Stress is woven into the fabric of our lives. The stress response was hardwired so we could fight or flee in threatening situations. Today, traffic, falling stock prices, and any number of everyday situations can trigger the stress response. Chronic stress, like a tear in the fabric of our homeostasis, can cause health risks.
Stress can affect virtually any part of the body and produce physical, mental and emotional symptoms including allergies, dizziness, headache, heart palpitations, environmental sensitivity, impaired coordination, impaired immunity and weight gain. Weight gain is often associated with emotional eating and the too-busy-to-exercise lifestyles of people under chronic stress. But researchers are finding that changes in the body triggered by stress, such as elevated cortisol levels, can cause insulin resistance and weight gain. (1)
When faced with a stressful situation, the human body instinctively responds by secreting hormones that change physiology and enhance the organism's ability to either run away or stand and defend. The response includes stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal glands, and it results in higher heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate as well as increased blood-sugar levels. It's the body's way of gearing up for unexpected situations. (2)
Repeated activation of the stress-response system exhausts our energy andhealth and it is associated with the onset of many disease states.
Hans Selye, a Viennese-born endocrinologist, conducted some of the first studies on stress and stressors in the 1950s. Selye proposed that a human's adaptive response to stress had three stages. First was the alarm phase, where instinct and adrenal glands take over. If the stressor continues for several days, the person enters the resistance stage. And at this point, the changes that happened during the alarm phase normalize and the person reaches a point of optimal adaptation. But if screaming bosses and overdue bills continue,exhaustion sets in, and the body loses its ability to adapt. It is within thist hird stage that illness develops. Here is a list of ingredients proven (by research) to reduce the stress reaction, these ingredients are also found in our stress relief product:
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) The herb is botanically more closely related to potatoes or tomatoes, but because of its similar uses it is often called "Indian ginseng." This"adaptogen" has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands ofyears. It is a tonic herb traditionally believed capable of strengthening the body, but it is milder and less stimulating than ginseng. Recent studies show ashwaganda to be immuno-modulating and to aid in cases of anxiety and other psychological complaints. (3)
Beta-sitosterol One of the indicators of stress is elevated cortisol levels. Beta-sitosterol, a natural plant sterol helps reduce cortisol levels. In a recent study with marathon runners in South Africa, runners receiving the"active" capsules had significantly decreased cortisol levels, less of an inflammatory response, and were less immune suppressed during the post-marathon recovery period. Another study found that beta-sitosterol addedto the diet decreased total cholesterol absorption by 43 per cent among a sample of nine adults (4).
L-theanine: The amino acid, L-theanine is found almost solely in tea plants (Camelliasinensis). L-theanine acts antagonistically against the effects of caffeine,and it demonstrates relaxation effects without promoting drowsiness.
(1) Stress: The Hidden Factor ForWeight Gain - From Nutrition ScienceNews
(2) Adapting To Long-Term Stress –from Nutrition Science News
(3) Adaptogenic Herbs: Nature'sSolution To Stress- from NutritionScience News
(4) Mattson FH, et al. Optimizing the effect of plant sterols oncholesterol absorption in man. Am JClin Nutr 1982; 35: 697—700
the above sourced from a former healthe news newsletter