By Nurse Mark
It gets us all, sooner or later. No one is spared. The question is not “will it happen,” it’s when, and how hard will it hit when it does.
It’s not a virus that we can harden our immune system against. It’s not a bacteria or microbe that we can avoid or wash away.
In fact, it can weaken our defenses leaving us more susceptible to infections and disease of all sorts.
It can be subtle and insidious, or it can be blunt and brutal. But the results are the same. Our health suffers.
What is this scourge?
“Meh,” you say; “of course I’ve got stress – and I deal with it. No biggie…”
But it is a “biggie” and even though you think you are “dealing with it” it is causing a cascade of physical changes that can lead to serious health problems.
Not only can stress be the mental or psychological stress that we all think of when someone says “stress” – like money worries, bad bosses, rush hour commuting, surly customers, overwork, family feuds, relationship problems, urban dangers – the list is endless – it can be bugs, bacteria, viruses and other nasties that infect us, causing physical stress.
So deal with that, little miss “no biggie”!
When we come under stress – whether mental or physical, our bodies react in a way designed to protect us. A set of glands – the pituitary, the hypothalamus, and the adrenal glands – get together to shift our hormone balance in a way that is meant to give us more energy to deal with emergency situations. The adrenal glands squirt out a whole bunch of cortisol in order to meet a danger or survive an injury – and in response to this flood of cortisol out blood glucose rises, our blood pressure increases, and our body’s resources are diverted away from less immediately important functions such as our digestion, our reproductive system, our immune system, and even bone formation.
This is fine over the short haul – it’s necessary even – but when it goes on for too long it can be very damaging.
Some of the long term effects of the high cortisol levels caused by chronic stress include:
- Suppressed immunity
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
- Heart (cardiovascular) disease
- Insulin resistance
- Anxiety and depression
- Carbohydrate cravings
- Metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes
- Fat deposits on the face, neck, and abdomen (belly)
- Reduced libido and suppressed fertility
- Suppressed thyroid hormones
- Impaired digestion, metabolism and mental function
But Wait – There’s More!
Not only does chronic stress and high cortisol cause those problems I just mentioned, many of those problems cause us to have increased cortisol levels!
When we must deal with an infection caused by cortisol-suppressed immunity our bodies secrete more cortisol in order to deal with the inflammation.
High cortisol levels result in insomnia. Lack of sleep is a stress that causes our body to respond with – you guessed it – cortisol.
The insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and obesity caused by chronic stress and high cortisol result in increased body-wide inflammation – so what does our body do in response? Yep, that’s right – more cortisol to knock down the inflammation…
There is also the suppression of the reproductive functions – meaning fertility or libido is impaired. This by itself might not be seen as a “stress” but when you are trying to conceive and can’t understand why nothing seems to be working it can be very stressful indeed. And then there is the stress of the parent who is badgering you with “why can’t you give me grandbabies…?” (OK – just kidding – but it does happen…)
This effect is what is known to engineers as a “positive feedback loop” where the more something happens the more it makes that something happen – like a “runaway train” – and it is a very bad thing…
So, what can be done?
Let’s start with the basics:
- If you are in a stressful situation and can possibly remove yourself from it, or it from you, then do it! Unless there is a compelling reason to continue to do so, like needing to tolerate a bad boss to keep your job, then why would you willingly expose yourself to negative stresses?
- Make your health a priority – get proper nutrition (an Optimal Dose Multiple Vitamin is a great start), set a regular bedtime and get adequate sleep, set aside time each day for some vigorous exercise, and practice stress-reducing habits like meditation or prayer or relaxation. A sense of humor helps too!
What else? Can’t we just take a pill and make all this bad cortisol go away?
Not really – you see, we need cortisol for a number of healthy things – like maintaining our blood pressure so we don’t faint when we get out of bed…
But there are some natural ways of supporting healthy cortisol levels, helping us to deal with stressors, and promoting relaxation and sleep.
Here at the Wellness Club we have recently been having excellent results with two new products that are based on very old and traditional healing knowledge.
Cortisol Manager is an herbal formulation that combines an effective dose of phosphatidylserine with stress-reducing ingredients and cortisol-lowering botanicals to help reduce stress hormones and relieve occasional sleeplessness. It is is a safe and natural formula that promotes relaxation and supports a healthy sleep cycle without the use of habit-forming ingredients. You can learn more here.
Lavender has long been valued for it’s ability to promote relaxation and it was treasured by the ancients as a soothing, relaxing oil. Fresh lavender in the bedroom, or a few drops of lavender oil on the pillow have been traditional ways to promote rest and sleep, and up to now that has been the only way to get the beneficial effects of this wonderful oil.
Today however you can experience the benefits of this calming, soothing essential oil in a convenient, easy to swallow coated softgel capsule – a new product, Lavela WS 1265 contains clinically studied lavender oil intended for the relief of occasional anxiety. You can learn more here.
We have been trialing these two products with some select patients and we are very pleased with the results. But don’t take our word for it – here is what one of Dr. Myatt’s patients had to say about it in her own words:
I’m an over achiever and was under a lot of stress from taking an online MBA class that was impossible to understand what the assignments wanted. Essentially with every passing assignment I began to feel more anxiety and stress leading to a knot of tension in the pit of my stomach and an inability to turn off my brain while trying to go to sleep at night. I had a five day break between classes to relax, but the feeling in my stomach and the tension in my body just wouldn’t dissipate. I didn’t get any relief until after Nurse Mark gave me some samples of Cortisol Manager and Lavela. I took each faithfully every day and it was around day five when the cycle of the knot in the stomach was gone. Leaving me to feel normal again. Whenever I begin to feel the least bit anxious and stressed over my online course work I turn to the Cortisol Manager and Lavela to calm my system down.
Hope this may help other in trying out the supplements. Thanks for letting me sample the products in the first place. They have been absolute life savers for me.
Now, for Theresa to say she is “an over achiever” is a bit of an understatement. When Theresa first came to Dr. Myatt she already had an advanced degree – and she was, literally, a “rocket scientist” for NASA! Now Theresa is a busy single mom and a student again – no wonder she was having a little trouble – she has a lot of responsibilities to juggle and balance to keep her life working smoothly!
We were very pleased to be able to send Theresa the samples that helped her and we can do the same for you. Please visit our Sample Products page to order these free samples. Please note that while the samples are free, we must charge for shipping – unless you include them with other items in an order.
Why wait until your health suffers? Deal with your stress now, and let stress and chronic high cortisol be something that happens to “the other guy.”
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