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The Effects of Stress

"Stress - the emotional response to an extremely negative event."

The Psychological Association

In-the-moment responses to perceived 'threats' 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, releases the survival hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, 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 remains in a constant state of heightened stress where the SNS stays turned on virtually all the time. In this state, adrenaline and noradrenaline-stimulating mechanisms within it not only alter genetic code, but damage gut function as well, because part of cortisol's fight/flight survival mechanisms is to literally switch off the gut system, and redirection its blood supply to the other vital organs needed for fight/flight - I mean, who needs digestion if there's a tiger on the tail?!

So, cortisol literally shuts digestion down, while also giving the body the major instruction to empty the bowel. Long term switched-on stress means a long term reduction of blood supply to the digestive tract, so fuel from food is no longer digested or absorbed, alongside a lack of vital gastric secretions, seriously leading not only to chronic overall poor health and fatigue, but glandular/pyloric ulcers as well as an increased colic/lami risk.

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), meaning it won’t respond well enough or stand up to any incoming threats. With 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 - as before 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 by switching up the diet. And for this we need micronutrients in order to fix those cells.

See our Stress page for the full Stress story.

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