The three major causes of chronic disease are: toxins, poor nutrition and stress.
The impact of stress on our health is understated. It is tremendous how much stress can affect our health and make us sick.
We have two Nervous Systems modes: the Sympathetic and the Parasympathetic one. They are both necessary and they have different roles:
• Fight-or-Flight Increased focus and alertness
• Increased metabolic activities to prepare body for emergency activity
• Designed to be short-term exceptions for survival
• Relaxed external muscles. Increased digestive activities to store energy for future use
• Designed to be our primary state
Most organs in the body have receptors to receive impulses from both modes (either inhibitory to “stop work” or stimulatory to “work harder”). The problem is when we run all day long in Sympathetic mode.
Stress, in the short term, for a short period of time, can help us achieve results in life. However, when sustained over time it is when it becomes pathological.
Stress can affect multiple body functions and start the cascade of chronic disease. These are some examples of the impact of stress:
• It affects the balance of cortisol. It usually starts with increased levels of cortisol, which maintained over time can decrease the overall production of cortisol throughout the day to a flat line, which makes us absolutely exhausted.
• It may decrease the production of DHEA (another key hormone). At first, when cortisol goes up, DHEA can decrease. Then when cortisol decreases substantially, DHEA will decrease a lot, affecting the production of the other sex hormones.
• It may affect the production of Thyroid hormone. In particular it can affect the conversion of T4 to T3 and increase the production of Reverse T3, as opposed to Free T3.
• It may affect digestion. The secretion of digestive juices is impaired when eating in a rushed state, feeling stressed, etc. This could lead, in turn, to major digestive distress and disease dynamics in the gut (eg. constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, IBS, etc)
• It may contribute to anxiety and depression. Stress is a driver for mental disease. Feeling overwhelmed, out of control, exhausted; can lead to illness if not corrected early.
• Stress can lead to oxidative stress in the body. Many things in our life can generate free radicals (toxins, poor food, stress, viruses, microbes) and if we don’t have the right amount of antioxidants to combat those free radicals then we generate oxidative stress. Oxidative stress generates inflammation and inflammation generates oxidative stress. This is the beginning of chronic disease.
• Impaired cellular metabolism. We are not just what we eat, we are what we eat, digest, absorb into the blood, and absorb into the cells. Each of these steps requires ATP (energy) to function properly. When we are stressed out this process is not done properly.
• It may affect gene expression. Our choices in life, and one of them is stress, affect how our genes are being expressed, which in turn reflects our likelihood of disease.
• It may affect liver detoxification pathways. Our phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification pathways require the right nutrients to function properly. Stress may contribute to the lack of these key nutrients if our body is not in a relaxed state to absorb and digest the right raw material.
For some techniques about how to bring the Relaxation Response please read this blog.
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