Stress plays a role in healthy functioning. It is the body’s natural response to perceived environmental threats. When stress begins to persist and impact daily life, there are many natural remedies that can help. Persistent stress is an indication that something is out of alignment. Unfortunately most people are so maxed out, overworked, and dealing with a multitude of stress aggravators, that the normal role that stress plays is no longer pertinent. The good news is that managing stressful lives is possible through the use of natural remedies and with the guidance of a holistic expert. What causes stress? Stress is caused when a perceived threat activates the hypothalamus (a region at the base of the brain), sending signals to the adrenal glands to produce the stress-regulating hormone cortisol. Cortisol functions to transport blood sugar; reduce inflammation; and helps in the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Due to the nature of our hectic lifestyle, the body is often responding to perceived stressors that are not really there. Overactive adrenal glands alter the balance of cortisol and wreak havoc on the immune and digestive systems over time. Nutrients are needed for the production of cortisol, and when they become depleted in the overproduction of the hormone it can begin to take a toll on the body in other ways. The long-term effects of chronic stress can lead to and aggravate other conditions.
Conditions caused or worsened by stress include:
There are many natural remedies that can rebalance the biochemical processes that regulate stress. St. John’s Wort – Prevents the breakdown of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is associated with feelings of well-being, which can combat the feelings associated with stress. This product can interact with prescription medication such as birth control pills and should be used only if advised by an expert. Vitamin C – Regulates levels of cortisol and lowers blood pressure in anxiety inducing situations. It also boosts the immune system that helps to maintain healthy adrenal glands. B-Complex Vitamins – Vitamins B1 and B6 support adrenal gland health—crucial to regulating cortisol. B5 is depleted during times of stress. Supplementing the body’s intake of B5 can ensure that cortisol levels do not drastically fluctuate. Magnesium – Like B5, magnesium is depleted when the body reacts to stress. Magnesium is highly abundant in the body and is involved in most systems, processes and biochemical reactions that occur. Magnesium levels need to remain high if the body’s biochemistry is to remain in balance. Passionflower –In supplement form, this plant has a calming effect and is used as a treatment for anxiety and nervous tension. Barley tea – Contains tryptophan, an amino acid that produces serotonin, the mood regulating neurotransmitter. It also aids in digestion, which is a problem experienced by stress sufferers. Finding the appropriate balance of biochemistry is the goal. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other natural supplements all work in tandem to maintain health. In combination with dietary and lifestyle modifications, they rebalance stress levels by regulating the biochemical processes that control them. All of the components in the body need to be balanced and maintained if the whole is to function optimally. If one cog is out of sync, the whole machine runs the risk of failing. A holistic expert is trained in treating the body as a complete system, and can help to determine which components are out of sync and what solutions are available.
- Weight gain
- Brain Fog
- Sleep disorders