April is National Stress Awareness Month, a great time to learn more about stress: why it occurs, how it affects our health, and how we can manage it.
Society continues to face the most difficult time in recent history. Stress levels for the majority of the population continue to climb with unfortunate consequences on health. There has been a steady increase in disease over recent years and stress is the catalyst. Most people do not realize how many symptoms and diseases can be tied to stress, especially when it becomes chronic.
It is estimated that 70-80% of primary care visits involve an illness that is caused or augmented by stress. Exposure to long-lasting stress diminishes health and increases vulnerability to mental and physical disease. It is very important to understand stress and have a plan to manage it.
What is stress?
Stress is your body's natural nonspecific reaction to a challenge or a demand. Stress is a disturbance of the body's ability to stabilize and maintain its internal environment. When stress becomes chronic, the emotional and physical stress can eventually result in disease.
Exposure to stress is a common daily occurrence and the impact of stress is strongly influenced by the type and duration of the stressor. There can be good stressors, like childbirth, or bad stressors, such as a death of a family member or friend. Thus change, whether good or bad, can induce a stress response.
How does stress affect our health?
Stress affects you both mentally and physically and if not controlled can turn into a downward spiral of poor health that one can spend their rest of their lives trying to recover from.
Our body's first response to stress is to establish internal stability by active means - releasing stress hormones and other chemical mediators. This is a normal function and when the stress is removed, things will go back to normal. When this stress response is not turned off adequately or remains turned on for too long, there can be significant wear and tear on the body and brain.
The experience "stressed out" is caused by the body's release of key hormones and neurotransmitters and the activation of the nervous system that leads to physical overload. The main contributor is out innate "fight-or-flight" response led by cortisol, proinflammatory cytokines, and increased sympathetic nervous system activity.
When a person has long-term stress, continued activation of the stress response eventually causes physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms secondary to the effects on the immune, endocrine (i.e. adrenal glands), and neurological systems. In normal circumstances, the interaction of these three systems is what maintains homeostasis and wellness.
What are some common stress related symptoms and behaviors?
Some common stress related physical complaints are: insomnia, weakened immune system, irritable bowel and poor digestion, sexual dysfunction and low libido, aches and pains, chest pain or a feeling like your heart is racing, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and shaking, high blood pressure, muscle tension, and more.
Some common unhealthy stress related behaviors are: self medicating with alcohol and other drugs, gambling, overeating or developing an eating disorder, compulsiveness, smoking, and more.
How can I help manage my stress?
Managing stress starts with lifestyle. Focusing on ways to achieve quality sleep, healthy eating, nutritional supplementation, and regular exercise are effective ways of counteracting the negative effects of chronic stress and are alternatives to the eventual need of pharmaceutical therapy.
Does TeleWellnessMD® offer any supplements that can help with stress?
There are many prescription therapies and over-the-counter supplements that can help support your lifestyle and help control the body's stress response including the immune, endocrine, and neurologic systems.
Schedule a Wellness Consultation to speak with one of our providers on which supplements would be best for you.
Related Products available at TeleWellnessMD®
Available Prescription Therapies include:
- Methylcobalamin B12 (10,000mcg or 50,000mcg): Supplementing with vitamin B12 can help reduce stress by promoting healthy nervous system function. When the nervous system is functioning properly, the adrenal glands do not secrete as much cortisol - the hormone that is produced during times of stress that causes the "fight or flight" response.
- Trim Complete contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12. The B-complex vitamins help to relieve stress, boost cognitive performance, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Glutathione: The most powerful naturally occurring antioxidant and is often referred to as the body's "master antioxidant". Glutathione is known for its role in providing protection for the body's tissues including the arteries, brain, heart, liver, lungs, and skin. Glutathione levels naturally decrease as we age and due to stress.
- Trim Calm has a combination of calming amino acids and includes the relation mineral: magnesium. Calm can help people suffering from anxiety, migraines, and muscle tension.
- NAD+ is a form of niacin (vitamin B3) and plays a key role in cellular metabolism. It is tasked with the important job of structuring, repairing, and remodeling every cell in the body. NAD levels decline with age, various lifestyle choices, and environmental exposures such as: stress, inflammation, diet, alcohol, and various drugs.
Available Over-the-Counter Supplements include:
- Trim Adrenal Repair: Helps to support the body's ability to regulate stress, promotes a healthy metabolism, helps support immune function, and improve energy and mood.
- Trim Night Cutter: Contains key ingredients that help to promote restful sleep, support a healthy metabolism, and more. Our body restores our immune and nervous system while we sleep. A lack of sleep has been linked to many health conditions including stress and anxiety disorders.
- Seriphos by Interplexus: Helps to balance cortisol levels that can spike during the night and interfere with sleep. It can also be useful during the day for elevated cortisol.
- Carb Revolution® eating program for intermittent fasting and carb back loading.