Another factor that adversely affects the immune system is stress.
“The term “tress” refers to many reaction to a physical, mental, social, or emotional stimulus that requires a response or alteration to the way we perform, think, or feel. Change is stressful – weather the change is good or bad. Worry produces stress. Indeed stress is an unavoidable part of life. It can result from many things, both physical and psychological. Pressure and deadlines at work, problem with loved ones, the need to pay the bills, and getting ready for the holidays are obvious sources of stress for many people. Les obvious sources include everyday encounters with crowds, noise, traffic, pain, extremes in temperature, and even welcome events such as starting a new job or the birth or the adoption of a child. Overwork, lack of sleep, and physical illness put stress on the body. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are usually increased as a reaction to stress and yet create more stress for the body. Some people create their own stress; whether there is anything objectively wrong in their lives or not, they find things to worry about. For such people, stress becomes almost an addiction.
Some people handle stress well, and it has little impact on their emotional or physical health. Others are negatively influenced by it. Stress can cause fatigue, chronic headaches, irritability, changes in appetite, memory loss, low self-esteem, withdrawal, teeth grinding, cold hands, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, nervous twitches, lowered sexual drive, insomnia or other changes in sleep patterns, and/or gastrointestinal disorders. Stress creates an excellent breeding ground for illness. Researchers estimate that stress contributes to many major illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, endocrine and metabolic disease, skin disorders, and infection ailments of any kinds […].
Stress is often viewed as a psychological problem, but it has very real physical effects. The body responds to stress with a series of physiological changes that include increased secretion of adrenaline, elevation of blood pressure, acceleration of the heartbeat, and greater tension in the muscles. Digestion slows or stops, fats and sugars are released from stores in the body, cholesterol levels rise, and the composition of he blood changes slightly, making it more prone to clotting. This is turn increases the risk of stroke or heart attack.
Almost all body functions and organs react to stress. The pituitary gland increases its production of Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH), which in turn stimulates the release of hormones Cortisone and Cortisol. These have the effect of inhibiting the functioning of disease-fighting white blood cells and suppressing the immune response. This complex of physical changes is called the “fight or flight” response and is apparently designed to prepare one to face an immediate danger. Today, most of our stresses are not the result of physical threats, but the body respond as if they were.
The increased production of adrenal hormones is responsible for most of the symptoms associated with stress. It is also the reason that stress can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Increased adrenaline production causes the body to step up its metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to quickly produce energy for the body to use. This response cause the body to excrete amino acids, potassium, and phosphorus; to deplete magnesium stored in muscle tissue; and to store less calcium. Stress also triggers the release of Cortisol, and adrenal hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism and blood pressure. It also ages brain cells and builds fat around the body’s midsection. Further, stress increases the level of an immune system protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6), which has direct effects on most of the cells in the body and is associated with many disorders, including diabetes, arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, periodontal disease, and cardiovascular disease. […] Being obese compared to lean causes a greater release of IL-6 after meals. In addition, high-glycemic-load carbohydrates like potatoes evoke a greater release of IL-6 than high-fibre foods like bran.
As a result of complex physical reactions, the body does not absorb nutrients well when it is under stress. The result is that, especially with prolonged and recurrent stress, the body becomes at once deficient in many nutrients and unable to replace them adequately. Many of the disorders that arise from stress are the result of nutritional deficiencies, especially deficiencies of the B-complex vitamins, which are very important for the proper functioning of the nervous system, and of certain electrolytes, which are depleted by the body’s stress response. Stress also promotes the formation of free radicals that can become oxidised and damage body tissues, especially cell membranes.
Anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dissociative disorders, and phobic disorders are among the more serious emotional manifestations of stress.
Stress can be either acute or long-term. Long-term stress is particularly dangerous. A state of continual stress eventually wears out the body. Because of its effect on the immune response, stress increases susceptibility to illness and slows healing.”
Balch Nutrient recommendations include:
Herbs recommendations include:
Nutritional recommendations include:
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