Stress and its effects

All about stress...

When we are growing up nobody teaches us how to recognise stress let alone how to prevent or manage it. So then here we are as adults, wondering why we were short tempered with the Barista making our coffee (not quickly enough), or stroppy with the person who queue jumped at the check out or screaming red faced, apoplectic, at the person who accidentally slid effortlessly into our parking space that we had been waiting for, for over seven minutes.

Recognising the need is a good place to start. Beginning to include a stress management strategy into life and examining what factors internally and externally are exceeding our ability to cope is a big step.Taking the time to think about it may trigger more worries initially. When stimulated the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitry-adrenal) triggers cortisol and adrenalin to course though our bodies. Cortisol is the main stress hormone. It is immunomodulatory, meaning it has the ability to interfere with the immune system, our blood sugar balance, it may lead to anxiety, and if persistent result in adrenal fatigue if elevated indefinitely. When cortisol is too low a loss of self tolerance can occur resulting in auto-immune disease. Cortisol resistance may also occur following prolonged periods of elevated cortisol output. Stress can also have negative effects on the digestive system. Firstly it suppresses SIgA, an immunoglobulin secretory IgA, our “first line of defence”. Reduced beneficial gut flora is needed to support our immune system. Stress is also linked with exacerbating “leaky gut”, this is when the intestines become inappropriately permeable. This may lead to allergies and intolerances because large particles of protein and microbes pass into the blood stream where they interact with the immune system causing inflammation. Research has found that intestinal permeability is a precursor to auto-immune disease in all cases.

We can measure your cortisol levels via salivary testing. A big difference can be made by lifestyle modifications and dietary changes. Call us for free chat to see if we can help you.