

B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins which all play important roles in cellular metabolism and optimal health.* They function as necessary cofactors to produce serotonin, GABA, and the catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine).* Deficiency in B vitamins can cause weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, difficulty maintaining balance, poor mood, confusion and poor memory, among other symptoms.2 Contegra contains multiple B vitamins, including:

  • B5 (Pantothenic acid)
  • B6 (Pyridoxal-5’-phosphate)
  • B9 (Folic Acid Quatrefolic®)
  • B12 (Methylcobalamin)

GABA Inhibitory Support*

GABA is the major neurotransmitter responsible for providing feelings of calm and ease and keeping excitatory neurotransmitters in balance.

L-theanine (as Suntheanine®)

L-theanine, a natural constitute of green tea, promotes relaxation and quality sleep and reduces the psychological and physiological stress response.*3,4 L-theanine can cross the blood-brain barrier and functions as a GABA-A receptor agonist.*5 It actively blocks the binding of glutamate (our major excitatory neurotransmitter) to its receptors in the brain.*5

Suntheanine is the trademarked brand of L-theanine used in our products (>99% purity). Learn more about the difference in quality and effectiveness between Suntheanine and generic L-theanine. 6

Excitatory Support – Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine

The catecholamines are responsible for energy, focus, libido, motivation, and drive, as well as pleasure and the reward system. The inhibitory neurotransmitters serotonin and GABA assist in keeping these chemicals in check. That is why not having enough of the inhibitory chemicals could possibly allow the excitatory chemicals to rise higher than they should for optimal function.


This amino acid functions as a precursor to L-DOPA and the catecholamines.*7

TMG (Trimethylglycine)

Primarily found in sugar beets, TMG is an amino acid that contributes to the breakdown of homocysteine and serves as a methyl donor for the catecholamine pathway.*8 Methylation is important for the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine and norepinephrine to epinephrine.

Adrenal Support

Siberian Ginseng Extract (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

Functioning as an adaptogen, Siberian ginseng increases the body’s resistance to stress and fatigue.*9 Extracts of this root bark have been widely used in China, Japan, and Russia to maintain healthy blood pressure and to alleviate psychological and emotional stress.*10 Stress can trigger a reduction in immune system activity as well as elevate cortisol. Siberian ginseng has been found to reverse some of the negative physiological changes associated with stress.*10

Thyroid Support

The thyroid is another important part of the body’s communication system. It produces hormones that affect nearly every physiological process in the body (fat and carbohydrate metabolism, body temperature regulation and mental state to name a few).11

Iodine (as potassium iodide)

This trace element is found in some foods, particularly sea vegetables (seaweed and kelp). It occurs most often as a salt. It functions as a raw material to produce thyroid hormone.12

Stress has been shown to decrease optimal immune system function. Some research has shown that low thyroid hormone levels in the body may contribute to stress-related immunity problems.13 Supporting the thyroid with iodine may potentially improve stress-reduced immunity dysfunction.14

If the Stress of Daily Life has You Feeling Like You’re Stranded on a Desert Island, Consider Contegra

If you are a patient who would like to try Contegra, visit our website to find a provider near you. If you are a healthcare provider who would like to offer Contegra in your practice, log in to your Sanesco account to order or sign up for an account.


  2. Vitamin B12. (n.d.). Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Retrieved June 1, 2011, from
  3. Kimura K, et al. Biological Psychology. 2007;74(1):39-45. Retrieved from
  4. Juneja LR, et al.  Trends in Food Sci. Technol. 1999;10:199-204. Retrieved from
  5. Kakuda T, et al.  Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2002 Dec;66(12):2683-2686. Retrieved from
  6. Kagaku T. Nutraceutical. 2007;1, 26-30. Retrieved from
  7. N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, Retrieved from
  8. Nagatsu T, Levitt M. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 1964 Sep;239:2010-2017. Retrieved from
  9. Head K, Kelly G. Altern Med Rev. 2009 June;14(2), 114-140. Retrieved from
  10. Kimura Y, Sumiyosh M. J Ethnopharmacology. 2004 Dec;95(2-3):447-53. Retrieved from
  11. How Does The Thyroid Gland Work? Retrieved June 20, 2019 from
  12. Iodine. (n.d.). Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Retrieved June 1, 2011, from
  13. Cremaschi GA, et al. Life Sci. 2000 Nov 17;67(26):3171-9.
  14. Understanding Local Control of Thyroid Hormones: (Deiodinases Function and Activity). National Academy of Hypothyroidism.2017. Retrieved from

Clinical Contributor
Melissa Allen

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Quatrefolic® is a registered trademark of Gnosis Spa.


Suntheanine® is a registered trademark of Taiyo International.

Connie Shoemaker, ND

Connie Shoemaker, ND

“Educating Sanesco’s clients is the culmination of a life’s work.” Beginning when she left the hospital environment to manage a functional laboratory, Genova Diagnostics (formerly Great Smokies Laboratories) in 1987, Dr. Connie Shoemaker has continued to increase her knowledge of herbs and biochemistry as a journey of love. With her bachelor’s in science from Western Carolina University, she had worked in hospital laboratories for the first twelve years of her career. Then, personal health challenges led her to discover a new approach to her health and a determination to share it with others. In 1991, she began teaching and educating innovative practitioners in the U.S. and internationally as a manager of marketing, sales, and customer service.

The addition of her Doctor of Naturopathy degree to her existing knowledge base expanded her knowledge and her respect for a more natural approach to healing through balance. At Sanesco, she initially served to oversee technical development of products and services.

Now, she educates Sanesco’s clients on application of the CSM™ model for their specific patients and how to integrate the CSM™ model with other modalities they offer in their practice. In her personal life, Connie educates private clients on various health topics.

Disclaimer: The information provided is only intended to be general educational information to the public. It does not constitute medical advice. If you have specific questions about any medical matter or if you are suffering from any medical condition, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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