This post is a non-technical summary of why stress is a root cause for chronic health issues. The reason why this is important is that if you have an issue caused by stress, you can look at this list and see which cause is most significant for you.
About 80% of my clients have a health breakdown after a stressful period. I have thought about this question a lot and here is the elevator summary.
Since this is the case, an overactive nervous system makes up one of the five pillars that I see in chronic health conditions.
An overactive nervous system:
1) Lowers immune function overall – making you more susceptible to infections and toxins.
2) Increases inflammation. Your stress response increases your immune system in some ways that make it function well in the short term but is damaging in the long term. (For example, CRH causes increased Th1 dominance, TLR-4, Nf-kB, IL-1b, IL-6, TNF, MHC-II (HLA-DR) and ICAM-1.)
3) Disrupts your sleep. This causes a bunch of downstream problems because sleep is critical to so many other functions. Stress decreases slow wave sleep.
4) Disrupts your circadian rhythm (which causes a bunch of downstream problems).
5) Causes excess glutamate and cell death (via CRH, Kynurenine).
6) Causes gut problems mainly via CRH. This includes slower gut flow, and less blood flow to the gut, which will cause food sensitivities and inflammation from food. Also, CRH likely causes less cannabinoid activation in the gut. CRH causes local inflammation in the gut. An overactive nervous system, over time, causes HCl production to decrease. The result is food sensitivities and even more inflammation.
7) Decreases levels of good hormones and increases some bad ones, because they get shunted to cortisol, and because of circadian and sleep disruption. Also, CRH will directly cause hormonal dysregulation. The result is lower GnRH, LH, FSH, Pregnenolone, DHEA, Testosterone, Growth Hormone, Thyroid Hormones (T3, T4, TSH) and higher Prolactin and Estrogen
8) Causes less blood flow in certain regions like your gut and liver. Less blood flow causes low oxygen and less nutrient delivery…Your blood gets shunted to your heart and muscles and your stomach, liver, etc… don’t have what it needs.
In the short term you might feel dizzy or fuzzy, likely because of less blood flow to the brain and too much dopamine (See COMT gene).
Chronic stress will also cause neurotransmitter resistance, inflammation, impaired memory and lower dopamine, acetylcholine, LTP, BDNF, neurogenesis and dendritic branching. Stress will also cause oxidative stress in your hippocampus or memory center via CRH.
Other negative effects:
- Cortisol Resistance
- Obesity – raises blood sugar, insulin, makes you hungry
- Depression – as a result of CRH, chronic HPA activation, dynorphin, lower BDNF, lower neurogenesis, lower dopamine, and GABA, serotonin and glutamate resistance.
- Heart damage – by increased adrenaline, oxygen demand on the body, spasm of the heart blood vessels, and electrical instability in the heart. It also lowers heart rate variability and resting heart rate and increasing blood pressure
Take the Plunge
The reason why I release posts about my attitude towards life is that it’s the only one that works. If you adopt mainstream self-help attitudes of being limitless and positive thinking/self-talk, you are destined to continue a life of anxiety.
You must take the plunge and simply stop caring about everything, and let fate take over. People are afraid to do this, as was I, but once you let go, you’re free and then you can truly unleash the creativity that you are naturally capable of. Remember, there’s nowhere to go, nothing to do or accomplish. You’re it.
Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick
At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.
That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:
- Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
- SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
- SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
- SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
- Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
- Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
- Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
- BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
- SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
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