Stress and Inflammation

by Kalidasa on March 21, 2012

Stress and Inflammation

Stress and Inflammation

Stress has recently been linked to inflammation in this article on Science News about stress and inflammation.

When looked at biochemically it is obvious that stress is the number one health issue today because it leads to so many ailments. I’ll go into that in a minute. Don’t worry,it’s pretty simple.

Recent science has shown that inflammation leads to many modern ailments. Heart disease, diabetes, dementia including Alzheimer’s and cancer to name a few.

Biochemically speaking, diseases like these progress in a logical way. So, let’s look at stress as reported in the above article.

Most people know that junk food is bad for them, but many don’t know why. Since knowledge is power, I’m going to lay it out for you here. The simple answer is that it puts stress on the body. There are other stress factors of course, factors that most people know.

The body reacts the same way to toxic chemicals as it does to junk food. Strong emotions, mostly negative ones, create the same biochemical nightmare that being exposed to toxins in your food or environment do.

Other stress factors include: injury, lack of sleep, over exercising, not exercising, temperature and long term hunger (an hour or two is actually good for you, but that’s a different subject).

How stress leads to disease

When there is stress the adrenal glands produce powerful hormones. The purpose of these hormones is to get the body ready to fight or run away fast, the fight or flight instinct.

It’s the powerful hormones that cause inflammation. The swelling is there so if you bleed it will be minimal. Inflammation also fights off infection. Whatever the case the inflammation is there long term because most stress is long term.

In the case of emotional stress, if the emotions aren’t released then they become stuck in the body, and we all know how to stuff emotions. Dietary stress is very long term for the majority of people who have access to processed foods because it’s in our genes to crave fattening foods. That’s how ancient people survived winter, if you didn’t crave fattening foods you didn’t survive, and we’re descended from the survivors.

The human body is designed to eat fattening foods once a year for a few months at most. Type 2 diabetes sets in during that time so there is excess blood sugar that is converted in the liver to fat. Do that year round and you become permanently diabetic, overweight and develop heart disease. Cancer results too, but that pathway is more complex, a subject for another time.

If you want to avoid stress and inflammation, then you need to change your life. While that may not very practical for most people, there are things that you can probably change to eliminate a big chunk of your stress. And, you can mitigate the effects of some stress in a number of ways.

Eliminating dietary stress is number one. That includes all processed foods and sugars. (By the way, processed foods are any ground up grains and all sugars. Stevia is the only completely safe sweetener.) Grains are not the best thing to eat at all, so at least minimizing them is pretty important.

Another thing you can do is to exercise regularly. Walking is the best exercise because our bodies are designed to walk — ancient humans were nomads. An hour or so a day five days a week is a good goal to work up to. That’s the main part though there’s a lot more about exercise, but again, another subject.

Eliminating emotional stress is the hard one for most people. Meditation and yoga have been shown to reduce those stress hormones, and exercise helps to burn them off.

For the remaining stress you can take adrenal herbs and supplements. This is discussed in my book, Adrenal Fatigue, Get Your Life Back. It’s still only $7 for the download at the link, and is now available on Amazon in a physical form for 12.99. It’s on Kindle too if you like reading that way.

Whatever your circumstances, you can probably do something to eliminate even a little stress and inflammation. Your body will thank you by sticking around for a few more years.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

jill farris March 21, 2012 at 11:07 am

Great article and summary! Thanks so much. It was the best explanation of why junk foods are bad that I’ve ever read.

Jill Farris

Kalidasa March 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm

@ jill farris Glad it is helpful.

emily March 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I have recently read the book Hypothyroidism Type 2 … then I went to a doctor that was willing to run the full-panel of Thyroid tests, not just TSH, and I have discovered I am Hypothyroid. In the last 8 yrs I have had 4 docs and 4 tests tell me I was – Fine. I battled low-grade depression, with my weight and energy levels. I recently read a book about Adrenal Fatigue (before the book about HypoT type2) … and I have moderate adrenal fatigue. … since the Adrenals and the Thyroid are so intertwined – I think it is important for any person with adrenal fatigue to search further and have their thyroid truly checked.
Have you written about this (the thyroid/adrenal connection)?
Also, HypoT plays a big role in inflammation, heart disease, etc., Too.
I think it is important to address diet, adrenals, stress – but Also get on some Desiccated Thyroid if the person needs it.
Also, we have NetFlix and there is this old documentary about “Stress” – the researcher had spent 30 yrs following some monkeys in Africa. Very interresting. Despite having the same diet – the monkeys who were bullied, and under a lot of stress from being picked on, suffered from metabolic syndrome and heart disease. The monkey’s were were the “top dogs”, the one’s higher up – doing the bullying – did not suffer from heart disease! They did a comparison on people working in corporations/rat-races.
I have read the when the Adrenal’s are under stress – it stresses the Thyroid. And in turn can impede the bodies ability to convert T4 into T3. This makes a person – at least to some degree – Hypothyroid. Environmental toxins have put a huge burden on the Thyroid/endocrine system & changed DNA is being passed down generation to generation. My family has a huge number of people with Thyroidism & mental illness & heart disease!
What are your thoughts??

jasonalonzo March 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Stress and inflammation can be related. The former induces hormonal secretions that can have positive and negative effects on the body. Stress can be relieved by massage and chiropractic medicine practiced by Tacoma chiropractors

Rachel from Birmingham, UK March 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Many thanks. So much of what you say makes sense. I am reducing grains in my diet and starting to exercise a little more (I am hopelessly unfit, and so is my dog, so we have to start gradually) but I feel much better after just this last week. Keep your newsletters coming; I look forward to them.

Kalidasa March 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm

@ Emily Yes, I have written on Thyroid and the adrenals — AF always brings the thyroid down, unless something really serious is going on.

One of the main limiters in T4 to T3 conversion is selenium deficiency which most people have.

There’s another recent study of some primate group where the alpha male has more cortisol from the stress of maintaining his position. Interesting how things work out.

Family history is pretty important, but a good lifestyle can mitigate most negative genetics, at least to slow them down considerably.

Kalidasa March 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm

The positive effects of stress hormones are beneficial, and often necessary for the short term, it’s the long term release that is problematic. Anything that relieves pain will certainly relieve stress and the resulting hormones.

Kalidasa March 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm

@Rachel, It’s usually not ever hopeless! And, it doesn’t sound like it is in your case — you’re making some great changes for yourself already.

Dogs are great for getting us going too. When I don’t feel like exercising I sometimes say that I have to take the dog out, meaning my body, because dogs need to be taken out even when we don’t want to, as does the body. Good luck, and keep it up!

Here’s a motivational hint for you. Say to yourself that you’re starting to make positive changes in your life (or however you’d like to word it). The positive affirmations that simply aren’t true have been proven to have the opposite effect whereas a true statement like the above is shown to work.

laura Mckay in England March 22, 2012 at 3:38 am

Thank you for such a great article Kalidasa. Since I started reading what you’ve written about stress and AF I’ve noticed the effects that stress and diet has on my life and health. Even today my lower back (which has plagued me for twenty years but been better lately thanks to you) has been aching and I’ve noticed that my shoulders are hunched and tense because I’m stressed out at the moment.
Also I’ve let my good eating habits slide. You have made me more body aware and now I feel that rather than be at the mercy of the doctors who just ineffectively treat symptoms rather than causes I am responsible for my own health. Still a long way to go but it’s nice to know that I have control.
Cheers Mate!

Kalidasa March 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

Thanks, Laura. You know, I get inspired too. Comments like this one makes me want to write more articles like this one. Keep up the good work, you’re on the right path to greater health and longevity, may it conintue.

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