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The ultimate Key to alleviate STRESS

Stress - The Silent Killer

Stress refers to any reaction to a physical, mental, social or emotional stimulus that requires a response or alteration to the way we perform, think or feel. 


Changes can be stressful whether the change is good or bad.  "The only permanent thing in life is change!" Excess worry produces stress. "Stress is an unavoidable part of life!"  Stress can result from many things, both physical and psychological.  Daily responsibilities, deadlines at work, problems with loved ones, paying bills, getting ready for holidays, everyday encounters with crowds, confrontations, noise, traffic, crying kids, pain, extremes of temperature, even welcoming events, overwork, unemployment, lack of sleep, physical illnesses, excessive alcohol or sugar consumption and smoking all create stresses for our bodies.

Some people are very adaptable and can handle stress well, while others are very negatively influenced by stressStress can cause fatigue, "tired but wired feeling," chronic headaches, irritability, changes in appetite, menstrual irregularities, memory loss, low self-esteem, withdrawl, grinding teeth, cold hands, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, nervous twitches, lowered sexual drive, insomnia,  digestive disorders, anxiety and depression.

Medical researchers estimate that stress contributes to as many as 80% of all major illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, cancer, endocrine and metabolic diseases, skin disorders, nervous breakdowns, allergies, stuttering, compromised immune functions, inflammation and abdominal fat.

Stress is 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 heartbeats 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 the blood changes slightly, making it more prone to clotting.  This in turn increases the risk of strokes or heart attacks.  Almost all body functions and organs react to stress.  The Pituitary gland increases its production of adrenocorticotropic hormones (ACTH), which in turn stimulates the release of the hormones cortisone and cortisol. These hormones have the effect of inhibiting the function of disease fighting white blood cells and suppressing the immune response.  This complexed physical change is called a "fight or flight" response, which the body creates to face an immediate danger. "Today, most of our stresses are not the results of life or death, let alone physical threats, but the body still responds as if it was!"


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 causes the body to excrete amino acids, potassium and phosphorus; depleting magnesium stored in muscle tissues; and to store less calcium.  Furthermore, the body does not absorb or digest nutrients well when under stress.

With prolonged or recurrent stress, the body becomes very deficient in many nutrients and minerals, causing an inability 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 nervous system.  To make matters worse, stress promotes the formation of free radicals that oxidize and damage body tissues, especially in the cell membranes leading to premature aging, anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders, posttraumatic stress disorders, dissociative disorders and phobic disorders are among the most serious emotional manifestations of stress.  They are often the result of a series of events that an individual was unable to deal with at the time.

Most people associate their stress related symptoms to "nerves," in fact, stress usually does affect the parts of the body that are related to the nervous system, especially the digestive organs.  Symptoms of stress related digestive disorders are; colitis, ulcers or IBS"If these symptoms are not handled properly, they can become very serious and lead to chronic illnesses, as well as cancer."

Stress can be either acute or long-term.  Long-term stress is particularly dangerous.  A state of continual stress eventually ages and wears out the body. Because of its effects on the immune response, stress increases susceptibility to illness, cancer and slows the healing process, it is known among physicians and scientists as the "Silent Killer!"

Physiologically speaking, you react to everyday stressors in ways that make junk food, like candy, cookies, cakes, chips, ice cream and fast food all the more tempting.  Your body responds by releasing a stress hormone called "cortisol," which in turn, triggers the release of neuropeptides, "Y and galanin," two neurotransmitters (the brain chemicals that affect your mood, keep you alert and boost your energy) that  make you increasingly hungry for sugary and fatty foods.  At the same time, "cortisol" suppresses "serotonin," a calming neurotransmitter that helps keep depression and anxiety under control.  All of these biological factors make healthy eating that much  harder to accomplish.

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