Our body responds to stress in many ways: increased heart rate, lost appetite, susceptibility to infection, sharpened sight, boosts of energy. These are the results of the body being in a “fight or flight” mode.
Have you ever wondered what’s going on inside your body that makes you reach to stress in the way that you do? Your response to stress is a complex orchestration of the sympathetic nervous system signalling different organs in the body and the endocrine system releasing cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline into the bloodstream. These pathways cause our body to undergo several dramatic changes. Just like how a castle prepares for siege, your body takes steps to prepare for a fight!
We experience stress though our sensory organs. Stressors may be external events or internal worries, life threatening or mundane. However, the body responds to all of these perceived threats in the same way.
The hidden cost of stress
While stress is a part of everyday normal life, this ongoing state of mental or emotional strain often turns into ‘distress’ and can wreak havoc on the systems of the body.
Statistics estimated that 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress and naturopaths can certainly support all the finding that a large portion (estimated to be 75-90%) of visits to a primary care doctor’s office are for stress-related concerns.
Did you know? Stress is directly linked to chronic fatigue, depression, high blood pressure, IBS, infections, migraines, PMS, diabetes, thyroid issues and ulcers… OUCH!
Without a doubt, a variety of symptoms can arise. In fact, it is hard to think of any disease which stress cannot play a part in. Reducing levels of stress and managing it effectively is a key component of preventative medicine. This will not only help in managing many of their current health problems but may also protect health long-term.
Lifestyle modifications; recognizing chronic stressors, working on self development, sleep hygiene and exercise are critical for long-lasting changes. Proper nutrition is essential for providing the body with a well-rounded diet is critical.
Nutritional and Herbal Supplementation
Nutritional and herbal treatments can help one and restore normal homeostatic process; however, it’s important to recognize that recovery may be slow (several months to a year) and requires ongoing commitment to lifestyle and dietary changes.
Research shows that this herb may help fight stress by blocking inflammatory molecules (COX-2) in the body. We know that inflammation is an underlying trigger for chronic disease (ex: heart disease), so use this remedy to reduce nervous complaints or excessive fatigue and increase physical endurance, mental performance and energy.
This herb helps to support adrenal function and has also been shown to encourage support for the body’s metabolism. It is especially beneficial in cases of stress and hypothyroidism, and is known for its rejuvenating properties.
This herb contains a type of molecule found to directly block the hormone coming for the pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenal medulla and encourages the production of cortisol. Siberian ginseng is also extremely rich in antioxidant power, helping to scavenge free radicals circulation in the bloodstream.
Astragalus directly support the immune system by stimulating the body’s natural production of interferon – a group of proteins that help the body fight infections by activating the immune cells. Chronic stress lowers the immune response and predisposes to infection. Supporting the immune system during those periods is critical for the prevention on disease. Astragalus also simulates the communication between the pituitary and adrenal glands.
These are critical for energy production. Vitamin B5 Is important for the manufacturing of sex and stress-related hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It specifically increases the production of adrenal hormones. Vitamin B6 and B12 and folate are critical for the production of important brain neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine.
Vitamin C and other antioxidants
The adrenal cortex contains ton the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the entire body. The adrenals utilizes vitamin C in the production of antioxidants which help to combat oxidative stress, which is considered to precursor to chronic disease.
This mineral is a critical component and cofactor in energy production. It serves to maintain healthy glucose regulation, cardiovascular support and overall relaxation in the body. Magnesium can have tremendous benefits to one suffering from the ill-effects of chronic stress. It can also be especially beneficial for patients with stress-induced hypertension and headaches. A glycinate form will give the added support of the inhibitory amino acid glycine.
Keep in mind that one should strive to pull back the curtain of typical stress treatments and support the journey towards addressing the root cause of stress. Be a teacher, a resource, a link, a detective and a believer for yourself and others.