Functional Medicine helping stress
Our stress response is coordinated by the adrenal glands. The inner part produces adrenaline and noradrenaline which are our fight and flight hormones. These are released in response to acute stressors. The outer parts of the adrenals produce cortisol and DHEA. These mediate our response to longer term stresses.
Adrenal output is stimulated by:
- Emotional stress
- High intensity exercise
- Low blood sugar
Compared to in our past, our bodies are now having to cope with and recover from stress on an almost continuous basis.
Short-term stress that resolves isn’t bad for someone’s health, but when stress occurs over a long period of time, the production of stress hormones (and other hormones) becomes imbalanced. That’s when stress becomes bad for your long-term health.
For many, exposure to constant stress can also result in the adrenal glands starting to function less well. This is termed adrenal fatigue and if left unsupported can lead to adrenal exhaustion.
In the early stages of stress symptoms include:
- Feeling hyper
As stress takes it toll, fatigue starts to take hold and the wider impacts of stress become apparent such as:
- Memory lapse
- Poor concentration
- Becoming over-sensitive & reactive to events
- Panic attacks
- Food cravings
- Body aches & cramps
- Lowered immunity
- Digestive problems
If managing stress was easy, we would all be a lot healthier. The reality is we all have busy lives and multiple things to juggle. But this also means we can’t afford to end up unwell or adrenally exhausted. A functional medicine practitioner can do tests to determine how well your body is responding to stress and help you make diet and lifestyle changes to reduce some of the negative effects. This will include:
- A personalised diet plan designed to balance blood sugar levels and provide high levels of the nutrients the adrenal need for proper function and sustained energy.
- Advice on reducing reliance on caffeine and other stimulants, along with alternative support for energy levels.
- A bespoke supplement plan including nutrients and herbs to support adrenal function and to aid relaxation.
- A full assessment of how stress may be affecting your digestion, hormone levels, sleep, mood and immunity, with targeted support as necessary.
- Advice on the most appropriate types of exercise to aid stress management.
- Assistance finding and incorporating relaxation techniques that suit your lifestyle.