Stress, Anxiety and The Inflammation Connection

      Can we all agree we have experienced some degree of stress, anxiety, even depression in the last 6 months? Stress and anxiety can present in many ways. Anxiety can even present as excessive fear and can result in functional disturbances in the body. One of these manifestations is INFLAMMATION. It can present as joint pain, fatigue, brain fog or digestive upset. When you are in a continual stressed or anxious state of mind , the response in the body is to become sympathetic dominant. What that means is that you are in a constant fight or flight response and unable to relax because the body thinks it is in some kind of danger. Many people find sleep is profoundly affected as well as mood, eating habits and eventually overall health. The worst thing about losing sleep on a regular basis is that it keeps your body from healing like it should. You then become unproductive and the cycle continues.

       Chronic stress leads to CORTISOL surges. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, produced in the adrenal glands and regulates many bodily functions, including blood sugar metabolism,  your brain’s use of glucose for energy and increasing the availability of substances that repair tissues. When cortisol remains high, however, because of a chronic stress response, here’s what happens:

Androgen (male sex hormones) reduction, increase in cardio-metabolic risk factors (such as heart attack or stroke), joint pain, sleep deprivation, emotional eating, irritability, weight-loss resistance,  and among other things, disruption in gut health which we know leads to over-activity of the immune system, contributing to autoimmune disease, more inflammation and leaky gut. Then the immune system is eventually suppressed. This leaves you open to overgrowth of yeast or bacteria, which can lead to candida overgrowth or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) which causes more leaky gut, more inflammation and you see this vicious cycle evolving.

This cascade contributes to chronic disease and ill health. In order to properly  address any of these effects, it’s important to assess your state of health. Some of the ways we recommend are with a simple saliva test called the Adrenal Salivary Index (ASI) or lab tests for inflammatory markers such as Ferritin, hsCRP and Homocysteine.

Here are some of the best (safe and effective) ways to handle stress:

  1. Exercise – it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you love it and do it consistently
  2. Deep Breathing – there are many different techniques available to you online
  3. Yoga or Meditation
  4. Essential oils such as Lavender, Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang, Rose, Jasmine, Bergamot, Melissa can be diffused in water or added to a carrier oil and applied to your skin
  5. Reach out to a friend
  6. Keep a Journal
  7. Enjoy your pet
  8. Avoid sugary and fried foods- even though they may seem to comfort you temporarily, they will eventually make you feel sick

If you need help in your quest for health, especially during these difficult times, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us though our website:

Be Well!

Dr. MaryAnn Ley

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