Protect Yourself From Oxidative Stress
Now youve got it. Protecting yourself from oxidative stress is as simple as protecting your cells by providing what your body needs and avoiding what it doesnt need.
Knowing that we are all exposed to stress and toxins, and potentially infections, on a daily basis, choosing ways to reduce stress and increase anti-oxidants will help you prevent cancer and to live a longer, healthier life.
If youd like one-on-one help to address oxidative stress, I encourage you to contact a naturopathic doctor. I offer a special consultation package specifically to help address oxidative stress. Read about it here.
What is your favorite way to boost protection from oxidative stress? Please do share your ideas and comments below.
Dr Doni2nd October 2014
*Please keep in mind that any and all supplementsnutrients, herbs, enzymes, or othershould be used with caution. My recommendation is that you seek the care of a naturopathic doctor and that you have a primary care physician or practitioner whom you can contact to help you with individual dosing and protocols. If you ever experience negative symptoms after taking a product, stop taking it immediately and contact your doctor right away.
How To Cope With Stress Podcast With Dr Rangan Chatterjee
Struggling with stress? We caught up with Dr Rangan Chatterjee on the In The Moment Magazine podcast to find out how to cope with stress and live calmer lives.
Cravings For Salty Foods
A part of the adrenal glands named the cortex is responsible for producing aldosterone, a mineralocorticoid which works with the kidney to regulate our fluid and mineral excretion. When the adrenals become fatigued, we produce less aldosterone and tend to excrete large amounts of important minerals in our urine. Individuals with depleted endocrine systems often report frequent urination, which is often attributed to age but may actually be caused by depleted adrenals.
This means that Adrenal Fatigue sufferers effectively lose the ability to balance the levels of minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium in their blood. In turn, this leads to cravings for foods which will replace the sodium that we have lost. If you find yourself suddenly craving salty snacks, you could be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.
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Common Causes Of Stress
These are the top five causes of stress, according to a poll of more than 3,000 U.S. adults by the American Psychological Association :
- Money. 72% of people report being stressed about money. Financial stress can look different for everyone. A college-aged adult may not have to worry about affording children, but the costs of tuition and housing may give them anxiety. Even someone who is gainfully employed may fear losing their retirement savings or their job. Medical expenses are also a burden.
- Job pressure. The top sources of job stress are conflicts with coworkers, work overload and bosses. Its also common to worry about whether youre doing a satisfactory job, and other internal stressors can include fear of failure or perfectionism.
- Health. A health scare or a chronic or terminal illness diagnosis is a major stressor, especially if it comes with debilitating symptoms and side effects. These issues can also add strain to the other top stressors.
- Relationships. The only way around relationship conflict is to not have relationships . Conflicts like divorce, death or even arguments with friends can negatively impact well-being.
What Supplements Help Adrenal Fatigue
There are several categories of supplements that can help to treat adrenal fatigue. They should be used in combination with lifestyle changes like avoiding stress, improving diet, and getting more sleep.
There are a few basic nutrients that are particularly important for supporting the adrenal glands and HPA axis, especially during times of stress. These include vitamins B5, B6, and B12, vitamin C, and magnesium. Omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10, and probiotics can also be tremendously supportive during this time.
Herbal supplements can be useful for regulating cortisol levels and moderating the stress response. These include ashwagandha, licorice, Rhodiola rosea, Siberian ginseng, and maca.
For the best results, discuss your supplementation with your healthcare professional. Here is some more information on supplements for adrenal fatigue.
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How To Tell If You Have A Stress Fracture
Stress fractures are very small cracks that develop in a bone. A stress fracture is somewhat of a subtle injury, because it does not come from one particular event, but from repetitive stress over a period of time. Many basketball players, distance runners, and other athletes who are involved in high-impact sports experience stress fractures. When muscles become fatigued through overuse, they will eventually be unable to absorb any more shock from repetitive impact. Once this happens, they begin to transfer that shock to your bones, eventually causing stress fractures. Since the lower leg and feet are some of the main weight-bearing bones in our bodies, they are the ones that most commonly become subject to stress fractures in fact, studies show that over 50% of all adolescent and adult stress fractures take place in the lower leg.
The best way to diagnose a stress fracture is to visit a doctor and undergo a physical examination. Keep in mind that due to their small size, stress fractures can often go undetected by X-ray machines, so an MRI or other medical imaging techniques may be required. The best treatment for a stress fracture is to just simply rest while the bone naturally mends itself, which can typically take between 6 to 8 weeks or sometimes longer depending upon the severity of the injury. Be careful not to return to physical activity too soon, as this may exacerbate the injury and cause greater damage over time.
Warning Signs You’re Under Too Much Stress
Sneaky, isn’t it?
The way life can creep up on you. One minute everything is going well, and it’s all under control.
The next you realize you’ve got a bit too much going on.
How did that happen?
You thought you had balance but now you find yourself constantly busy. Constantly trying to jam it all in. Constantly moving faster, racing from one thing to the next.
Some days you still feel in control, but on others, you’re not so sure. And those other days seem to be becoming more frequent.
In fact, you’re starting to wonder if you’re losing your tiny mind.
So,how do you know when you’re under too much stress?
Well, it’s an individual thing. But if you’re experiencing many of the following symptoms on a regular basis, you need to make some changes.
You’re more pessimistic than you used to be, and negative self-talk seems to be taking over. You feel a little like you’ve lost your “old self”, who used to see things more positively.
That sense of overwhelm you used to get from time to time is becoming constant. Everything seems too much.
The mental list of things that need doing each morning just to get out the door is exhausting.
It’s harder and harder to make decisions. You find yourself neglecting your responsibilities and procrastinating more than usual because you just can’t make a choice.
You’re agitated all the time. You can’t concentrate properly, you can’t relax, and your mind is constantly racing.
It has to be everything or nothing at all.
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How Much Stress Is Too Much
Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, its important to know your own limit. But just how much stress is too much differs from person to person. Some people seem to be able to roll with lifes punches, while others tend to crumble in the face of small obstacles or frustrations. Some people even thrive on the excitement of a high-stress lifestyle.
Factors that influence your stress tolerance level include:
Your support network. A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against stress. When you have people you can count on, lifes pressures dont seem as overwhelming. On the flip side, the lonelier and more isolated you are, the greater your risk of succumbing to stress.
Your sense of control. If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, its easier to take stress in stride. On the other hand, if you believe that you have little control over your lifethat youre at the mercy of your environment and circumstancesstress is more likely to knock you off course.
Your attitude and outlook. The way you look at life and its inevitable challenges makes a huge difference in your ability to handle stress. If youre generally hopeful and optimistic, youll be less vulnerable. Stress-hardy people tend to embrace challenges, have a stronger sense of humor, believe in a higher purpose, and accept change as an inevitable part of life.
How Can We Avoid Stress
Experiencing stress from time to time is normal, but it is important to prevent stress build up that leads to high levels of stress and possibly burnout. Some simple ways to avoid stress include finding effective ways to balance all your responsibilities, getting enough sleep, not taking on too much, eating a healthy diet, and taking part in physical activity.
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How Is Stress Diagnosed
Stress is subjective not measurable with tests. Only the person experiencing it can determine whether it’s present and how severe it feels. A healthcare provider may use questionnaires to understand your stress and how it affects your life.
If you have chronic stress, your healthcare provider can evaluate symptoms that result from stress. For example, high blood pressure can be diagnosed and treated.
When Should I Talk To A Doctor About Stress
Talk to your doctor about stress if you are feeling overwhelmed, are reliant on drugs or alcohol to cope with the feelings of stress, have thoughts of hurting yourself, or are experiencing other related conditions, like anxiety or depression. Your doctor can provide advice for better managing your stress, prescribe medication, or refer you to a mental health professional for further diagnosis and treatment.
The National Institute of Mental Health . 5 Things You Should Know About Stress. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/. Accessed July 15, 2021.
Child Mind Disorder. Acute Stress Disorder Basics. Accessed 4/11/2021.
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, National Center for PTSD. Acute Stress Disorder. Accessed 4/11/2021.
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Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders
The two main treatments for anxiety are psychotherapy and medication, and many people benefit from a combination of the two.
- Psychotherapy: Talk therapy is effective in helping people identify, process, and cope with their triggers of anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a highly effective, short-term treatment that helps people learn specific skills to target their specific triggers.
- Medication: Antidepressants generally have some mild side effects but help alleviate some symptoms of anxiety. Antidepressants can be used for an extended period of time. Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that can also be used on an ongoing basis. Benzodiazepines can be used on a limited basis to mitigate anxiety symptoms, but they can be habit-forming. All medications should be thoroughly discussed with your healthcare provider. Any side effects should be reported immediately. Never discontinue the use of these medications without supervision from your healthcare provider.
- Lifestyle changes: There are several changes you can make at home before you try medications. Daily exercise, good sleep hygiene, healthy eating, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol are all home remedies that can decrease symptoms of anxiety.
How Does Stress Affect Our Bodies
Stress can have a negative effect on our health because our bodies react to stressful situations physically as well as mentally.
Physical symptoms can include headaches, muscle pain, sleep problems, dizziness, feeling tired all the time or eating too much or too little.
When we feel stressed, our bodies release the stress hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol plays an important role in the body as it stimulates the liver to increase blood sugar production. This gives your body a burst of energy when you feel stressed to help you cope with the situation at hand.
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When we feel stressed for a long period of time, were stuck in a permanent state of fight-or-flight and this can lead to feelings of anxiety. Youre left feeling on edge all the time.
You may also notice that your behaviour changes you feel overwhelmed, irritable, anxious and lacking in self-esteem. Your thoughts race and you find it hard to concentrate or make decisions.
Read more about the symptoms of stress on the NHS website.
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Physical Signs Of Stress
While stress may start with the mind, there are countless ways it appears in the body as well, such as sweaty palms or difficulty sleeping.
Stress impacts multiple systems in the body, primarily targeting the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular and immune systems. When a stressful event occurs and creates a reaction, it sends a wave of changes through these systems, preparing the fight or flight response. The body then releases stress hormones and creates a new pattern of energy distribution, sending more energy to skeletal muscles and the brain. The body also activates cells in the immune system, while functions like digestion, growth and sexual hormones are put on hold to reserve energy. This is why a person might feel a change in appetite and a lower sexual drive when experiencing excessive stress. Chronic stress can result in consistent high blood pressure and vascular hypertrophy. Both conditions put stress on the heart and can damage the arteries and create plaque buildup.
Other common physical symptoms of stress, according to The American Institute of Stress, include:
However, not all signs of stress are bad. In some cases, stress helps the body prepare for danger. In others, such as in an emergency, during an important event, or while taking a test, stress helps motivate the body and mind, allowing a person to remain alert.
If you feel overwhelmed by physical symptoms of stress, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional to discuss treatment.
Overuse Of Stimulants Like Sugar And Caffeine
Are you one of those people whose day revolves around finding your next shot of caffeine? If so, youre not alone! Millions of people rely on stimulants like coffee and sugar to lift them up when they get tired. However, theres a big difference between drinking an occasional coffee and consuming stimulants all through the day.
The problem is that stimulants tend to lose their effectiveness over time. As chronic stress takes its toll on your endocrine system, each cup of coffee or sugary snack gives you less of an energy boost. Caffeine can prevent you from getting a good sleep too. The more stressed and tired you become, the more stimulants you need. This vicious cycle is how many people unwittingly accelerate their decline into hormonal dysregulation and extreme fatigue.
It doesnt have to be this way. Simply becoming more mindful of your caffeine and sugar consumption will often help to reduce it. Limit yourself to one or two coffees each day at first, then try to give it up entirely. Eat a nutritious, healthy diet, and try some of these low sugar recipes. Look for low glycemic fruits instead of sugary dried fruits or fruit juices. Learn how to improve your sleep hygiene so you wont feel the need for those stimulants. And identify ways to work more efficiently during the day, so you take rests when needed.
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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Cholesterol
Whether or not youre stressed, its smart to see your primary care physician once a year for a complete exam, including a check of blood pressure, heart rate, weight, cholesterol, and thyroid hormones. And dont let a doctor brush off your stress.
When women have heart palpitations, doctors are more likely to think that theyre either experiencing stress or anxiety, or that theyre hysterical in some way. As a result, women tend to be underdiagnosed with heart disease, says Dr. Haythe. And this happens despite the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. A good rule of thumb: If unusual symptoms persist for more than a week or two, see your physician.
What Is The Cause Of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is usually caused by long-term stressors. These can include financial stress, overwork, family disputes, or marital problems. Often it might a be a combination of factors, such as those experienced by a high-flying executive with young children.
Other factors can come into play too. A poor diet means that your body has fewer reserves and less capacity to deal with stress. Chronic or latent disease can be a factor, as can regular exposure to toxic chemicals or pollutants. And dont forget sleep one of the most important requirements for your body to function properly. If youre burning the candle at both ends, consider that a lack of sleep might be damaging your long-term health.
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How Can Your Doctor Test Your Stress Level
There is no standardized test to formally diagnose stress because stress is subjectivewhat feels very stressful for one person may not cause high levels of stress for another. Only the person experiencing stress can determine how severe it feels. A healthcare provider may use questionnaires to understand your stress and how it affects your life.