In-the-moment responses to such events are a normal part of our nervous system, which triggers what’s typically recognised as the Fight/Flight response, activating the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which is the primary system involved in the chemical changes that occur during Fight/Flight. The SNS kicks in, and as soon as the trauma has passed, the body normally settles and goes back to homeostasis within about an hour.
However, the situation can be compounded when the effects are such that they linger long after the trauma. When emotional trauma goes unhealed, the nervous system is in a constant state of heightened stress where the SNS is turned on virtually all the time. In this state, adrenaline and noradrenaline-stimulating mechanisms within it will not only alter genetic code, but damage gut function as well.
Heightened stress causes blood to rush away from the digestive tract and head to the vital organs to provide fuel for fighting or fleeing - I mean, who needs digestion if there's a tiger on the tail?! So digestion literally shuts down, while also giving the major instruction to empty the bowel. Long term stress means a long term reduction of blood supply to the digestive tract, so a long-term shut-down in the gut, as well as a lack of vital gastric secretions, seriously leading to chronically poor gut health.
Numerous studies have connected stress with lower immune function and higher incidences of disease in general, with the genetic alteration leading to a number of processes:
- activation of inflammatory responses
- inhibiting of immune responses
- reduction in the cytotoxic function of natural killer cells
- inhibiting DNA repair
With so much potentially going on, a weakened immune system can/will get overrun and worn out, and it's not pretty. When that happens it becomes deficient (immunodeficient) – it won’t respond well enough or stand up to any incoming threats. With all this in mind, we need to help the immune system in as many ways as possible – it's not about just ramping up the killer cells, it’s all got to work in harmony like clockwork. There’s that balance word again.
The immune system needs fuel, and orderly instructions to operate properly, to work as an efficient balanced system. This covers everything from hormone balancing to liver detoxing, from making sure the lymphatic system is draining and the eliminatory organs are operating, not to mention maximising cellular respiration to create a healthy environment for those essential killer-army white cells to stay energised and do their job.
Our role is to firstly recognise that there's a serious case of chronic stress going on, and do something about it, part of which is very much helping restore the whole immune system to adapt to all situations. So how do we do this? Simple - we've got to fix the cells to get well with the Alleviate, Detox &Fortify programme again - alleviate the symptoms, clear out the toxins and acidity, and fortify with nutrients. And for this we need micronutrients in order to fix those cells.
See our Stress page for the full Stress story.