How Stress Affects the Body
Who feels stress most? And least?
For the past decade, the American Psychological Association (APA) has been conducting a Stress in America survey, which has examined stress levels across generations and between genders.
In 2015, the most recent year reported in the APA survey, women rated their average stress level slightly higher than did men. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being little or no stress and 10 being a great deal of stress, the average rating for women was 5.3 and for men, 4.9.
Interestingly, the average stress level reported to the APA decreases as age increases: millennials > genXers > boomers > matures.
What are we so stressed about?
According to the APA survey, the following are reported as the greatest sources of stress:
What affect can stress have on the body?
Stress can result in multiple unhealthy behaviors and moods – such as overeating (especially junk food), skipping meals, self-medicating with alcohol, smoking, wakefulness at night, irritability, and others.
Chronic stress can have several particularly adverse health consequences. For example, the immune system can be negatively impacted by decreased natural killer cell activity and decreased secretory IgA, the latter being the GI tract’s first line of defense against invading organisms.
Chronic stress can also disrupt the GI tract by decreasing the beneficial Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus bacteria species, while increasing the levels of the pathogenic bacteria, E. coli and Entereobacteria.
Chronic stress can also increase or decrease cortisol levels. Initially levels may be increased. Elevated cortisol can have a negative impact on the immune system, blood pressure, blood sugar, ability to lose weight, and much more.
However, over time, the adrenals can become fatigued and cortisol levels may become depleted. Adaptogenic herbs and some B vitamins can help modulate cortisol levels.*
There are several nutrients and botanicals that can help modulate the physical effects of stress on the body.*
Adaptogenic botanicals can be very effective at helping to modulate stress.* But, what is an adaptogen? An adaptogen increases the body’s resistance to stress by acting as a stabilizer or normalizer.
For example, if a substance like cortisol is high, then an adaptogen can help bring cortisol down to a normal level, while if the cortisol level is already normal, the adaptogen will help maintain it.* You can test your cortisol levels at home with our Stress Test that provides insights about your stress response and adrenal health by measuring hormone fluctuations.
There are a number of botanicals that are categorized as adaptogens. Perhaps the two best known adaptogens are Panax ginseng (Korean or Chinese ginseng) and Eleutherococcus senticosus (formerly referred to as Siberian ginseng).*
Other adaptogenic botanicals include Withania somnifera (ashwagandha), Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice), and Rhodiola rosea. Panax, Eleutherococcus, licorice, and ashwagandha apparently exert their adaptogenic effects primarily on the adrenal glands; whereas, Rhodiola appears to exert its effect primarily on the central nervous system by helping to normalize neurotransmitters in the brain.*
- Thiamin (vitamin B1) – a protective nutrient for the adrenals; can decrease stress-induced cortisol response*
- Niacinamide (vitamin B3) – can increase REM sleep and decrease wakefulness in patients who have insomnia;* shunts tryptophan to serotonin*
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) – deficiency can result in compromised adrenal function; can blunt an overactive cortisol response to stress*
- Pyridoxal 5’-phosphate (active vitamin B6) – cofactor for stress-mitigating neurotransmitter formation (GABA, serotonin, and dopamine)*
- 5-MTHF (active folate) – essential for the formation of BH4, which is necessary for formation of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine*
- Methylcobalamin (active vitamin B12) – helps reset circadian rhythms for improved sleep and for normalizing cortisol peak*
Stress doesn’t have to win – take Control. Stress is part of life. But there are things that can be done to keep it from threatening health and happiness.
When we have the right tools, we can take control of our stress before it takes control of us.
- Vitamin B complex with extra B5 for adrenal support and stress management*
- Unlike many B vitamin products, Stress B-Complex contains some B vitamins in their active form to enhance absorption*
- Stress B-Complex contains an optimal balance of essential B vitamins with extra vitamin B5
- Stress B-Complex is not derived from yeast
- Nutritional and botanical support for healthy adrenals*
- Non-glandular vegetarian support for the adrenals*
- Contains key “adaptogenic” botanicals to improve the body's resistance to stress*
- Helps reduce fatigue*
- Optimizes adrenal function for better stress management*
Get weekly Take 5 Daily
News, featured products, and stories delivered right to your inbox.