The Physical Response to Stress
Stress is a big one, it doesn't get enough consideration these days even though in my opinion it is one of the single most influential factors when it comes to deteriorating health and the increase of chronic disease in modern day life.
Stress can come in many forms emotional stress, structural stress, work stress, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, lack of water, environmental pollutants, electro-magnetic stress, the list goes on. Most people probably dont realize that they are under stress to some degree and I think its safe to say that anyone working a 9 to 5 job is under an immense amount of stress on a day to day basis, not to mention the dietary factors we add to increase its effects.
While most assume stress is just an emotion that can be overlooked, stress in its devious form has a very misunderstood physical effect on the body. Lets look first of all at some on the things stress can do to the body;
- It plays a large part in the stability of blood glucose levels. Stress causes the release of adrenaline and cortisol from the adrenals triggering the release of glycogen from the liver which is converted to glucose that is released into the blood.
- Continuous stress leads to increase insulin production which leads to the down regulation of insulin cell receptors which further increases insulin production to try and counteract blood sugar levels, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
- The body reacts to continuous stress with whats known as the 'general adaptation syndrome'. This puts the body through three stages of reaction starting with Alarm then Resistance and ultimately Exhaustion resulting in many diverse symptoms including, fatigue, depression, apathy, constipation, dry skin and adrenal fatigue.
- Stress is associated with stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system which increases oxidation resulting in higher blood pressure, higher blood sugar and increased body temperature. This is also known as a fight of flight reaction.
- Stress is a major diuretic and as a result causes dehydration. Their is nothing more more stressful to the body than dehydration and it will take immediate and dramatic steps to control the water balance in the body. The neurotransmitters in the body responsible for water regulation are histamine, which can lead to allergic reactions.
One of the more serious problems when it comes to stress is the fact that it causes acidity in the body. Their is a very delicate balance when it comes to the PH level in our body which should ideally be in the region of 7.4. Lower is more acidic and higher is more alkaline. This happens because all emotions in the central nervous system cause the hypothalamus to trigger the pituitary gland for the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. For this reason our thought patterns will affect the triggering of hormones and hormonal messengers called cytokines which become a physical reaction in the body.
When someone is under continuous stress it results in the Extra Cellular Matrix (ECM) becoming more toxic and less able to throw off toxins making it clogged. This, in turn, effects the cells ability to produce energy reducing its ability to remove sodium increasing its content within the cells. This also reduces the potassium and magnesium levels inside the cell resulting in higher acidity both inside and out side of the cell. If we consider the fact that to maintain homeostasis we must have a good level of magnesium and potassium inside a cell and sodium and calcium outside the cell we can being to understand how acidity occurs as a result of stress. In addition to making the body more acidic, this further affects the capability of the cell to gain valuable nutrients it requires to remain healthy, so as you can imagine the longer this continues the more toxic the body becomes leaving in its wake a vicious and deteriorating cycle that will affect the vitality and life force of an individual.
Their is so much that could be written about stress and how it effects us all. In order for healing to begin it is the first thing that needs to be removed if someone is suffering. Most people dont realize just how it can affect us physically and just removing stress alone will have an enormous and positive impact on the health of an individual.