Stress is… starting to write this article too late in the week, or leaving 45 minutes to drive to LAX in traffic, when it really takes more like an hour. You can stress yourself out by environmental toxins or ingesting toxins through a Standard American Diet. Or stress can be having contact with a “toxic” personality that is either unsupportive of you or is invalidating you. Sometimes stress is a good thing like being at Disneyland, getting married or having a baby. There are a million different things that cause stress and what is stressful for one person isn’t necessarily stressful for another person. But one thing is for certain, stress is at the bottom of all illness and breakdown of the body’s systems…
“Los Angeles, the City of Angels… Wait, scratch that. Let’s start again. Los Angeles, America’s most stressful city… That sounds more like it. According to a recent Forbes study, L.A. ranks number one among fifteen U.S. cities.
What makes L.A. so stressful? Could it be the incessant traffic? Perhaps it’s the harrowing air pollution landing it at the number three spot for smoggiest metropolitan area in the country? Society constantly bites its nails over money, and L.A. offers the third least affordable housing of the studied cities and has a cost-of-living index of 135, making it the sixth-highest in the country. Or maybe it’s the unfortunate scratching and clawing to land a job that grants an Angeleno the luxury of living comfortably in a land where some rest comfortably with millions while others curl up on the Venice boardwalk.”
So now how does the body break down from all this stress? Through the hormonal system, specifically adrenal glands.
“Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators and other aggressors. Such threats are rare today, but that doesn’t mean that life is free of stress.
On the contrary, you undoubtedly face multiple demands each day, such as shouldering a huge workload, making ends meet, taking care of your family, or just making it through the morning rush hour. Your body treats these so-called minor hassles as threats. As a result you may feel as if you’re constantly under assault. But you can fight back. You don’t have to let stress control your life.”
Understanding the natural stress response
“If your mind and body are constantly on edge because of excessive stress in your life, you may face serious health problems. That’s because your body’s ‘fight-or-flight reaction’— its natural alarm system — is constantly on.
When you encounter perceived threats — a large dog barks at you during your morning walk, for instance — your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.”
When the natural stress response goes haywire
“The body’s stress-response system is usually self-regulating. It decreases hormone levels and enables your body to return to normal once a perceived threat has passed. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems resume their regular activities.
But when the stressors of your life are always present, leaving you constantly feeling stressed, tense, nervous or on edge, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. The less control you have over potentially stress-inducing events and the more uncertainty they create, the more likely you are to feel stressed. Even the typical day-to-day demands of living can contribute to your body’s stress response.”
The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes.
What this all adds up to is ADRENAL FATIGUE. And Adrenal Fatigue does not go away on its own. It takes the right eating habits, the right supplements and dedication to correct the situation because adrenal fatigue can lead to these common issues I see in my office every week:
When your Fight or Flight mechanism is on, your Rest and Digest is turned off. If you don’t digest your food, you are at risk for calcium, magnesium, B12, Copper, Protein and Iron deficiencies. You can also feel bloated, gassy and constipated.
This can lead to:
Most people who are depressed and have anxiety issues lack B vitamins and amino acids which are serotonin and dopamine precursors that you get from protein. You won’t get these if you don’t digest your food. Also, your Adrenals, when they are on overdrive, burn through Vitamins B, C and Minerals. So between the stress burning these important elements up, your diet of white carbs sucking the nutrients out of you and not digesting anything, you get depressed.
OK, you aren’t digesting anything, you are depressed and now you eat more “comfort food” which is pretty much the last nail in the coffin. Basically, you also have blood sugar problems – those go hand and hand with adrenal fatigue. The cortisol is pumping and like the TV commercial says: you store fat.
Yippee! Now we have bad periods, hysterectomies, fibroids, no interest in sex and man boobs. The Adrenals are responsible for a lot of our hormone production. Too much cortisol production in the adrenals caused from too much stress from life, makes it very hard to produce our sex hormones.
Oh, and also another main complaint is NO ENERGY, WORN OUT, SPENT.
Well, it is called Adrenal Fatigue, right?
And also you can develop heart problems, sleep problems, memory impairment, worsening of skin conditions, such as eczema, pain and inflammation and illnesses such as colds and flu. (This is just a short list)
So how do you get your energy, good mood, digestion, balanced hormones and good figure back even though the bad traffic, the bad boss and the rest of the stress might not be going away? Like I mentioned earlier, you need the right eating habits, right supplements and dedication to supporting your health.
Call me. I can help.
These recommendations are for the reduction of stress only. They are not intended as treatment or prescription for any disease, or as a substitute for regular medical care.